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  • #31
    Re: Ex-Pat Thread

    I know what you mean about the difference between getting your passport stamped and being on your way vs. the security gauntlet in the US. NZ sounds similar to Uruguay in that way, although they do have the added step of an agricultural inspection (x-ray and food-sniffing dogs) on your way into the country.

    I've always wanted to visit South America, but have never been. Uruguay is definitely on my list. My sister's husband is from Chile and my niece's husband is from Ecuador, both of which I'd also like to see. I'm less sure about Belize and Peru, where I've heard crime rates are high, particularly crime against foreigners. I have a close friend from Argentina, and used to hear wonderful things about it, but it still seems dangerous ever since their economic collapse.

    BTW, in case you aren't aware, NZ already had an economic collapse, back in the early 90's. Their stock market, currency, real estate and so on, all collapsed. So they made some massive changes and have been re-building since then -- fortunately, mostly in the right direction, as opposed to Argentina, for example, which seems to have made some significant wrong turns. NZ has just started privatizing some state-owned assets (the first one is a big hydro/geothermal power company). The Christchurch earthquake put the government in the red, but they actually expect to be back in surplus (again!) within about 2 more years.

    Another pro for NZ: no open container law, so you can have an open beer in your car without getting busted if you're stopped, as long as your blood alcohol is under the limit. That's balanced in part by pretty frequent mandatory roadside breath testing, for which they don't require a warrant. Having a driver's license means you consent to the test.
    Last edited by Sharky; 04-06-13, 06:57 AM.

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    • #32
      Re: Ex-Pat Thread

      Originally posted by Sharky View Post
      The main thing was that my family and I decided we would like to try living out of the US for a while. My kids (twin boys) were 17 at the time, and in the post-911 world, we thought it would be an interesting and educational experience for all of us. We figured there was a good chance it wouldn't work out, in which case we would either try somewhere else or just move back. But we also figured that doing it half-assed wouldn't really give us an accurate picture, so we dove in with both feet.

      A secondary issue, but not the main one for us back in 2005 when this all started, is that we lived in California (Silicon Valley), and we could see the light ahead from the oncoming train of increasing taxation, regulation and government intervention. The situation was already bad, and getting worse by the day. Better to get out the way before we got run over.

      I expected all kinds of things to be different after we moved, but there were a bunch of things that surprised me -- one big one was how different the US looks from the outside, once you have some perspective. The impression that we Americans (and yes, I still and will always consider myself to be an American) have of ourselves is that we live in the freest country on the planet. iTulipers probably know better than most, but that's clearly not true.

      Actually living in a place that's more free is an amazingly uplifting experience. It makes me appreciate how many immigrants to the US must have felt. It's something that hits you in a hundred ways; everything from being able to have chickens at my suburban home if I wanted to, to seeing carts on street corners and at the weekend open-air market, selling food they made in their kitchens at home. Or parades of costumed young kids filling the streets at Halloween with no police in sight. Or other kids racing down a hill at high-speed in homemade and totally unsafe (and immensely fun) go-karts. Several of the shows on TV made the immense censorship in the US suddenly obvious.

      The area I live in reminds me of what the suburban US must have been like in the late 50s and early 60s. A few anecdotes: I've seen a woman leave her purse in a shopping cart at the grocery, with her wallet in full view, and walk to the other end of the store. I regularly see 5 or 6 yr old kids walking on the side of the street, by themselves. Most people don't lock the doors to their house at night (or ever); when friends come over, they often just walk in and announce themselves, without knocking. Police are known to help people change a flat tire. When a party gets too loud and someone complains, police quietly ask people to leave, and offer rides to those who are drunk; no arrests or tasers. It's common for people to leave valuables in unlocked cars without problems. Tellers at the bank know my name, and are actually friendly and will talk to me like I'm a real human. I wave to people on the street I know, and they wave back. Or, I had a guy just the other day who knocked on my door and asked if he could borrow a tool. A total stranger. I invited him in, found what he needed, he was very thankful, and then left.

      Can you imagine most of those kinds of things in the US today? Anywhere? I realize part of it comes from living in a small town, but even so, I can't -- and I've certainly traveled around quite a bit.
      Brings back a lot of memories, Sharky. In many ways I grew up like that.

