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DubaiCat Mar 31st 2014 10:51 am

British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
Hi! OH and I have been in Dubai for 8 yrs now and our stay finishes in October and Houston is definitely on the cards although no ink to paper yet. My concern is the gun culture in the U.S, Texas. Having lived in a very safe city for all this time, I really would appreciate thoughts and comments from all other British expats before I let hubby put pen to paper!! Thanks!

Bink Mar 31st 2014 12:54 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11197823)
Hi! OH and I have been in Dubai for 8 yrs now and our stay finishes in October and Houston is definitely on the cards although no ink to paper yet. My concern is the gun culture in the U.S, Texas. Having lived in a very safe city for all this time, I really would appreciate thoughts and comments from all other British expats before I let hubby put pen to paper!! Thanks!

Don't worry about it. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people have guns here and if you have kids that are of an age that are going to friends houses, you'd be wise to have them take a gun safety course and be aware of how to handle them safely but it's not really been an issue for me (been here coming up 5 years). Like any big city there are certain areas you'd do better to avoid but overall for a big city I don't think it's any worse than any other (certainly no worse than London IMO).

DubaiCat Mar 31st 2014 1:42 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
Thanks for that! All kids now at uni back home, so not a problem!
On another note, I love indian cooking... Are there many indian grocery shops there? Spices are so cheap here, but not expecting them to be quite as cheap in Texas somehow!

Owen778 Mar 31st 2014 1:47 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
I agree with Bink pretty much entirely. We have yet to have any need for a gun safety course, but that may change once our kids are older.

I'm not sure it's better or worse than London. There are areas that you just don't want to go to in both, especially after dark. Houston maybe has the advantage in that you are less vulnerable in your own car (which is the only option for most).

Houston is a sprawling, multi-cultural city. If you live in the suburbs, the quality of life is good and the cost of living is low, but most of the cultural destinations are in or near downtown, and traffic during rush-hour is bad. If you live closer to downtown, quality of life is good, housing costs are quite high, you're near all the cultural destinations, and traffic is bad all the time.

There is a wiki article on Houston. Have a read through for more info.

Bink Mar 31st 2014 2:03 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198076)
Thanks for that! All kids now at uni back home, so not a problem!
On another note, I love indian cooking... Are there many indian grocery shops there? Spices are so cheap here, but not expecting them to be quite as cheap in Texas somehow!

Yes, depends where you live as to how close they are but they do exist. I have an Indo-Pak grocery store a mile or so up the road from me. Oh, and the spices aren't as cheap (nor are groceries in general IMO).

Depends what you're looking for in terms of spices - a lot of the supermarkets have a pretty decent selection of them.

DubaiCat Mar 31st 2014 2:42 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
I find the last thread extremely scary given I've never visited the States before and makes my decision that much harder! However, all views are deeply appreciated! I need to know the good, bad and ugly!

Bink Mar 31st 2014 2:48 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198170)
I find the last thread extremely scary given I've never visited the States before and makes my decision that much harder! However, all views are deeply appreciated! I need to know the good, bad and ugly!

I wouldn't let Horace the Grouch scare you - just look at his posts to see his happy outlook on life. :sarcasm:

From someone that actually lives here - I like it. If you immerse yourself in Houston, there's a lot that it can give back.

LJSassy Mar 31st 2014 2:58 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
DubaiCat

We recently moved to Houston, with children, and the gun culture was a concern before we arrived. To be honest, like anywhere, there are some places where i would not go for safety reasons. I would not let this put you off.

I've been to Dubai many times - my Dad worked there - there are not many similarities to Houston, except maybe the summer heat (Dubai is worse).

The people are really friendly, there is a good social scene, and there are a couple of good malls - no comparison to Dubai, but not many places would be. Traffic is no worse than the Sheik Zayed road during rush hour. Choose to live close to work is the best idea to avoid this issue.

