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Moving to Corpus Christi Texas!

(67 Posts)
weechops Tue 19-Sep-17 10:44:05

Does anyone live here or even in Texas who could give me some advice or reassurance?

My husband has a job offer which will last approximately 6 years. So he wants us all to go with him. We have 4 kids - 11,7,3,8 months.

I'm really apprehensive. Big worry is how we will cope with the heat! Also schools- how do they work for each age?

actually my head is a bit of a mess! Has anyone gone and loved it?

UKsounding Tue 19-Sep-17 14:56:41

Weather there is sub-tropical - I'll swop with you!

Is the company employing your husband offering the services of a relocation as part of the deal? If not, ask for one.

user1471451355 Tue 19-Sep-17 15:06:36

I live in TX but not Corpus. The heat isn't too bad at all! It takes one summer of adjustment and then you're totally fine.

mowglik Tue 19-Sep-17 15:17:29

No advice as we are in the same boat, we are looking to move to dallas for 2-3 years. It was a shock but I'm coming around to the idea slowly..

Someone recommended the city-data forum which has been great for learning about the school system and demographics of the different cities on offer. Have a look at the Corpus Christi forum

DoubleNegativePanda Tue 19-Sep-17 15:41:22

I live in Central Texas, and have for eleven years. I absolutely cannot wait until July 2019 when my daughter graduates highschool and I am free to move.

It's really hot. I'm sorry, but I moved here from near the border of Canada and it takes more than one summer to get accustomed to 110 degree heat every day. I've been here this long and I still think it's too fucking hot for words.

Socially speaking, Texas is about 30 years behind the rest of the world. Hitting children with belts for talking back? totally fine. Carrying a Glock in your handbag? Totally normal. Carbon footprint....what is that? Women's rights, gay rights, immigrant rights, religious rights, any rights except Christian white men's rights are under constant attack at the state level.

I hate it here, and after a decade I can honestly say I've given it a good old chance. I wouldn't recommend it. Especially Corpus Christi to be honest, as it's in the hurricane path.

user1471451355 Wed 20-Sep-17 05:52:57

Panda, we moved here from the U.P. wink everyone told us to spend as much time as we could tolerate outside acclimating that first summer and that advice definitely worked well for us personally.

ExpatTrailingSpouse Wed 20-Sep-17 06:15:17

Probably not the advice you were looking for but please look at your legal situation first. I say this as I'm now stuck in a terrible divorce situation where I cannot go home with DS as stbx who cheated has not yet agreed, and may end up without immigration status.

Once you move here and stay for a period of time, you and your children come under the jurisdiction of the state of Texas, regardless of them being foreign born.

Others on mn said they got postnuptial agreements before they left. It sounds horribly unromantic, but definitely better safe than sorry.

Re heat - yes it can be pretty unbearable. Everywhere has AC though and often you have to bring a sweater into shops and restaurants even if it's 35C outside. Corpus might benefit from breezes off the gulf. If you're going to be at home with the kids, consider getting a place with a pool or very near a pool - you won't be walking unless it's across the street cos it's that hot. You do get used to it, you just won't be staying outside much on the scorching days, and the really bad days (40C) don't last long.

And... The other weather downside is hurricane season. Having just gone through Harvey in a more inland locale, I can tell you it is NO fun. Extremely stressful, more so with kids. Try to imagine evacuating for another hurricane. Or waiting it out hoping your house doesn't flood/get blown down/lose power etc.

And ... Bugs. Omg. The bugs. Fucking enormous cockroaches that come inside all the time. Poisonous spiders and snakes. Alligators. Mosquitos like you wouldn't believe. Weird looking beetles that land on you. Just come through the second infestation of love bugs this year - humping bugs swarming you For days on end. Fire ants - just google floating fire ant colonies and you'll want to run away. tonight I found baby spiders all over ds' bathtub, then downstairs a 1 inch house spider.

If any of you are not white, have a really hard think about it. It can feel very alienating to be one of only a few non whites especially in the current atmosphere. Corpus is going to be less diverse than Houston or any of the other major cities. If any of you are black - think even harder. I'm not white but also not black and I feel near the limit of comfort in terms of racial diversity and subtle racism where I am now. I think corpus would be worse.

