November 14th, 2011



Being born a military brat can be both blessing and curse, but for me it was largely a blessing. Moving around so much simply opened my mind and made me aware of the fact that there were other possibilities out there than the one proscribed by my own family and upbringing. For some people, I know, moving so much is simply hard work: always being the new kid in school can especially filter a child's experiences of an already potentially fraught time period with much more anxiety and stress. For me, it was liberating, though leaving friends and a place I'd grown to know and love was never exactly was made much more palatable by my parent's encouragement to view each move as an adventure, and a challenge.

In addition to moving a lot, my family took road trips for vacations, traveling miles in our first huge purple station wagon and later in the wood-paneled replacement that we bought sometime before 1976, promptly decorating the dashboard with red, white & blue bicentennial celebration stickers. We drove to Michigan to visit my mom's parents, Chicago to visit my dad's mom, and sometimes down to Arkansas where she had a vacation home. We drove to California. We drove to Florida. We drove to Kentucky.

And everywhere we moved, my mom found places to visit and see. There are photos of me as a young child feeding squirrels at Mt. Rushmore. My sister and I bought cheap turn-your-finger-green silver rings with out-sized tumbled chunks of turquoise held on with a giant dollop of glue that eventually turned brown and cracked while driving through the Painted Desert (I still have a piece of petrified tree trunk on one of my shadowboxes). We went to the Grand Canyon and Mammoth Caves and Weeki Wachee to see the mermaid show.

In my lifetime I have moved 29 times (including all the various accommodations during my college years). I have visited 32 states and lived in 9. I have visited 25 countries and lived in 5 (United States, Belgium, Netherlands (school dormitory!), Germany and Sweden). There are so many places I have been, so many places I want to go, and so many I want to visit again. Strangely, we don't have any plans for travel at the moment, though my friend Becky and I are discussing France or Italy as a possibility for next fall and I want to go home to the US for Christmas next year.

We typically spent 3 years stationed in one place, with a couple of longer or shorter stints here and there, depending on my dad's posting. I say now that I spent the first year somewhere longing to be back where we'd been, the second year completely content with where we were and the third year longing to move on to the next place. This is, of course, a rosy exaggeration, but it still rings largely true for me. I find it both bizarre and a little unsettling that after nearly 15 years in Sweden and 9 in this house, that I have not felt that urge to move on in a very long time. Could it be that I am finally settling down?

Happy Homey Belated Birthday Wishes to davesanngel