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-   -   What's your story? (https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/whats-your-story-710974/)

Infowarrior Mar 26th 2011 9:52 pm

What's your story?
 
Hello guys.

I just thought it might be interesting to start a thread where you can share your stories on how you got to the USA, or for those who haven't made it yet a progress update. And for those who've been in the USA a long time, how you feel about your decision now.

I'll start, my story isn't that exciting really but... it was 2008 when I realised that the USA was where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Things here in the UK have been winding me up for years and I couldn't really put my finger on why until I visited the USA.

It seemed that for the first time I could go visit a bar or restaurant and not feel like I've been ripped off. I could buy clothes and electronics without paying the 'Britain tax'. The first time I filled up my rental car tank for $20 was awesome. And of course, they love the accent which I assume helps to open doors. Oh and the California weather, wow!

It was just so refreshing to be away from our nanny state and to experience a culture that doesn't rely on government hand outs to exist. It seems here in the UK we are virtually taxed out of existence. Just the other day they threw us a bone in the budget, 1p off petrol which most garages haven't even bothered passing on to the motorist. I don't know, perhaps I read too many newspapers but everything about this country just winds me up!!

Anyway I was over in CA on a work visa for a few months and got a feel for the culture and was very unhappy to return to England which was an inevitability that could not be put off any further. On the flipside I did get romantically involved with a very nice young lady out there during that time and I returned about a month later for a wonderful Xmas holiday in Santa Cruz with her.

Seeing as she had just left her job I offered to let her stay with me in England for a couple of months. She flew out a couple of weeks after I left with the intention of staying two months then flying back. Well as it turned out, she never actually left! We ended up getting married nearly two years ago and filed for my green card a few months later.

Well, 1.5 years of waiting and the green card was received last week. My application was a fiasco start to finish thanks to my US immigration attorney. Now we're about to make that momentous decision to emigrate. We have so much to do before then its really daunting. So here we are now in a house full of cardboard boxes struggling to decide on exactly what date we ship ourselves and our two kittens out of here!

Hopefully it will not be a decision I come to regret, I'm very positive about the leap that we are about to make. I have only really my family here that I'll miss but I know a 13 hour plane journey is something I can only do so often.

Over to you...

marketlegend Mar 27th 2011 12:47 am

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by Infowarrior (Post 9266539)
Hello guys.

I just thought it might be interesting to start a thread where you can share your stories on how you got to the USA, or for those who haven't made it yet a progress update. And for those who've been in the USA a long time, how you feel about your decision now.

I'll start, my story isn't that exciting really but... it was 2008 when I realised that the USA was where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Things here in the UK have been winding me up for years and I couldn't really put my finger on why until I visited the USA.

It seemed that for the first time I could go visit a bar or restaurant and not feel like I've been ripped off. I could buy clothes and electronics without paying the 'Britain tax'. The first time I filled up my rental car tank for $20 was awesome. And of course, they love the accent which I assume helps to open doors. Oh and the California weather, wow!

It was just so refreshing to be away from our nanny state and to experience a culture that doesn't rely on government hand outs to exist. It seems here in the UK we are virtually taxed out of existence. Just the other day they threw us a bone in the budget, 1p off petrol which most garages haven't even bothered passing on to the motorist. I don't know, perhaps I read too many newspapers but everything about this country just winds me up!!

Anyway I was over in CA on a work visa for a few months and got a feel for the culture and was very unhappy to return to England which was an inevitability that could not be put off any further. On the flipside I did get romantically involved with a very nice young lady out there during that time and I returned about a month later for a wonderful Xmas holiday in Santa Cruz with her.

Seeing as she had just left her job I offered to let her stay with me in England for a couple of months. She flew out a couple of weeks after I left with the intention of staying two months then flying back. Well as it turned out, she never actually left! We ended up getting married nearly two years ago and filed for my green card a few months later.

Well, 1.5 years of waiting and the green card was received last week. My application was a fiasco start to finish thanks to my US immigration attorney. Now we're about to make that momentous decision to emigrate. We have so much to do before then its really daunting. So here we are now in a house full of cardboard boxes struggling to decide on exactly what date we ship ourselves and our two kittens out of here!