No free junior kindergarten unless you are very low income. Kindergarten starts the year they will turn six in. In my district its sept-aug to determine your kids year whereas in northeast USA it's Jan-dec.

Whoops that was long. Hope it's food for thought anyway.

mowglik Wed 20-Sep-17 07:58:11

OP here is a good explanation of how the school system works

Argh re post above sad I hate heat and bugs make me want to live in a cupboard. Going to have to do some serious acclimatising confused

JWrecks Wed 20-Sep-17 08:07:31

I lived in Texas for many years and have loads of family and friends still there, some with DC in the school system even now. I still visit frequently, as well, so I can probably answer any specific questions you have in addition to the below. Huge post incoming!

It is unbelievably hot. It will surprise you. Weeks in a row over 100*F (37+c) are common in the summer. Texas has two seasons: hot and brown from April-ish to November-ish, then slightly less hot and green from December-ish to March-ish. Grass grows in the "winter" there, and it very rarely drops to freezing temperatures at all. On the off chance that a flake of snow were to fall, the entire region would roll up the sidewalks and shut down.

Most places in Texas and the American southwest have what they call "a dry heat" meaning there is very low humidity and it doesn't really feel as hot as it actually is. However, on the Gulf Coast (Corpus Christi), the humidity is very high, and it can be physically oppressive! Rain on the coast is no relief, either, as it's still hot, showers don't often last long, and as soon as they're over you're living in a sauna. It's bloody hot.

To cope, you simply stay indoors and run from shadow to shadow. Put reflective shades up in your car windows when you're not in it, or your steering wheel, seats, and seat belts will burn your hands. Dark tinted car windows are very highly recommended. Park in the shade everywhere you possibly can. Everywhere you go will be heavily air conditioned, and all houses and flats are equipped with strong cold air. You will be freezing indoors and need a cardigan, as you'll be coated in sweat after the 20 step journey from the car to the door.

The first thing to know is that school options are awfully limited. You do not get a choice in schools in the public (state-funded, free) system; your address determines which school your DC attend. People put GREAT thought and work into which neighbourhood to live in because of the schools, as quality can vary dramatically.

While home-shopping, look throughout the entire area surrounding the city, and try to find the suburb and neighbourhood with the best schools that is still a convenient commute for your DH to work. As a rule of thumb, the further you live from a city center, and the more expensive your neighbourhood (as schools are funded by property tax on houses), the better your schools will be.

The second thing to know is that education over there is not on a par with British education. It simply isn't.

How school works:
Pre-school is optional (and considered more to be childminding than education) until formal school begins about age 5. They start at Kindergarten about 5, then go to First Grade the next year, Second Grade and so on, each year. The first several years are called Elementary School - kindergarten through 5th grade. Then Middle School - 6th - 8th Grade. Then High School 9th - 12th Grade. After 12th Grade, regardless of age, they graduate, and there is no further legal obligation to attend school. Grades 1 - 12 are 100% compulsory, and in most places, but not everywhere, Kindergarten is compulsory as well.

The school year is broken into 2 semesters. The year begins in August, and the first semester ends at Christmas break. The second semester begins in January, and the year ends in May. There are very few holiday days throughout the school year: a week (IIRC) for Thanksgiving in November, two weeks for Christmas, a "spring break" of one week around Easter, and the odd day here and there. Spring breaks are often staggered between schools and districts.
HERE is the calendar for Corpus Christi school district. Most schools will have the same basic calendar, with only the start and end of term (semester) dates and the dates of spring break varying.

Depending on their birthdays, your 11yo will most likely go into 6th Grade, 7yo into 2nd grade, and your 3yo will not start formal school for a couple years. I believe the rule is that if your DC is 5 on or before the day the year starts, they will go into kindergarten, but I am not 100% certain if those are the actual dates, because I know some children have been allowed to start earlier or later due to date of birth.

