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Living in America 2013

(382 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

anonymosity Mon 18-Feb-13 03:57:13

Ah! Thank you ATB - we do go to Whole Foods in Brentwood sometimes, so I will definitely check that out.

Want2bSupermum Mon 18-Feb-13 10:57:04

Can't sleep anymore.....

It is funny that food is one of the things I miss most about the UK. I really miss Easter eggs even though when I lived in the UK I never bought them because I thought they were the biggest waste of money. I always got 2 or 3 (smarties, caramel and twirl) from family.

Tortured DH doesn't supply the West coast so he is going to find out who does. He isn't working today as its Presidents Day.

rootypig Tue 19-Feb-13 03:38:20

Brow, just heard that clever DH got into UCLA doctorate programme. wahhh! so we are moving...... now all seeming very real. will probably send him out ahead of me / our baby in the sumer, to sort out a place to rent and car for the autumn. DON'T fancy being a prisoner at my MIL's (in Costa Mesa) for two weeks while he fannies about confused

yes I always found TJ's the cheapest in Cali - I'm sure I once paid six bucks for four tomatoes in Safeway! was angry. you can get brilliant food in California but god knows why produce can be so expensive - just like here, but at least the stuff we grow here is pretty cheap!

goodbye that's ever so hard, am dreading it. so hard to take DC away from family sad

AmericasTorturedBrow Tue 19-Feb-13 14:54:56

Thanks for asking Want2b! Hope you got some sleep in the end

Rooty that's very exciting! How old is your baby? Whoop we shall have to arrange an LA meet up with anon

Kungfutea Tue 19-Feb-13 15:26:38

Congratulations to your DH rooty. I did a PhD in a US university, it was a fabulous experience, I loved it. If you can live in family accommodation, I highly recommend it. We did and although the housing was very simple (they were old army barracks!) the community and support around us was wonderful. What's his PhD in?

Haveacrumpet Tue 19-Feb-13 19:17:14

Hi all,
Sorry not to name check, but thanks to all for sharing their experiences re: making friends. It makes me feel 10 times better that it isn't just me!! Was becoming a tad paranoid. I will check out meetup and see what else might be worth joining. No kids yet so parenting things are out.

Feel for those of you preparing to say goodbye (for now) to loved ones - I am a puffy, red mess every time I leave my DM and DF. But once I'm back stateside, I'm fine, generally. My parents visit in a few weeks - I can't wait!! Which reminds me... I need to buy a bed for them to sleep in! Have been meaning to do it since September, but haven't quite got around to it confused

Want2bSupermum Tue 19-Feb-13 20:10:17

Brow On the west coast DH has been selling into Fresh and Easy. He said it might say Canadian bacon on the label. He can't quite remember how they packaged it for them.

rootypig Tue 19-Feb-13 22:56:18

Thanks, Brow and kungfu! He will be in the information studies programme (hmm) - that is noooot very helpful to say the least so I will say his background is in computing and design and I would describe him as a digital artist. Specifically, community art / social practice, using digital technology. He did his undergrad at UCLA and MFA at UCSC so will be a true product of the UC system! he wants to be an academic so this is fab news for him and hopefully will lead to a job, eventually.... family accommodation would be wonderful, we won't be in a position to even think about buying a place until I get a job. We need to look into these things, and see if there's any childcare support too. and apply for my green card! lots to get on with.

kungfu what and where did you study?

Brow I would love an LA meetup! our DD is 15 weeks, so she'll be 9 or 10 months when we move.

rootypig Tue 19-Feb-13 22:57:25

grr posted too soon. meant to ask Brow if you have DC and what your job is


SquinkiesRule Tue 19-Feb-13 23:38:22

Oh Fresh and East they are supposed to be part of Tesco, It's an hour to the nearest one to me, so haven't been yet.

Want2bSupermum Wed 20-Feb-13 00:48:57

Fresh and Easy are Tesco, just not as successful! I would call ahead of time to make sure they stock it. DH also suggested Williams Pork. He met him at a food exhibition somewhere. DH recalled that he ships back bacon around the country.

AmericasTorturedBrow Wed 20-Feb-13 03:07:45

Oh boo we've already tried the fresh and easy bacon, was sweet cured sad but will look out for the other guy

rooty I have 2DC, aged 4yo and 15mo. My visa currently doesn't let me work but DHs employers are processing green cards for all 4 of us. I'm a theatre director and will at least be directing a piece end of this year unpaid to keep my hand in and start making contacts

Want2bSupermum Thu 21-Feb-13 03:03:04

Brow I am surprised to hear it is sweet cured. I told DH off because that isn't proper bacon! He said the stuff he supplies into them isn't sweet cured and that origin should be Denmark (he sounded pretty confident about the product code). He said that Tesco USA source from a few places as DH's employer send so much of their production to the UK. IF DH is able to get the go ahead to start a direct sales website I will def post it on here.

Very cool about your work. LA must be a great place for you.

