Living in America 2013

(381 Posts)
smartieknickers Wed 30-Jan-13 22:31:40

Howdy y'all! I was a long time lurker on the Living in America 2012 thread and in the spirit of my new year's resolution to 'get involved in more stuff' I thought I'd start a new thread, what with it being a month into 2013 and all that... So who's with me? grin

Link to previous thread

Brief introduction: I initially moved from Scotland to Houston, TX with my DH and DS (now 2) in 2011, but we moved to Dallas in September last year. We never really felt quite at home in Houston but for some reason we really like life in Dallas, even though it's pretty similar in a lot of ways. We have just today finally dispatched with the last of our Christmas visitors (we've had parents and in-laws here back-to-back for 5 solid weeks!!) so I'm feeling like I deserve a large wine and a medal

MercedesKing Sat 30-Mar-13 03:46:17

Guess some of us are seeking for the place that familiar as well as fresh or a little different from our hometown. Anyway, hope all thing go well after you make the determination. smile

MrsFrumble Tue 02-Apr-13 20:10:37

Can I join in? We (me, DH, 2.5 year old DS and 5 month old DD) have just moved from London to Oklahoma City for DH's work. We arrived last week and have been slowly adjusting; overcoming jet-lag, mentally converting the price of everything into GBP and getting lost in Walmart.

It's been pouring with rain all day in OKC, so I'm feeling quite at home right now. We've managed to get our hands on Twinings tea bags and tune into Radio 4 online which also helps.

Welcome MrsFrumble.
If you search WalMart food section you can also get Tetley British blend teabags.
Hope you are settling in OK, How long are you here for?

FringeEvent Wed 03-Apr-13 23:43:40

I've just had the realisation that if we're coming over to CA in Sept, we're going to miss sloe-picking season sad

FlipFantasia Wed 24-Apr-13 02:39:56

Hello ladies!

I've not been on MN in forever and just posted a novel on a thread about moving to NJ grin. My pent up MNing is coming out grin

Hope that life is good for all and that spring is springing wherever you are.

Life is good with us. Can't quite believe it's nearly May! DD is now one (actually 13 months in a couple of days!) and DS is now 3. We're looking to buy a home, so really putting down roots. In fact, hopefully by tomorrow afternoon we'll be putting an offer in on a place! Scary and exciting after renting for so long!

Natasha we don't have direct experience of a foreclosure but the first house we tried to buy ended up being a short sale and we pulled out (this happened last week). We don't have time to waste waiting for approvals so are looking for another house now. I found the uncertainty stressful (the whole process was v slow - hard for us to know what's normal house buying stress and what was because the sellers were in such financial distress). But if time is not a factor then go for it - it may take a year, it may take 6 months - but you can just go with the flow. But do factor in the work needed - get a thorough inspection and good estimates from contractors as the state of disrepair can be pretty bad and costly even if the structure is sound. You don't want to overpay for a money pit when you could buy a nicely maintained house for less than the cost of repairs! You may well have gone ahead with it all so disregard as necessary!

Want2be hope you're enjoying DS! We went to an open house for a cute Victorian on your street in Feb - down at the park end, a lovely narrow house with a porch and a big side lot - but it sold within 72 hours of being relisted (it sat for months last yer). The market is super hot in certain price brackets and all the realtors are moaning about a lack of inventory!

Big waves to everyone else. I'm going to start a NJ meet up thread - it would be lovely to have a summer meet up! Though it's hard to plan the summer before knowing what will happen with our house purchase as we're technically homeless from 1 July! So I may start the thread once I know where we'll be living in the summer!

NatashaBee Wed 24-Apr-13 02:45:35

Thanks Flip! Good luck with your house purchase. We got a bit sucked in looking at repos/ short sales/ foreclosures, but are starting to realise that those need expenditure as a lump sum rather than a slightly higher mortgage payment which is probably more manageable.

FlipFantasia Wed 24-Apr-13 03:42:16

Natasha I agree - we looked at some in Dec/Jan and decided that with interest rates so low it was worth buying a more expensive place that was in better shape...still ended up trying to buy a place that needed work but in an amazing location, hoping we could close in the summer and get the (mostly cosmetic) work done (FIL is a contractor in southern jersey so we had some good leads on floor guys, painting etc). But it turned out to be a short sale so we just backed out rather than face the time & uncertainty of it all. We're looking for things with a higher purchase price but needing no work, as a rate of 3.5% fixed for 30 years makes a bigger mortgage manageable (decided on 30 year rather than 15 year as no penalties to overpay).