When you go to register your DC into school, they should be able to tell you everything you need to know, and they will give you a list of supplies DC will need. Uniforms are still quite rare in public schools in America (common in private schools), but are becoming popular in some places, so most schools just have a dress code such as no saggy trousers, all shorts and skirts to be a certain length, no bare midriff, basic things like that. The DC will need a stack of specific supplies like paper, folders, pencils, things like that, which will vary from school to school and year to year, though in public school, all books are supplied.

Food - generally only lunch, but breakfast may be an option - is paid for by you, on a schedule of per week or per month, something like that, or by using a top-up card. Families in financial hardship can receive reduced or free lunches. There are usually limited (and frankly crap) menu options, but food brought from home should always be welcome, I believe.

There are options outside the public school system, but they can be quite limited. Private schools are available everywhere, but they are not as plentiful as they are in the UK, they can be quite far away, and I don't think they generally offer transport (see driving below). I'd venture to say most are religion-oriented (Christian, largely), and they can be quite expensive. However, a private education is going to be higher quality. There are very few alternatives like Montessori schools (privately funded) and Magnet schools (state funded, usually with a focus like maths, science, art). Private schools are NOT determined by your address; you can choose any private school. Some may require students to pass entry exams, but that is not common.

After graduating High School, is University - eye-wateringly expensive, a lifetime of saving. Only with scholarships (awards for extremely excellent performance, whether academically or in sport) can education be reduced or free, and those are rather rare. Most people pay with loans. There are no other options like apprenticeship, work experience, etc., and there are very few trade schools, almost all of which are for-profit and many are even a bit scammy.

Texas is actually rather low in terms of education standards in America. Last I looked, it was near the bottom in student performance. School curriculum is determined almost exclusively by regular (I'm not sure which years, unfortunately - annually?) standardised tests - that is, teachers teach to these tests, and they have very little freedom to teach otherwise, particularly in public schools. I believe most states are similar. It's unfortunate, the parents hate it, the teachers hate it, everyone hates it, but there it is.

You will have to drive. You and your DH will both need separate cars. Absolutely everyone drives in Texas (and most of America afaik) as there are really no other options. There is almost no public transport to speak of even in the major cities in Texas, and what exists is usually laughably limited and still requires driving. The public bus system is dangerous, frankly.

Schools generally run their own buses, but many do not, and many will only bus your DC in if they live far enough from the school. You will likely need to drive your DC to school.

Everything is very spread out and compartmentalised - this area (of several square miles) is exclusively residential property, this is retail/business property, this is industrial property - so you will be lucky to live anywhere that has anything in walking distance. You will just be forced to drive everywhere. The motorways are huuuuuuge and fast and can be confusing and complicated and scary, but they are necessary, and you get used to them quickly.

- The thunderstorms are massive, loud, violent, terrifying, and absolutely beautiful. I've never experienced anything like them anywhere else. They can be really scary, but they are utterly awe-inspiring.

- The food is WONDERFUL. Blue Bell ice cream. Mexican Coca Cola with real sugar. Tex-Mex food of any kind. BBQ from a dilapidated shack. Whataburger fast food!! You may get fat!

- The people are very friendly. It's not uncommon to strike up a conversation waiting for the till at the supermarket, and in fact I know more than one happy couple who met that way. You'll hear a lot of please and thank you, excuse me, sir and maam, and niceties. People are happy to help if you're in trouble. You're expected to smile and nod back when you make eye contact with somebody. Unfortunately these things are becoming rarer in the cities, but they are still common.

- Corpus is near the border with Mexico, so there will be a lot of Spanish spoken. Obviously the main language is English, but learning a bit of Spanish can help you here and there. It is also a "spring break" destination and can get quite crowded with drunk uni students in the spring and summer holidays. If you live in a suburb, however, you'll be unlikely to encounter much of it. They tend to stick to the beaches. DO. NOT. venture anywhere near the beach during spring break. It's a massive thing there, and you'll be stuck in the worst crowds and traffic you've ever seen!

- I never witnessed much of what @DoubleNegative mentions (aside from people privately carrying guns, I assume, but I never actually saw a gun), but I lived mainly in large cities that voted for Clinton in the last election. There are some new laws that forbid guns in certain places, and any business can ban them; they are also forbidden anywhere there is alcohol served, IIRC. Spanking, I believe, is still fairly common, but I never once witnessed anybody hit a child with a belt or anything like that, and everyone I know looks down upon it rather sternly. Most of that sounds more like country life, from what I remember.

