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Old 05-25-2008, 04:29 PM
 
Location: London, UK
7 posts, read 15,935 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello all!

Please be kind to me, I'm a newbie

My husband and I are currently miserable in London England and want to move back to the States as soon as our lease is up on our flat in October (hopefully the economy will improve enough by then to provide us both with jobs). I am a native of Ohio, and I met my husband while he was studying in the States, so he is quite keen on returning to somewhere less horrible than London. Now don't get me wrong, London has many many wonderful things: tons of history, museums, pubs, expensive shops, famous people, etc, but the cost of living makes enjoying any of this on a regular basis prohibitive. It can sometimes literally be a choice between rent or food. Not for us, thank goodness, but we are really struggling more than we would like, and it is so uber-competitive here that we are really finding it hard to find a job that will pay us enough to provide a decent standard of living. To explain, imagine living in Chicago or New York on roughly a $19,000 income for 2 people! That's how tough it is here! Employers want 5 or 6 years of experience and are only paying you slightly above the poverty level! It's sickening, and we want out!

What we're looking for is this:

1) I love outdoorsy things such as hiking, camping, frisbee, the beach, anything to do with sports or water sports, just generally being outside in the sunshine. My husband enjoys sports and is learning how to enjoy the wilderness activities too, and would like to be in an environment where there are things aplenty to do that are relatively cheap or free.

2) Nice weather! London doesn't rain all the time, as the stigma has led even me to believe before I lived here, but as it is quite far North (roughly on the same Latitude as Hudson Bay in Canada!), and it is an island, we never get very warm and the weather is notoriously unreliable as it can change on a dime! Summers here are almost non-existent. If we do get great weather during the summer months it only lasts for days, not weeks. And if it is sunny when you leave the house in the morning, you still need to bring your umbrella with you to work because it can very easily be pouring down rain by the time you've finished your morning commute! The winter grey and cold will last from early November straight through until late March, with almost no break at all. That's not to say we never see the sun, but out of a 7 day week, we only average 1 day of sun! That gets extremely depressing!

3) Friendlier people/atmosphere: People in London are so private! The British in general are a much more private people, and don't enjoy being bothered by strangers. You DO NOT smile at a stranger as you walk down the street, and you ESPECIALLY don't say anything to them! You get the look of death! Trust me! And now that I've been here for 3 years, I've come to start to act just like them and I HATE IT!!!! I've even started purposefully being rude to people on public transport if they're doing things that are stupid!!! I'm from a small town in Ohio, were everyone knows everyone and that good ole' Midwestern friendliness flows through our veins like blood. Now I'm not so stupid and small minded as to think that just because LA is in the States that it isn't still a big city with a big city mentality. But what I'm looking for is some customer service. Some general friendliness at your local market or gas station. Just some acknowledgement that we're all here!

4) Just generally less stress: London is SO STRESSFUL! Beyond all the general city stuff (tourists, crime, being a woman on her own at night) which I DON'T expect to be different, we are generally looking for a place that is less taxing on the body, mind and blood pressure! For example, I have a 1 hour commute to work each morning and night. Now that might not sound like alot to some people, but let me explain. I have a 10 minute walk to the local train station, where, once I get there, have to fight with hundreds of other people for a standing space on the train for the 20 minute journey into Victoria train station (one of the busiest in London, if not Europe). Once I get to Victoria (after already having been beaten and bruised by being packed like a sardine on a train and basically being treated as androgenous by the men on the train and standing for 20 mins), I have to walk across the entire station, which on a good day will take only about 5 minutes, but at morning rush hour, every man and his dog is crossing every which way across the main atrium, and everyone only cares about themselves. It really is survival of the fittest and if you're not a b**ch about it, you WILL add about 10 minutes AT LEAST to your commute! Then there are the tourists. God bless them, I know they don't mean any harm, but they do get in the way. After fighting my way through the atrium to get to the bus stop (the Tube is out of the question for a slight claustrophic like me) it is anyone's guess as to whether I will wait for 30 seconds for a bus or for 25 minutes. Now, the longer I wait, the more people will begin to congregate for the same bus. Now, when the bus arrives, if you don't have telepathy, like me, you are inevitably standing in the place where the bus SHOULD stop, but not where it WILL. And lo and behold, all the other people that have crowded around will push and shove and get on the bus before you and by the time it is your turn to get on the bus driver will shut the door in your face and tell you he's full. That's tops. Really, though, I can sum it up quite generally. It's everyone for themselves. I was walking near Harrod's yesterday with my husband, and a girl was walking towards me an texting on her phone at the same time. She was directly in my path, and she didn't budge. I decided to test her to see if she would wake up and make any attempt to acknowledge that she was about to run into me. She walked straight up to me and wouldn't budge. I had to walk around her because she had decided that she was the Queen Bee and everyone needed to move for her. This is the general feeling you get from most people in this city who are between the ages of 20 and 35-40. The older gentleman and ladies who grew up in a different generation still have manners and I truly appreciate them and let them know it. But they are few and far between in the city because they hate the hustle and bustle so much that they move out to the country outside London and rarely, if ever, come into to center of town.

