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What's your story?

What's your story?

Old Mar 27th 2011, 6:47 pm
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Default Re: What's your story?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
Oh boy are you in for a shock!
If I was spoiling for a fight this morning, I'd pick this one.

I suppose everyone has their individual definition of customer service.
BUT, we are not going to jack this thread. Back to the stories, and all you oldies, try and tap into some of the optimism and excitement of a newcomer. It might be good for you. You don't have to point out to them that their opinions might change after arrival; everyone knows that intellectually. Right now, movers are in a state of emotional excitement. Why not let them enjoy it.
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Old Mar 27th 2011, 7:08 pm
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Default Re: What's your story?

Originally Posted by Infowarrior View Post

Over to you...

You can read my Blog if you want to know my story

It has been 22 years now since we arrived and life has certainly got a lot easier from our first few years here but all the same it is still worrisome especially the cost health wise.

I don't regret the move, it has been quite a journey and I really feel this is home now but I do still miss a lot about the UK. You will find there are pro's and con's for both places!

Good luck to you on your new life!
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Old Mar 27th 2011, 7:33 pm
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Default Re: What's your story?

I would be considered a newbie in the US - having only got off the plane exactly one month and a day ago.

Both myself and my wife work for the same company, and both had the opportunity job wise with our company of moving to the US office - which we grabbed - and 6 months later with our L-1B Visas in our passports we're here. Only last Friday did we receive our SSN - next step driving license. Next Wednesday we're supposed to be closing on our house (now a reality we have our SSN!) which is quite ludicrously 4 times the size of our house in the UK but only about 10% more expensive (it has 4 floors, a dedicated home cinema, and the sellers are leaving pretty much everything because they are downgrading). So our standard of living I would say has definitely increased.

Our kids are about 100 times happier with the schools they are in compared to the UK, but I think that's because its easier work wise for them, more homework but they have made some very good friends which helps.

Health care - we have already found - is a major downer - my pay packet monthly has a massive HSA black hole - which I hope will be filled quickly and NOBODY in our family gets ill. But hey, at least we have pretty good insurance which covers pretty much everything 100% apart from our enormous HSA deductible (hey ho!).

If you are going to buy a house - btw - make sure you have 20% deposit - anything less and the lender will shove their own mortgage insurance on!

The amount of choice, grocery/electrical/restaurants is fantastic, and to be able to drive up and park up right outside I agree is great. It's the little local places you need to scout out - we found a great little Indian Restaurant, that when they find out your British they do "British" curry!!

Still, as a Brit, I find it embarrassing tipping, and still haven't figured it out right - I don't mind the fact that you have to, it's just if you forget your change, or you don't tip the "expected" amount it's means your a deadbeat, have been really rude and don't show your face again!!

I will have to post once we have our new house and driving license, then I guess the "holiday" will be over and we'll call it home - living in rented houses and living out of a suitcase (our household stuff is still on the Atlantic) doesn't help!!
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Old Mar 27th 2011, 7:33 pm
  #19  
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Default Re: What's your story?

I left the UK in 1983, when things were much as they are today (difficult to get a job as a newly-minted PE teacher, I went through three years of temporary work until I eventually got a PE job in the Bahamas).

In 1990 decided to go back to school and so began a 6-year postgrad experience that was absolutely fascinating and changed my life. I also spent 9 years teaching college which was also a very rewarding, fulfilling experience.

For me, the best parts of being in the States were the positive, can-do attitude, the consistent lack of rain, and (I thought) the better standard of living (since moving back I'd say there's not much in it, generally, depending on your housing situation).

I will never regret my US experience and in fact have been trying to get back for a while now. I was lucky to have institutional health coverage, but I think my biggest concerns have been the lack of health care for others and the ultra-conservative politics. But heck, you can't have it all.
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Old Mar 27th 2011, 7:35 pm
  #20  
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Default Re: What's your story?

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
If I was spoiling for a fight this morning, I'd pick this one.

I suppose everyone has their individual definition of customer service.
BUT, we are not going to jack this thread. Back to the stories, and all you oldies, try and tap into some of the optimism and excitement of a newcomer. It might be good for you. You don't have to point out to them that their opinions might change after arrival; everyone knows that intellectually. Right now, movers are in a state of emotional excitement. Why not let them enjoy it.
The place this came from was not about pissing on OP's excitement, moreso a reaction to the 'slagging off the UK' element in the belief that the US is somehow better (it isn't - it's just different).
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Old Mar 27th 2011, 7:39 pm
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Default Re: What's your story?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
The place this came from was not about pissing on OP's excitement, moreso a reaction to the 'slagging off the UK' element in the belief that the US is somehow better (it isn't - it's just different).
I know, mine was a general comment.
xx
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 1:32 am
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Default Re: What's your story?

