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From: PaulineG
Date: 03-24-2007, 04:02 PM (1 of 16)
Yet again there has been the possibility of a job - promotion obviously - mentioned to dh which would be situated in Minneapolis.

In the past we haven't given much consideration to the offers but this time might be different. Although he has indicated that he probably isn't interested he has been so excited about the possibility that we need to give it some thought.

So.... I have a list of things to think about. Can anybody clarify any of the following?

Most importantly - it's so cold there. How do any of you who live in the cold areas deal with it? It's a rare day indeed when in gets below about 10 C (50F) in Melbourne during the day. I've never had to deal with snow or ice in any practical way - have in fact only "been to the snow" a few times in my life. How do boilers work? And do most basements flood? How can you tell which ones? How do you manage to keep driveways and paths clear? What is it like to drive?

General lifestyle issues - a lot of these things would not be specific to Minneapolis but more of a general US thing. I know there are many differences - probably tons that I haven't even considered. Feel free to add your 2c worth even if you're not in Minnesota.

Schools - are they zoned? By which I mean do you have to go to the one that is closest? Your system is so different to ours I'm not even sure what to look for. I currently send my kids to a small (almost country) school - what are the options there? Private schools etc.?

Fresh food - everyone I know who has been to the US tells me that there is not a large variety or amount of fresh fruit and vegetables and that the prices are quite high. This may just be a comparison to Australia (at a supermarket the fruit and veg section is equivalent to about 2-3 aisles of grocery area).

As to all the unconsidered things - imagine I'm the country cousin - still have the same technological items and access - but culturally a bit unaware. What advice would you give?

I'm overwhelmed by all the things I'm interested in knowing so I'll leave it there for now. Look forward to hearing what you have to say.
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: Mom of Six
Date: 03-24-2007, 04:23 PM (2 of 16)
One thing about the schools (at least here in MI) is the public schools have a curriculum set by the State. There is also a fedral guide called no child left behind that all schools must follow. In MI most districts have scools of choice openings. You must apply for the openings. My DD did her student teachings in Perth & said it was much more relaxed in Austrailia.

Our supermarkets have a large produce section & in season you can find open air markets to buy your fresh produce.
As for the cold I try to stay inside & sew. If I can't that is what husbands & teenagers are for.

Good luck with your decision.
Happiness is having time to sew!!
User: Mom of Six
Member since: 11-03-2001
Total posts: 1115
From: Patty22
Date: 03-24-2007, 04:52 PM (3 of 16)
Although my area gets very heavy snowfall, it is a fact of life and the snow plows are out and the cold weather is just accepted as a way of life. It is when you have a snowstorm in the warmer areas of the country that don't have the plows or equipment to deal with the storms that have the most difficulty. In essence, if the area you are moving to is cold, they will make sure the roads get plowed.

Driving in snow is just using common sense. Gently pump brakes when coming to a stop (never slam on the brakes), allow extra time, drive slow and give enough space between you and the car in front of you.

Driving in ice is when you should just stay off the road altogether. Chances are when weather is like this they will issue warnings and tell drivers to stay off the roads.

I think the fresh fruit and vegetables depends upon the store you visit. We still have patches of snow on the ground and we're eating fresh strawberries and I cooked the best young asparagus. Strawberries were 2 packages for $4 and asparagus was 1.49 a pound. The produce always lists the country of origin; I'm often surprised at the amount of produce from South America - peaches two weeks ago at 99 cents a pound.

You can always send your child to a private school, but public school is determined where you are living. You can always do searches on the internet as to the school district. Every school district in this country is different as to the quality of education. Also, the company your DH is considering must have someone in human resources (or a similar kind of department) able to answer your questions as this is an international move.

Country Mouse vs. City Mouse ..... Pauline, I'm a country mouse. When it comes down to it....probably most of us are even though the media would have us depicted otherwise. Don't believe the media!