      One anecdote: My uncle, a 1st marine Division veteran, brought home a Japanese sniper's rifle, a thing of great attraction for a young boy. It was kept at my grandmother's house. (had he made her a present of it upon his return?) One day my grandmother told me I could have it. I lived about 5 blocks away, so off I went carrying this rather heavy small caliber rifle. At the corner gas station, where they were always working on cars (that once was the norm) were two cops hanging out with the owner. (timing is everything) One called to me - "Son, would come over here please." I told him my story and how the gun didn't work. A brief inspection proved that erroneous. They told me to have my Dad come back later and pick up the rifle from the station owner. He did and it came home. Today I would have been spread eagled on the deck as a minimum, possibly shot if I wasn't white.

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      • #33
        Re: Ex-Pat Thread

        Originally posted by Sharky View Post
        I know what you mean about the difference between getting your passport stamped and being on your way vs. the security gauntlet in the US. NZ sounds similar to Uruguay in that way, although they do have the added step of an agricultural inspection (x-ray and food-sniffing dogs) on your way into the country.

        I've always wanted to visit South America, but have never been. Uruguay is definitely on my list. My sister's husband is from Chile and my niece's husband is from Ecuador, both of which I'd also like to see. I'm less sure about Belize and Peru, where I've heard crime rates are high, particularly crime against foreigners. I have a close friend from Argentina, and used to hear wonderful things about it, but it still seems dangerous ever since their economic collapse.

        BTW, in case you aren't aware, NZ already had an economic collapse, back in the early 90's. Their stock market, currency, real estate and so on, all collapsed. So they made some massive changes and have been re-building since then -- fortunately, mostly in the right direction, as opposed to Argentina, for example, which seems to have made some significant wrong turns. NZ has just started privatizing some state-owned assets (the first one is a big hydro/geothermal power company). The Christchurch earthquake put the government in the red, but they actually expect to be back in surplus (again!) within about 2 more years.

        Another pro for NZ: no open container law, so you can have an open beer in your car without getting busted if you're stopped, as long as your blood alcohol is under the limit. That's balanced in part by pretty frequent mandatory roadside breath testing, for which they don't require a warrant. Having a driver's license means you consent to the test.
        My late wife and I spent about 3 weeks in NZ for our 25th anniversary in 1990. We loved it. It really seemed like we were back in US in the 50s. I have always wanted to go back, but have not had a chance yet. It was probably our favorite trip ever.

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: Ex-Pat Thread

          Sharky, I've read your posts on NZ with interest.
          If I wasn't already set-up in the US, and didn't have a wife adverse to moving, I'd might move to NZ.

          Still, I am curious about the requirements for someone from the US moving to NZ.
          Do you have any info on that . . . . ?
          raja
          Boycott Big Banks Vote Out Incumbents

          Comment


          • #35
            Re: Ex-Pat Thread

            Originally posted by raja View Post
            Sharky, I've read your posts on NZ with interest.
            If I wasn't already set-up in the US, and didn't have a wife adverse to moving, I'd might move to NZ.

            Still, I am curious about the requirements for someone from the US moving to NZ.
            Do you have any info on that . . . . ?
            There's a couple different routes to take:

            http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migra...quirements.htm

            Plus fast track skills shortage list(not sure if current):

            http://www.visabureau.com/newzealand...tage-list.aspx

            Comment


            • #36
              Re: Ex-Pat Thread

              Looks like electrical workers are in very high demand there! I could maybe get in.

              Comment


              • #37
                Re: Ex-Pat Thread

                Originally posted by raja View Post
                Sharky, I've read your posts on NZ with interest.
                If I wasn't already set-up in the US, and didn't have a wife adverse to moving, I'd might move to NZ.

                Still, I am curious about the requirements for someone from the US moving to NZ.
                Do you have any info on that . . . . ?
                NZ has a couple of different immigration programs. The one most people come in on is the Skilled Migrant program. Basically, they're looking for people with skills that are in demand, and who can also find a job here (who are under 55, in reasonably good health, and without a criminal record).

                They also have "investment" and "entrepreneur" programs, but the costs and requirements can be tough.

                If you can't qualify for one of the "primary" programs, but can still get a job offer from an NZ company, you can come over on a work visa, and stay for up to 2 yrs.

                If you don't want to move, almost anyone can visit for up to 6 months/yr (possibly every year) with a visitor's visa. You don't have free access to the medical system that way, nor can you vote and so on like you can once you have permanent residence, but if you'd just like to spend some time here, it's an option.

                If you'd like more details, I'm happy to answer questions if I can.