This is still part of 4). Driving is STRESSFUL!!!!!!! And DAMN is it crowded! One thing that London can never get around is that it WAS NOT built for the car. How could it have been? The car is such a recent invention compared to London's long rich history. But OMG! And now, almost every household has a car. The roads are already only half as wide as they are in the States, then you have parked cars on both sides, then everybody and their dog is out EVERY WEEKEND! My husband and I regularly avoid going out on the weekends simply because it will take 45 minutes to drive less than 5 miles from our home to the local supermarket, movie theater or shopping. And with our cars not having air conditioning, when it gets hot, all you're doing is breathing in humid, exhaust-y air.

What I especially want to know about the traffic is: I know that LA is notorious for it's bad traffic. But has anyone ever driven in London for an extended period of time that can compare the two? I don't mean to be insulting at all to anyone in LA who does genuinely think the traffic is terrible, because to them, it is! When I lived in Columbus, Ohio, I hated my 30 minute commute to work, but now that I live in London I would KILL to have that commute every day of the week! So I'm looking to compare the two. When people in LA speak of traffic jams, are they avoidable with side streets? (something that is not possible in London because you can't guarantee that the side streets are on any kind of grid system). Is the traffic stopped? or is it just slowly moving? Is it busy all the time or just during typical rush hours?

Also, I've done some research on some other websites to estimate the salary that we both would need to get to have a similar style of living that we have grown accustomed to. I have regularly come across the $55-65K range per year per person. First of all do you think this is achievable for someone who is looking for an Admin/Executive Assistant role with experience in Mayfair in London? And if it is achievable, how plentiful and competitive are the jobs that do become available? Can you recommend any employment agencies, or large companies/firms that are regularly hiring? Finally, what are the other costs of living? For example, the cost of gas, utilities, food (grocery stores) cable, internet, phone, cell phones, etc. Generally, do you think we would be able to find a good place to live (2 Bed, 2 BA) in a good area like Woodland/Agoura Hills, North Hollywood, WeHo, and have a comfortable lifestyle if we both were making $60K average? And what might the taxes on that be if we are only renting? We are not worried about schools or anything like that now, as starting a family is a bit in to the future for us, but we would like an area where there are good people that will invite you over for BBQs and stuff.

I know this has been long-winded and I appreciate anyone who has not only gotten to the end of this thread without falling asleep, but especially who takes the time to respond. Thank you so much in advance!
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Obama playing field
716 posts, read 1,930,051 times
Reputation: 380
Reading through that, i just had to laugh.

Trust me, i hear and feel your pain.

Having immigrated (not by choice, i was only 4yrs old) there and lived for approx 28 yrs, i never till this day felt at home. Always felt like a stranger. The english have that way about them, not so much with the Scotts or the Irish, very warm and welcoming.

When you say the english are private people, ermm i feel a correction of the phrase you used, dont you mean "Snobby"?. Yes they are not all like that, humm perhaps only 5% of the english population are ok and 95% are absolute morons??

Besides those pointers i agree totally with what you have said. I like the fact that you went through the nitty gritty mile and still lived to tell the tale (a very REAL one at that).

It's unfortunate that a LOT of Americans have this grandeur of the london uk life as living in some fantasy of utopia and be treated with royalty. When really its an illusion and an utter lie.

london being some technically advanced society, just look at their road structure, it was built on top of the old roads that only catered for carriages and horses, is it any wonder the roads are so narrow and ancient. london is nothing but one big museum, stuck in the stone age and the behaviour to go with it, as you have experienced first hand.

