Okay, so my older brothers may disagree with the title and say that I actually was a brat when I was younger-but that’s for another day and another post!!
Most of you reading this will already know about the things I’m about to share. As fellow military brats you have experienced a lot of it right alongside of me-this will be a walk down memory lane for you. I’m really writing this for the non-brat people out there. I’m hoping this may give you some insight into why I (and the more collective we) are the way we are.
Let me also say this topic will span many, many posts and probably not in any kind of particular order-because that’s how I roll. So strap in for the long haul y’all 🙂
So let me first say-I led a slightly less crazy military brat life (hereafter referred to MB life) than most people. After being born in Naples, Italy and spending a few years in Gaeta, Italy (a seaside town just north of Naples) we moved to Virginia Beach, VA for a few years and then headed back to Naples. I was just 6 years old when we returned to Bella Napoli-we would stay there until I was 18!!
Yes, you read that correctly, I spent 1st grade through 12th grade in the same school. This is UNHEARD of for MB life, usually you are moving every 2-4 years.
“You are so lucky you didn’t have to move so often!”
“At least you got to put down roots.”
“You got to go to the same school-got to know the teachers-WOW!”
I’ve heard it all:
- I didn’t really experience military life
- I was privileged to know a “hometown”
- I didn’t know the upheaval of moving all the time
To all of that I say Bullshit!
*I made friends-good friends-to watch them leave just 3 years later
*I created bonds with adults at church and school who then proceeded to leave me when their orders, or their spouses, were up.
*I had to form new relationships with doctors, often too, they seemed to cycle out of the hospital every year or two.
So yes, I may have been able to put roots down. However, those roots were still affected year after year.
Now let me re-focus. I’ve just made it seem like those MB life years of my life were horrible. Quite the opposite-I was able to do so much while living overseas. I’ve been at a Papal audience at the Vatican-two of them actually! I’ve skied the Swiss Alps. In fact I skied one particular run that started in Switzerland and ended in Italy (it was seriously the coolest)!! I have walked the base of a volcano-the one pictured above, and seen first hand the destruction it made years before. I’ve been to towns by the by the name of Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Positano, and Alberobello. I have walked up to the top of the Tower of Pisa and also between the coastal towns of Cinque Terre. I have gazed up at Big Ben and walked in front of Buckingham Palace while imagining I was a princess within its walls. Most of this was done before I even turned 16!
I am beyond grateful for the life I was able to lead growing up as a military brat. It taught me many life lessons that I still rely on today. There were also some really, really tough parts though and they also play a big role in who I am.