Moving to silicon valley, California in June with a nearly 3yo...

(36 Posts)
FSB Mon 16-Apr-12 15:19:42

Grateful for any advice/tips/dos and donts!!

We'll be based in San Carlos, 40 mons south of San Francisco

Thanks smile

Hopandaskip Mon 16-Apr-12 21:39:15

We did this only San Diego 13 years ago.

The best piece of advice for me was from a friend, there is a lot of really useful information in the front of the phone book smile

Also, expect that the language will be more different than you think and that people will expect you to not have any problems with it. One of my biggest issues was that I didn't know what brand names were good or what things were called. Frinstance, I didn't know what the DVLC was called here (DMV) and so it was hard to look up a phone number for it.

Expect it to be frustrating, stressful and bloody annoying (yet fun as well) for at least 6 months. Expect to still feel 'on holiday' (fantastic and somewhat surreal after a few months) or not really quite at home or fully settled for at least two years. Someone told me this before we went and I found it to be very true.

Expect it to be hard to have friends that you have no common history with and not to know anyone well enough to start with that you trust your kid with. That is hard and isolating. Finding a preschool was really important for me because of that.

Expect to want to pound your head into the nearest wall sometimes because some things are so inefficient and stupid compared to 'home' (but BTW it goes both ways)

Expect to have issues with the stupid medical system.

Expect that if you give California and its people and yourself a real chance to adapt that it could be the best experience ever, but expect it to be a while before you think that. Try not to hang around too much with ex-pats (makes it harder to assimilate), but if you can find one good one to be friendly with it will help with the frustration factor.

I'm the whole other end of the state, but if you have any specific questions you want help with feel free to PM me smile

If I had it all to do again I absolutely 100% would.

FSB Tue 17-Apr-12 14:08:01

Haha, thanks hop... Some great tips. A lot of what u mentioned rings true from when I lived in Italy in the 90's, add to that the frustration of really not speaking the language plus the Italian obsession about bureaucracy !!!!

You're right though, I think the differences in language will be annoying, I'm already having anxiety dreams about people not understanding me!!! At least I don't have a regional accent to complicate things!

Childcare is defo top of the list, not only for my sanity but also to enable me to find an interesting new job.

Exciting!! grin

Hopandaskip Tue 17-Apr-12 16:01:19

ahh well if you have lived abroad before then it should be a bit easier smile

There are so many fun things to do in that area. When your child is a little older make sure you spend plenty of time at the Berkeley adventure playground.

FSB Tue 17-Apr-12 16:08:37

That was 12 years ago and pre-parenthood!!! It's what u would call the blind confidence of a teenager!

I'm remaining super excited about the move to try and stop myself freaking out about it!!!

Oh well, at least I'll have DD to talk to/help to meet people grin

Hopandaskip Tue 17-Apr-12 16:46:56

I guess the best advice is to try and go with the flow and not expect it to be sunshine and roses -- it actually is quite shitty at times, but works out in the end smile

FSB Wed 18-Apr-12 12:51:29

No sunshine..!! It's off!!! wink

Hopandaskip Wed 18-Apr-12 15:12:40

yeah it can be pretty foggy and cold on that side. I think you should scupper those plans and reckon on moving to San Diego instead. Cheaper, you can swim at the beaches and we have better weather.

FSB Wed 18-Apr-12 21:59:00

Interesting..! DH is a surfer from Queensland originally... I think he thinks it's going to be wall to walk sunshine! Might suggest that we don't buy somewhere straight away!! smile

MumPaula Thu 19-Apr-12 23:14:39

California can be wonderful and it can be crap also, I've been here a long time. We are planning our move home.
You can find out a lot from http://www.city-data.com/ if you know exactly where you'll be. Also www.britishexpats.com Has a lot of people in the bay area/silicon valley. I'm in the foothills away from the madness but living in the back of beyond.

TheCatInTheHairnet Thu 19-Apr-12 23:20:07

My best friend lives in Los Gatos. I love, love, love it over there. You're very lucky!!

Hopandaskip Fri 20-Apr-12 03:23:04

brrr surfing up there is coooolllllldddd! It can be quite grey and overcast on the west side of the bay. Our friends used to live in Burlingame and decided based on the weather to move to the East Bay.

Catinthe, we have been to Los Gatos for water polo tournaments a number of times, it is really nice there!

SittingBull Fri 20-Apr-12 05:25:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SittingBull Fri 20-Apr-12 05:29:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SittingBull Fri 20-Apr-12 05:31:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SittingBull Fri 20-Apr-12 05:31:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SittingBull Fri 20-Apr-12 05:34:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VintageNancy Fri 20-Apr-12 05:55:55

Hi FSB I'm south of San Jose as I think I mentioned on the Living in America thread.