Derrygal, I didn't criticize the UK, I just said hell I wouldn't go back, not unless I absolutely had to, I have no reason to. Both countries in my opinion have good and bad points. I lived near London in the UK, traffic was a nightmare, now I live just outside Atlanta, and guess what, traffic is a nightmare!! I knew that was going to be the case, I don't like it but deal with it. The weather is still better (apart from the tornadoes!), I have more living space, my job is much better than the one I had in the UK and is with a very large company with prospects, I recognize and appreciate that I have been very lucky in that respect. And our money does go further. Granted I know I could be fired tomorrow, but I will try my best to perform in a manner that means I stay. Banking practices in our experience are a little archaic, we are with BoA. Another thing we discovered, I bought a brand new car a month ago and the interest rate and term changed the next day in spite of me signing the paperwork. I don't think that would happen in the UK. Going from 30 days holiday not including sick days to 16 days including sick days was a bit of a shock too even though we had been warned. We also know the issues around healthcare and how important good insurance is.

Both me and my husband are realists. We want to make the best of it here and will try our best to work out solutions to problems before quitting. Sally Redux, it would have to be a really big something go wrong for us to go back, not because we hate the UK, but because we want to make our life here work. I don't think we are in the honeymoon phase, that was the first 3 months when we weren't working, it was like being on vacation. Now we work 8-5 Monday to Friday, we have a house to run, we have bills to pay, just like life in the UK, just in a different country with a better standard of living in our case. The honeymoon is definitely over for us!
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 2:50 am
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Default Re: What's your story?

Originally Posted by Jools-Ann View Post
Derrygal, I didn't criticize the UK, I just said hell I wouldn't go back, not unless I absolutely had to, I have no reason to. Both countries in my opinion have good and bad points. I lived near London in the UK, traffic was a nightmare, now I live just outside Atlanta, and guess what, traffic is a nightmare!! I knew that was going to be the case, I don't like it but deal with it. The weather is still better (apart from the tornadoes!), I have more living space, my job is much better than the one I had in the UK and is with a very large company with prospects, I recognize and appreciate that I have been very lucky in that respect. And our money does go further. Granted I know I could be fired tomorrow, but I will try my best to perform in a manner that means I stay. Banking practices in our experience are a little archaic, we are with BoA. Another thing we discovered, I bought a brand new car a month ago and the interest rate and term changed the next day in spite of me signing the paperwork. I don't think that would happen in the UK. Going from 30 days holiday not including sick days to 16 days including sick days was a bit of a shock too even though we had been warned. We also know the issues around healthcare and how important good insurance is.

Both me and my husband are realists. We want to make the best of it here and will try our best to work out solutions to problems before quitting. Sally Redux, it would have to be a really big something go wrong for us to go back, not because we hate the UK, but because we want to make our life here work. I don't think we are in the honeymoon phase, that was the first 3 months when we weren't working, it was like being on vacation. Now we work 8-5 Monday to Friday, we have a house to run, we have bills to pay, just like life in the UK, just in a different country with a better standard of living in our case. The honeymoon is definitely over for us!
Actually you've done very well for vacation for a newcomer. A lot of American firms make their employees work a full year to get one week off - I kid you not!! I get 3 weeks - but I have been with this company 12 years - it took me 10 years tenure to get the 3 weeks!! All the best to you - I used to live in Georgia - but not in the Atlanta area. I lived in a very small town with one high school in the Bible Belt!! Very different from the UK - I was there for 3 years - a long time ago.
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 4:16 am
  #24  
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Default Re: What's your story?

Okay, I've been here a year. It has been far from an easy move and although we've come a long way (in every sense), I wouldn't call the USA home yet.

We came over because of my husband's job. It was a very difficult decision because I had a good job and had also just been offered my dream job. The actual process from it first being mooted to actually getting here took a year. The paperwork was relatively straighforward, at least until we got here.