It might not be pretty everywhere here, but there are some really nice looking neighbourhoods and communities and parks. We are very happy we moved our family here, and are making sure we enjoy every new experience we can.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do x

hungryhorace Mar 31st 2014 3:00 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by LJSassy (Post 11198195)
DubaiCat

We recently moved to Houston, with children, and the gun culture was a concern before we arrived. To be honest, like anywhere, there are some places where i would not go for safety reasons. I would not let this put you off.

I've been to Dubai many times - my Dad worked there - there are not many similarities to Houston, except maybe the summer heat (Dubai is worse).

The people are really friendly, there is a good social scene, and there are a couple of good malls - no comparison to Dubai, but not many places would be. Traffic is no worse than the Sheik Zayed road during rush hour. Choose to live close to work is the best idea to avoid this issue.

It might not be pretty everywhere here, but there are some really nice looking neighbourhoods and communities and parks. We are very happy we moved our family here, and are making sure we enjoy every new experience we can.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do x

See? Even a person who lives there admits the place isn't nice to look at it :)

LJSassy Mar 31st 2014 3:05 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by hungryhorace (Post 11198197)
See? Even a person who lives there admits the place isn't nice to look at it :)

True, but we still really like living here. Coming from Scotland, not many places will be as scenic by comparison, but our quality of life here is many times better.

ChocolateBabz Mar 31st 2014 3:28 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
Are any large downtown areas nice to look at?, they are all pretty much concrete jungles. We moved from Scotland too and have been here for 6 years. We love it, you can't beat sunny skies year round to lift your spirits. There's tons to do, sports, arts, beaches, parks. I am sitting on my patio this morning sipping my coffee and watching the herons on the lake outside my window (yes a man made lake but pretty nonetheless).

Yes, Texas is a big gun state and you will hear reports of gun violence but in 6 years I have never seen a gun, other than in stores for sale or strapped to a cop and never heard gunfire. I wouldn't hang around in an underpass at 2am in some areas of Houston, but I wouldn't do that in London or Aberdeen either. Use your common sense!

Plenty of indian groceries for spices with the added benefit that they sometimes stock the odd British grocery item, I have had a couple of good curry's in restaurants but they are not quite as good as a British Indian curry.

I am sure if you have a good attitude you will have a blast over here.

Suexpat Mar 31st 2014 3:30 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
I must admit that after living in most parts of the world and other parts of the US I find Houston is not the best. It may be great if you have children here but also having 2 at uni in the UK I find Houston to be extremely boring. It is also expensive to eat out or shop unless you are into outlet shopping. Yes you will live in a big house and drive a big car, the driving here is crap though, but if you want more than that Houston is not for you.

DubaiCat Mar 31st 2014 3:40 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
Thanks for all the replies! Hubby's place of work will be Sugarland and I've been thinking of us living there re commute and bad rds plus congestion.. Also read that Sugarland has a low crime rate compared to other parts of Houston. Would Prefer to live in a gated community as I do at present (not that I need to here, but would feel safer if I did in the States)! All replies are appreciated! :)

Bink Mar 31st 2014 3:46 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198266)
Thanks for all the replies! Hubby's place of work will be Sugarland and I've been thinking of us living there re commute and bad rds plus congestion.. Also read that Sugarland has a low crime rate compared to other parts of Houston. Would Prefer to live in a gated community as I do at present (not that I need to here, but would feel safer if I did in the States)! All replies are appreciated! :)

I think Sugar Land is nice. There's decent housing options in the area and I like the shops and amenities there - We would have looked closer at Sugar Land (and Katy) but wanted to try and stay within 30 minutes of inlaws which meant staying further north. If his office will be in Sugar Land then commuting shouldn't be an issue and if you're travelling outside of rush hour you'll have good access to the museum district, Hermann park, the Galleria etc.