We moved in December and love it here. My top tip for meeting people is meetup.com. I've joined a moms group and made friends before Dd even arrived. I can't wait to get out and see them all again now she's here.

If you have any specific questions on things like shipping, social security, banks etc let me know.

ragged Fri 20-Apr-12 07:13:27

It's very very expensive. Even by California standards. And I say that as a San Diego native. We looked at moving to Bay Area/Santa Clara valley about 2 years ago quite seriously. DH company decided not to move, anyway, but the cost of living was a huge concern for us.
There is an area online resource, LasMadres. They come highly recommended.

FSB Mon 23-Apr-12 14:36:43

Wow thanks for all the links sitting bull, I'll look them up... Im in the restaurant business and looking to get an interesting job for a small independent company (my current company has 35 restaurants, so smaller than that!).

Our DD will be 3 in July. How about yours? How long have u been out there?

FSB Mon 23-Apr-12 14:40:51

Ragged, we live in a fairly pricey bit of London, not chelsea or anything, but more waitrose than Asda..! So I'm hoping it won't be too much of a shock. Looking on the Internet at what great houses we could buy for the same price that our piddly little flat is worth in London is quite eye opening!! grin

FSB Mon 23-Apr-12 14:41:19

... How's the baby nancy? smile

FSB Mon 23-Apr-12 14:46:03

Also, I'm a bit confused about electrical appliances... Will ours work there with travel adaptors, or can we get the plugs changed, or do we have to buy all new appliances?... Thanks

Hopandaskip Mon 23-Apr-12 15:14:00

depends if your appliances are 110/240 or just 240. If they are just 240 you need a transformer and they are big, ugly and wasteful. On the most part we just got new appliances. The ones with rechargeable batteries (like an almost new expensive bosch drill) we kept. You end up spending an insane amount to start with replacing things you already had. In our second month here we needed to buy a fridge ($1K) a washer and dryer, a vacuum, a hairdryer, an iron etc etc.

VintageNancy Mon 23-Apr-12 16:40:39

Yep we bought all new electrical too except my sewing machine, MacBook and printer. I think we've got US cables for them all now to save using adapters.

VintageNancy Mon 23-Apr-12 16:42:50

Oh and baby E is lovely and snuggly smile.

SittingBull Mon 23-Apr-12 20:55:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ragged Tue 24-Apr-12 08:26:22

I would say that "nice area" San Diego prices are like most of London, but Bay area is like "nice areas" of London, iyswim. The money will go out differently: petrol cheap, preschool atrocious. Housing kind of comparable, but buying a house is much dearer than renting (over less than 5 yrs or so). Dental & medical care shock whilst eating out reasonable. Swimming lessons shock shock.

SittingBull Tue 24-Apr-12 17:37:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FSB Tue 24-Apr-12 22:10:19

We're moving for DHs work, but fully intend to settle there long term. So will probly be looking to buy a house after the first year... Why is it so expensive under 5 yrs? Are there lots of one-off costs associated with buying?

The electrical thing is a pain in the bum! Can't believe I've got to get all new appliances! I assumed we'd just be able to get the plugs changed.. blush

MumPaula Wed 25-Apr-12 20:33:18

I think HOP nailed it!
It is very frustrating at first (and occasionally still for me)
I remember asking for water, how hard is that? The waitress looked puzzled, I asked again, I was puzzled, in the end I asked in Spanish, she understood that confused apparently it's wadder, not water you will eventually make yourself understood.
I was lucky (maybe) my MIL helped me with a lot of things, like I needed Corn flour, she picked our Corn starch. She was an American who had lived in UK her most of life so that was handy.

MumPaula Wed 25-Apr-12 20:37:34

Don't buy a house until you get Green cards (or unless one of you is a US citizen already) there have been quite a few on Visas who have been made redundant and you aren't given long to pack up and leave the country, some visas don't transfer you are stuck with one employer only. Property is had to sell now and also expensive (the realtor get about 6% of the full sale price) some have had to leave before selling up and then sell at a loss to get out from under it.

FSB Wed 25-Apr-12 21:12:49

That's an interesting point Paula... It takes years and years to get a green card though, doesn't it? I'll have to get DH to check the conditions of his visa...

Finn4 Thu 15-Nov-12 00:34:53

Hi All, I have just moved to San Carlos (3 months ago) and am in need of help finding good places to eat, meet new people etc- help me settle in more, I am having a hard time x

CaliforniaLeaving Thu 15-Nov-12 01:51:20

Have a look on www.britishexpats.com there are lots of people in Silicon valley, they will tell you everything you need to know, and where to buy Bisto too.

It didn't take long at all for DS and DH to get green cards. 4 and 6 weeks respectively, but I think that is some sort of record.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now