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CaptOblivious

Looking to move abroad…

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CaptOblivious

So, it looks like for the next year, Amy and Acadia and I have the opportunity to live anywhere we care to. There's nothing to tie us anywhere in particular, and we want to take advantage of it. But, we can't just up and go where-ever, and especially not without careful planning: Amy needs internet access to do her job, as do I to complete my dissertation, and we have a 3 year old girl…so there's a lot to think about.

 

Right now, we're thinking about spending fall 2011 one place, and spring 2012 in another. For the fall, we're thinking very hard about Budapest, because we've both wanted to see that city for so long. For the spring, we haven't quite figured out where we want to be. So, to this end, we have a number of questions we want to put to the collective wisdom of this very nicely international forum:

 

1) Does anyone have suggestions for a non-US city where it's not too cold in the winter (sorry, Canucks!), internet access is readily available, daycare for Western children is available and trustworthy, the cost of living is not excessive (we're not exactly independently wealthy…), and visas good for >90 days are not a super pain in the ass to acquire?

 

2) Aside from IST, with whom I've been conversing off-list (thanks, Istvan!), does anyone else here live in or near Budapest and is willing to offer advice or answer questions about living there? Are there other cities in central Europe that maybe we ought to be considering as alternatives (Bratislava? Bucharest? Something that doesn't being with a 'B'?)

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Martijn Meerts

The obvious answer would be Japan of course, but I guess that doesn't fit with the whole cost of living and western daycare thing =)

 

I could also suggest Norway, but it can get pretty darn cold there during winter. It has to be said though, that there's usually little to no wind when it's really cold, so even -20 Celsius isn't all that bad. Cost of living isn't cheap either, and I think getting a > 90 days visa isn't that easier either.

 

One thing you could do, is go to the southern parts of Holland for example. While it can get reasonably cold during winter, you'd be close to the border to Germany and Belgium, so you can go visit those. It's also easy to get to France form there.

 

For warmer countries (in Europe at least), I guess you could go for Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, etc. but I have no idea about cost of living and/or visa's there.

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disturbman

What's not too cold for you? What's not too expensive for you?

 

I'll tell you one thing, if you want someplace cheap in Europe where you can go around speaking english with most of the people (and the place for visa). Come to Berlin. It's the cheapest big city in Western Europe (and it might be even cheaper than some Eastern Europe capitals) to live in. It has an incredible social and art life. I think Berlin is the place where the Europe of tomorrow is creating itself. It has somehow an utopian feeling to it... well for the moment because it won't last. Also come for the spring, this winter is going to be harsh. Plus, there is bilingual (german/english) Kindergarten here.

 

If you want other cheap places I'll say go south, to Portugal (great country) or Crete. It's warm there plus the people are friendly and the food is incredible.

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Claude_Dreyfus

Have you thought about the UK? Yes, I know it has its issues, but there are advantages... Good international links, we speak English; well most of us at any rate(!), and the weather is pretty good. We haven't fully subscribed to the metric system, so we do know what you are talking about when you refer to feet and inches - pounds and ounces etc.

 

I would suggest London...but it is stupidly expensive. That said, there are still plenty of nice places around the country and despite popular opinion it is still quite easy to navigate.

 

Back to the weather, and yes, it is a national obsession, owing to the Gulf Stream, London - which is more the less the same longitude as Canada - only drops to an average of 40 degrees during winter...and this rises by a couple of degrees the further west you go.

 

There are also a sizable number of US expats here...

 

Yes, it is not the cheapest country in Europe, however there is not a bad standard of living here.

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sedril

There is one major Canadian city which doesn't have much snow, or gets too cold: Victoria, British Columbia.

(I think it's the only place in the country where the average temperature low doesn't go below freezing in January....)

 

Not sure how expensive it is though...