This example sticks out in my mind: A couple of years ago I gave a friend a lift to his car in the parking lot that was about 1/2 mile away from where he was taking classes in Syracuse. He was a student from Jordan and he was amazed at the car I was driving (read this as '95 neon, stick, needed new shocks). He said everyone he knew drove Mercedes and he couldn't believe how hard everyone works in the States.

Oh, there are webcams where you can do virtual tours of cities from their traffic cameras and the like. Maybe you could do a search for the city you are considering.

Good luck; deciding is the hard part.
User: Patty22
Member since: 03-29-2006
Total posts: 1194
From: lendube
Date: 03-24-2007, 04:59 PM (4 of 16)

I really, really, really want to help you but Minn. is so entirely different from where I live. I wouldn't know what to tell you.

I do think a matter of consideration would be whether you'd be in the "big city" or in a smaller community.

If there's anything I can help with please, please ask. Luckily there are tons of ladies here with answers for you.

User: lendube
Member since: 08-06-2006
Total posts: 1548
From: Sancin
Date: 03-24-2007, 05:20 PM (5 of 16)
I live in north central BC Canada - some people consider it close to the Artic circle but it is not. From what I have heard of Minneapolis winter weather it is not unlike here for most of the winter. We do get much colder in spells and the winter is much longer. As I understand it many people do not like cold, but I do not like heat. 10C sound very comfortable to me. I am told if I moved to warmer climes I would get used to it and it is probably the same in reverse.

Keeping warm is essentially a matter of wearing the right clothing. It does take awhile to get used to the bulk after wearing little clothes in hot climate. The initial outlay may be a 'little' pricey. You need warm waterproof boots - usually buy warm and water proof them. Newer fabrics has lead to much warmer clothing and lighter weight. So a coat and or jacket (depending on how 'dressy' one wants to be and whether you wear pants or not). Folks in your area can tell you when you get here what is normally worn. A warm hat and gloves or mitts and you are off and running. Here when there is a snow drop (read storm that blows in and drops snow for a few days, then weather either sunny or grey) it is a little slippery walking and driving but one gets used to it - practice driving in non crowded areas to start with and drive slowly. Car tires and winter boots have treads that help prevent sliding. Or as Mother of Six says, stay in - as you would stay in during a heat wave. I will leave it to others to decribe summer, fall and spring weather, but believe it is warm to hot in the summer. Teenagers will probably shock you by wearing socks and runners/sandles regardless of the weather!

I don't know why you would need a boiler unless you live in a house that has hot water heat - generally apartments or expensive homes. Here, and I believe in Minneapolis, most homes are probably heated with electricity or natural gas (air forced by a fan over a gas burning element). Some houses are probably heated with oil which functions the same as natural gas. With oil, one has a tank (under or above ground) and oil is delivered regularly and the company fills the tank. I am a single female who was raised in temperate climate until my 30's when I moved here and have had all types of heating I described. I rarely think about heating other than adjusting my thermostat which controls the temperature the furnace puts out and occasionally changing a fiberglass type filter on my natural gas furnace (in the basement) and having a heating company come in and check out the furnace every few years. As I live in an older townhouse I once had to have the fan motor replaced.

I cannot imagine why a basement would flood except in unusual occurances. Houses should be constructed to prevent that. Sometimes a lot of snow falls and melts quickly. Or floods occur if near a river and it overflows it's banks. That is occuring near Vancouver right now, but they are having the heaviest rainfall and wind in history. In that case one wears rubber boots and put everything up on shelves above the floor!

Driveways and sidewalks. You shovel with special shaped shovels or if you have the money you buy a machine not unlike a lawn mower that picks up the snow in front of the machine and blows it out to the side ---- and makes an awful lot of noise. The city is responsible for plowing the snow off the streets. In most cities they plow the busiest streets first and residential streets later. The cities abilities to plow snow depends upon the amount and type of equipment they have which in turn depends on taxes. In my city we have excellent snow plowing and after storms they come along and pick up the snow. In most cities they sand and salt the roads, sometimes just waiting for the piles at the side of the road to melt (salt does that). Someone from Minneapolis can probably be more specific. Suburban and rural areas will vary.