Suexpat Mar 31st 2014 3:51 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198266)
Thanks for all the replies! Hubby's place of work will be Sugarland and I've been thinking of us living there re commute and bad rds plus congestion.. Also read that Sugarland has a low crime rate compared to other parts of Houston. Would Prefer to live in a gated community as I do at present (not that I need to here, but would feel safer if I did in the States)! All replies are appreciated! :)

If you don't have children with you then live more in Houston itself not Sugar Land. Most of the ladies that get together for coffee etc do not live in Sugar Land and they don't seem to want to drive a lot here so tend to stick to their own areas. Katy and The Woodlands are good but the commute for your husband will be too long, especially The Woodlands. I wouldn't worry about a gated community.

ChocolateBabz Mar 31st 2014 3:57 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198266)
Thanks for all the replies! Hubby's place of work will be Sugarland and I've been thinking of us living there re commute and bad rds plus congestion.. Also read that Sugarland has a low crime rate compared to other parts of Houston. Would Prefer to live in a gated community as I do at present (not that I need to here, but would feel safer if I did in the States)! All replies are appreciated! :)

Yes, if I wasn't here in Pearland, Sugarland would be one of my picks, it has a nice established feel and a lovely town center with lots of shops and restaurants. I am sure you will find a nice house down there, check out HAR.com if you haven't already. I am in a gated community (unmanned though) so although yes if someone wanted in they could tailgate a resident it cuts down on traffic significantly, also hardly ever get door to door salespeople etc.

If your hubby works in Sugarland you DO NOT want to live in Houston or his commute will be awful and you will find groups of ladies wherever you are to hang out with. You could be at my house for tea and a hobnob in 30 mins :)

rebs Mar 31st 2014 4:43 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198076)
Thanks for that! All kids now at uni back home, so not a problem!
On another note, I love indian cooking... Are there many indian grocery shops there? Spices are so cheap here, but not expecting them to be quite as cheap in Texas somehow!

If you children are of university age, you might need to consider whether on not them living with you needs to be in your plan.

I guess you are looking at a company transfer? so an L visa? If that is the case you will be able to work on an L2 but any children would not be able to work - they will also age out at 21. It might not give a lot of time for getting green cards if that is your plan.

If they are already over 21, they would not be able to be included on your husband's visa.

Leslie Mar 31st 2014 4:54 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by hungryhorace (Post 11198332)
Looks like the poll confirms that a significant amount of people feel the same as I do about Houston :)

Read the thread. It's very enlightening. And the results are indisputable. Houston is officially NOT shit. If you continue along these lines you will just be making a fool of yourself, sir.

Leslie Mar 31st 2014 5:08 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by Suexpat (Post 11198349)
No I sure wouldn't say Houston is shit. Just out of choice I wouldn't live here.

It's not my favorite city but a lot of people who post here (and live in Houston) have very happy lives. It's fair to say that it's not for everybody and since you live there you certainly can speak to that fact.

Certain other people should just stick to what they know which is actually nothing.

Weeze Mar 31st 2014 5:47 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
hi and :welcome:

Not sure anyone has pointed you to the guide to Houston yet so here it is.

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Houston,_TX

If your husband is working in a Sugarland then it would very sensible to look to live there or the surrounding area. Plenty of amenities, small town center with live concerts etc.

Regarding your questions of Indian Cooking, yes there should be something nearby to you. Or you could travel to the international area where there are plenty of Indian grocery stores.

The gun culture does get some getting used to. It's not something that I feel exposed to on a daily basis though, I certainly wouldn't let it affect by decision about whether to move or not. If you can it helped me a lot to come on a visit. I toured some houses and areas.

Sue Mar 31st 2014 6:29 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
Please lets not turn this into a discussion about gun control, or anything else that is not related to the OP's question. As it isn't helping the OP (who I might add is a new member and probably wondering what they've stumbled into ;) )and we know that any such discussion related to guns is going to go downhill fast. So please stay off gun control in this thread.

Thanks

hungryhorace Mar 31st 2014 6:43 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198170)
I find the last thread extremely scary given I've never visited the States before and makes my decision that much harder! However, all views are deeply appreciated! I need to know the good, bad and ugly!

I forgot to ask, have you actually visited where your employer are proposing to move you to? That would be top on my list of things to do if I were in your situation.