Though it's true Texas does politically value personal liberty and freedom of speech over most other rights, so they would never do anything like outlaw certain hateful words or force a business to cater to anyone. Restaurants still had signs posted stating they reserve the right to refuse service to anybody for any reason, however those were generally to discourage drunkenness and eject rowdy patrons. A person would still make the news for refusing to serve somebody over their religion or gender or orientation or race.

- It is UTTERLY MASSIVE - you simply cannot imagine how large it is until you've driven across it - but it is not the cowboy ranch that's portrayed on tv. The major cities in Texas are all pretty liberal now and perfectly modern, but you will still find the stereotypes out in the country. It is also beautiful, and there is a little bit of everything there: skiing in the panhandle, desert and dinosaur bones and mountains in the west, the massive flat great plains in the north, piney woods in the east, huge scrubby hills and cliffs in the center, gorgeous beaches on the coast. Austin is especially fun; its own little place, very proud of being weird and genuinely the live music capital of the world. I highly recommend making a weekend of it at least once; it's "only" a 3 hour drive (which is, by Texas standards, a quick trip!).

- There are a lot of misconceptions about Texas. If you're looking for boots and hats and men on horses and rodeos and cattle roping, you'll be disappointed. Not everybody drives a truck, not everybody has a twangy accent, almost nobody listens to country music, there are no six-shooters visible on belts or shootouts with the sheriff, and it's impossible to find a tumbleweed anywhere. You will still see horses in fields and cattle and other livestock out in the country, but the cities are just like any other city in America. However, you will see Texas flags and other patriotic regalia everywhere. Everywhere.

That's everything I can think of at the moment. Please do ask any specific questions you have! As I said, I spent many, many years in Texas and still visit frequently, and I've traveled and lived all over the state, so I hope I can be of some help! And I apologise for any typos or nonsense - this was a long post!!

PineappleScrunchie Wed 20-Sep-17 08:20:26

I would think very carefully about what happens when you need to return to the UK. Your oldest will be 16-18 and might find it very difficult to fit back into the UK school system. They also might have to wait a few years before becoming eligible again for UK home student fees and loans.

weechops Wed 20-Sep-17 11:17:55

Wow thank you so much!!
So much to think about and research.

In regards to the legalities of coming home,in short - I don't expect to be there more than 6 months. If I'm being totally honest I expect my husband will decide to stay there as s single person and visit us at home once a year.(although he says otherwise)
He had an affair last year while working abroad and I was at home heavily pregnant. I found out and my life crumbled.
The marriage is limping on with me hoping I can rekindle the love and trust, but I honestly don't think I can. Shitty thing is im stay at home mum, no job, no real qualifications, no family, no money of my own.
He's presenting this as the fresh start we need and I guess I feel it's my last chance to try.
My daughter is due to start high school next august and my son would be going into primary 1 (we're in Scotland) so I think that from January to summer would be long enough to know what to do long term, without impacting them too much.

Bugs - omg I'm really scared of flying bugs and I always get bitten by mosquitoes! Will I need to wear bug spray every day? Oh and sun cream? May be a silly question but how on earth do you stop your scalp burning without a hat? I don't fancy wearing a hat every day!

My husband likes to jump first ask questions later, but I'm polar opposite and need to plan. I think the Calallen area would suit us as the elementary school, middle school and high school are all quite near, with a mall and supermarket nearby.

Driving - well I'm not very confident even here at home so if I can have everything i need day to day quite nearby that would suit. I guess we need two cars then. Any idea how expensive it is to rent cars?

Again thanks so much for replying , I'm sure I'll have a ton more questions!!

weechops Wed 20-Sep-17 11:28:54

Thsnks for the links @mowglik I'm having a look through now

VimFuego101 Wed 20-Sep-17 11:54:42

I agree with the previous poster who mentioned your 11yo's schooling. Even if they finish high school before leaving, they may want to go to college in the US (expensive!) or, if they come back to the U.K., may be considered an international student.

