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Sometimes the Best Things in Life Are Not What You Expect

My childhood was filled with what I appropriately call, "time bombs." My dad works in the Foreign Service and approximately every 2 years, just when everything seems be going great, all of a sudden, BOOM!

Me:  "Do we have to move? I don't want to go. I promise I'll behave better. Just please don't make me go!"

My parents:  "You'll like this place! The house will be huge and I know you'll like your new school."

Me:  "I don't want to go. You can't make me! I'll go live with one of my friends! Mom! Dad! Please don't make me!"

And with their tone, I knew it was time for me to be quiet and start packing. The battle was over,  and the parents had won, as usual. I knew I didn't have a chance. It was time for me to put all of my belongings in a box and pray that everything would be at our new house (in one piece) at the end of our move.

The next step was to say good-bye to teachers and classmates. This was the hardest part. Would I ever see them again? Who knew?

Once in the foreign country, you think, "Okay, here we go again. I can handle this." One of the toughest things is the first day of school when everybody knows everybody else but you. All they talk about are the great things that happened to them the previous year, of which you know absolutely nothing about, and all you can do is stand there and feel like an outsider, like a third wheel.

"Oh my gosh! You've cut your hair!" "Do you like it? I took your advice." "I love it." Remember when we came to school last year with our hair dyed red?" "Oh yeah! Hey, who's that new girl?"

After a couple of weeks you start to know some names, and people start including you at lunch, inviting you to parties, and joking around with you. The next year you come back to school and know your way around so well that you show the new kids where to go. You feel special, life is sweet, and then you get home from school one day and Dad says:  Guess what? We're moving again!"  Moving, again? Didn't we just get here? Well, things were moving right on schedule. Back to the exchanging of addresses and the battle with my parents to let me stay (the one I always lose.)

That is basically the way I remember my childhood, one high schedule, a routine: pack, move, settle; pack, move, settle--every 2 years.

It took me a while before I started looking at moving in a positive light instead of as a conspiracy between my parents to make me miserable. I think it started when I got to my new junior high school and people asked me where I had moved from. After my response they were genuinely interested in hearing all of my experiences in that country. I would then talk with people, and pretty soon became friends with them. How ironic that what tears me away from my friends also helps me to make new ones. Some of the friends I've made over the years are very dear to me, and I think that being apart has only strengthened our relationships.

If someone were to ask me right now if I liked moving, I would say yes in a heartbeat because it truly was a fascinating experience! Seeing different cultures has made me an open and accepting person. I am never afraid to try new things or to meet new people. In fact, I believe it to be one of my chief strengths. Moving has allowed me to learn about new languages, people, schools, music, lifestyles, history, customs, and the list goes on indefinitely.

My childhood was, indeed, very different, but it has prepared me for the diversity of the real world. I could sit here and complain about all the things I�ve lost by not being raised in one place, but what I do is acknowledge that what I have gained cannot be matched.

So as my childhood ends and I approach college, the "time-bombs" that exploded sporadically throughout my life will stop. My Foreign Service life is over, and I can honestly say that I will miss it. After a lot of thought I have realized that the pros of moving outweigh the cons. If I was given the chance to go back and change something about my past I wouldn't disturb anything at all, because it is what makes me unique and what makes me stand out. I have had opportunities that not many have experienced and feel fortunate that I can draw on these experiences to adjust to the hectic pace of today's world.


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