Commentary by Megan Brown
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office
This month is Month of the Military Child, a time to recognize the sacrifices military children make on an everyday basis. While they may seem small, military children face challenges their civilian counterparts will never have to experience.
New schools, friends, houses and sometimes even countries are something I and the other two million military kids know all too well. Whether we like it or not, we have to be resilient. We don’t have a choice.
My story begins in Nevada. From there I moved to Florida, Mississippi, California, Colorado, Turkey, and now here, Germany. That’s five states, three countries and six schools, and I am only 16 years old.
Since I have started school I have had many mascots, like a roadrunner, bear, mustang and a timber wolf. However, my favorite mascot by far was in Turkey, and it was a Hodja.
A Hodja is a Turkish religious figure and looks like a man riding a donkey backwards. My favorite part about the mascot was how unique it was and knowing most people would never be able to say it was their mascot.
With every move there is always the feeling of anticipation and excitement. When I move I wonder what my new teachers, classrooms and sports teams are going to be like, but eventually I adjust and as a result I have become more adaptable.
Although it’s sometimes hard, I have started to enjoy the challenges that come along with moving to a new school every two to three years because I am experiencing the world, seeing new cultures and meeting new people.
When I was younger, the best part about moving was unpacking the boxes because during that time, a sacred family tradition developed.
Moving into a new house meant one thing to my sister and me: yellow, numbered moving stickers. The rules of the game were simple; we had to wait until the movers were gone, and then the race was on to find as many stickers as possible.
For each sticker we found, my sister and I received 10 cents. It was a great way to get us involved and excited about the move.
For most of my life I have lived in base housing, however when we moved to Colorado we lived in a three-story house right by a 7-11 store. Out of all the houses I have lived in, that is one of my favorites because I could get Slurpees all the time. It’s funny about the little things we remember.
If I said moving to Turkey was an easy transition it wouldn’t be completely accurate. I had traveled outside the United States before, to places like Canada, the Bahamas and Mexico, but nothing could prepare me when I stepped off the plane in Turkey.
The culture shock came in places I would least expect it. For example, I had never seen a 220 outlet before, and I did not know about Turkish cuisine. I also had a difficult time learning the customs and language.
Eventually, I adjusted to my new home, but needless to say, my transition to Germany during the summer of 2014 was very easy.
One time I read a pessimistic quote that said, “Military children will have to say goodbye to more significant people by the time they are 18 then most people will have to in a lifetime.”
This provides a different outlook on the situation. Although I have had to say goodbye to a lot of people, I am grateful for having met them in the first place. Social media sites like Instagram and Facebook allow me to keep in touch with old friends while staying connected with my friends here.
Despite all the challenges of moving, making new friends, and not being able to answer the question “where are you from?”, I am happy I was born into this life, because otherwise it would be boring.
I am a resilient military kid, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Editor’s Note: Megan Brown is a Patch High School career practicum intern who works for the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office.