Given what you've said about your marriage, you also need to be careful about establishing the children as habitual residents of the US - you may find that even if you want to leave after 6 months, your husband can block you from taking them out the country.

DoubleNegativePanda Wed 20-Sep-17 17:39:31

I'd caution you to consider this decision very carefully in light of your current relationship issues. I moved here for the benefit of my husband and to make a fresh start as my marriage was struggling as well. I've been unable to leave since splitting with him unless I give him full custody and leave without my child. Texas has extremely strong fathers rights laws due to a campaign about 15 years ago. If I'd realized how family law worked in Texas, I never would have moved here knowing I'd be stuck until she was 18.

That has nothing to do with my dislike of the state, but simply that I'd prefer to have the freedom to live where I like!

ExpatTrailingSpouse Wed 20-Sep-17 17:59:55

I also wanted to say pretty much what panda said after your last post. In fact I'd like to just say, don't even consider it considering the shaky state of your marriage.

I'm in basically the situation panda describes. Except upon divorce, my spousal visa is no longer valid. My chances of obtaining my own visa are pretty dismal at this point especially given the current administration. So my two choices will be leaving DS behind or staying as an undocumented immigrant with no way to support myself.

Even if you can stay, most likely you will be restricted to the county you moved to, or at most the neighboring counties.

There is no alimony in Texas - presuming you've been married more than ten years, you "may" try and get spousal support.

Finally, being an expat trailing spouse is HARD. Especially when the culture will be different (I mean it's not as different as going to China but there is a noticeable difference). You will be far from family and friends unless you already know people here. Going home to visit is $$$. Regular prices back to London for direct round trip Is around $1600, you can get sales if you book far out enough. So if your marriage is rocky to begin, it's most likely going to put more strain on it than help.

DoubleNegativePanda Wed 20-Sep-17 19:22:11

Damn I hadn't even thought of the issue of losing a spousal visa and being forced to leave alone or remain undocumented.

Being undocumented in the US is becoming riskier all the time under Trump, although the hard truth is that you're less likely to be clocked as undocumented if you're white. It would make it extremely difficult to support yourself regardless.

OP, I just wouldn't do it sad

UKsounding Wed 20-Sep-17 19:34:18

I am very wary in general of the whole "move abroad and have a fresh start" thing at the best of times. It just doesn't work - all the problems follow and become magnified with the stress involved with a new country, and it is a nightmare just to get back where you are now...

Frying pan, fire!

realhousewife44 Wed 20-Sep-17 20:43:14

I echo what others are saying. If my marriage was hanging by a thread, the absolute last thing I would do to try and save it is move to Texas! There's enormous stress and upheaval, it takes months to get yourself established and set up for everyday life and even the strongest families can be tested. And I don't think you can even begin to imagine what the consequences might be if the marriage breaks down irretrievably after you've moved. Would you really consider moving your kids to a different country for 6 months? If you've resigned yourself to that that in advance, why put them through the upheaval? If you don't want to drive (and by the way you'll lose your mind if you live in a suburban area in Texas and don't have a car to get around) you don't like the heat and the bugs and your relationship is on rocky ground, I would urge you to think long and hard about it. It doesn't sound like it will end well.

weechops Wed 20-Sep-17 20:48:56

Thanks guys. Just to make it clear - I'm definitely not going to divorce him or split with him especially over there. He desperately wants us to get back our previously great relationship, I'm just finding it very hard to get over the betrayal. I can't just turn off all the years of love I had for him but equally i can't see how I can fully love or trust him ever again. As you can probably tell I'm still very very conflicted and confused. Maybe I could do with a post in relationships?!
Anyway I'm not ignoring your advice and I'll speak to him about what happens if/when I want to come home if he doesn't.

Big reason for me agreeing to this in the first place is to get some money put away and pay off some of the mortgage. At the moment our finances are in really really bad shape and there's not a lot of options. This seems to be the best thing for us as a family just now (putting aside my own feelings)

Family wise - I have no one, only my friends sleep veoykxnt br flying home. Husband has family but I think they would love to visit Texas anyway.
Although I think as a priority I'm going to make sure there's definitely money put aside for flights home for me and the kids just in case.