Hopefully it will not be a decision I come to regret, I'm very positive about the leap that we are about to make. I have only really my family here that I'll miss but I know a 13 hour plane journey is something I can only do so often.

Over to you...

After living here for almost a decade blighty isn't that bad, it's just the people that run it who are clueless interfering morons who are out of touch with the general public! I split my time between the US and GB and love and hate them both equally lol
One thing i do prefer about the states is the fact it is nothing to do with the EU and it is far away from France haha

Cape Blue Mar 27th 2011 1:15 am

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by Infowarrior (Post 9266539)
Hello guys.

I just thought it might be interesting to start a thread where you can share your stories on how you got to the USA, or for those who haven't made it yet a progress update. And for those who've been in the USA a long time, how you feel about your decision now.

I'll start, my story isn't that exciting really but... it was 2008 when I realised that the USA was where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Things here in the UK have been winding me up for years and I couldn't really put my finger on why until I visited the USA.

It seemed that for the first time I could go visit a bar or restaurant and not feel like I've been ripped off. I could buy clothes and electronics without paying the 'Britain tax'. The first time I filled up my rental car tank for $20 was awesome. And of course, they love the accent which I assume helps to open doors. Oh and the California weather, wow!

It was just so refreshing to be away from our nanny state and to experience a culture that doesn't rely on government hand outs to exist. It seems here in the UK we are virtually taxed out of existence. Just the other day they threw us a bone in the budget, 1p off petrol which most garages haven't even bothered passing on to the motorist. I don't know, perhaps I read too many newspapers but everything about this country just winds me up!!

Anyway I was over in CA on a work visa for a few months and got a feel for the culture and was very unhappy to return to England which was an inevitability that could not be put off any further. On the flipside I did get romantically involved with a very nice young lady out there during that time and I returned about a month later for a wonderful Xmas holiday in Santa Cruz with her.

Seeing as she had just left her job I offered to let her stay with me in England for a couple of months. She flew out a couple of weeks after I left with the intention of staying two months then flying back. Well as it turned out, she never actually left! We ended up getting married nearly two years ago and filed for my green card a few months later.

Well, 1.5 years of waiting and the green card was received last week. My application was a fiasco start to finish thanks to my US immigration attorney. Now we're about to make that momentous decision to emigrate. We have so much to do before then its really daunting. So here we are now in a house full of cardboard boxes struggling to decide on exactly what date we ship ourselves and our two kittens out of here!

Hopefully it will not be a decision I come to regret, I'm very positive about the leap that we are about to make. I have only really my family here that I'll miss but I know a 13 hour plane journey is something I can only do so often.

Over to you...

It's quite normal for those intending to leave a country to start finding holes in it and whinging about taxes and politicians - but you do realize you are moving to California right? Give it 12 months and you'll be complaining about the taxes, lack of healthcare, gas prices and inept politics here. Wait till you see the property taxes over here when you look to buy a place - a nice 3 bed house in Santa Cruz at $700K will cost you around $700 pcm in property tax.

I find people who abuse the benefits system to be equally bad as those who avoid paying their dues in the first place and try to leg it without paying their taxes ;) In the UK you pay your tax but you have a social safety net, in the US that net is a lot thinner - its amazing how many people get bankrupted over healthcare etc - something that is not an issue in the UK with their.

SF Bay Area, including Santa Cruz etc is a great place to live, but not cheap, good luck with your move.

Jools-Ann Mar 27th 2011 1:17 am

Re: What's your story?
 
We have been here in GA 6 months and love it. Our story started 13 years ago! My now husband applied for his green card with his previous partner before he met me. His sister is a US citizen. Ten years later the case came up and we nearly missed the boat. In spite of notifying US Immigration of a new UK address, they sent it to our old one and the new owner binned the paperwork as she didn't think it was important!!

One year later my hubby's sister called US Immigration to find out what was happening and they informed her they were about to close the file as they had not heard back from us! We were on vacation in the Maldives at the time so when we got back to the UK we each had 5 voicemails on our mobiles from his sister begging us to contact her! It then took a further 2 years to sort out the green cards and sell our house in the UK. But it all came together and now we are here. I was made redundant in March last year but wasn't worried as I got enough of a pay out to tide me over for a year. Hubby resigned his job and we decided to come over and give it 6 months. Now, 6 months on, we both have excellent jobs, both have cars and have just moved into our own house. We feel very lucky that it all fell in place for us.

