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Aberdeen to Houston

Aberdeen to Houston

Old Aug 22nd 2012, 4:31 pm
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Default Aberdeen to Houston

Hi

*disclaimer: I have been snooping on this forum for a couple of months now, and am fully aware that there are other threads similar to what this is going to be, but I would like just little/large things clarified that I haven't managed to come across yet, so be kind *

So.. My husband is in the process of being offered an international assignment in Houston, with a view to the company wanting him ASAP, so we're just patiently waiting for the offer to come through after he's battled to get a better package since I will be unable to work on his visa.

We are both swimming around the age of 30, and have no little'uns (as yet). I've been drooling over har.com and found some beauties in New Territory, how long would the commute be to the energy corridor..? What are the demographics of NT? Is it predominantly families? What are the restrictions of dog ownership in certain areas (we would be buying a couple cuties when we're over)? Are there certain areas less crimey, or is it all the same in the 'burbs?

Since i will be unable to work I would like to volunteer (animal shelter etc), would I be able to do this without a work visa? Does anyone currently volunteer, and what are your suggestions on how to go about this?

If I were to fall pregnant whilst in Houston, what should I expect care-wise (prenatal/support after birth etc)?

How do spouses cope of they are unable to work? I'm late twenties and extremely sociable, so am wondering if people have found friends through local activities etc.

Two most important questions: are the spiders in abundance? And, and are the mozzies really that bad (and is it worse if you have a pool)?

Thanks xx
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Old Aug 22nd 2012, 7:19 pm
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

Hi, we moved from Stonehaven about 4 years ago and live in Pearland. New Territory is over Sugarland direction but I don't know the area well. To the energy corridor I would imagine a commute of at least an hour, most people who work there stick to Katy, Cinco Ranch, Lakes on Eldridge areas. I really like Sugarland, it has a nice established 'town' feel although the new developments take a while to become established.

If you are planning a baby while you are here, check hubby's health insurance very carefully to find out what you are entitled to. Unfortunately every policy is different and you can expect bills anywhere from $0 to $10,0000. Lot's of threads on here about people's experiences having babies in USA.

Making friends can be a challenge. People with young kids tend to join toddler groups or the PTA. Volunteering is a great way to meet people, the only hurdle can be if they require police checks (cos we are from UK that can be a pain) but shouldn't stand in your way. There are also lots of community classes, book clubs, gym, LLU do a great range of classes for you to meet people.

Spiders have not been a major headache for us. 1 or 2 a month in the house but the Mozzies are a nightmare especially this year it seems. I don't sit out on our patio after dusk or I get eaten alive. I am seriously considering having a misting system installed.

Check out city-data.com for more specifics on areas and welcome to BE
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Old Aug 23rd 2012, 1:14 am
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

Well, y'all are in for a shock! But a great adventure. We come from Cove, just outside Aberdeen to the south.

We've been here two years. Our experience with spiders and mossies is totally different than Weeze. It all depends on where you live if they spray. The community in which we live has been spraying since opening in 2001. I've experienced one mosquito in our backyard since we've been here (and we have a pool.) Out near the lakes of our community - none. And don't worry, we are just as tasty as other people. (We encountered mosquitos more in other places around Houston when we visit folks or go wherever.) So its one thing to ask, esp if you are inside a MPC (Master Planned Community.)

As for spiders, I've lived some years in Nevada and upstate NY. I found spiders there. In Nevada, big nasties and upstate, your run of the mill ones. I've not had one spider in or around our home that I've seen. However, we have quarterly pest control, which is actually for ants. Ants are something that we do have to control, and its easy.

We have friends out in Katy who have spiders and snakes. Oh not regularly, but have encountered them.

The main thing with Houston is to live near where you work, if you can. Oh we too looked at Woodlands with the trees, large lots and low prices (back then, with Exxon up there now, forget cheap housing) - and everyone said, "live near where you work." We poo-pood that and guess what, live near where you work. We are SO GLAD we live only 7 miles to hubby's work. His commute is 15 minutes off rush hour and more during.