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CaptOblivious

How cold is too cold? Right now, St Louis is experiencing a cold snap with lows of -15ºC: This is too cold, at least for any extended amount of time. My wife thinks anything below about 20ºC is cold, but I'm actually happy down to about a sustained -5ºC. Picky, perhaps, but we just don't to find that we've basically moved to the European version of Minneapolis, a city we both hate for its bitter cold winters that last for 10 months. That's all.

 

Cost wise, we'll be on a fixed income; we estimate we can pay no more than 1,000USD in rent per month. Thanks to the strong Euro, this makes much of the eurozone far too expensive for us, although we've been able to identify potential apartments in lesser cities like, e.g. Lubljana. Disturbman, you've convinced us to have a look at Berlin, however. I'm of French-German ancestry, and both Amy and I have studied German at some point (Amy also speaks Spanish and French, FWIW), and could probably pick up enough German to not embarrass ourselves pretty quickly.

 

We had a look at Tokyo again, and found that although we could afford it, we'd be in an apartment far too small for having a kid in; the place we stayed last time was a one-room apartment (plus toilet/shower), and although it was for just Amy and me, Acadia would drive us mad. But now we're thinking we should look further afield; we've both wanted to see the Tohoku region (cold be damned), and we're wondering if Sendai wouldn't be a reasonable location (ignoring childcare issues for the time being)? Further north perhaps?

 

Claude, the UK is pretty much off our list, not because anything is wrong with it, but because we've both spent quite a lot of time there already. I love both London (sooooo expensive!) and the countryside around Exeter/Exmouth (sooooo cheap, at least in comparison to London), but we think we'd like something new.

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CaptOblivious

Sedril, well have to look at Victoria...

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disturbman

How cold is too cold? Right now, St Louis is experiencing a cold snap with lows of -15ºC: This is too cold, at least for any extended amount of time. My wife thinks anything below about 20ºC is cold, but I'm actually happy down to about a sustained -5ºC. Picky, perhaps, but we just don't to find that we've basically moved to the European version of Minneapolis, a city we both hate for its bitter cold winters that last for 10 months. That's all.

 

Then, don't go to Scandinavia or Eastern Europe. Like I said this winter should be bitter cold.

 

Cost wise, we'll be on a fixed income; we estimate we can pay no more than 1,000USD in rent per month. Thanks to the strong Euro, this makes much of the eurozone far too expensive for us, although we've been able to identify potential apartments in lesser cities like, e.g. Lubljana. Disturbman, you've convinced us to have a look at Berlin, however. I'm of French-German ancestry, and both Amy and I have studied German at some point (Amy also speaks Spanish and French, FWIW), and could probably pick up enough German to not embarrass ourselves pretty quickly.

 

Clearly rules out the vast majority of Western Europe and the Euroland, except maybe for Southern Europe but there people won't be speak a lot of English.

 

With 1.000$ you might find quite a confortable and spacy appartment in Berlin. When I arrived 3 years ago I was able to rent a furnished 40m² for 300€ per month, electricity and water included. Of course things got more expensive now but they are still very cheap compared to the rest of Europe.

 

We had a look at Tokyo again, and found that although we could afford it, we'd be in an apartment far too small for having a kid in; the place we stayed last time was a one-room apartment (plus toilet/shower), and although it was for just Amy and me, Acadia would drive us mad. But now we're thinking we should look further afield; we've both wanted to see the Tohoku region (cold be damned), and we're wondering if Sendai wouldn't be a reasonable location (ignoring childcare issues for the time being)? Further north perhaps?

 

Maybe you should give a look at Osaka, Fukuoka or Nagasaki. They are really great cities (a lot more than Tokyo) and they won't be as cold as the Tohoku region.

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Tenorikuma

Japan is awesome no matter where you go. The biggest challenge will probably be qualifying for a non-tourist visa.

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bikkuri bahn

Japan is awesome no matter where you go. The biggest challenge will probably be qualifying for a non-tourist visa.

 

Yes, this would be the issue.  I think you either need formal employment or be a full-time student/researcher with a recognized educational facility to qualify for any type of non-tourist visa.  Some countries also have working holiday schemes with Japan, though I don't know the details as my country (the U.S.) does not have such an agreement with Japan.