Again thanks for all your replies

realhousewife44 Wed 20-Sep-17 21:25:15

Just one other thing to think about. You haven't said anything about what type of visas you'd be getting to go over there. Assuming that's all in order and your DH's employer is going to pay for the legal costs of getting 6 visas sorted (at a cost of thousands of £), how would that employer feel if 6 months later you all (or you + kids) decide to return to the UK. Not best pleased I would imagine. Be sure your DH has got a watertight contract in place for what would happen if you decided to come home before the intended stay of 6 years if things don't work out as planned.

ExpatTrailingSpouse Wed 20-Sep-17 21:25:55

weechops - YOU may not want to divorce or split with him over here, but he is perfectly able to also file for divorce if he decides he's done with your marriage. In which case, you are going to be in the position Panda and I outlined.

I totally sympathize with your situation, mine is/was not dissimilar. We were already expats at the time of D-day, and D-day came in the middle of the move to Texas. I should never have moved here - I should have cancelled the move. If I'd known then what I know now, i would have filed for divorce where I was previously. Even just spend some time googling Texas family law (it's pretty straight forward) as well as the Hague Convention (if you try to take the children back and he disagrees, he can file to have the children returned - and yes, this does happen).

You can't just take his word for it that he'd let you all come home if you want to. My stbx swore he would never be so untrustworthy as to trap me in the USA using DS and of course when it came down to it, he was lying. If you are to agree to this, you need the strongest possible legal postnuptial agreement, and ideally you would consult a Texas based lawyer to ensure this is the strongest agreement. Even with one, I have been told that a Texas court could choose to over rule it if they deem it in the best interest of the child(ren).

PS - in over two years of being here, almost no one except my family (who I'm very close with) has ever visited. We've had one other visitor from the other parts of the US where we used to live who only came because the husband had business a few hours away. Texas isn't quite the tourist attraction (not that there isn't plenty to see).

JWrecks Wed 20-Sep-17 21:37:05

Hmmmm, OP that is a LOT to think about. As PP have said, there is no alimony in Texas, so if you split while there, it's possible you could be in trouble.

To answer specific questions:

You really DO NOT go outdoors in the summer. It's just too hot. Sun cream every day, if you're out, though I don't think you'll need bug spray to go about in your own neighbourhood. Yes, there are mosquitoes and yes they are awful bastards.

People don't really wear hats that much, but then they're not all pasty pale brits in a sunny new land, either! I'm not exactly sure how that works. Never really thought about it to be honest!

Driving is really not optional, especially with kids, and the likelihood of finding a place that has everything you need nearby is very low. I would be very surprised and impressed if you managed to get by without driving yourself. You don't have to get onto the massive highways, though; there are plenty of ways to get around without them, but they do make travel much faster and easier once you're used to them.

People don't normally rent cars for longer than a week or a month, as the cost is unreasonable (50 dollars a day or so). However, it's easy to find a used car for a few thousand or to lease a car on set terms from a car dealership. Leasing is basically buying and paying monthly payments (so 300-400 dollars/mo depending on the car), only with the intent of returning the car after a year or two rather than paying it off and keeping it. Most people who do that do so because they always want to be driving a new car, if that makes sense.

After reading your latest reply, I have to say DON'T DO IT. I love Texas, it's just in my heart and soul, and I think it has much to offer. BUT I don't think, in your situation, this is a good idea.

I can't imagine you will rekindle your romance in a hot, muggy, uncomfortable place where you are under stress, forced to drive, getting used to a whole new foreign country, with no friends or family or support network. You will only have each other, really, and IMO @UKsounding is right that it will only magnify problems rather than melt them away.

AND the schools really are shit. Texas has an awful reputation within America for having shit schools, and Corpus isn't exactly a rich oil town with lovely outstanding schools. The education your children will get will be disappointing at best, and I wouldn't want mine to have to go to uni over there. Americans remain in university debt for LIFE these days, and the education is hardly worth anything as it is since everyone has it already. It's a sad state of affairs.

Either way I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have, and I'll be watching this thread in case you need anything else!