Would we go back to the UK, hell no!

Derrygal Mar 27th 2011 2:08 am

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by Infowarrior (Post 9266539)
Hello guys.

I just thought it might be interesting to start a thread where you can share your stories on how you got to the USA, or for those who haven't made it yet a progress update. And for those who've been in the USA a long time, how you feel about your decision now.

I'll start, my story isn't that exciting really but... it was 2008 when I realised that the USA was where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Things here in the UK have been winding me up for years and I couldn't really put my finger on why until I visited the USA.

It seemed that for the first time I could go visit a bar or restaurant and not feel like I've been ripped off. I could buy clothes and electronics without paying the 'Britain tax'. The first time I filled up my rental car tank for $20 was awesome. And of course, they love the accent which I assume helps to open doors. Oh and the California weather, wow!

It was just so refreshing to be away from our nanny state and to experience a culture that doesn't rely on government hand outs to exist. It seems here in the UK we are virtually taxed out of existence. Just the other day they threw us a bone in the budget, 1p off petrol which most garages haven't even bothered passing on to the motorist. I don't know, perhaps I read too many newspapers but everything about this country just winds me up!!Anyway I was over in CA on a work visa for a few months and got a feel for the culture and was very unhappy to return to England which was an inevitability that could not be put off any further. On the flipside I did get romantically involved with a very nice young lady out there during that time and I returned about a month later for a wonderful Xmas holiday in Santa Cruz with her.

Seeing as she had just left her job I offered to let her stay with me in England for a couple of months. She flew out a couple of weeks after I left with the intention of staying two months then flying back. Well as it turned out, she never actually left! We ended up getting married nearly two years ago and filed for my green card a few months later.

Well, 1.5 years of waiting and the green card was received last week. My application was a fiasco start to finish thanks to my US immigration attorney. Now we're about to make that momentous decision to emigrate. We have so much to do before then its really daunting. So here we are now in a house full of cardboard boxes struggling to decide on exactly what date we ship ourselves and our two kittens out of here!

Hopefully it will not be a decision I come to regret, I'm very positive about the leap that we are about to make. I have only really my family here that I'll miss but I know a 13 hour plane journey is something I can only do so often.

Over to you...


Originally Posted by Jools-Ann (Post 9266770)
We have been here in GA 6 months and love it. Our story started 13 years ago! My now husband applied for his green card with his previous partner before he met me. His sister is a US citizen. Ten years later the case came up and we nearly missed the boat. In spite of notifying US Immigration of a new UK address, they sent it to our old one and the new owner binned the paperwork as she didn't think it was important!!

One year later my hubby's sister called US Immigration to find out what was happening and they informed her they were about to close the file as they had not heard back from us! We were on vacation in the Maldives at the time so when we got back to the UK we each had 5 voicemails on our mobiles from his sister begging us to contact her! It then took a further 2 years to sort out the green cards and sell our house in the UK. But it all came together and now we are here. I was made redundant in March last year but wasn't worried as I got enough of a pay out to tide me over for a year. Hubby resigned his job and we decided to come over and give it 6 months. Now, 6 months on, we both have excellent jobs, both have cars and have just moved into our own house. We feel very lucky that it all fell in place for us.

Would we go back to the UK, hell no!



The US is okay if you have a good job and good health insurance - if you don't you're screwed - and that's the way it is - sounds like you're both in the "honeymoon phase" here right now. Hope it works out for both of you, but don't be too quick to criticize the UK. At least there is a safety net there if you lose your job. It's now all bad there - and it's not all wonderful here either.

Sally Redux Mar 27th 2011 2:31 am

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by Jools-Ann (Post 9266770)
Would we go back to the UK, hell no!

Unless something goes wrong :rolleyes:

C_C Mar 27th 2011 10:56 am

Re: What's your story?
 
We're about to move to the US (Southern California) in early June this year.
My husband is American and I'm moving over with him on a spouse visa (to become a green card once inside the country). Our visa process went quite smoothly and took 6 months (we did it all in the UK, as he's been living here for the past 4 years). At the moment we're shutting down our life in the UK and getting ready to go. I'm not originally from the UK, so for me it's not the first time I'm moving away from "my country", but in my 4 years here I've made some good friends who I'm definitely going to miss, and I'm also going to miss some amazing work colleagues (although not my actual job :p).