 

As for cities, pretty much any metro area on the Pacific Ocean side will have decent weather, as most winter precipitation off the Sea of Japan is blocked by the mountains.  Though I have not lived there, Sendai seems to be a pleasant place, tolerable winters with little heavy snowfall, a bit cooler than Tokyo in summer, and likely more affordable housing.  Metro area has a population around 1 million, which makes for a nice balance of services vs. congestion/living costs.

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Nozomi4ever

So, it looks like for the next year, Amy and Acadia and I have the opportunity to live anywhere we care to. There's nothing to tie us anywhere in particular, and we want to take advantage of it. But, we can't just up and go where-ever, and especially not without careful planning: Amy needs internet access to do her job, as do I to complete my dissertation, and we have a 3 year old girl…so there's a lot to think about.

 

Right now, we're thinking about spending fall 2011 one place, and spring 2012 in another. For the fall, we're thinking very hard about Budapest, because we've both wanted to see that city for so long. For the spring, we haven't quite figured out where we want to be. So, to this end, we have a number of questions we want to put to the collective wisdom of this very nicely international forum:

 

1) Does anyone have suggestions for a non-US city where it's not too cold in the winter (sorry, Canucks!), internet access is readily available, daycare for Western children is available and trustworthy, the cost of living is not excessive (we're not exactly independently wealthy…), and visas good for >90 days are not a super pain in the ass to acquire?

 

2) Aside from IST, with whom I've been conversing off-list (thanks, Istvan!), does anyone else here live in or near Budapest and is willing to offer advice or answer questions about living there? Are there other cities in central Europe that maybe we ought to be considering as alternatives (Bratislava? Bucharest? Something that doesn't being with a 'B'?)

 

Hmmm.. Malaysia?

http://www.iproperty.com.my/propertylisting/702726/Mont_Kiara_Condominium_ForRent

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to2leo

If it is not Berlin, I would vote for Malaysia too for its warm and friendly people and a stone throw away from bustling Singapore and Japan.

 

Southern Europe such as Spain are more affordable than its northern counterparts, amazing city life and very good food.  Finding a job might be a problem.

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Mudkip Orange

I can attest that Victoria is a nice place, although on a six-month timeframe you might feel isolated since it's a several-hour ferry ride to anywhere (Vancouver or Port Angeles with your car, or direct to Seattle on the Clipper).

 

As far as Budapest, I have relatives who were missionaries there for some time. Somewhat historic rail-wise - the Budapest M1 was one of the first Metros ever, and the M3 still runs 50s/60s Soviet-era stock that's identical to what Moscow operated during the same period. Like any Eastern European city, the tram network is extensive and parking enforcement is nonexistent so it's an easy place to get around in.

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railzilla

If it is not Berlin, I would vote for Malaysia too for its warm and friendly people and a stone throw away from bustling Singapore and Japan.

 

 

A Flight of six hours to Japan is hardly a stone trow away. :grin Besides that Malaysia is a very nice country with great food and friendly people. Singapore has a very good educational system and finding a job for an expat might be easier than in Malaysia. But living cost are higher. On the other side the infrastructure is top and there are many new development plus several new subways under construction. Also Changi airport is the hub in South east asia. 

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westfalen

If it is not Berlin, I would vote for Malaysia too for its warm and friendly people and a stone throw away from bustling Singapore and Japan.

 

 

A Flight of six hours to Japan is hardly a stone trow away. :grin Besides that Malaysia is a very nice country with great food and friendly people. Singapore has a very good educational system and finding a job for an expat might be easier than in Malaysia. But living cost are higher. On the other side the infrastructure is top and there are many new development plus several new subways under construction. Also Changi airport is the hub in South east asia. 