Want2bSupermum Thu 25-Apr-13 18:51:34

Oh Good luck flip! I hope you get it. I know the house you are talking about. I was surprised it didn't sell quicker in the fall but I think the uncertainty with the neighbouring house which was being gutted was the cause of the delay.

I went back to work on Monday and it is wierd to be working so soon after giving birth. I still have 6 weeks of leave that I can take between now and next Feb. Just not sure when to take those weeks!

rootypig Wed 07-Aug-13 00:52:03

Hello! Thread revival? The time for our move to LA is getting close - flights (one way eeeeek!) booked for 16 September, we have a west side apartment (UCLA grad housing), looking at cars... All terrifyingly real.

I am sad seeing all the autumn coats and boots in British mags! Yes I am mad.

So the big question - what do I stock up on before I leave the UK? Have already put about 6 boxes of tea in with the shipping grin

NatashaBee Wed 07-Aug-13 01:09:59

Oooh, thread's back! Good luck for your move rootypig.

markymark Sun 18-Aug-13 05:12:57

Hi everyone - I joined a while back and went a bit quiet during the move. We've arrived in San Francisco now - or the East Bay at least. Got a lease signed yesterday and the container is due to arrive next weekend so can move out of the dingy temporary flat - yippee!

Hoping to get DD into kindergarten next week and can see back to school signs everywhere. I'm assuming they'll give me a list of the stuff she'll need but any tips on whether I need to get her new clothes? Does she need to be smart or will leggings and a T-shirt be ok? We're used to school uniform and are completely clueless :-)

Most kids seem to get a nice new outfit for the first day of school. I don't usually bother, they wreck their clothes at school. Play clothes seem more common while they are little.

HoneyStepMummy Wed 21-Aug-13 16:43:12

Markymark back to school shopping is a big thing over here. For first day of school kids don't need to wear something smart but wearing a nice, new outfit is a nice way to start off the school yearsmile Walmart and Crazy Eight have very cute and very affordable kids clothes so you don't have to go crazy and spend tons of money.
You can check on the schools website to see if they have posted what supplies each kid will need. Right now all the stores have back to school specials and you can get school supplies for pennies!

Hi everyone! We moved from singapore to houston Texas at the end of July. We are now in our house, exploring and trying to stop the kids killing each other before school starts in a couple of weeks. Life here is pretty easy, the weather is good and once the kids are at school I'll be on the hunt for an after school nanny and a job (I'm on an L2 visa).

Looking forward to meeting people through the kids school ... Our neighbors are nice but beyond "hello" they keep themselves to themselves. We are used to condo living where everyone knows everyone else and all the kids play together..... Anyone else in houston?

Want2bSupermum Tue 27-Aug-13 18:46:16

Hi Butterflies - Very common in the US for people to keep to themselves. They will be very friendly but never invite you into their home.

I would suggest you look into the YMCA. You can sign your kids up for all sorts of activities here and they will make friends quickly. Registration here in NJ has already started and places fill up fast.

Well done on having a working visa. I stronly suggest you start looking for a nanny now. I found college students to be a good bet for after school. Are you looking for a job in a particular industry?

Speaking of childcare.... we ended up pulling our children out of daycare after DD was bitten for the 5th time. It was clear there was a lack of supervision and her behaviour in general was going south fast. Our neighbour was laid off 5 years ago from the school district and worked in Target. She hated working there and jumped at the chance to work for us. She has three fabulous children aged 24, 22 and 18 who are a credit to her and her DH. She is amazing with the babies. I am working with her to help her set up a daycare from home. She lives on the same street as me so I don't care if the kids are at our house or hers!

In other news I found out I was one credit short of the requirement for the CPA license in NJ. I took a boring tax course over the summer and passed with a C grade. I opened the text book twice over the nine weeks of the course. I am sure there will be another hoop for me to jump through before I get my CPA license.....

wentshopping Wed 28-Aug-13 06:31:31

Hi Butterflies! I am in Houston - dc went back to school this week so I am just recovering from the 11 weeks off school.
Feel free to pm me if you want.
Well done Supermum. Perhaps you can do all our taxes (Just kidding).

Hi supermum and wentshopping. Thanks for your tips supermum, I realise that living here is pretty different to what we're used to. We have joined the local recreation centre and classes start first week in September so will sign the kids up for some activities. School doesn't start til Sept 9 though so we've been off since June 26 and it's a loooong summer....