Now, the EC is a defined area but can bleed east of Town and Country Centre (east of Memorial City mall there are two high rises with O&G consultancies). As well, it can go west out towards Barker Cypress Rd (I'm thinking Wood group, Weatherford and Mustang.) In this case, you could look at Katy or the new developments up Greenhouse and Fry Road (Bridgeland community comes to mind.)

So, hubby is in O&G, if you want to let us know which company, can make a difference where you want to be, as I-10 fills up during rush hours. Shell, Phillips/Conoco, Worley are near Eldridge Parkway, as BP so to live in EC (77079 or 77077) would be smartest. However, homes there are snapped up fast and its older stock, so already renovated ones go within days. We live just north of Shell's Woodcreek campus in a community there - Lakes on Eldridge North. (We like the community, but the area isn't developed well - we do our shopping and restaurants in Memorial or Post Oak area about 10 miles away.)

If your husband's compay is in Westchase, the housing down there is reasonable as well and you could consider Sugarland. Glory, NT is far out... you really will have to decide if the trade off on commute vs. living there is worth it. Its not going to be fun for your husband.

I agree with Weeze - go onto city-data.com and folks there are great.

Your baby situation will all depend on your insurance. And just the company of insurance won't mean much - health insurance plans within any one company can be so different - it is all dependent on what your husband's company decides to pay for. For example, we have full maternity (regardless of deductible) with ours but no fertility treatments. Otherwise, everything else falls under the plan of a set $ deductible (ours went from $0 last year to $1000 this year) - which is what you must pay out of pocket before benefits kick in. How this all works is another topic that you can search for. So read well the insurance benefit summaries that they are offering.

I am presently pregnant and happy with the whole experience. Our docs have been great and we are lucky as our health insurance covers everything, including a lactation consultant and other supplies like rental of a hospital grade breast pump. Pregnancy and care were actually something we included in our decision to relocate here for a little bit as we did not want to deliver in Aberdeen's Royal Infirmary Maternity hospital.

Houston is well set up for any service you may desire, from baby concierges to doulas. We are active in the Motherhood Center and you can find a range of night nurses, nannies, etc. There are many services here for those needs, and if you are inside a community, you'll get messages from the community groups of folks leaving and having a nanny needing a job, for example.

Now, about meeting folks. One reason why my husband leaned toward the community-type living was because there were established groups right in our community. We have a moms and tots group, book groups, nature groups, empty nesters group, etc. And through them, I found baby gear and other moms at home just nearby. I know Cinco Ranch has these groups as well.

There is a Wedesday's Coffee group for ladies and they spun off a moms and toddlers group - its an expat group - they go different places and do play dates. You'll find something, I'm sure.

My husband has two couples over for 2 years from the UK on his team, and they are both early 30s. One couple chose to live in the Galleria area and the other chose the Heights. Since they work in EC, they go against the rush hour flow to go west on I-10 (instead of east to downtown, for example.) Now they are living in townhouses, mind you, not huge 4000 sq ft houses that would cost the same in Katy. (Your budget as well may determine where you live, mind you.)

Non-working spouses find their way, no matter the age. If you are extremely sociable, you'll have no problem at all. One place to start is the other wives/partners from your husband's work... Shell even coordinates this, for example. I don't work and keep busy. And Weeze is right on the volunteering thing - you have to take their orientation classes and wait on background checks for a lot of positions. Unsure about animal shelters - but I'm sure you can find out even from there.

As for crime - its like Aberdeen - it happens anywhere.