DubaiCat Mar 31st 2014 6:55 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
Hi! Yes of course a wreckie visit is planned for May. I just wanted honest opinions from fellow expats to give a full and rounded opinion as a visit is sometimes not enough. Thanks.

hungryhorace Mar 31st 2014 7:01 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198558)
Hi! Yes of course a wreckie visit is planned for May. I just wanted honest opinions from fellow expats to give a full and rounded opinion as a visit is sometimes not enough. Thanks.

I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts when you get back. What kind of salary are they proposing to move you over on out of interest? Given Dubai has stupidly high salaries, and the median wage in Houston is $42k (it's a poor city from what I gather).

Pulaski Mar 31st 2014 7:02 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198558)
Hi! Yes of course a wreckie visit is planned for May. .....

Keep your heads down, Houstonians! ..... :eek:

Vimto Mar 31st 2014 7:12 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
As someone who lived and worked in Dubai for 11 years and moved to the US over 7 years ago, let me give you a few thoughts.
Yes the traffic can be bad during rush hour but at least you will not have an SUV tailgating flashing you out of the way like happens on SZR,
there is no 'aroma' of guys in one piece overalls from the building sites,
you will have to fill up your own car,
everything that's in stock this week will be in stock at the supermarket next week,
the pork is together with the other meat, (the bacon is crap, but the ribs are excellent),
in most cases the person you are speaking in stores you will be able to understand and vica versa,
you don't have to swap the hot and cold taps over in the summer time, almost none of your electrical goods will work on US voltage and frequency and those that do will need you'll need an adapter,
you will be able to hang pictures on the wall without needing a drill,
there isn't as much tiled flooring here,
there isn't hardly any dust,
you will not miss the mosque early morning alarm call to prayer
there are real roads without having to resort to off-roading to get home
the movies are all intact (no censorship) with no subtitles
you will need to sit a driving test (no sweat though)
the paper money is all the same size and colour

I have lived and worked for prolonged periods in Texas and the gun culture you hear about is definitely not in your face, its there but not out in every public place

DubaiCat Mar 31st 2014 7:14 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
Hubby's salary is not an issue. I think Pulaski has answered my question somewhat. Kind of gather that a licence is necessary to carry a fire arm and not to be on the person? (well aware that this is not always adhered too!). I just wanted peops honest experience of this issue as having never been to the States it is a very worrying issue for me given I will have 5 children visiting us regularly.
If comments can be constructive whether positive or negative, it would be greatly appreciated :)

Pulaski Mar 31st 2014 7:26 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198597)
Hubby's salary is not an issue. I think Pulaski has answered my question somewhat. Kind of gather that a licence is necessary to carry a fire arm and not to be on the person? (well aware that this is not always adhered too!). ....

It is very easy to own a gun in Texas, as it is in most other states, but you need a permit and some rudimentary training to be allowed to carry a loaded one around, "concealed" under your jacket, in your handbag, or in the glove box of your car, or under the seat.

In most states you can "open carry" (strap a holster to the belt of your jeans, like a cowboy in a movie), but that is not legal in Texas.

I think Yorkieabroad who lives in the Houston area (I do not live in Texas) noted recently that he knows/ noticed that lots of parents "carry".

Weeze Mar 31st 2014 7:28 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
Lots of people have a concealed handgun license. Lots of people carry guns on their person. Does it affect my day to day life in Houston? No. My moms club had a moms night out to the range. Many of my mom friends have concealed handgun licenses.

Given that Houston is so heavily involved in oil, of course it's polarized. If you are in the industry there are is a very high salary. There are the amenities to support that salary.

Suexpat Mar 31st 2014 7:31 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by Weeze (Post 11198629)
Lots of people have a concealed handgun license. Lots of people carry guns on their person. Does it affect my day to day life in Houston? No. My moms club had a moms night out to the range. Many of my mom friends have concealed handgun licenses.

Given that Houston is so heavily involved in oil, of course it's polarized. If you are in the industry there are is a very high salary. There are the amenities to support that salary.

What amenities are there in Houston to support a high salary?