Only a short hop from Australia too. When you're this far away from anywhere anything less than 8 or 9 hours is a short hop. :laugh:

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Nozomi4ever

If it is not Berlin, I would vote for Malaysia too for its warm and friendly people and a stone throw away from bustling Singapore and Japan.

 

 

A Flight of six hours to Japan is hardly a stone trow away. :grin Besides that Malaysia is a very nice country with great food and friendly people. Singapore has a very good educational system and finding a job for an expat might be easier than in Malaysia. But living cost are higher. On the other side the infrastructure is top and there are many new development plus several new subways under construction. Also Changi airport is the hub in South east asia.  

 

It 's true.. If you want a good housing here in Singapore..

You need at least...USD$2,280.41 to settle in a good one with swimming pool etc.. Otherwise , you will have to stay in Malaysia. But that 's not a problem.. Singapore is just 45 minutes away by plane served by major airlines : Singapore Airlines , Tiger Airways , Silkair , Malaysia Airlines , Jetstar Asia , Air Asia with over 100 flights everyday.. (BTW , if you 're not aware.. I am just 10 minutes away from Singapore 's Changi Airport.. :laugh:)

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Nozomi4ever

Why choose Singapore and Malaysia? (Part One)

Both Singapore and Malaysia are family-friendly places...

In Malaysia ,

There 's the waterpark, Sunway Lagoon... sunway-lagoon-theme-park.jpg

Theme park in the mountains: Genting Highlands..genting-highlands.jpg

In Singapore ,

There 's the Resort World Sentosa with child friendly facilities and a Casino.. (Just opened recently)

sentosair.jpg

The Las Vegas Sands @ Marina Bay..jpg

sg-marina-bay-sands-helix.jpg

 

To be continued..

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Nozomi4ever

Both countries offers great food at pocket-friendly prices..(Like these)

Food_2.jpg

Satay... The sweet-meat kebabs with sweet peanut sauce..

sk_curry_puff_1.jpg

Curry puff.

little-india-singapore-food.jpg

Indian Rojak.

BBQ_stingray.jpg

BBQ stingray with chilli and lime..

carrot+cake.jpg

(Carrot cake)

murtabak.jpg

The special stuffed Indian prata..

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railzilla

You forgot the King of Fruits.  :grin

 

And a whole lot of Chines and Nonya food.

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Martijn Meerts

That bridge is cool, but what is the ugly thing in the background with the hotdog bun on the roof? =)

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railzilla

That bridge is cool, but what is the ugly thing in the background with the hotdog bun on the roof? =)

 

 

Thats a complete rip off called Marina Bay Sands Sky Garden. Costs yo 20 Bucks to go up there. But 90% is for hotel guest only so you only can go to the tip of the hotdog bun.

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Nozomi4ever

Food and Beverages in Malaysia and Singapore (Continued)

Durian chendol

DurianCendol.jpg

Our special tea.. (Very silky and sweet)(Teh Tarik A.K.A Pulled Tea

tehtarik.jpg

Kaya Toast with butter , hard-boiled eggs and sweet coffee

Traditional+Kaya+Butter+Set.jpg

Durian(The King of fruits)

durian.jpg

Jambu (Water Apple)

jambu.jpg

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Nozomi4ever

Continued..Part 3

Char Kway Teow(Stir-fried ricecake strips in black sauce)Char_kway_teow

Ngoh Hiang

2710602320_11e5abb6a6.jpg

Rojak(Our unique salad)

rojak_mixed_vegetable_salad.jpg

kuihs

rojak_mixed_vegetable_salad.jpg

Bo Bo Cha Cha

singapore-food-bo-bo-cha-cha.jpg

 

To be continued... Part 4..

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Nozomi4ever

Continued...

Fish head Curry..

F03.jpg

The uniquely Singapore dish.. (Chilli Crab)

IMG_2359.JPG

Black pepper crab..

2108894541_dd78024b16.jpg

Laksa(Sweet coconut curry soup with noodles) Curry+Laksa.jpg

 

That 's all for food.. Now let 's go for transport..

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