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Anyone in South Carolina? Potential move!

(12 Posts)
diggerdigsdogs Fri 28-Nov-14 06:03:34

Dh has been headhunted and then shortlisted for a job in the west of South Carolina.

I've been reading the (part fascinating and part slightly scary) living in America thread but wonder if anyone lives there? How do you find it? Is it somewhere generally good to live or can't you wait to leave?

Also any suggestions for what we should request to be part of the package would be much appreciated.

As background I'm a Brit, DH is Aussie, we spent a decade in China and the past 2 years in Sydney. Dd1 is 4 in jan, DS2 just 2 and dd3 due end of March.

file Fri 28-Nov-14 13:28:34

This is a tricky one, and take what I am writing with a pinch of salt; I only lived there for six months, but that was more than enough for me... It obviously depends on the circles you move in, but for me, it was far too conservative for my liking, I felt like a super radical leftist all the time and was constantly 'the odd one out'.

I did not have any children, lived with a fairly conservative partner though.A lot of the socialising happened ia people's churches, and if you are not inclined to spend a lot of time in church circles, there was not much left. It was common for one of the first few questions to be asked to be 'which church do you attend', and if I said 'not sure yet' that would be followed up with lots of invites requests to join theirs.

I also found the race (non) issue offensive; several times overheard people talking about areas they would not go to/want to live in solely due to the majority of people living there being black and speaking up against that wasn't popular, but, of course, 'I didn't understand what it was like because I wasn't from there'. People's friends were sometimes related to as 'my black friend x' - until I asked my partner why that was something he wanted to keep stating - he didn't know, everybody did it... (And churches in the area I was were 'black' or 'white' - little mixing.)

There is a lot of lovely nature, so that aspect was really nice! People are generally very friendly and helpful and you won't struggle to find 'superficial' friends at least.

If you are more conservative than me you might like it! If not, I would try to build up friendships via your partner's work, in the hope that there might be slightly more variety there :-)

And if it is only for a shorter period of time I am sure it will be a great experience no matter what. (If you were thinking of making this your forever home, given your moves until now, I would hesitate...)

diggerdigsdogs Fri 28-Nov-14 20:31:00

File thank you so much for replying.

We are looking at it as a shortish term move- I see 3 years at this stage but you just never know do you! It's defenitly something I'd like to do for the experience of it all (more living in the USA than SC though). It also puts us much closer to my family in the UK.

I already AM the odd one out in dH family. They are very religious and much more right wing than my generally lefty feminist POV. I can see that aspect being tough and thanks for the heads up. Having said that Sydney has been v hard in terms of making friends so at least it would be better for one of us. <grim smile>

Earlybird Fri 28-Nov-14 20:58:59

I lived there for a few years LONG ago.

It is absolutely beautiful country - a few hours drive to the beach, and not far to the mountains.

Is there any sort of expat community where you'll be located?
Do you / dh know anyone there?
A larger city will be more cosmopolitan/diverse - just like anywhere else.
Do extra benefits come with the job - private healthcare, pension etc.?
Is there a 'relocation' person who will help you get settled with housing, schools, etc.?

And you and dh will both need to drive.....but as you've been living in Sydney, presume that is not a problem?

diggerdigsdogs Sat 29-Nov-14 01:31:57

again, thanks for the reply Earlybird.

We haven't got to the stage of discussing package yet but health care would be non negotiable for us. DS has viral induced asthma so this year we've had at least monthly overnight stays plus a week in ICU. Plus I'm pg with dc3 so depending on how quickly they want us/ visa situation that's a consideration too.

Relocation etc will come up with package stuff. Company is pretty hopeless at HR stuff so we will see. As long as we don't have to pay to move (and we never had to in the past) then it's fine. Housing etc is usual as well.

I have no idea about expat population in the area - something for me to look in to and we won't know anyone there. That's all ok, we've done that before.

Driving not an issue thank goodness - I leant here last year.