Having travelled to southern and tropical areas I can tell you you probably will not get the variety or degree of freshness of produce that you are acustomed to and the prices will knock your socks off but they do not cost gold. I have always found that larger northern cities produce does not always look as fresh as right off the farm, but washing and refrigerating do a lot.

Culture - as a citizen of the former Commonwealth you will find a lot of differences that no one can really tell you in advance. Culture is a little like that and it tends to be a bit personal as to what you recall and like about where you currently are. Too bad the placement isn't to be to Canada. I don't think you would notice as many difference. Not only are there country cultural differences, there are in country differences as well and urban, suburban, small town and rural differences. Words, pronounciation and accents vary a great deal, even within a city.

Good luck in your decision making. I hope people from Minneapolis or area give you more information. I had friends from there and I remember that Mary Tyler Moore lived there!:dave:
*~*~*~* Nancy*~*~*~* " I try to take one day at a time - but sometimes several days attack me at once."
User: Sancin
Member since: 02-13-2005
Total posts: 895
From: PaulineG
Date: 03-24-2007, 05:53 PM (6 of 16)
Also, the company your DH is considering must have someone in human resources (or a similar kind of department) able to answer your questions as this is an international move.

He works for General Mills which over here is a medium size company but I gather is somewhat larger over there. The problem is that I want to know the answers before the decision is made (to help make it) and if we approach them with these sort of questions it might lead them to an expectation he is going to accept - which may well not be the case. The other factor is that he's pretty much at the peak of what he can do here in Australia (Australia/New Zealand IT Manager) so the next step has to be overseas as he's not really qualified for any general business sorts of positions - it really has to be in the IT field. That means not in Australia - but also means that if we wanted to come back his position may not be available anymore - or at the very least would be a step backwards.

It would be a lot easier if the climate was warmer - we definitely have itchy feet but just are not sure if we can cope with the cold for any length of time. However the opportunity might well be too good to ignore. Exciting but scary stuff.
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: Sancin
Date: 03-24-2007, 06:22 PM (7 of 16)
Barb - I don't know what an IT business manager is or how long your husband has been doing this. In North America, US to start with and now more in Canada, companies look at the type of skills one uses in their job rather than the job itself. Like I told my daughter when she was asked to take a research job in an area not of her specialty. "I think they are looking for the educated mind vs what it was educated in" She has a PhD and had been researching for 7 years at that point at a university. terms of changing jobs now and in the future, forward or backward, consider that perspective. If you or your dh go on line and search the topic resume or curriculum vitae you will see the different types and see what I mean. Does your husband have North American contacts he can confer with? It would be helpful. I am just trying to give you yet another perspective to consider. Life and work change all the time so one can never really depend on anything being the same as one carefully plans in advance!! Scary but exhilarating at the same time.

I have heard from a number of people that contacting the chamber of commerce or visitors bureau where they are going results in lots of information and they love answering specific questions. Probably would even research GM for you!:re:
*~*~*~* Nancy*~*~*~* " I try to take one day at a time - but sometimes several days attack me at once."
User: Sancin
Member since: 02-13-2005
Total posts: 895
From: Judi
Date: 03-25-2007, 01:16 AM (8 of 16)
My Husband came to US in 1989, from Melbourne (17 years) and previously from Adelaide. We married soon after he came here and he's now a citizen. We do live in Central California - a far cry from Minneapolis. You'll find lots of differences - from how the meat is packaged, and what it's called:bg: to trying to change the prices from our pounds to the kilos you are used to seeing. You may not find exactly the same things in the grocery stores but most have a good variety. I can tell you we don't have Tim Tams though. :cry: So bring a supply with you and put them in the freezer. Most stores have a large produce section - though some of the choices may be different than what you are used to seeing.
I've often told hubby, that Aussies drive on the left side of the road, and we drive on the right side. What's the opposide of right - wrong. :bg: It will probably take you a bit to adjust to that.
Your children will definitely find American schools different - but they will adjust quickly I suspect. All of you will be beloved immediately - Americans seem to love the Aussie accent - though you may be mistaken for being 'Pommies' (hubbys word - not mine)
Several years ago, we had a nephew come from Adelaide to South Dakota in January - From really hot to freezing cold - and our nephew loved it - after he got used to wearing more clothes. Nephew came back after high school to go to Uni here, and is now married and loving his new country of residence.
As to cost of living - you will have to rely on your HR dept to help you with that, as you'd be paid in USD. you'd probably find things much the same (my experience during our travels)
One thing you will definitely discover is that many times the choices you have are greater in the US. It's a matter of supply and demand. More people demand more choices, and the stores respond. The stores here also have more 'sales' and they are often greater than most I've seen in OZ.
Whatever happens, it would be a great experience and something you, your husband, and your kids would never forget.