I bet you cant move back to the US fast enough huh? roflmao
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Old 05-25-2008, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,345 posts, read 84,828,909 times
Reputation: 17581
Quote:
Originally Posted by LondonDwellersWife View Post

Also, I've done some research on some other websites to estimate the salary that we both would need to get to have a similar style of living that we have grown accustomed to. I have regularly come across the $55-65K range per year per person. First of all do you think this is achievable for someone who is looking for an Admin/Executive Assistant role with experience in Mayfair in London? And if it is achievable, how plentiful and competitive are the jobs that do become available? Can you recommend any employment agencies, or large companies/firms that are regularly hiring? Finally, what are the other costs of living? For example, the cost of gas, utilities, food (grocery stores) cable, internet, phone, cell phones, etc. Generally, do you think we would be able to find a good place to live (2 Bed, 2 BA) in a good area like Woodland/Agoura Hills, North Hollywood, WeHo, and have a comfortable lifestyle if we both were making $60K average? And what might the taxes on that be if we are only renting? We are not worried about schools or anything like that now, as starting a family is a bit in to the future for us, but we would like an area where there are good people that will invite you over for BBQs and stuff.

I know this has been long-winded and I appreciate anyone who has not only gotten to the end of this thread without falling asleep, but especially who takes the time to respond. Thank you so much in advance!
If both of you are making $60K then you would have no problem living in the areas you mentioned, plus (if you are smart) you'd have money left over to save.

The question is can you two pull in $120K?

Do you meet work requirements (citizenship, visa, etc...I don't know too much about those things)?

(Forgive me if I missed the details in your post), You are going to be an Administrative Assistant. Is $60K realistic? I don't know.

What is your spouse going to do? Where will he work?

Housing in Los Angeles and Southern California is higher per square foot (or per square meter) than most places in the US. Would living somewhere less expensive be something you would consider?
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Old 05-25-2008, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Obama playing field
716 posts, read 1,930,051 times
Reputation: 380
I believe she said about being a Ohio native?
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Old 05-25-2008, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,345 posts, read 84,828,909 times
Reputation: 17581
Quote:
Originally Posted by GracieJJ View Post
I believe she said about being a Ohio native?
Is she necessarily still an American? I don't know? Dual citizenship? Probably so. We'd also need to know husband's workability status.
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Old 05-25-2008, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Western Mass.
605 posts, read 2,244,627 times
Reputation: 309
Oh my goodness - London chewed you up and spat you out and you expect to find relief in LA? I think you need to get back to Ohio!
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Old 05-25-2008, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Obama playing field
716 posts, read 1,930,051 times
Reputation: 380
Anything is better than crappy london
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Sandia Park, NM
96 posts, read 378,347 times
Reputation: 76
If you are looking to LA for the weather, but don't like a high cost of living, I would look at some other states as well. LA doesn't have a monopoly on good weather. A lot of LA folk have moved to other southwest states. We are in the process of moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico. It's an up and coming area with low unemployment, similar weather, good cost of living, and the film industry is moving there is droves. And if you have kids, I hear they qualify for a free instate college education if they finish high school in the state (do research on that). It's also moving from red to blue. Abq itself is quite blue; some rural areas are red.
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:06 AM
 
Location: London, UK
7 posts, read 15,935 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by GracieJJ View Post
When you say the english are private people, ermm i feel a correction of the phrase you used, dont you mean "Snobby"?. Yes they are not all like that, humm perhaps only 5% of the english population are ok and 95% are absolute morons??

london being some technically advanced society, just look at their road structure, it was built on top of the old roads that only catered for carriages and horses, is it any wonder the roads are so narrow and ancient. london is nothing but one big museum, stuck in the stone age and the behaviour to go with it, as you have experienced first hand.
I have to say, while I appreciate and can totally relate with the sentiment, I do not agree that it's "snobby", just "rude". I know I'm going to find that in every big city, it just seems more rampant here that some cities I've been to in the US. And although London is one big museum, it's quite an amazing museum, I think, full of rich history that dates back to before the USA was even a concept, so I think it has to be respected for that, at least.

But, I appreciate that you can relate to my misery, and would appreciate any help you can provide!
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:08 AM
 
Location: London, UK
7 posts, read 15,935 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles View Post
Is she necessarily still an American? I don't know? Dual citizenship? Probably so. We'd also need to know husband's workability status.
Hi Charles,

Thank you for your reply. Yes, I am an American and my husband has Permanent Residency with full work rights.
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