Good luck on the adventure!
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Old Aug 23rd 2012, 2:18 am
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

Did I hear a mentioning??? I haven't even been on this thread yet!
Hello and welcome. We moved from Kingswells to Katy. Spiders-don't ask. You are better not to know. Honestly. Same goes for anything that crawls/slithers.
Pregnancy, just done it. If your insurance is good it runs like a dream. We had a max co-pay so knew upfront how much we would pay. Support after birth is pretty piss poor. No health visitor visits. A 6 week check for you and 1 week, 1 month, 3 month checks for baby.
Mossies-I get eaten alive therefore protecting everyone in a 10 mile radius. This year they are trying to kill us with West Nile disease. The plane foggers are out an about.
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Old Aug 23rd 2012, 3:01 am
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

As for volunteering, try www.volunteermatch.com (it might be .org but you can google it)
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Old Aug 23rd 2012, 2:06 pm
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

Oh my, Sorry to Weeze! This third trimester is affecting my brain. I'd be happy to edit the post to reflect Chocolate Babz comments....but no edit button??
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Old Aug 23rd 2012, 2:28 pm
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

Wow, thank you so much for all the information (not so much about the 'don't even think about the spiders' )

Chocolatebabz - i grew up in Stoney! We moved up to Aberdeen 14 years ago so that me and my bro could have a 'city life' and stop hassling our parents for lifts. ha!

Bomjeito - i've been scanning over city-data for ages as well, lots of great information, but a bit disheartening seeing so many people moan about EVERYTHING in Houston! I've been keeping an extremely open-mind about it all though, need to experience most things once! Hubby will be working from the Bachtel Office near Memorial Park, so I'm thinking Sugar Land / Cinco Ranch might be our best bet for decent commute times without living in the more commercial areas. I'll keep looking on har.com, but i'm driving my hubby insane by wanting a pool (i'm a water baby).

Weeze - i'll make sure to move within a 10 mile radius of you so that i can be bite-free, thank you in advance

Lisa - thank you for that website, will give it a proper scan tonight!

Also.. congratulations on all your pregnancies / births! Is there something in the water over there? On that note.. how do you cope having children away from your family base in Scotland? have you found it tough? what are the grandparents reactions/feelings? Do they feel left out at all?

Again, thank you all for all the info provided, and your time in taking a few mins to reply xxx
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Old Aug 23rd 2012, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

Hey BunnyD, small world eh? I was born in Paisley but brought up in Cove, then moved to Bridge of Don when we got married, very brief stint in Newburgh and then to Stonehaven. We were there for 5 years before moving over here.

Don't worry about all the negative stuff, people are more likely to post when they need a rant than when everything is great. We have really enjoyed it over here and now that we have our Green Cards plan to stay for a lot longer (see how I am not ready to commit to the word forever LOL).

Lots of positives:

Much bigger house for your buck
Fantastic weather, although a bit hot in summer months
Lot's to do and if you are young and single you can jump on a plane and head off to exotic places for long weekends
Sporting Events are much more fun than going to see AFC play - Baseball, American Football etc
Lakes & Parks - head up to Lake Conroe and rent a pontoon boat for the afternoon with a picnic
Theatre, Cinema, Concerts - tons more to do than in Aberdeen
Halloween & Christmas or any public holiday is a big deal, parades, fireworks, houses decorated up the wazoo!
Eating out - less expensive, huge portions (ok bad for waistline but it has to be done)
Pool - if you don't have your own (and the jury is out as to whether it is awesome or a PITA) you will have one at your apartments/development and it will be warm all summer, unlike Stonehaven Outdoor Pool haha
Driving, rush hour is bad but big roads and big parking spaces (I don't think I have reverse parked in 4 years)
Shopping, pretty sure Houston has at least one of everything you could ever need.
Margaritas - 'nuff said
Me - if you get that homesick, my door is always open with a cuppa and a hobnob !

There, that was just off the top of my head.
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Old Aug 23rd 2012, 3:27 pm
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

Originally Posted by ChocolateBabz View Post
Margaritas - 'nuff said
Me - if you get that homesick, my door is always open with a cuppa and a hobnob !
Would it be insane to maybe have a margarita to dunk the hobnob in?

I have to say that the hot weather wouldn't really be an issue for me, more the humidity, but if we move in the winter months hopefully i'll have time to acclimatise (a bit of wishful thinking never hurt anyone!).