DubaiCat Mar 31st 2014 7:37 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
Ok. I'm confused! Concealed hand gun licence? Is this different to a normal licence? :confused:

Pulaski Mar 31st 2014 7:40 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198647)
Ok. I'm confused! Concealed hand gun licence? Is this different to a normal licence? :confused:

From what I understand, as I don't live in Texas, you do not need a license to buy and own a gun. Texas is not unique, though in most states you do need some sort of license or permit to buy/ own a gun.

You do need a license to tote a loaded gun around with you, in Texas, and all other states that allow concealed carry, which in theory is now, I think, all 50 states and DC.

Weeze Mar 31st 2014 7:40 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by Suexpat (Post 11198633)
What amenities are there in Houston to support a high salary?

Off the top of my head, luxury shopping, boutique spas and hotels, golf courses, theaters....

Weeze Mar 31st 2014 7:41 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198647)
Ok. I'm confused! Concealed hand gun licence? Is this different to a normal licence? :confused:

http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/rsd/chl/

DubaiCat Mar 31st 2014 7:45 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
Guys! I just want to know the law on gun control in Houston as petrified re the very thought of peops walking around with 'concealed weapons'
Any person in the law or police out there, let me know. Just wanting facts guys p;)

Weeze Mar 31st 2014 7:49 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198663)
Guys! I just want to know the law on gun control in Houston as petrified re the very thought of peops walking around with 'concealed weapons'
Any person in the law or police out there, let me know. Just wanting facts guys p;)

The link above is to the regulations.

Pulaski Mar 31st 2014 7:51 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198663)
Guys! I just want to know the law on gun control in Houston as petrified re the very thought of peops walking around with 'concealed weapons'
Any person in the law or police out there, let me know. Just wanting facts guys p;)

It's not a police question. The ARE many people carrying a gun in their shoulder holster, pocket, or hand bag. By many, I mean hundreds of thousands in Texas alone.

It is probably fewer (proportionally) in NC where I live than in Texas, but still very common. In twelve years I have never seen a non-police officer draw a gun. I just know that people have them, including some of my colleagues. It is not a problem, but if you're a worrier it could gnaw away at your nerves.

ETA: As at Jan 2013 there were 584,000 concealed carry permits in Texas, or 2.2% of the population. The corresponding data in North Carolina is 228,000 ccp's, or 2.3% of the population, so actually a HIGHER proportion than Texas. It still isn't a problem that I spend much time thinking about though.

DubaiCat Mar 31st 2014 8:06 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 
No need to ban anyone! Just asking re the law given worried, and an ex lawyer myself.... Downgraded now to trailing spouse!!!

mathai Mar 31st 2014 8:09 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by hungryhorace (Post 11198134)
Having visited Houston I can safely inform you that it is an *absolute* shit hole. You are going to be deeply depressed moving to such a deprived area given where you currently reside.

re gun culture, well you're moving to the state where guns can be open carried. I found Texas to be utterly boring when I have visited. Stay where you are is my advice.



I live in sugar land matey, the average cost of houses there are over half a million dollars minimum.
There are shit holes in every city in the UK.
Houston has the best medical center in the world bar none, reasonable cost of living, excellent restaurants multicultural excellent schools.
Lets be a little more objective when passing blanket comments.
Cheers!

mathai Mar 31st 2014 8:14 pm

Re: British expat relocating from Dubai to Houston,Texas
 

Originally Posted by DubaiCat (Post 11198266)
Thanks for all the replies! Hubby's place of work will be Sugarland and I've been thinking of us living there re commute and bad rds plus congestion.. Also read that Sugarland has a low crime rate compared to other parts of Houston. Would Prefer to live in a gated community as I do at present (not that I need to here, but would feel safer if I did in the States)! All replies are appreciated! :)


I live in sugar land, great place absolutely love it.
House prices rising and probably the highest in Texas. fanstastic schools, multicultural excellent restaurants.
Voted second or third best place to live in teh US.
Can discuss further if you like. Private mesage me.


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