Valerie...living here IS another matter.
If you don't have to work...it's much better..and a whole lot more fun!
You can get your passport stamped right here on the island....at the Town Board....first Wednesday of every month. You can also pay for 2 months at a time.
Yes, you can bring your pets. You need to have them certified with your veteranarian there. The Vet. will give you a certificate which then needs to be sent to the USDA in Miami...or the closest field office. The Vet will give you the address and phone#.
I paid a $16 US for my 2 cats..which the vet put on the same certificate. This will take a few weeks to complete so plan ahead.
You should know now, that pet food and supplies are expensive here...and not as readily available. A lot of people who have moved here have pets and they all seem happy and well adjusted.
I can't answer on the money issue....I came here as a dependent of a Belizean citizen so we were not required to do that.
You won't need as much furniture..but bring your favorite stuff. Good furniture is hard to come by here..and expensive. Remember too, if your going to live on the island...all weather stuff is great. If it has cushions, make sure they are washable.
If your mattress isn't quite up to par....invest in a good one before you come....also hard to find...and expensive.
A lot of people here don't use a box springs....the beds have like a platform...and then just the mattress.
If you are bringing a metal bed frame, spray it with a good coat f Rustoleum paint before you leave the states. all unprotected metal rusts here from the salt air.
Washer and dryer....a MUST!
Bring lots of tupperware or Rubbermaid containers...not only for the kitchen...but also those nice big ones for storage of household items. These are good to ship in too...so they are double duty!
Cookware....pots and pans!...outrageous here just for the cheap stuff. I have a set of Salad Master stainless steel in storage in the states that I would give my eye teeth for...LOL
I could probably go on forever in this deparment...so better email me...I'll give you the heads up on what to leave..and what to bring. [email protected]
Don't know anything about escrow closings.
BTL sucks....and I don't guess there is much we can do about that....just figure that into your monthly budget.
You can set up a mail forwarding service right here with a place called Express Lane.
Basically..you have your stuff forwarded or mailed to Express Lanes address in Houston and then they get it here..they worry with customs and duty for you. You pick up your mail at their office. Alot of people shop online and use this service. Of course, there is a monthly fee for this service and I can give you the rates by email.
I love Brianna's house....looks like a dollhouse.
You can fish at the cut at Boca Del Rio and from most of the piers.
a planned fishing trip with one of the local guides is nice too!
Hope this helps!