Sewing is almost better than Chocolate.
User: Judi
Member since: 06-22-2000
Total posts: 85
From: Sancin
Date: 03-25-2007, 03:12 AM (9 of 16)
Pauline - Judi made remember something else. If you like woolens, like sweaters (jumpers) or fabric to sew bring some with you. You will be warm in other things but I find pure wool is getting harder and harder to get everywhere. You have wonderful woolens where you are from ---- great wines as well but California wines are superb.
*~*~*~* Nancy*~*~*~* " I try to take one day at a time - but sometimes several days attack me at once."
User: Sancin
Member since: 02-13-2005
Total posts: 895
From: DorothyL
Date: 03-25-2007, 09:35 AM (10 of 16)
I moved from central California's wonderful warm dry climate to upstate New York where it is cold in the winter and hot and humid in the summer.
You'll get used to the cold -- but not heating bills.
You will learn how to avoid, as much as possible, driving in the weather.
Just this week I said to my husband "When we move someplace where it is warm all the time I am really going to miss days like this." Meaning the first day after months when it feels really good to go outside without boots and gloves and scarves and hats and two coats.
We were in Minnesota for a while and one thing about the entire mid-west -- the people there -- their culture -- is that they are just very nice.
And they are very friendly.
But the weather sucks.

User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: PaulineG
Date: 03-26-2007, 06:02 AM (11 of 16)
Nancy - IT is short for Information Technology (computers) - I think it's changing to IS now (Information Systems) and is obviously a meaningful name change :dave:

As to the woollens - I'm not really into them. I can't wear wool or have it near my skin - too itchy. Sewing wise I'd probably be a little better off in the US as there is a much larger range of notions and better prices on patterns. However I am situated very close (5 min. drive) to a large fabric/haberdashery shop and the talk around the boards makes it sound like that size shop is hard to find in US. Does anybody know about Minneapolis?

Judi - fortunately Tim Tams are one of the few vices I don't have. There probably are a few brands etc. that I'm attached to that aren't available but it's not a really big deal. I was more concerned with fresh food.
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: Patty22
Date: 03-28-2007, 02:09 PM (12 of 16)
Pauline....why don't you pm Cowqueenie as she is from MN and can give you all the details about the area. She is super sweet and is usually on the quilting threads.

My daughter spent a semester at the University of Queensland and feel in love with your country because of the wonderful people. I hope you have the same experience if you decide to venture to the states.
User: Patty22
Member since: 03-29-2006
Total posts: 1194
From: Kaitlinnegan
Date: 03-28-2007, 09:36 PM (13 of 16)
Minneapolis is a fairly large city -- it should at least have a Joann's, Hancock, Hobby Lobby, etc -- possibly a couple of them. There may be more specialized fabric/quilting shops too. I haven't visited Minneapolis myself, but I'm about 4 hours away in Madison, Wisconsin (a smaller city), and right in town we have 2 Joann's (one on the east side, one on the west), 2 Hancock's (although I'm not sure if either or both are closing now..), a Hobby Lobby, a couple of quilting stores, and one more upscale specialty fabric shop.

