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Anyone here who is/has lived in the Cayman Islands?(13 Posts)
Am interviewing for a legal job in Grand Cayman and apart from the amazing salary (fingers crossed) I am trying to weigh up pros and cons of living there.
I am a single parent, 35 yr old woman with a DS (2) - have scoped nurseries etc and would be great for DS (swimming, outdoors etc - we live in a 1 bd flat in central London at the moment with no garden) and could save a lot in 2 - 3 years before returning to UK for DS to start school...am doing cost of living budgets etc...
but am I being naive? Have heard mention of swarms of mosquitos (reclaimed swamp land) and obv cost of living is high but am also concerned that as a single mum I am going to end up lonely (living so centrally in London I can get to all of my friends within 30 minutes so have a huge and great support network here)
Anyone with indirect/direct experience of living there please? Thanks in advance to anyone who can help! (and virtual and )
Do you know anyone who lives there currently, or who has lived there in the past?
Have you ever visited?
Is there an expat community there that you could access for advice?
Thanks for replying Earlybird! No I don't know anyone who currently or has lived there ever unfortunately. The expat forums I've read are either about families moving out there or young singles having a whale of a time so I'm wondering whether I can fit in really? Also nothing I've read focuses on any downsides (the planes flying across spraying for mosquitos was something I found out about on a BVI or Bermuda expat forum with someone saying why they could never move to CI)
presumably you will have a contract with work?
Will you rent a furnished place, will you be shipping things, or do you intend to buy out there?
Will you purchase/lease a car?
Will your electrical stuff work there, or will you need to buy new?
Make sure the company will pay to move you back home - even if you terminate the contract early.
Is there an HR department that can help you/advise with the move?
I know it is a completely different situation, but a US friend moved to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. I visited her - she had a lovely shared house. But it was definitely buggy (?is that a word?) there (mozzies, cock roaches, etc), with very high humidity. Ultimately, she decided that while she loved living in the Caribbean, she was glad to move away because hurricane season was too stressful.
I think your main concern will be isolation rather than mosquitos.
My closest friend from college lives out there and loves it - she's been there over 10 years and both her kids were born there. Great place for bringing up kids - very outdoors orientated and from my visits not too "buggy"! Hurricane season can be a nightmare but a big one hit a few years back and most of the firms have fairly good plans in place to evacuate.
But and for me this would be a big but - it is a small village type place. Everyone knows everyone and knows everyones business. So it would be very different to London. Good news is that people would probably welcome you in fairly quickly, maybe bad news as it can be very gossipy. I had a chance to go out when I was single and pre-kids and for that reason pretty much discounted it, but thats me.
So as well as all the logistical stuff - and Earlybirds list is a good one - think about that type of envrionment and how you would enjoy it. If the money is too good to be true (and quite likely in Cayman it will be!) then it could be this is something you could deal with for a couple of years.
Hi! I used to work in the Caymans before having my son. I strongly recommend a visit before signing contract if you can manage it! See if you can get the Company to pay. It is very flat land, there are lots of mosquitos and they do get hurricanes...it is also a very small community. That means there is lots of gossip - everyone tends to know everyone else, and yes, you might feel like an outsider at first. Ok that is the negative stuff!
I would say that if you have done your homework, then go for it - at least for a year. Working full time as a single parent is always hard - and being in a foreign country doesnt make it any easier. It is a fantastic opportunity though, and you both might make new friends that you will keep for life. I am sure there will be times when you may feel a bit lonely, but you will be meeting lots of people through work and can always use SKYPE to talk to friends at home. There are so many positive things you will be able to do together. Sandcastles, turtles, swimming with sting rays....not to mention enjoying big blue skies most days!!!!
I think you would not regret doing it - and it will give you both a huge boost.
I am sure there's a MNer in the Caymans, she had a baby and was struggling to meet people (about a month or two ago).
I lived in Jamaica and visited the Caymans - it's ok, I've also lived in another Caribbean island and am very wary of people thinking you'll be living this amazing holiday-lifestyle when you won't. However, hopefully there will be a reasonably sized expat community so you shouldn't be lonely. Good for diving! I personally don't worry about hurricanes (been through a few) but i know people who were in the Caymans for Ivan (2004) and had a terrible time.
Agree with the others - get out and have a look before deciding!
Hi, I'm the mumsnetter who lives in Cayman, feel free to pm me.
Cayman New Resident website is the bible for those moving here, has all the info you need really
And you are right about the nurseries being good etc. And I have started to meet other mums and have playmates and stuff though still not got any true friends to let my guard down with after six months.
