Life of a brat
An Army Brat that is. When you move every 2-3 years, it pretty much becomes second nature. The packing and unpacking, the goodbyes and hellos, and all the new adventures; you definitely get used to it, and most of the time you even look forward to it. I was born in Germany and have lived in six other places since then, including the beautiful state of Colorado which I currently call home. Every move is easier and harder than the last. It’s easier in the sense that you know the ins and outs of packing up all of your family’s possessions and living out of a suitcase for prolonged periods of time.The goodbye’s however, definitely got harder the older I got.
Making friends was always a new adventure, and was pretty easy most of the time. When you’re in a Department of Defense Dependent School, more commonly referred to as DoDDS, all of the kids are used to moving. You learn to make friends quickly because you never know when one of you might be moving. Everyone includes everyone and the new kid(s) is/are always welcomed with open arms. There really is a special connection between military brats that is difficult to find anywhere else.
Time to move
The move was about a month away and our orders were to Vicenza, Italy. Until my dad came home with yet another change. Fort Carson, Colorado. We went from Vicenza to Fort Carson in no time at all. How bad could Colorado be though? Beautiful mountains! That’s about all I knew about Colorado.
Since I would be going into my sophomore year of high school, I was a little nervous for what was to come at this school. It was going to be my first time at a civilian school as far as I could remember. I was also going from a class size of 72 to a class of over 300. Not to mention I had all the same concerns as any other teenager. To me, it definitely was going to be a big change.
The new kid
I didn’t truly become vulnerable until after classes had begun. The school was definitely bigger than I was used to, and people seemed to be more curious about the new kids than looking to make friends. My sister and I had to go to an orientation about a week before with no more that 15 new students, in a school of over a thousand I didn’t know what to expect on the first day.
In every class we played a ton of “ice-breaker” games to get to know each other and learn everyone’s name. I quickly learned that most of the students have been in the same classes since kindergarten, and I felt very out of place. There wasn’t the usual friendly vibe on the first day when there are more new students than old. Don’t get me wrong, people weren’t mean, but they also weren’t as welcoming as I was used to. It was the first time in a long time that I actually felt like the new kid at school.
Though I soon joined the field hockey team and started making friends, I could never shake that new kid feeling. I was worried that my friends didn’t actually like me very much, or liked their other friends better. Even though I was out of my comfort zone I eventually found my place. I stayed on the field hockey team through my senior year and learned to love calling Colorado my home. My dad retired in Monument, CO and now works in Denver. I am grateful to have grown up as an army brat. This lifestyle has helped me learn to adapt to new situations. I have learned to be more open minded and have absolutely met some amazing people along the way.