Wednesday, January 27, 2016

On the Horizon : The City by the Bay

San Francisco, here I come!
Right back where I started from

Well, that's almost the song and that's almost true.

About a week into the New Year, G received the news we had been waiting on pins and needles to hear: where we would be transferring to next. Yes, yes, we've only been in Jersey six months. But with G's promotion to first class gunner's mate last fall, we were 99 percent sure we'd be moving again come summer 2016. Currently, he is working a GM2 job even though he is now a GM1, so it just didn't make sense for the Coast Guard to keep him here. So we sat down months ago, talked about our options, made our dream sheet with eight picks and G submitted the list. 

Of our choices, only two jobs were on boats and both we put at the bottom of the list, due to their location and the fact that they would require G to go to school first. Our top four were all on the West Coast: San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. While G and I were really pulling for our No. 1 pick  the hubs has been homesick for SD ever since we arrived in Jersey  we were lucky to have G assigned to our No. 2. He will be supervising the armory at MSST San Francisco.

At G's promotion ceremony in November.

My husband is ecstatic to be moving back to California but honestly my initial reaction was less than enthused. I am a bit sad to be leaving the NYC area so soon; I feel like there is still so much to see and do and I wish we had more time to explore. (Though, I will be doing my best to make the most of our last five months here!) I am also not looking forward to the whole packing up and moving across the country thing again. Our last two experiences were less than smooth. 

And my nervous, hesitant reaction to the SF news was made only more so when we learned that we would have to live in military housing in Alameda. There goes the dream of having a yard for the dogs, something we told each other was non-negotiable on the house hunt this time, and now we have no choice whatsoever in where we live.

OK, time for some good news. Now that I've had a few weeks to process the idea, I am able to not only recognize but actually celebrate all the positives in moving to the Bay Area.

We will be back in our home state of California. While NorCal is very different from SoCal in many respects, we are more familiar with the area than we were when we moved to St. Pete or Union City. We both have visited and vacationed in San Francisco several times and G even lived in Alameda for a couple months. And, it goes without saying, the City by the Bay is an incredibly dynamic place to live. Plenty to see and do there as well!

The biggest pro to moving back to California though is that we will be much closer to our friends and family. It will be easier and less costly for them to visit us and for us to visit them. After living 2,500+ miles away from nearly everyone we know and love, it will be wonderful to be just a short flight or a 8-hour car ride away.

G will be working a land job again, which means he won't be getting underway (at least, not on any regular basis) and will be home most of the time.

And while I am still disappointed that we won't get to choose which neighborhood we live in or have an opportunity to rent a home with a yard, living in military housing comes with many benefits. It may not be glamorous or updated, but we will never worry about whether we have enough money to pay rent and utilities; it's covered! We will likely be living much closer to San Francisco than we would have been able to if we were given BAH (basic allowance for housing) to live on the economy.  And we will be living in a community of other Coast Guard families, so making friends, connecting with other Coastie wives and participating in base- and spouse club-hosted events will be easier.

So, there is a lot to look forward to, even if leaving is bittersweet. That's military life. You're never in one place for too long! Though, our tour in San Francisco is a four-year billet, so maybe — just maybe — we can actually get settled in for longer than a year.

All San Francisco photos by Victoria Smith 
Cherry blossoms via Refinery29. 

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