What would you suggest british-wise to bring over? We're doing all the house essentials, but i'm thinking of typical things that are just generally missed and unable to buy in Houston?! i quite fancy importing a whole truck full of irn-bru! num num! xx
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Old Aug 23rd 2012, 3:54 pm
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

Originally Posted by BunnyD View Post
Would it be insane to maybe have a margarita to dunk the hobnob in?

I have to say that the hot weather wouldn't really be an issue for me, more the humidity, but if we move in the winter months hopefully i'll have time to acclimatise (a bit of wishful thinking never hurt anyone!).

What would you suggest british-wise to bring over? We're doing all the house essentials, but i'm thinking of typical things that are just generally missed and unable to buy in Houston?! i quite fancy importing a whole truck full of irn-bru! num num! xx
You can dunk whatever you want in your Margarita haha!

You can get irn-bru at The British Isles Shop (at a price) or here http://www.irn-bru-usa.com. I stock up on biscuits and chocolate. You can get them in various stores but they are pricey. I smuggle in Atora (not the veggie one) and Rowies (the rowies go in the freezer and are only for special occasions) because I haven't found them here. If I have extra room in my case I bring sweet chili mayo, branston, asda packet curry sauce cos I like it on my chips, crisps but they are a pain to stop from getting crushed - prawn cocktail pringles are my fav, salad cream, super noodles.

Basically a whole heap of unnecessary crap as you can find most stuff or order it online or find a substitute but I get a bit carried away when I go to Asda.

It is nice to sit and have a rowie sometimes and think of home. I even made some once.
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Old Aug 23rd 2012, 5:16 pm
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

I hear you on City-Data - the Houstonians do tend to moan a bit, especially is Dallas (gasp!) is mentioned. But for relocation threads, they do get excited and give great information.

If your hubby's work is near Memorial Park - look at Highland Village!!!! I like that area a lot. Great for young (age and mentality) folks and they have tons of townhouse communities with the pools, etc.

I'd forget Sugarland - just my opinion on the commute. Look at 77079 and east Katy (try for a house in Katy Ind School District - helps with resale if you are buying.) Chances are high you can find a pool. Even being in the earlier phases of Cinco gives a decent enough commute - down I-10 and forget 610, cut through on Chimney Rock into the area near Bechtel (assuming its the main one on Post Oak near Sage.)

Bellaire is a popular area for families and good schools.... but I'm not sure it would be a fit for what you are looking for. Its also easy to Post Oak area.

As for foodstuffs, we brought a ton with us. (Shipping companies say no food, but I put bottles of Branston and salad cream in the toiletries, bathroom items, and other random places...) Tea comes over easily too, esp if you have a brand you prefer. Things like PG Tips are easily found here. Irn-Bru is sold in our local Kroger or HEB - just pricey. I shop a large order once in a while on http://www.englishteastore.com/ I wait for an email with a % off sale or something and stock up. The British Isles Store here in Rice Village is pricey, but tides you over if you need a packet of crisps and can't wait. And we take an extra suitcase when we go visit UK to stock up at Sainsburys or ASDA. (Another example - American cocoa for baking is awful - bring some of that.)

At the local HEB or Kroger you can get such things as salad cream, Rowena, Irn-bru, mint sauce, malt vinegar, Branstons, pickled whatever, winegums, Pataks, McVities, Ambrosia, HP sauce, various chocs like Dairy Milk, Maltesers, etc., Bisto, and the such. Our Kroger just started carrying Wheatabix in the cereal aisle. British Isles shop carries a bigger assortment of things, including Walkers and a frozen section for bangers and pies of the sort. However, the foodstuffs there are premium priced. (We tried them, and gave me the incentive to learn how to make proper meat pies and I make them at home, inviting all Scots we know to come and help eat them up.)

There is a Boots USA website now. Not entirely the same selection, however.

If you are into cooking and baking, a scale for UK recipes is a great bring-along. I use ours a lot, still.

There are two things we dislike here. The humidity and the traffic. Its flat as a pancake in most areas of Texas, so its a totally different kind of nature experience. We both suffer in the summer here. We arrived in July, so its our third 'summer' here and its brutal. The pool is bathtub temperature, so we don't use it, except late at night and its still a warm bathtub.

