eCoronado.com welcomes new staff writer Siobhan Bailie to the team. Siobhan recently relocated from Australia with her Australian naval officer husband and two small children.
We arrived in San Diego mid June 2013 via a long and hectic flight from Australia, with an unsettled baby and irritable toddler in tow.
We settled into our temporary accommodation, a comfortable condominium located by the water in Coronado, compliments of the Australian Government, and conveniently located mere steps from Sharp Coronado Hospital. Several days later our toddler was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis, and our fifteen month old baby was diagnosed with child pneumonia. It was at this moment I felt a pang of homesickness and questioned my sanity for agreeing to such a big move; three years in San Diego whilst my husband served on military exchange at the Naval Air Station, North Island. I was, at least, thankful that the hospital was within walking distance (and that the hospital staff were amazing).
With our sick kids to care for, so began the task of buying a car, securing insurance, navigating the DMV, sourcing daycare, acquiring a work permit and social security number, and most importantly, finding a house rental to call home for the next three years. We had a budget, and according to Craigslist, Trulia and Padmapper, Coronado was not within our budget. So, we momentarily considered other family and budget friendly suburbs of San Diego… until our new Aussie friends, also serving the US Navy on military exchange, got wind of us considering living off the island.
To our new friends, it was worth crunching the numbers to restructure our overall budget, forgoing frivolous things such as furniture rental, in order to increase our house rental budget to bring us into the Coronado rental market.
I was getting a good vibe from my new Aussie military friends who were so passionate about living on this island called Coronado that is really a peninsula, but I digress. So my husband and I decided to follow their advice. Coronado or bust!
My husband and I dedicated 110% effort to finding a home in Coronado, during peak holiday season. No mean feat. The competition was high. Rentals were snapped up, it seemed, almost as soon as they were advertised. Multiple applicants applied for the same property. We called real estate agents, made new acquaintances, networked, conducted countless drive bys, annoyed and essentially begged our way into a lovely mid century family home, centrally located within walking distance of everything. Well, I guess it’s fair to say that if you live anywhere in the village, you are within walking distance, if not, biking distance from everything.
In our infancy of living on the island, I was so unaccustomed to walking to places that I would drive to the pharmacy, grocery store, beauty salon, doctors and any of the other amazing businesses and eateries on to island, only to later realize that it was quicker to walk. I won’t tell you how long it took me to come to this conclusion. My husband, on the other hand, who is a much quicker witted person than I, immediately figured out that walking and biking was a quicker mode of transportation and settled in quickly to his new way of getting about. He even bought a child trailer that hitches to the back of our bike.
Today, if you passed us in the street, buzzing around on our bikes or walking swiftly with our jogging stroller, we’d appear to be the quintessential Coronado parents, that would be until we opened our mouths and spoke with our broad Aussie accents.
I feel settled and at home in Coronado. I love the feeling of driving from San Diego, over the Coronado Bridge and experiencing the calm feeling that washes over you as you reduce your speed to 25 miles per hour and navigate your way home amongst other polite Coronado drivers.
I love when I walk down my street, my neighbors say hello or take the time to chat. The pace of Coronado life is agreeable to me.
The best indicator that we made the right choice moving to Coronado is when my three year old son says, with a smile on his face, “I like this house.” In the previous three years we have experienced several moves, as is common within any Navy family. We have also experienced the tell tale signs of child distress as a result of the transient military lifestyle: behavioral and emotional. To me, that fact that my son likes our house is not only a reflection of the structure of the dwelling (it is a lovely, homely house), but a reflection of his daycare, his friends, local attractions and the people my son interacts within the community. My son feels settled here. It’s comforting to know that we will spend the next several years living in a community that is safe, trustworthy, accepting, caring, and most of all, fun!
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