                FWIW, my wife was averse to moving at first, too. It was only after we came to visit for a few weeks, and she developed some comfort with the area, that she changed her mind.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Re: Ex-Pat Thread

                  Originally posted by BadJuju View Post
                  Looks like electrical workers are in very high demand there! I could maybe get in.
                  Christchurch earthquakes would be a playing a role in that.

                  When I was back home there were a fair number of foreign tradies working in Christchurch, most noticeably from the UK.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: Ex-Pat Thread

                    Originally posted by don View Post
                    One anecdote: My uncle, a 1st marine Division veteran, brought home a Japanese sniper's rifle, a thing of great attraction for a young boy. It was kept at my grandmother's house. (had he made her a present of it upon his return?) One day my grandmother told me I could have it. I lived about 5 blocks away, so off I went carrying this rather heavy small caliber rifle. At the corner gas station, where they were always working on cars (that once was the norm) were two cops hanging out with the owner. (timing is everything) One called to me - "Son, would come over here please." I told him my story and how the gun didn't work. A brief inspection proved that erroneous. They told me to have my Dad come back later and pick up the rifle from the station owner. He did and it came home. Today I would have been spread eagled on the deck as a minimum, possibly shot if I wasn't white.
                    It's somewhat OT, but I have a similar story.

                    My grandfather also brought back a Japanese rifle from WWII. I think it was a 7.7 mm Type 99, or something similar. He gave it to my dad, but I ended up shooting it much more than either of them. I grew up with guns, including having shot my first one when I was all of two years old. I recall taking a gun safety class in order to get a duck hunting license when I was about 10, and the instructor said I knew as much as he did. Anyway, a good friend of mine and I used to go shooting regularly with my father. One day, when I was about 13 (so about 1972) we wanted to go to the range after school, but my dad couldn't take us. So, we decided to go on our own. We wanted to take 4 rifles, including the Type 99. We took the bolts out of the ones we could, and one of us carried the bolts and ammo from one gun, while the other carried the rest of the gun, in a case. Each of us strapped two rifles to our backs, and rode our bikes about 5 miles to the range, passing lots of traffic on a busy road as we went. We got to the range, did our shooting, and returned afterwards. Totally safe and uneventful. This was in Silicon Valley (Cupertino).

                    Can you imagine something like that today? Two young teens riding their bikes in a suburban area of California with 4 rifles and multiple boxes of ammunition? My, how the world has changed!

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: Ex-Pat Thread

                      Originally posted by BadJuju View Post
                      Looks like electrical workers are in very high demand there! I could maybe get in.
                      Before you apply to immigrate I would check to see what the wages for trades people in NZ are today. I lived there for 3 1/2 years starting in 1982 and as a young plumber, pipe fitter, gas fitter I found it tough. There was no problem getting a job due to trades shortages as people with a trade were being siphoned off to Australia due to the huge wage differential between the 2 countries but the wage I was receiving at the time was less than half what I had been making when I left Canada. I agree with all said here about NZ being a great place to live if you are planning to go there to retire but if you are young and starting out I found that the low wages combined with the high prices for things that one would need to start a family (housing, auto, fuel) were onerous. After my time there I exhausted my savings and decided to move back to Canada which is also a great place to live and where a working person is far better off financially.

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                      • #41
                        Re: Ex-Pat Thread

                        Ah, thanks for the information! I have no intention of emigrating, though. It doesn't really strike me as much of an improvement over the USA. And I don't have the money for it. Just cool to see I am wanted.

                        I would love to move to Canada, though.

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                        • #42
                          Re: Ex-Pat Thread

                          Are you working, or have you retired?

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                          • #43
                            Re: Ex-Pat Thread

                            Originally posted by doom&gloom View Post
                            Are you working, or have you retired?
                            If you're asking me, the answer is both. I'm self-employed; I work when I want to, and only on projects I'm interested in.

                            BTW, here's a photo of the view from my living room:

                            DSC_5214_denoise_crop.jpg

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                            • #44
                              Re: Ex-Pat Thread

                              That's lovely.

                              How many slave Hobbits did it take to build it!?

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Re: Ex-Pat Thread

                                Originally posted by Sharky View Post
                                If you're asking me, the answer is both. I'm self-employed; I work when I want to, and only on projects I'm interested in.

                                BTW, here's a photo of the view from my living room:

                                [ATTACH=CONFIG]4679[/ATTACH]
                                Missus D&G will be down next month to enjoy your Kiwi hospitality .... and we may never leave!

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