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Tinjana

D-Day

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So we finally decided we are going to take the plunge... and what a rollercoaster ride of emotions since the decision was made it has been!! (Pardon the cliché!) We will be going to St. Louis, Missouri- not our first choice but we will have to make the best of it!

For the most part I think we are in denial- completely unable to comprehend that in a month we will be leaving everything we know (and family we love) and jumping into a sea of unfamiliarity (and loneliness I am fearing...).

 

Issues we have:

 

Trying to sell our house- it has been on the market for a month and we have had only one family come to look- I believe it is due to the time of year in addition to the economic uncertainty South Africans currently feel... we need the money from the sale to help us move belongings (necessities such as my husband's prized VW Beetle and my beloved baby grand piano- if we don't sell we will obviously leave everything here until we do but we 1. don't want to leave the house uninhabited and 2. it will be difficult to negotiate a potential sale whilst half way around the world...

Difference in salaries: my husband will have to endure a serious salary downgrade so we worry about not being able to afford necessities like health care and insurance and obviously being able to actually go out and enjoy our new surroundings!

Our fur babies- we have 3 small dogs and I really hope we find a place (affordable!) that we can rent that will allow 3 dogs- I have been in contact with a few rental agencies and all have a 2 pet maximum- I am hoping we will find a private landlord who is more lenient...

The weather! I worry about extreme cold, extreme heat and humidity and extreme disasters! (Tornadoes!). St. Louis I see will experience -9 degrees celcius this week- I do not even know what that feels like!

 

We feel so nervous- and often feel like just pulling the plug. Just do not know if we are making the right decision... how do you stay and have no regrets though...

Edited by Tinjana
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Tinjana

 

If you are not nervous and "worried', the you have rose tinted glasses on and then you are not thinking it through. - its normal

 

Don't worry, if you give enough time, everything normally works out- one way or the other.

 

you can always go back to SA but you will most likely not always have the opportunity to go again.

 

The SA house market is in shambles, 1 month on the market with little interest is nothing to worry about.

your other option is to place renters in your home and take a second mortgage to capitalize on your equity.

 

You might want to consider having your furry ones stay with family or friends, while you find your feet and a big enough rental.

Remember that dogs and cats are way more house trained in the US (yes, some cats NEVER get to spend time outdoors- google Catio)

 

Good luck with the move, sometimes its just best to keep your head down and push forward

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Hey

I think we can all sympathize with the feelings of fear for the move, and I can understand exacerbated with not being able to sell your house. We had to finalize our house sale from the US so it can be done, but it's definitely not ideal. If the market is that bad I agree with trying to rent it out rather in the meanwhile. Adventurer's advice is good i think, and you are certainly realistic to anticipate that it will be difficult adjusting not only in a new place but in weather that is totally different than what you're used to. My only advice would be to try integrate as soon as possible - through work or school if those are options, or through volunteer organizations. Meet people, get advice.

If you haven't yet, also find the citydata forum on St Louis and read through it for tips and advice about living there.

Everything will seem totally alien at first, from the weather to people not understanding your accent. You'll probably have to adjust your driving style, and will spend ages staring at unfamiliar brands on the supermarket shelf. Etc. And then one day a few months down the line you'll suddenly realize you're doing everything like a local....

I think bottom line is your last sentence is right, you don't want to sit there wondering "what if" for ever...

Good luck!!!

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Hi Tinjana

 

Yes it is difficult and there would days in the USA that you will think . Bad decision. But the longer you're in the USA, the less those days gets.

 

Myself and my wife decided to settle in Texas because we were a bit worried about adjusting to snow conditions in the northern parts.

 

But my brother settled in Pennsylvania and they adjusted well.

 

Things will be tough at first. Lots of things to get used to. Credit score is one of the biggest things to get used to. But after a year it is not an issue anymore. Even joined the library recently and also make me realised . Even the simplest things is working well here. Use to often queue to return or get books in SA. Here in Texas no queues. Driving takes lots of concentration for a month or 2. After a while it becomes natural. As my one American friend said when talking about USA driving on wrong side of road . "correction USA drive on right -right side south Africa drive on left - wrong side " . Was quite funny the way he said it.

 

Anyway point is a lot of things will be hard to learn and adjust to.

But all is worth it in the end.

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figjam, on 04 Dec 2016 - 9:18 PM, said:

 

Hi Tinjana

 

Yes it is difficult and there would days in the USA that you will think. Bad decision. But the longer you're in the USA, the less those days gets.