Hubby insisted on a pool and we are happy we have one. There are community pools here where we live, but we've only been to the kid's one when visitors came over. Otherwise, our pool gets a lot of use.

The nicest part of being in Houston is the Intercontinental Airport. 2 hours or so you are in Belize. 3 or so to Tobago. The whole of Mexico, Caribbean and South America are simply a few hours away. Or direct flights to Denver or Calgary, or anywhere beautiful. We tend to fly to Denver when needing some trees and nature. We also go up to New England once a year for the leaf-peeping season.

As for leaving folks behind and having kids here... for us, it was fine as Hubby's folks aren't too connected to their kids (sadly). What we do miss are scrambles about the hills and our friends. We get over 2x a year (except now, I'm stuck in Houston with the pregnancy) - hubby just got back, in fact.

I'm American by birth and my folks live in New York, so the family situation is healthy here for our kiddos. We do plan to return to Scotland in the next 10 years - we do want our kids raised in Scotland, and go through the education system there. (Just our preference. We aren't too keen on the US (okay, Texas) public school systems and unsure if we want to private educate here or not....) We'd like them to have a bit of both worlds, then when they are older, decide for themselves where to attach their adult lives.

Can the company give you two a scouting trip over for a few days? We did that for one week. That is how we came up with our 2-3 locations for living vis-a-vis hubby's work location. He works near Memorial City Mall in a UK consultancy (Atkins Global.) We viewed a few homes in that week and was able to scratch off certain areas just by doing that. We scheduled the viewings at lunch, school-let out times and early evening, so we had to take rush hour traffic to get to the houses. What an eye-opener! We quickly narrowed down our desired locations and then worked to budget them in.

Enjoy the new adventure!
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Old Aug 23rd 2012, 7:12 pm
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

I live out towards Cypress (west and Barker cypress) in the copper lakes area and commute to the Galleria everyday. It doesn't bother me most of the time but I have flexible hours and can choose when I travel in. If you can avoid the rush hour it's not bad at all and you can get a lot of house for your money (the same is true of Katy and coming in on I-10).
However, if you have to travel in rush hour due to stricter working hours, it can be a real mess and you'd probably be better off staying somewhere closer to work.

As far as having kids, my Mum is in the UK, has just retired and although would love to be closer it's an excuse for her to get accross 4 or 5 times a year to see her Grandson. This will reduce in the future but between that and Skype she copes okay. My wife's family are here in Houston so no issues on that side.

If the company is paying for shipping, bring everything!! Don't underestimate how expensive it can be to kit out a house over here! They're much bigger so anything that fits in the UK will almost certainly fit here. I regret not bringing more over. There's also a bit of a premium on modern/european styled furniture. It's a lot harder to get here too but if that's your thing I'd point you towards High Fashion Home (midtown) and Danish Inspirations (Galleria area - Fondren @ Westheimer). There's also an Ikea in town.

Good luck!
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Old Aug 24th 2012, 2:13 am
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

Originally Posted by Bomjeito View Post
Well, y'all are in for a shock! But a great adventure. We come from Cove, just outside Aberdeen to the south.

We've been here two years. Our experience with spiders and mossies is totally different than Weeze. It all depends on where you live if they spray. The community in which we live has been spraying since opening in 2001. I've experienced one mosquito in our backyard since we've been here (and we have a pool.) Out near the lakes of our community - none. And don't worry, we are just as tasty as other people. (We encountered mosquitos more in other places around Houston when we visit folks or go wherever.) So its one thing to ask, esp if you are inside a MPC (Master Planned Community.)








!


....wow, that is amazing

Last edited by Sugarmooma; Aug 24th 2012 at 2:20 am.
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Old Aug 24th 2012, 9:22 am
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Default Re: Aberdeen to Houston

Originally Posted by Sugarmooma View Post
....wow, that is amazing
For good or bad, the community sprays probably every other day this summer it seems. Could be our location in it, as we are nowhere near the lakes... And I don't walk much outside anymore. I'm sure they are out there!
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