I got my letter from the social security yesterday though and should have my number in 2 weeks and my employment authorization is in progress. I've been given the number of a good nannying agency and looked at sittercity.com but I don't know about the summer with the kids having so long off school. My dds are aged 4 and 8 and a summer with a babysitter doesnt seem appealing - plus there's not much standard holiday allowance in the US - couple of weeks? We normally head back to the UK for a month over the summer to spend time with family. I am looking at management work in higher education (which I did in the UK and loved) but am also a qualified swimming instructor specializing in teaching pre-schoolers.... Might be easier to set up on my own doing this again.... Or even re-train for something else...

DDs and DH want a dog too, which is completely incompatible with me working full time (DH travels a lot for work).... Ah well, we've only been here a month, guess it will all sort out.

Congratulations supermum on passing your exam, seems to be lots of demand for that type of work.

Wentshopping will pm you - still 10 days of school holiday left for me....

LadyoftheLakes Wed 28-Aug-13 15:15:26

Hi Everyone. We moved to Michigan in June and have spent the summer settling into our house and exploring. Our neighbours are friendly, lots of children on our street although mainly boys much to my DDs disappointment. It is very strange not being able to meet up with friends.
Looking forward to school starting although we are all nervous.
I found out when I applied for my social security number that I am now allowed to work...not sure whether that is good or bad news so will see how the next 6 months goes.
Anyone in Michigan?

Want2bSupermum Wed 28-Aug-13 18:05:38

butterflies Sittercity is full of college students which I think might be a better bet for older children that you have in activities. You should also check out if the school has an afterschool program.

You should def consider community colleges as well as traditional colleges. I have been impressed with the courses offered at the community college and the experience in general. I would imagine the hours are much more family friendly. Agree with you on getting a dog. I love our dog but it is really tough to work FT with two kids aged 2 and 6 months and make sure the dog gets his cuddles. DD was given her first chore yesterday - feeding the dog!

Vacation in the US is normally 2 weeks but you will be shocked to learn it is very neigotiable. I am supposed to have 15 days - 3 wks but due to DH travelling so much they gave me an additional 3 wks each year as sabbatical. Our sabbaticals are paid out at 20% of regular wages. It isn't perfect but it was a great compromise.

wentshopping You don't want me to do your taxes! I am in restructuring and am an auditor during quiet times. I was so scared of having to do this tax course but I just sucked it up and got on with it. I had no time to study but luckily I had covered the content while preparing for my CPA exams.

NatashaBee Wed 28-Aug-13 18:24:18

LadyoftheLakes I'm in Michigan smile Farmington Hills, just outside of Detroit. Whereabouts are you?

PeppermintBark Wed 28-Aug-13 21:50:31

I'm in Michigan, too! Bloomfield Hills, so fairly close to you, NatashaBee. Must confess I don't post much on Mumsnet unless I can add anything to a discussion.

LadyoftheLakes I was going to post on your other thread, but will do so here. Michigan is pretty big, I can give you ideas about places to visit, but if you live up North, they will be quite a distance.

If you should be reasonably close, the Henry Ford museum and Greenfield village, in Dearborn, and the Zoo in Royal Oak are well worth a visit.

NatashaBee Wed 28-Aug-13 23:54:28

Oooh, that's exciting PeppermintBark - we were just in West Bloomfield today at Plum market, stocking up on European beers and Toblerone bars smile

We went to Port Clinton Safari park in Ohio the other day - we weren't expecting much as the tripadvisor reviews were fairly mixed and a year pass was only $50, but it was absolutely brilliant - it's a drive through safari and you can buy carrots to feed the animals out the car window. It's near Kalahari waterpark which was nice, but very expensive and DSD and DS both preferred feeding the animals!

LadyoftheLakes Thu 29-Aug-13 00:33:30

Natasha Bee and PeppermintBark. I'm in Bloomfield too! Have you been here long?

PeppermintBark Thu 29-Aug-13 00:53:29

I have been here for 5 1/2 years and will be here for at least another three until my youngest finishes high school. (I'm not totally ancient, done with reproducing by the time I was 30 .)

NatashaBee my DDs bought tons of chocolate while we were in England for the summer. I bought two huge bottles of HP sauce, three packets of decaf Kenco instant coffee and four packets of Tuna Pasta Bake mix.

Perhaps we can all get together sometime? A Michigan meet up!

NatashaBee Thu 29-Aug-13 00:55:55

That would be awesome! I always lurked on this thread thinking I was the only MI Mumsnetter...

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