However, what New Resident won't do is the downsides so from my pov, they are
Very expensive to buy groceries, air-conditioning, electricity, water, rent..
Hurricane season is June 1 til Nov 30. Leave aside the worry about one actually hitting, this means hideous humidity of 75%+, so air con on all the time, mozzies, roaches, etc etc and a general sweaty dampness that makes the temperature of 30 ish feel like walking into a sweat box. This makes entertaining small children very hard for six months of the year. Many expats flee as soon as summer term ends because it is grim in the summer and do summer in the UK.
Law firms here work you hard. My husband has done a 5am one this week ( in at 5am, home 5am next day), plus worked both days last two weekends. He has been comng home to kiss baby goodnight then back to office til midnight. He worked all through Easter from good Friday til Tuesday morning, just coming home to grab bits of sleep. This is akin to his previous job at a City firm and pisses me off because fewer hours and seeing his baby, better quality of life were what motivated us to come, plus his Cayman salary would mean I could stop working to look after our baby son as the tax free nature of it would cover the 40% drop from me giving up income.
The money is good though livng costs are s i said eye watering, but the quality of life for me is very poor. Although we live in a nice rented condo, I cannot take the baby for walks outside because of the biting insects and humidity. In London, I had friends and a support network built up over two decades. I could pop to the shops or feed the ducks or walk by the canal or grab a bus to a farmers Market or whatever, even in rain or sleet. Here, I can do playgroups and play dates. I take baby to swim at 5 pm, if it hasn't rained and the mozzies aren't too vicious. I look forward to November when we can do beaches and more swimming but babies still can't swim all day and there is not much to do here apart from beach life compared to Lndon with its wealth of thngs to do and see.There are homegrown playgroups, and the fountains to play in a Camana Bay, swimmg classes, and whathaveyou and it gets better as they get older with dance, rugby, judo, all sorts of sport etc, sailing...
Your dc is older than my baby though will have the lifeline of nursery and I guess you'll be getting a live in nanny or daily helper? As you will be wrkng long hours? Most expats have one, even if they are SAHM, and there are lots of Jamaican and Phillipino women who work here looking after children and cleaning. If she works full-time for you you will need to get her a work permit.
It's socially conservative and I'm not sure how easy it would be for you to forge a satisfying social life as a single parent given how couplet and family oriented things are and now little free time you will likely have to join things like choirs or civic societies or wine appreciation groups etc. If you go to church you could build a network that way?
Reading the local newspapers online will show you a flavour of island life. Expats and locals do not mix much and there is resentment.
However, if you are able to tough it out and and cope without your loving friends and family around then the money c an be good and if your child enjoys nursery and bonds happily with the helper and your career goes well and you don't get sucked into the flashing the cash lifestyle ( people are very car conscious, etc) and save hard it could be an adventure for you!
You can see the good sides so I've just dne the negs as that si what you asked for...
Hth...And good luck!
Think I may have put the OP off...hmmmm
There are positives to living here but hey, she did want the negatives!
Miffster - I completely 'stumbled across' this! I'm not ex-pat, nor am I ever likely to be able to consider the opportunity of living in the Cayman Islands! But I must say I thought your post was excellent! JUST the sort of thing someone would need to know before taking such a step.
FWIW my only 'brush' with the CI was 40 (forty!!) years ago when my dad worked for Cable and Wireless and was installing I think it was radio masts on Cayman Brac. He loved it to the point of just considering buying a 'couple of acres' of beachside for what was £160 back then, £80 an acre, cos no one wanted them (weep)! Even wondering about sending us kids to school in Florida! One of his colleagues did buy then sold up not long afterwards for a tidy profit...
Wondering if op could update .....!!!
I second the comment re Miffster's excellent post! However, for anyone else who comes across this thread, I wanted to give my perspective. I'm a single mother expat with young children who's lived here for 20 years.
I would respectfully disagree with Miffster re Caymanians and expats not mixing much. Caymanians are lovely, special people, and while they've benefitted from the success of Cayman's financial services industry (and the accompanying expatriate workers), they have become victims of racism in their own country.
Most expats are told (by other expats) that their Caymanian colleagues are lazy, stupid and entitled. I was told that within 24 hours of arriving here. If any expat treats any Caymanian with the same respect they would treat a lawyer in a law firm, they would find they are very well received.
Best of luck to anyone thinking of moving to our island!