My 7th & Hardest Move

Life of a brat

1898002_10202544142356401_21190495_nAn 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.

10 thoughts on “My 7th & Hardest Move

  1. Gabby, it sounds like you were able to stay very positive and level headed throughout all the frequent relocating and farewells. That must have been incredibly hard to basically never know what life was going to throw at you next. Its real cool to me that after going through that you ended up in a place like Colorado, and that you have loved it ever since.

  2. Gabby, that sounds amazing and horrifying at the same time. One of my friends grew up in a very similar position to you, and I’ve always wondered how I would respond to such a situation. It is no doubt that you learned some incredible skills to carry with you in the rest of your life though!

  3. My mom was an “army brat” as well, born in Germany like you. I can only imagine the parts of the world you’ve seen. Moving in high school sounds terrifying and it takes a very brave person to be able to get out of their comfort zone at an age where literally nobody does.

  4. Hi Gabby,
    Moving is definitely a hard thing, especially in high school. I actually experienced a similar situation when I moved from Ghana to here. The school here was so huge and everybody had known each other their whole lives. I loved living in different places but it was always hard saying goodbye to friends. It was also difficult for me to find my place here as well before I joined the soccer team. I’m glad you found a place on the field hockey team! Have you ever gone back to visit the friends in the places you moved away from?

    1. Yes it is very difficult, but it’s also so exciting! I loved getting to experience new people and places but Colorado was the one move that challenged me the most. It’s so awesome that you found your place with soccer. Sports were always helpful everywhere I moved. I’ve played just about every sport! Unfortunately it’s so difficult to keep in touch and especially see old friends again. I’ve seen a few friends here and there, and social media has helped a lot as well. I’d love to talk to you about your experience some time.

  5. Gabby,
    I have never moved before and am in awe with your positvity on the whole situation. When I have to go to an unfamilar place, I get so nervous and have such anxiety no one will like me or I would hate it. Your attitude is very commerarable and I look up to you. From such a young age you aquired a skill that is so hard for people to have, which is willingness, openness, and a positive outlook.

    1. Thank you so much! You definitely learn to be positive when you move as much as I did because it’s inevitable, so if you’re not positive you’ll probably be miserable. For example I remember when I moved from Japan to Belgium my older sister was so mad she refused to adjust her body to the timezone. For two weeks she would be awake all night and sleep all day. It was really annoying actually. She was going into 8th grade though, and I guess everyone is difficult at that age. To me, moving has always been exciting! New experiences are scary but if you learn to be excited about it too I promise it will get better. If you ever want to discuss more about this I would be more than happy too!

  6. Getting into sports and clubs is the best way to make friends in a new place. I’m glad you were able to find Field Hockey to do that. When I began at LEEDS I joined clubs and tried to do the fraternatiy thing. Everyone finds their niche. And you find friends in those niches.

  7. Hi there Gabbi! I’ve only made one major move in my life and I thought I had it pretty dang bad. I cant imagine the difficulties that DOD families have to experience. I’m glad to hear that even through all of the moves you were able to pull strong life lessons from your experiences.

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