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DH potential job in Glendale LA. Help please

(31 Posts)
indignatio Tue 08-Jul-08 19:18:39

Now you are all awake, please could you help me.

The title gives the background. I need to do the legwork to calculate how much he needs to be offered to make it worth our while.

So .....

As a small village girl with a ds (nearly 6) at the lovely village state primary (200 kids on the roll),

Where would we want to live in LA?
Which state schools in that area are good?
Which private schools in that area are good ?(I am not using the word public to try to avoid confusion)
Ideally I would also need good transport links as I do not drive.

Ignore the financial aspects for the mo, as I need to calculate what it would take for us to have a similar standard of living in the US rather than the UK, to work out whether any package offered makes financial sense.

If anyone can help with this, I would be most grateful. I have trawled around an LA forum and have a good link to CA elementary state schools, but have spent the last 2 hours just going round in circles as I really do not know the area at all.

indignatio Tue 08-Jul-08 20:05:41

sorry neighbours thread, your thread takes too long to load, my computer can't cope with giving a link - tried twice - hope you spot this

Califrau Tue 08-Jul-08 20:19:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

indignatio Tue 08-Jul-08 20:38:21

Thanks for trying to send the other LA'ers over - I tried to link from your thread, but without success.

Um learning to drive ...

UnderRated Tue 08-Jul-08 20:41:32

I can't help at all, I'm afraid. If you can find SofiaAmes, LAtyke or Syd, they are all in LA. And maybe some others too

Califrau linked to this on the All Those in the US thread. We'll all be able to help with more general questions.

Hope someone helpful comes along.

indignatio Wed 09-Jul-08 18:00:24

shameless bump

Califrau Wed 09-Jul-08 18:03:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

indignatio Wed 09-Jul-08 18:20:20

I had to explain your name to dh last night - he now understands. Are you ahppy to be in California rather than Germany ?

Califrau Wed 09-Jul-08 18:38:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

indignatio Wed 09-Jul-08 18:42:53

Thanks - dsis was in germany for 7 years and I would not have settled there.

Can you talk me through the visa stuff. DH is also an engineer. I have no desire to work - so that is not an issue (sounds awful when written down, but is actually the truth). DH, I think will need a green card and ITAR (?). Someone told me that green cards were only issued once a year. Any info is welcomed

loopsngeorge Wed 09-Jul-08 20:25:39

Hi, sorry I've only just seen your message - I might be able to help a bit until someone more qualified comes along! DH, DS and I spent 4 months in LA from January to April this year and we absolutely loved it so first of all I'd say, what a brilliant opportunity and if it works out at all for you financially I would definitely do it. I echo everything Califrau says about the climate and SAD. Not looking forward to having to go through a British winter this year!
DH was studying for a term at UCLA and I was just looking after our son who was 3 at the time. We lived in Brentwood and spent most of our time in teh next door neighbourhood, Pacific Palisades. These areas are by the ocean and Santa Monica and they are really lovely. If i had the millions of dollars needed to buy a house there I would move to live in Pacific Palisades like a shot. They are the opposite side of LA to Glendale I think but I did have a friend in the Palisades from Glendale and she said it was a fairly similar, family area. Probably not quite as upscale or expensive and you don't have the big advantage of being by the ocean but much better than a lot of LA. For more info on Glendale I would try this forum -
There's a lot of negative stuff on there but don't get scared off - there is some useful advice too. The other site I used a lot was which is great for info on stuff to do with kids, schools etc.

To try and answer some of your questions -
where to live: there are great areas in LA and there are some which they think are okay but to our European eyes are really grotty. Obviously you want to live in the safest, nicest area you can afford and that can be very pricey. The very nicest areas I would say are to the West of LA next to the ocean ie. Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood. However, a major factor in quality of life in LA is your partner's commute to work every day so the golden rule seems to be to live as near as you can to your place of work. The traffic is truly horrendous every morning and from 3pm to 7pm in the evening - it has to be seen to be believed. So I would definitely look at Glendale as a place to live and Pasadena which apparently has very nice parts. Toluca Lake is another place nearby which I heard was good.

Public transport - the lack of this is the other major downside in LA. A lot of people will warn you off using buses and although my husband had no problems using them in Brentwood and Westwood I'm not sure how safe or reliable they are in other areas. You do really need to be able to drive to get the most out of your time there. I was a fairly new driver and never touched the freeways but I found driving on the surface streets as they call them absolutely fine and parking is a doddle compared to the UK. If driving really isn't an option then Santa Monica and the Palisades are could be a good choice from that point of view as you can actually walk around there but it would be a long journey to Glendale everyday.

Schools - sorry don't know much about this as DS was at preschool but there were lots of discussions about schools on that city data forum. The fees for the private schools near us were astronomical. Also, to give you some idea, the preschool that DS attended was the cheapest I could find and that was still more expensive than his Montessori preschool in the UK which is the most expensive in our area. Most kids activities eg. the equivalent of Tumbletots were a lot more than in the UK which surprised me.

Sorry, that's turned out very long. Please ask if there's anything else you want to know and I'll try and help. We had a fantastic time there and are so glad we did it. I'm still coming to terms with not being able to pop over to Palm Springs or Las Vegas for the weekend! Good luck!

Califrau Wed 09-Jul-08 22:14:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UnderRated Thu 10-Jul-08 00:46:05

Visa depends on who your DH is working for. University-affiliated people can apply for different ones.