I like to think that I'm not moving over with rose tinted glasses, although I certainly love the place (have been there twice for about a month each time - but yes, I know, visiting is very different to living somewhere :p).
I'm not looking forward to the California taxes (which outrage me as much as the UK taxes do :p). I'm not happy about house prices over there - although, to be fair, the same money that can buy you a 3-bedroom house over there would buy you a 3-bedroom apartment in London (at best), so it's still much better value for money. And I'm not looking forward to the costs of health care either (which hubby and I will be paying ourselves as we're setting up our own business and will be getting small group coverage - so no employer paying for our health care :(). Speaking of health care, I feel half optimistic and half skeptical about the impact of Obamacare reforms from 2014 onwards. While it's great that pre-existing conditions won't be an issue anymore for coverage, I'm terribly concerned that this may make the already high premiums simply unaffordable. Making everyone purchase health coverage by law is one way of trying to keep premiums from going up to extortionate levels, but I have my doubts as to how this is going to work in practice.

On the other hand, I simply can't wait for the Southern California weather which is so similar to that of my home country, and which I've missed so much living in the UK in the past 4 years. I'm looking forward to a better lifestyle thanks to that and the sheer amount of space that we'll be enjoying over there, which - quite frankly - can't be found in any European city. I'm thrilled about the potential for outdoor activities we'll be able to enjoy there which we've been forced to reduce in the UK, due to the unpredictability of the weather.
And while taxes and living costs can still be high over there, the truth is that earnings are generally quite higher than in the UK and the cost of living is relatively cheaper in general, therefore your money in the US takes you further than in the UK. I also dare say that, although the US has definitely lost some of its past glory in recent years, it still is "a land of opportunity" in the sense that you're much more likely to get out as much as you put in in effort, much more so than in most other places in the world.

Infowarrior Mar 27th 2011 12:02 pm

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by Cape Blue (Post 9266768)
I find people who abuse the benefits system to be equally bad as those who avoid paying their dues in the first place and try to leg it without paying their taxes ;)

Heh, I see what you did there. In my case they're trying to screw me on a technicality which means that they want me to pay almost double. If they were being reasonable I'd pay as I've done in the past. As it is I say screw them!

But yes I am sure in time I'll be complaining about CA, the place is virtually bankrupt so I'm sure something is going to give sooner or later. I do tend to find it easy to find things to complain about too, perhaps I am just a grumpy old man.

I realise that I'm looking at the thing with rose tinted specs right now, but to be honest I can't help it.

Thanks for all the replies so far, very interesting! :)

Infowarrior Mar 27th 2011 12:06 pm

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by Jools-Ann (Post 9266770)
We have been here in GA 6 months and love it. Our story started 13 years ago! My now husband applied for his green card with his previous partner before he met me. His sister is a US citizen. Ten years later the case came up and we nearly missed the boat. In spite of notifying US Immigration of a new UK address, they sent it to our old one and the new owner binned the paperwork as she didn't think it was important!!

Wow, I'd been thinking about applying to get my sister a green card but I'm not sure if she can wait 12 years. Is that typical for sibling visas?

tonrob Mar 27th 2011 12:12 pm

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by Infowarrior (Post 9266539)
It seemed that for the first time I could go visit a bar or restaurant and not feel like I've been ripped off. I could buy clothes and electronics without paying the 'Britain tax'. The first time I filled up my rental car tank for $20 was awesome. And of course, they love the accent which I assume helps to open doors. Oh and the California weather, wow!

It was just so refreshing to be away from our nanny state and to experience a culture that doesn't rely on government hand outs to exist. It seems here in the UK we are virtually taxed out of existence. Just the other day they threw us a bone in the budget, 1p off petrol which most garages haven't even bothered passing on to the motorist. I don't know, perhaps I read too many newspapers but everything about this country just winds me up!!

