The link to the full Moondance report is here. Thanks to IFTN for publishing the story!
Also, my helpful Texas contact has provided some other useful information for anyone moving to the States - this time on phones!
Obviously I will need a mobile phone (other known as a cell-phone or cellular). I'll also need a way to keep the phone number if I have to leave the States and go home for a while, and I need a way for people in the States to call my American phone number and get some kind of voicemail in the meantime.
This can go disastrously wrong. I have a friend who screwed up setting up his voicemail service but didn't realise this and thought no one was calling him. He ended up losing three months worth of calls from American contacts -including about 30 from a scary Hollywood agent, whose ignored voicemails got more and more furious...
First of all, mobile phone numbers and landline phone numbers in the States are the same. In other words, mobile phones don't have a special prefix like they do in Ireland and at least some other European countries.
When you buy a U.S. mobile phone it is assigned an area code which is based on where the phone was sold. For example, the area code in Austin is 512. If I buy a phone in LA, I'll get a LA-based area code.
The number that is attached to the phone will then belong to me. I'll be able to transfer it to other phones or voicemail services, providing that the number is still current and the bill is paid. (So in this instance, you wouldn't cancel your mobile phone and then move the number, you'd move the number, and then cancel the service.)
There are several big mobile phone companies in the States and lots of little ones. The big ones all operate on a contract basis - but I'll be getting a prepaid service. I'll probably buy a phone from them as my Irish mobile is an ancient relic and I'll then pay in advance month by month for phone service. I'll then have my own LA phone which I can take with me.
Here's the best part - using Google Voice. See here:
If I need to go home to Ireland, I can transfer my LA number to Google Voice. When people call my LA number, it will go to a web-based voicemail, and I'll get a email or text that there is a voicemail waiting for me.
I hope this helps anyone else who's hoping to do a similar move.
As always, if anyone has any further info or other suggestions, I'll be glad to accept them. Thanks!