The first few weeks were an exciting time of finding our way around, passing the driving test, buying a car, skiing etc etc. After the initial whirlwind reality started to kick in. We had to return to the UK after three months to get new visas. Seeing our UK house again was upsetting, as it was beautiful and it brought home that we were living in a small, basic and expensive condo with very few of our own possessions. We also became aware that selling our UK house was going to be a slow process because the economy was in such dire straits. Our quality of life in the UK had been great, but in the US it was pretty poor. We literally lived for the weekends, as hubby works horrendous hours during the week. Bureaucracy started to let us down too, as we discovered we'd been misinformed by the lawyers about my EAD. It took months to sort out, and in fact I only received my EAD last week.

Getting UK visitors really helped, and we did road trips with them which were great. We decided early on that we would go home for Christmas, which was absolutely the right thing to do. We managed to sell our house so the Christmas trip coincided with packing and shipping our stuff. That was hard work, but it all seemed worth it when we found a house to buy over here just days after getting back. All was great until we got the inspection done, which was a total horror story and we had to pull out. Since then, we've been actively looking at houses but there isn't anything out there that works for us which is especially annoying when you're paying hundreds of dollars each month to store your stuff.

This sounds like it's all doom and gloom but it's not. Admittedly, I've lived in our condo for a year but can't call it home - at best, I refer to it as the apartment. The town we live in is nice enough. Tax is fairly low (although they raised it recently which is annoying). I have made one very good friend who is also an expat. The skiing is fantastic which has undoubtedly been the highlight of my year.

I've never been one to think of the USA as some sort of utopia. Blighty has an awful lot going for it and I think it will always be home. The customer service thing here is a bit of an urban myth. It's generally fine, but I don't think it's any better than the UK and sometimes it's worse. The weather is good here but I do miss the rain. I miss having decent roads (especially rural roads) as I loved driving back home - here it's just dull, frustrating and the standard of driving where we live is shocking. The healthcare we've utilised here is poorer than in the UK. The culture is old-fashioned which is both a good and a bad thing. I don't have a job and have no idea what I'll end up doing, as the plans I had in the UK are only open to citizens here.

In saying that, overall this has been life-enhancing experience. Yes it could have been easier but I'm hopeful it will become so in time. But I certainly don't expect or plan to be here forever.
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 4:56 am
  #25  
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Default Re: What's your story?

the nanny state thing isnt so with medicine. I had 2 kids in the uk and 1 here and found the pregnancy and labour system here to be far more decided by some bigwig consultant from up high and automated to be done 'THE' way - far far more than the UK.

I was shocked by the lack of consumer protection - ie the lies that are able to be told and misleading stuff that is just 'normal' here is just such a waste of time - but i guess some people fall for it or it wouldnt be so popular.

I was shocked by the lack of pavements etc- but then when i realised how far some places are (ie places are genuinely spread out and at much greater distances apart than in the uk towns) that who really is going to walk that far anyway? (besides its often baking roasting hot here in the summer - or knee deep in snow most of the winter so walking isnt a year round activity like it is in the UK). Cities are the same here and there but the burbs are different. The lack of traffic here and straight roads was a refreshing change after driving around greater London for years.

I do find it very confusing the 'im alright Jack' attitude is so prevelent with a nation that supposedly is very godly. It doesnt make sense to me. I dont want a nanny state by any means but would want to ensure a very basic standard of health care and education for all. It just seems so shortsighted to keep large parts of the population poorly educated.
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 11:42 am
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Default Re: What's your story?

Originally Posted by Hawkini View Post

If you are going to buy a house - btw - make sure you have 20% deposit - anything less and the lender will shove their own mortgage insurance on!

The amount of choice, grocery/electrical/restaurants is fantastic, and to be able to drive up and park up right outside I agree is great. It's the little local places you need to scout out - we found a great little Indian Restaurant, that when they find out your British they do "British" curry!!
Thank you for your great story! I am just wondering, since I have only been to one Indian restaurant in the US how a British curry differs from a US one? I have to admit the quality was a bit lacking and there was no mango chutney provided with my poppadoms (my favourite appetizer).

But aside from that I can't remember, it was years ago. I think I'm going to miss a decent curry; Mexican food seems to take the place of curry over there at least in CA and I really don't like it.

But on the other hand my wife is a great cook and she has an Indian recipe book!
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 11:50 am
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Default Re: What's your story?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
The place this came from was not about pissing on OP's excitement, moreso a reaction to the 'slagging off the UK' element in the belief that the US is somehow better (it isn't - it's just different).
Just don't like it here anymore, anything has to be better than here right now. I've thought long and hard recently about what I'll miss when I leave and apart from my family, my list features two items: Peperami's and the quintessential British country pub.

