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Arizona... America...

(5 Posts)
Mummyonajourney Tue 01-Sep-09 14:29:55

I am in shock DH was asked yesterday if he wanted permanent residency in the US for the family.. moving from England. I have never been to the US, want to hear some stories. I have lived overseas before, not a problem but this time it's a more serious decision being permanent.. so many questions have to be answered before we go for it and yes I will be visiting.. but the US better than UK?

TheDMshouldbeRivened Tue 01-Sep-09 14:46:32

We moved to Virginia for 3 years (DH holds dual nationality) and there's good things and bad things. They are different to us and its a diffeent culture.
I got very homesick and so we came home.
Arizona is very hot in the summer with no rain for months. Cities like Pheonix are sprawling and you will be totally reliant on a car (my sister lives in Phoenix). You will have to pay for healthcare - usually it comes through the employer but there's always a co-pay on medicines and sometimes that can be hundreds of dollars. My sisters husband was removed from his insurance for having diabetes and being expensive. he cant get more insurance as they will not cover pre-existing.
What sorts of things do you want to know? I assume you'd go as a permanent resident (green card). Its a long procedure at the Embassy and expensive and they insist on vaccines (we had to get a waiver)
Oh, and in Arizona they put your weight on your driving licence grin

howdoo Mon 07-Sep-09 17:32:22

I have been in the US for 18 months now and it is (supposedly) permanent as DH is American. We are in the North East so I can't speak for Arizona. However, I am finding it really hard at the moment. I really didn't realise how much I would miss my friends, and I don't seem to be able to get beyond surface friendships here. In the UK, you have a mutual "Britishness" with anyone new that you meet - there is some level of innate understanding. Here, that isn't there. I find myself withdrawing from people slightly for fear of saying the wrong thing etc. It depends on your personality - if you are outgoing and confident you probably wouldn't worry about this!

Lots of things are brilliant about here - we are near the sea, the weather is much better, service is great and I do love the general positivity/optimism of a lot of Americans (just wish it was rubbing off on me!).

Some things aren't so great - it is a properly capitalist society, you have to pay for everything, there is no national health care system (as you know) but also no child benefit, no help with preschool costs etc etc.

Will you be near friends/family? My DH's family are near us which has been a lifesaver. Can you go for an extended visit before you decide? Does your DH want to go? Can you agree with him that if either of you is really unhappy you will come back? Do you have children? One of mine took to the whole thing like a duck to water, the other one has had a hard time adjusting.

If you have any queries re the green card, let us know, it is quite a process in itself.

Riven is right, they are different to us!

mathanxiety Mon 07-Sep-09 18:23:09

I agree so much with howdoo. I never found Americans too interested in friendship on a meaningful level; they were more interested in how I said things than in what I actually said. It's a very strange experience to be pretty much a circus pony every time you open your mouth. You take yourself, your opinions, and your personality for granted when you live in your own home. You know you are an individual and you have a sense of self, but that all changes when you live somewhere else, because part of you is British, formed in Britain. That part has no outlet except as an accent. You will find yourself developing a 'public persona' and accent -- very strange to go through this metamorphosis. I really missed the give and take of British Isles life, the quick wit, the irreverence, the political discussions; Americans are extremely reverent about America, often seem slow-minded, earnest, sincere and conservative. A lot of people reminded me of Nancy Reagan, even those my age.

The thoroughly capitalist system makes the US a dog eat dog world unto itself, imo. I found attitudes and ignorance toward other countries and political systems that were shocking. It's also a very fragmented society; people don't know or understand communities that are different from their own (or care much about them either).

True, the weather is nice sometimes, and the scenery is lovely in places. But you are not going as a tourist. You can't remain the same old you when you go there to live. Neither can your DH. Either one of you might turn out to be affected in very different ways by the experience.

Mummyonajourney Wed 09-Sep-09 22:45:04

Thanks for your responses.
We have lived overseas before in the past, so no stranger to adapting, but the States for some reason is a bit of a shock for me.. I am not sure if that's because my experience is limited, eg never been there for a start, and my experiences of Americans have been either rude tourists here (uk) or Americans when we were living overseas and they all missed the States.

No friends or family over there, the alternative to a move if its possible is redundancy here and a move anyway within the country because DH will have to retrain as something, his kind of work is just more or less non existent here so the states is a good opportunity in some ways.. hmm, food for thought.

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