 

That's very true.

 

It's been said over and over on this forum, leaving your country (comfort zone) is not for sissies.

 

But we South Africans are made of stern stuff and we are familiar with "vasbyt". So, come on over and "byt vas". :)

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Today we're celebrating 5 years to the day since we arrived here in the US.

 

It hadn't been easy at all times - in fact, far from it sometimes - but like SJ27 said, the day will come that you'll feel like a local again. My brother (who emigrated to Australia) put it like this once, "Today as I walked out of the house, I realized that the blue gum trees that I so often despise, have actually become to look beautiful to me". That's when you realize that you have started to assimilate.

 

Best wishes and "vasbyt" no matter what!

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Congratulations on the 5 years, Reichette. Does that mean you are going for citizenship one of these days?

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Thank you!

 

Yes, I had the application forms filled out two months ago already. Just haven't gotten that far yet to recheck and submit them - we had family visiting in between, etc.

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Congratulation's on your five years Reichette, Going to the Naturalization is quite a moving experience and you will feel more American. You are allowed to take picture's or get a friend to film your ceremony. You then also have to go to the SSN office so they can change your status to a citizen. This enables you to apply for government positions which would not have been available as a green card holder.

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Thank you!

 

I didn't know that I would need to go to the SSN offices to have the status changed - would have thought that it should happen automatically as part of the process... I still learn from this forum - thanks for that piece of advice.

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It's been said over and over on this forum, leaving your country (comfort zone) is not for sissies.

 

But we South Africans are made of stern stuff and we are familiar with "vasbyt". So, come on over and "byt vas". :)

 

Well said Janneman. Was not so clear in my message.

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We will be going to St. Louis, Missouri- not our first choice but we will have to make the best of it!

..

a colleague working with me, who is from St Louis , Missouri, says to not live towards down town or east of St Louis. He lived in Maryland heights. And says it was a lovely area. It is south west from airport . Further west is lovelier but more expensive. Maybe someone on this site have firsthand knowledge and can be of more help . Edited by figjam

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Thank you all for the replies! So we are now in St. Louis! Wow! This has been undoubtedly the most difficult I (and my husband I am sure) have ever done! The endless tears as I said good to all the belongings that made me feel like that I have meaning but worst of all to all my loved ones, some of them seen for perhaps the last time, my heart was (and is) just so heavy and literally painful. This is now Day 3 and I still feel like I am on a roller coaster - one second I feel like this is not too bad and I can do this - the next (and unfortunately still all too often) I feel like this is just not going to work and I rather just run back to SA and at deal with whatever may be but at least with the comfort of my family and pets and familiarity of my 'home'. Just taking it a day at a time at this stage...

I just have some questions if someone may be able to help - I know these questions have been asked before but I would like some current info please!

Cell Phone -

so we went to At & t (seems to have better coverage here) to get a what we would call in SA prepaid sim card - ended up paying $45 per number which has the free calls and texts and 4 GB data which has to be paid monthly to continue the use - is there nothing cheaper than this around - could not really find a system like we have in SA where you load money onto the card as you need it - is there any network that offers something like that? $100 for my husband and I just seems so excessive...

Cars- has anyone used carfax to buy a used car? do you need a state-issued driver's license to buy a used car? We are looking at buying something in the range of $5 to $7000 - where would be the best place to look? (i.e. reliable, trustworthy?) suppose it varies from state to state but if anyone has any tips I would be grateful!

Thank you all once again!

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Hey Tinjana. It's early days, just focus on one foot in front of the next. Give yourself at least 12 months to stick it out. The early days are always the worst when you have arrived in this alien society, weather that you're not used to, don't know anyone, discover Palmolive is a dish soap not a hand soap and don't know what handy Andy is called here ...etc. Just focus on small goals at first - you have to give yourself a chance before you even think about going back.

 

States differ by motor laws but in California we had no problem buying cars and getting insurance with our SA licenses. Sorry can't advise on best places for things. Look for the St Louis forum on citydata.com, locals should be able to help you out on those types of questions.

 

Also: everything will seem stupidly expensive at first, because you can't help converting into rands and comparing that way. Once you're a bit more settled and more importantly earning dollars, it won't seem so ridiculous. Promise! I remember having a heart attack looking at takeout pizza prices when we first arrived!

 

Remember we've all been through this, we know those feelings.... Feel free to come here to vent/ask for help/whatever. For now take it one day at a time, and best of luck.

Edited by SJ27
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