This bit made me laugh/cringe. Word of advice - if you bang on like this on here you will come across as a right plonker (which you're probably not). Wait until you've spend more than five minutes in the US and then come back with a balanced comparison. Plenty to feel ripped off about in the USA that doesn't get reported in the Daily Mail.

tonrob Mar 27th 2011 12:14 pm

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by Infowarrior (Post 9267354)
Wow, I'd been thinking about applying to get my sister a green card but I'm not sure if she can wait 12 years. Is that typical for sibling visas?

It's a moving target, but if not 12 then still closer to that number than zero from where you stand now.

Infowarrior Mar 27th 2011 12:32 pm

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by tonrob (Post 9267361)
This bit made me laugh/cringe. Word of advice - if you bang on like this on here you will come across as a right plonker (which you're probably not). Wait until you've spend more than five minutes in the US and then come back with a balanced comparison. Plenty to feel ripped off about in the USA that doesn't get reported in the Daily Mail.

Thanks, I'm not planning on spouting about the UK when I'm over there. I've lived there for several months on a work assignment although I didn't have any exposure to taxes, property or otherwise out there. Way I see it is worst case scenario I'll be paying roughly the same as in the UK but will have a better standard of living, plus weather!

In fact, already had an experience of being ripped off. We applied for a credit card in my USC wife's name, went for one of those 'credit builder' cards can't remember what bank it was, First Premier or something. Anyway, the card arrives with a $250 limit with fees tacked on for opening the account. The upshot of this is that we had I think $90 available for use plus some ridiculous APR and monthly fees on top of that!

Basically I just paid it off and closed the account there and then. You'd probably not get away with that sort of practice in the UK.

tonrob Mar 27th 2011 12:52 pm

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by Infowarrior (Post 9267394)
Thanks, I'm not planning on spouting about the UK when I'm over there. I've lived there for several months on a work assignment although I didn't have any exposure to taxes, property or otherwise out there. Way I see it is worst case scenario I'll be paying roughly the same as in the UK but will have a better standard of living, plus weather!

In fact, already had an experience of being ripped off. We applied for a credit card in my USC wife's name, went for one of those 'credit builder' cards can't remember what bank it was, First Premier or something. Anyway, the card arrives with a $250 limit with fees tacked on for opening the account. The upshot of this is that we had I think $90 available for use plus some ridiculous APR and monthly fees on top of that!

Basically I just paid it off and closed the account there and then. You'd probably not get away with that sort of practice in the UK.

Yes - no "nanny state" here to protect you. Regulation around consumer rights/protection (and the same as an employee for that matter) tend to be either non-existent or a complete joke. You will be astounded what companies can get away with here that wouldn't fly in the UK. You really do need to read the small print and not make any assumptions based on a UK-centric frame of reference.

Regarding standard of living being better - that statement seems a bit of a stretch given that you're not here and set up yet. I'd be interested to see if you still make that statement a year from now. Many people have improved their standard of living compared to the UK, and for many others the complete opposite is true.

Infowarrior Mar 27th 2011 1:05 pm

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by tonrob (Post 9267431)
Yes - no "nanny state" here to protect you. Regulation around consumer rights/protection (and the same as an employee for that matter) tend to be either non-existent or a complete joke. You will be astounded what companies can get away with here that wouldn't fly in the UK. You really do need to read the small print and not make any assumptions based on a UK-centric frame of reference.

Regarding standard of living being better - that statement seems a bit of a stretch given that you're not here and set up yet. I'd be interested to see if you still make that statement a year from now. Many people have improved their standard of living compared to the UK, and for many others the complete opposite is true.

Yes I'll admit I went for that credit card without reading any small print, assuming that it would be the same as here. I sure got a nasty surprise when it arrived. As for the standard of living thing, by that I refer to even the little things like being able to actually park outside a store I want to visit and the concept of customer service etc.

I guess you are right, I shall reassess the situation a year from now.

tonrob Mar 27th 2011 1:18 pm

Re: What's your story?
 

Originally Posted by Infowarrior (Post 9267449)
Yes I'll admit I went for that credit card without reading any small print, assuming that it would be the same as here. I sure got a nasty surprise when it arrived. As for the standard of living thing, by that I refer to even the little things like being able to actually park outside a store I want to visit and the concept of customer service etc.

I guess you are right, I shall reassess the situation a year from now.

Oh boy are you in for a shock! :lol:


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