JWrecks Wed 20-Sep-17 21:39:55

Also, @mowglik, I have spent many years in the Dallas area specifically, so I'll be happy to answer any questions or give any advice you'd like as well!

I can tell you the heat in Dallas is much easier to bear than the heat on the coast, as it's that "dry heat" with low humidity, and Dallas is actually the windiest place in America which helps.

weechops Wed 20-Sep-17 23:21:42

Sorry for not being clear - I meant driving on the motorway I'm not great with. Everyday driving I'm fine, and I think I got rent/ lease confused in my head. grin
As long as dh stays for at least a year there are no penalties. I can leave at any time, his work status just changes to single rather than family. He has a friend (plus wife and kids) who did this exact thing last year in another part of Texas. She hated it and left after a few months. But their situation is different.
I'm used to being on my own most of the time with the kids, I don't have a support system here anyway, only dh when he's at home. In that sense we would have a chance to become close again because we'd see each other every day for a long chunk of time rather than just every few weeks or so.
Schooling worries me I think. I don't want any of them to be at a disadvantage when we come home, but I guess with my 3 year old I can teach him phonics and stuff myself to keep him on track.
I've spoken at length to the kids about this and i think they see it as a kind of extended holiday, which for me is s great way of looking st it. It's an adventure and an opportunity to do something/live somewhere else that we'd never usually get to do or afford to do, and maybe get to save some money for the future too.
I am absolutely taking your advice on board with the legal stuff. I know you must think I'm off my head for doing this, but I genuinely think it's the better option just now.
Thanks again

JWrecks Thu 21-Sep-17 00:08:53

Ah. Okay, that definitely does make this all sound a bit better, at least to me. Not nearly as off-putting considering you'll be spending more time together, support system won't change, it doesn't have to be long term, and you can go if you need.

In that case, then why not? It's an adventure! You may well enjoy it!

The beaches in that area are lovely, but I really cannot recommend strongly enough that you stay as far away as possible during spring break! Locals sometimes lock themselves indoors and take time off work to keep off the roads, which is the same in Austin during the two biggest music festivals. But otherwise, if you can find a place near enough, you can go to the beach every single day of the year - barring hurricanes and tropical storms - as it really very rarely gets too cold. You may not want to get into the water all year, and it won't be a hot summer's day in February as it does get chilly but not cold, but beach season is much longer in Texas.

Now that Harvey has been through, you may have trouble finding housing, but you may also be able to find good housing for cheaper than usual. Speaking of Harvey, there isn't too much to worry about there, I don't think. Big, destructive hurricanes like that are few and far between (though you wouldn't know that looking at the weather this year!), so it's not as if everything gets damaged every year. You'll most likely be perfectly safe and only experience one or two severe thunderstorms rather than needing to evacuate and return to rubble and splinters.

As I said, there is always a way to avoid the massive motorways. The entire state of Texas is fairly new - built up largely from the 1940s and planned around cars and driving. The motorways have entrances and exits convenient to every cross street, and roads that run along side them as well so you're never forced to brave getting right on. Texas drivers are quite aggressive, which I assume is because everything is so spread out that they're all on at least a half hour drive everywhere they go!

But as for the DC, the schools are really, really shit, especially compared to here. It's entirely possible they've relatively improved recently, but the American system just isn't the same as ours to begin with. There isn't nearly the breadth of knowledge nor the depth of understanding taught, as they really are forced to teach students to pass a specific exam, and very little else. It's loads of memorising facts and theories, with much less focus on understanding, critical thinking, or general knowledge if that makes sense. That said, while you're there, your DC will be star pupils, and if it's not for very long (a year or less) then I doubt they'll be at any real disadvantage when you come back.

And your accents - regardless of where you're from - will be a beautiful and fascinating novelty to most people and will make you and your DC loads of friends. Though be prepared to hear everyone say you sound just like the bloody Beatles, even if you're Scottish! hmm They don't often recognise the "subtle" differences in our regional accents and assume we've all got the exact same, singular "British accent" hehe!

Good luck, whatever you decide, and again I'm happy to answer any question or give any Texas-related advice you'd like.

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