The weather here is not much different than Minneapolis -- of course I'm from here, but I don't find it too bad. I would imagine it'll take some getting used to, but in general most buildings are well heated. Wearing long underwear or very bulky clothing isn't really necessary, but a good winter coat (preferably a long one) is a must. The summers in the Midwest are beautiful. The temperatures are actually bearable for most of the summer, so people really get out and enjoy it! :) Well, let me know if you have any questions about the Midwest -- I can't help you with the specifics of Minneapolis, though. - the new home for Sew What's New
User: Kaitlinnegan
Member since: 03-20-2006
Total posts: 222
From: dcloud
Date: 03-31-2007, 01:58 AM (14 of 16)
Ah, the snow .... my favorite time of year is fall and winter. What's not to love about snow? Say you're out walking in it and you get warm. Well, you can just stop and cool off. Nature's air conditioning. You certainly can't do this in the summer. And standing perfectly still amid a copse of poplar trees as large flakes fall silently all around you. It's almost like a spiritual experience.

As for the fruits and vegetables I can never seem to find any fresh ones. Here in the US they always tell you to eat plenty of these, but then it's almost impossible because they cost so much.

But the best part is living in Minnesota - the land of ten thousand lakes! I would love to live there. That's where they made the Grumpy Old Men movies. Besides, if you move there then you have a great excuse to sew lots of quilts and sweatshirts.

User: dcloud
Member since: 03-21-2007
Total posts: 72
From: cowqueenie
Date: 04-16-2007, 01:09 PM (15 of 16)
Hi Pauline!
I sent you a little message but wanted to make sure I got to you on here too! It has been awhile since I have been on the quilting threads and I hope it isn't too late and you have had to make your decision.
Living in MN is AWESOME! Yes, we have cold weather and snow but it isn't as terrible as it used to be and you dress for it. Wearing layers is the best way to go and taking them off as needed. A warm pair of boots for outdoor playing and a good pair of mittens are a must! Most of the time when you are heading out somewhere in your car, you warm it up for a few minutes to let the heater get kicked in and it will be just a few mins until you are warm in your car. The cold scares a lot of people for nothing. It is just dressing for the weather and common sense. There is nothing like a walk in the crisp evening air with snow crunching under your feet! Lots to discover here too, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, ice-fishing, snowshoeing. It doesn't stop! AND in the summer, someone mentioned we are the land of 10, 000 lakes and that is no lie. Water everywhere to have fun on or just relax by. It is a very pretty state to explore and I have lived here my whole life.
Minneapolis is a HUGE city. There are a lot of suburbs now and a lot of shopping opportunities. As far as fabric shopping goes, there are Joann's everywhere, I think there may be a hancocks or two although I am not entirely sure about that, and we have a store called "Mill End Textiles". It used to be exactly what it was called but now they have more and more new fabrics as well as a wide variety of remenants. A really huge variety of fabrics there. There is another really neat "store" called SR Harris which is mostly for professionals but public is welcome and it is in a warehouse type setting. That is where we got the fabric for my wedding dress that my mom ended up not making because I found one cheaper than she could make mine for!! :) There are a lot of craft stores, Micheals is the biggest one. There are no HObby Lobby's in the metro (Minneapolis/St. Paul) area but there is one in Rochester which is a 2 hour drive from Minneapolis/St. Paul.
If you were wondering about health care, we have some of the best clinics in the country here in MN too. The Mayo Clinic is in Rochester and there is the Univ of Minnesota right in Minneapolis. I have been patients at both and they are excellent!
I think you would really like living here in MN. But then again, I have lived here my whole life and may be a bit judgmental! Please take a look at your message from me and give me a call if you need to! Hope I helped in some way!
"A trip to the fabric store is my therapy"
User: cowqueenie
Member since: 10-30-2006
Total posts: 125
From: PaulineG
Date: 04-17-2007, 11:39 PM (16 of 16)
Thanks Jane for getting back to me. For a lot of reasons it's not going to happen in the short term (before Christmas) but it is still a possibility in the long term. My DH is going to visit in October and probably there will be more discussion about it then. I'll also get reply to your PM in a little while.

Thanks again.
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
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