AlpacaMyBags Sat 29-Nov-14 02:49:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mathanxiety Sat 29-Nov-14 03:19:52

Pregnancy coverage might be a huge issue for you. It might be difficult to find an insurance company willing to cover you for maternity with an already diagnosed pregnancy. Without at least 80/20 maternity coverage guaranteed in writing, and signed on the dotted line, DO NOT GO until after you have the baby.

Your family coverage should be at least 80/20 and with low personal and family deductibles and low out of pocket limits per year. You should get the highest prescription coverage possible with no exceptions for medications such as asthma meds and no caps on hospitalisations.

What sort of visa are you entitled to get? Will you be able to work? Will DH's visa be linked to this particular job? Be aware that South Carolina is an 'at will' state, meaning that employees can be fired for any reason or none, and if DH gets fired you may have to up sticks and leave, so you need to have contingency plans.

You should really try to nail the HR dept down about a relocation package and support once you get there.

You should investigate schools before settling on a house or apartment. You will need to find the best possible school and then find a residence in-district.

Go online and see if you can find any kindred spirits before you go, if you go in the end.

Between yourself and DH, I would say you should go with an exit strategy and timetable in mind, rather than leaving it open ended. Have a date at which DH will be looking for another job or another move. That way, if you don't like it at all, it will be up to him to persuade you to stay and not the other way round. If you do like it and he is going to be kept on, then he can do his best to stay, extend the visas, etc.

SC is by all accounts very pretty, but the general culture would give me pause I must say.

Laptopwieldingharpy Sat 29-Nov-14 03:41:27

It is a beautiful part of the US and a great lifestyle with a young family.
At this stage in your family life you'll be doing lots of baby/playgroups, pre-school/school clubs etc.....You sound game for a bit of social anthropology grin, it could be funny just to see the experience that way if its a shortish assignment. Write a blog and post it here? wink

Am only half joking.
If you have agreed as a family to be long term expats, sometimes,you have to look at these postings in the context of a timeline and your own personal development within the family. You are raising a young family, I could think of much worse places to be...
That said, does your husband have a good sense of humor to see your point of cue of do you think it might create tension?
Also, if you already feel on the sideline in Sydney, how will you feel there since you obviously know you won't be making many meaningful friendships?The upside is that going with low expectations on that front maybe you will? I would mind this kind of environment very much but then again were are ethnically "different" and would really stand out.

N.1 priorities would be medical, your own visa status and Really researching the schools to find the best fit for your family. A lot of very pervasive stuff can be ingrained in your children before you know it. You will fight a loosing battle if you you are the only liberal anchor in your family and that may create tension or incomprehension with your husband/ILs.....
I realize these are very personal thoughts and you really don't have to answer here.

Laptopwieldingharpy Sat 29-Nov-14 05:30:43

Shrewd advice from Mathanxiety on exit strategy!

GreatAuntDinah Sat 29-Nov-14 09:40:04

I found North Carolina off-puttingly conservative for all the reasons file says, and it's suposedly got a liberal lefty rep among the southern states, so I'd be very wary of a move to SC.

file Sat 29-Nov-14 10:33:00

Glad I don't seem to have been completely off with my limited experience :-)

GreatAuntDinah, I was thinking about writing that with my (even more limited!) experience of North Carolina (the research triangle), living there, if possible, might be a better option, but clearly not then...

What Laptop... wrote would I would be most worried about:

"A lot of very pervasive stuff can be ingrained in your children before you know it. You will fight a loosing battle if you you are the only liberal anchor in your family and that may create tension or incomprehension with your husband/ILs....."

And I am probably a feminist leftist as well, so if we are similar, be prepared to have to justify even positions/views that we in the UK would think are veery mainstream...

GreatAuntDinah Sat 29-Nov-14 13:31:00

Yes I was in the research triangle too, which is apparently known for being very liberal, and even so I found the racial divide absolutely blatant.

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