It seems to be quite a prevalent opinion too. Whenever my wife opens her mouth here and people notice she's American the second question (after asking if she's Canadian) is virtually always "what on earth are you doing here then?".
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 12:33 pm
  #28  
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Default Re: What's your story?

Originally Posted by Infowarrior View Post
Thank you for your great story! I am just wondering, since I have only been to one Indian restaurant in the US how a British curry differs from a US one? I have to admit the quality was a bit lacking and there was no mango chutney provided with my poppadoms (my favourite appetizer).

But aside from that I can't remember, it was years ago. I think I'm going to miss a decent curry; Mexican food seems to take the place of curry over there at least in CA and I really don't like it.

But on the other hand my wife is a great cook and she has an Indian recipe book!
British Indian is a very insular style of Indian-inspired cuisine that grew up in the UK - not authentic but gorgeous nonetheless. A parallel would be Tex-Mex food found in the majority of Mexican restaurants in the US. Is US Indian food more "authentic" than British Indian. I've spent 3 weeks in India and I'm still not sure (although India's a big place...)

The dishes, spicing etc. are definitely different US vs. UK, and the menu choices are too. Vegetable side dishes are rare to find (they're served and priced as main meals), boiled rice comes with everything as standard (so rice dishes are limited on the menu and are not available in single, side-dish portions), poppadoms are always spicy and rarely plain and don't come with lime pickle. There are exceptions but this is what I've found wherever I've been. I love my long weekend trips to Montreal where there's a place run by a guy from Ealing that does British-style curry! (Although I actually get to go to London more often than I do Montreal to be honest).


Originally Posted by Infowarrior View Post
Just don't like it here anymore, anything has to be better than here right now. I've thought long and hard recently about what I'll miss when I leave and apart from my family, my list features two items: Peperami's and the quintessential British country pub.

It seems to be quite a prevalent opinion too. Whenever my wife opens her mouth here and people notice she's American the second question (after asking if she's Canadian) is virtually always "what on earth are you doing here then?".
Hmmmm..... those people though.... aren't they also usually the ones that have no experience living in another country so just assume where they are is worse? I live in a gorgeous part of New England, and I have met many Americans who are aghast that anyone from the UK would want to move here. They've never even been to the UK. Stereotypes always fall apart when put under scrutiny, and there is always much more underneath what you see at first when you start scratching at the veneer.
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 1:51 pm
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Default Re: What's your story?

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
I live in a gorgeous part of New England, and I have met many Americans who are aghast that anyone from the UK would want to move here. They've never even been to the UK. Stereotypes always fall apart when put under scrutiny, and there is always much more underneath what you see at first when you start scratching at the veneer.
Yes, when I go for a wander around town on my lunch break I sometimes end up striking up conversations with people and a few of them have said 'what the hell are you doing here !?! , I would much rather be in the UK'.

Mind you I live in Fitchburg MA which is a pretty shite part of New England - so I can kinda see their point.
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Old Mar 28th 2011, 5:59 pm
  #30  
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Default Re: What's your story?

My story is I have been here just about 5 1/2 years. I came here on a K1 fiance visa in 2005 and got married shortly thereafter. Went through all the various Green Card stages and did naturalisation last year so I'm finally done forking money over to USCIS for the rest of my life

Even after this amount of time I don't really call it 'home', rather just 'where I live.' I don't bear any grudges with the UK, and I seem to have come from some weird singularity back home, in that nobody I know who still lives there thinks it is as awful in the UK as some seem to think (none of us read the Daily Mail as well of course ), so I do still miss it and always wonder what it would be like to live back there again, and how my children might enjoy it if we did but they're only dreams really. That's just me though, I've always got my head in the clouds . Because I didn't do a work visa, I wasn't coming out here to chase a dream or whatever, it was just the most practical choice for us to do it that way, honestly I'd never considered leaving the UK at all before then. For the most part it worked out. I certainly don't consider the US to be the land of milk and honey, or even (no offense intended) to be anywhere near on a par with the UK in my mind, but again, that's just me. I had a great childhood, and early adulthood back home and I'll always have that. At the same time, there's nothing really wrong with the US - it's just different. I can handle that so here I stay, I've been quite good at finding a workaround for most things I miss from home so I can make do reasonably well.
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