AmericasTorturedBrow Thu 21-Feb-13 05:16:10

Well we could try again but it was "British cut" bacon, not proper bacon, if you know what I mean....aren't fresh and easy on the way out now? Or have tesco just sold it? Never thought Danish bacon was as good as British wink

Monadnock Thu 21-Feb-13 13:19:20

Has anyone tried using UK power tools (electric screwdriver and detail sander, for example) with a transformer in the US?
Also, I had a mover giving me a quote and they reckoned two weeks for shipping furniture to the East Coast. Is that unlikely?

FelicityMerriman Thu 21-Feb-13 13:31:39

I don't post on here very often but love to lurk - even though I have been here for ever I still empathize with the comments about making friends.

Anyway on the bacon thing, there is someone fairly local to me who moved here to marry his American girlfriend, couldn't get bacon and ended up retraining as a butcher and setting up Spencers. If you can get beyond the awful name he does ship bacon, sausages and black pudding.
The bacon is too trimmed of fat for my liking but it is definitely as close to British as you can get.

Kungfutea Thu 21-Feb-13 15:51:07

I did a social science phd at a small east coast ivy.

We have a week off now for mid winter recess. Beautiful, albeit cold, weather outside, we have the riches of new York on our doorstep, I have taken the day off work .... and I can't get my kids to leave the house. I asked them what they wanted to do and they insist they want to stay and play at home so they're down in the basement playing with their toys and the gerbils (we unexpectedly have gerbil babies - we were only meant to have make gerbils!). I feel bad, almost as though we're wasting the day, but I guess if they're happy I should make the most of an easy day? I feel guilty! We should be doing somehting!

rootypig Fri 22-Feb-13 10:20:59

hi Kungfu, another social scientist here! (though more social than scientist hmm)

I did politics and economics undergrad and law masters - hoping to get involved in criminal justice policy in California. what are you doing for work?

sorry, being nosy!

am very interested in the bacon discussion, I often wonder why all US bacon is streaky. do they use the back for ham, is that why?

juneau Fri 22-Feb-13 10:26:49

You can buy British goods in Tea & Sympathy in the village (17th St and 7th Ave I think? Near St Vincent's Hosp anyway). I also used to able to buy proper British Heinz baked beans at Kings in Hoboken. Not sure if it's still there after the huge floods in Oct, but they used to have a whole British foods section. Bit of a schlep from Queens tho'.

Want2bSupermum Fri 22-Feb-13 13:32:26

Rooty DH has told me many times why US bacon is streaky. It is a different cut, I can't remember the exact cut as pork talk tends to go in one ear and straight out the other! What is interesting is that Danish pork is much lower in fat compared to other pork due to the rearing methods being different.

Brow The problem with Danish is that what you see in the supermarket is lower end bacon. The good stuff is sold into high end restaurants with the remainder going to specialty butchers. Also, the 'British' stuff you see in the supermarket normally comes from a corporate farm, based in the UK but run by a foreign company. It drives DH nuts that this allowed. The hogs aren't even British, they raise them in Ireland/Germany/France/Poland and bring them as weiners to the UK. They then spend 3-5 months being fattened up here in the UK and voila its 'British' Pork. As DH says, if you were talking babies they wouldn't be consider British!

AmericasTorturedBrow Fri 22-Feb-13 16:17:58

Oh noooooo want2b you're destroying me!!! wink

Want2bSupermum Fri 22-Feb-13 16:42:32

Gosh - Reading back I see I know far too much about pork! DH 'makes' bacon in his spare time. He doesn't have a full smoker yet, just because I need DH to help around the house and I don't want smoke around the babies. In a couple of years, once the babies are more indepedent I will get him the smoker of all smokers... just so he doesn't go back to playing golf.

Brow Imagine having a DH who sleep talks about pork. Bacon has come up a few times.

FringeEvent Mon 25-Feb-13 17:07:34

DH is still in the negotiation stage with the new employer in Santa Monica, but everything's looking really good so far, and they have to finalise the contract in the next few weeks so they can get on with preparing the visa application before 1 April. I'm still bouncing off the walls with frustration at how little I can do at the moment, but at least I can see our plans taking shape... slowly!

I've begun making a list all the items in our house, so we can decide what we're going to take, sell, dispose of, etc. Gutted to realise my slowcooker isn't compatible with the US electrical system, it's a really nice one which we were given as a wedding present less than a year ago. Should I bring it anyway and look into getting a transformer? I don't really understand the different systems. Realistically we might never use the slow cooker again if it stays behind in the UK, but it would feel wrong to sell a generous wedding gift, and I'm thinking if I ask my mum to look after it she might get some use of out if.

SquinkiesRule Mon 25-Feb-13 17:49:19

I'd put the slow cooker in storage at your Mums and buy new electrical stuff, it's cheap enough here.
Difference in electrics, ours is 110 your is 240 so here the kettle takes all day to boil unless you get a good one.

FringeEvent Mon 25-Feb-13 22:52:48

Thanks Squinkies - I've been reading into it a bit more this afternoon, and all the advice I've found online backs up what you've said and what I've already been told by friends who've moved out there - there's just no point in taking most electrical items. I'm just a bit sad about the slow cooker in particular, because it was a gift. Oh dear, I've just remembered that I still have to check the sticker on my hand blender, which I'm also rather fond of - I'll bet that's going to have to stay behind too... sad

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