Ali knows about Green Cards - I do think you need to have been here for a certain amount of time and be sponsored. The rules have changed recently. I may be applying for mine in the coming months - I've been here for over 5 yrs.

Good luck!

alipiggie Thu 10-Jul-08 02:55:29

Green Cards are issued all the time, however you either need to wait a specific length of time which is the length of time it takes to process and be in a specific category of employement to get one or get sponsored by a company as we did.

The H1B visas and many other specialist visas are only issued once a month and my guess is that if you were going for that kind, you've missed the deadline for this year. If your DH is being offered a job I'm guessing they've got a good Immigration lawyer. SittingBull in SanFran knows a good one otherwise as she's got a Green Card too.

I'm sure that LA has various different school districts. Here in the USA stats are published every year that show the schools performance and these are readily available on line. Find an area you like the look of and can afford and then find the school district. is good as is for property and area information. You need SofiaAmes for the more specifics.

SofiaAmes Thu 10-Jul-08 05:07:56

Hi. Here I am. Glendale is very nice and you will love living there. You will want to find a place to live that is near (ie under 25 min drive) from where your dh works. I think the Glendale public schools are generally pretty good. In California you are entitled to a place at your local school no matter what. You don't have to be any religion or apply or any of the awful stuff you have to go through in the uk. So, if you are coming over and renting, you may as well rent in an area where the local school is good. Here is a link to the Glendale Public Schools Website.

You will need to have a whole slew of vaccinations for your ds in order to go to school. You will need evidence of the UK ones...(red book filled in by gp was good enough for us) and there will be a few additional US ones. The MMR booster (at 5), chicken pox, hepatitis and tb tests are the ones that you may not have had in the UK. The easiest thing will be to go to a Paediatrician here with your english info and they will fill out all the paperwork at once for you.
Once you find out if you are definitely coming over and exactly where your dh is working, send me a CAT and I will help you look up the local schools and apartments.

As someone else said....YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO DRIVE.
You can't get anywhere in real life without a car. There is fairly minimal public transport in Los Angeles and things are not set up for people who don't drive.

In answer to your original questions life in Los Angeles is much cheaper than life in England. And the quality of life is much better. Just having sunshine everyday goes a long long way to making things happy and comfortable.

indignatio Thu 10-Jul-08 20:24:36

la la la on the question of needing to drive

other than that, thank you all so much for the imput.

Sofia, I think, from the maps, that DH's work would be based midpoint east of Griffith park (on edge of park) - does that help for ideas of areas ?

re vaccinations, I'm not too good about these and not too keen for ds to have to have a whole lot - is there any way around this ?

Dh's company will sort out all necessary docs - but I was wondering whether that would delay taking up residence, or whether such docs just followed. ie getting the L1 shouldn't be an issue, but does it need to exisit before we moved over ?

UnderRated Fri 11-Jul-08 00:27:26

Yes, you will need to have the Visa before you arrive

And yes, I think you need to have all vaccinations done to get the DC into school.

olyoly Fri 11-Jul-08 04:00:32

You can opt out of vaccinations due to medical or religious reasons, but I'm not sure of the process. Once you figure out where you will live, you can contact your school district and they will let you know what to do.

And you MUST drive. There really aren't any other options, unfortunately.

SofiaAmes Fri 11-Jul-08 04:48:36

It's not an easy process to opt out on religious grounds. You really have to be a religion that doesn't believe in traditional medicine. You will have trouble getting him registered at any school...public or private without the jabs. Unless you really do feel strongly about it (and from your post, it doesn't sound like you do), it's not worth the hassle.

Let me know when your dh has accepted the offer and you have the visas, and I'll be happy to spend some time helping you figure things out.

Califrau Fri 11-Jul-08 05:13:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

indignatio Fri 08-Aug-08 12:01:26

Sorry to have been quiet for a while.

Update. Job has DH's name on it. Package / trial period needs to be agreed. Whilst we are still angling for an expat package, the co (as it is cheaper) wants to give us a localised deal. So in order that we can work out whether we would be better off financially, can anyone (PLEASE) help with the following questions:-

1. What is the basic tax system in California (ie Income tax) and first property purchasing tax and any other taxes I should be aware of.

2. What is the approx cost of schooling. Here we would be looking at £3k to £5k per term (3 terms), dependant on age (ds is 6) and particular school. present day prices.

3. What is the approx cost of running a family car (or 2 if I have to learn to drive)

4. What is the approx cost of utilities / council tax equivalent for a four bed house.

5. Average grocery shopping costs (we spend approx £150 per week on all things household) - so have quite an expensive shop - compared to other threads here on MN

6. Approx cost of flights back to the UK

7. When do the school terms run ?

If anyone can answer any of these questions I should be most grateful.

ilovemydog Fri 08-Aug-08 12:08:52

If DH will work around Griffith park, look at Silverlake area. Lovely area.

indignatio Fri 08-Aug-08 14:16:10

Thank you ilovemydog - do you know anything about the schools in that area ?

ilovemydog Fri 08-Aug-08 14:26:45

Um, I went to school in the area! Rather unfortunately it's an all girls school (Immaculate Heart). Think you will find that 'local' is not really a term people in LA understand! If there's a good school, you drive to get there!

Also, check out Loz feliz area. But don't go past Western!

Pasadena is also worth a look. I was there a few months ago and is actually trendy!

Califrau Fri 08-Aug-08 17:11:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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