As a military brat, I was exposed to many different cultures and social structures. I’ve been the minority and the majority, depending on where I lived. Growing up, I was always asked, “Don’t you hate moving like that?” It always blew me away every time I heard that! How could I hate something so phenomenal? It was the most wonderful experience in life to move every two to three years. How could I not love it? It gave me a chance to learn that much more about my world and the different people in it. Living from Japan, to Hawaii, to Washington D.C. – and everywhere in between – gave my family the opportunity to do a lot.
We drove the islands of Hawaii and took pictures of every crater and waterfall. We had pic nics on every shore and watched the most amazing surf. I got baptized, at 5, in the oceans off of the shores in Kailua, Ohau. We took tours of the battlefields in Virginia and walked through buildings had stood since the dawn of our country. In grade school I was able to take a fieldtrip to the Smithsonian, as President Reagan drove by in his presidential limo…Wow!…talk about a big impression on a fourth grader. In Japan, we lived in the jungles on Okinawa. Our house backed up to the vegetation and the tunnels, that the Japanese soldiers hid in during the WWII. Of course, we didn’t venture too far in that crazy jungle due to the habu snakes and the banana spiders. One bite from a habu is deadly! But just knowing I was sleeping 20 feet from that much history was amazing in itself. How weird must it have been for my dad living near where he had fought in the Viet Nam war, years later? Learning a new language and submersing into a foreign culture was one of the highlights of my young life.
After attending college and starting into the work force, I realized how these things helped me the most. One way was giving me an edge to adapt to any new situation. At any given time, at any given moment….life changes, and most adult are set in their ways. Change to me is a way of life. My history has helped me roll with the punches. It’s given me the upperhand in the office to adapt to new policies and procedures, when most groan and gripe. Who do you think gets ahead in a superior’s eyes in that situation? Living around so many different people gave me to opportunity to learn more and understand things better from someone else’s perspective.
The biggest inspiration my life has delivered is just simple appreciation. From all the constant change in my short life, I have learned to appreciate what I have and who I share it with. Life is a huge adventure, but it’s also very short. Every day is a new present to open….it’s a gift. Every breath I take, every kiss I give, every embrace I cherish. Those are my number one priorities. Everything I do is for the benefit for those around me.
Military brats are definately a different breed. Yes, some do hate the life…they hate the constant upheaval. Some don’t like saying goodbye to thier friends. Some may resent the authority to made them do those things. But the ones who loved it…the ones who chose to say hello to new friends instead of goodbye to the old ones…the ones who understood the sacrifice their parents made for them and their country…..those are the ones who flourished in that environment.
On Okinawa, in high school, we were all stuck together like it or not. We often felt the Dept. of Defense school system purposely put us in a test tube to observe how it would all turn out. I know we passed their test with flying colors. There were no blacks vs. whites. There were no rich vs. poor. There were no jocks vs. nerds. We all were the same…military brats forced in a situation to make the best of it OR not! Most of us did make the best of it, and to this day benefit from our experiences. Everyone from that test tube of classes and races has gone on to something wonderful due to thier gift of adaptation in life. My Kubasaki alumni have all gone on to make something of themselves…screenwriters, actors, succesful leaders and soldiers, writers, lawyers, doctors/nurses, and just plain happy people. We all ended up people, who appreciate their surroundings and adapt to make it better when we’re facing the worse.
I want to stand up and say thank you to my dad for joining the military. Thank you for exposing me to a unique lifestyle, that most could never appreciate. Thank you for serving your country in war, to fight for my freedom. Thank you for putting your life on the line, time and time again so that even those, that don’t respect the military and are vocal about it, have the option of their freedom of speech! And Thank you for teaching me to serve my President, no matter who sits in the office. It’s an office of respect. Thank you dad, for loving me enough to drag me around from state to state and country to country. It’s given me an eyeful of life, good and bad….but it wouldn’t be a life worth living if it wasn’t exactly the way it was.