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Reflections of a Foreign Service Childhood

Born in Washington, DC and moving around a bunch, I've had a pretty typical Foreign Service childhood: My sister was born in Paris; I graduated one of 60 in Vienna--Austria, not Virginia. I decided to go to the University of Texas in Austin. While Austin feels more like an international city than most, I still find my reference points slightly different from others. I probably always will.

Yes, I still have a hard time when people ask me where I'm from. I've gone over certain bits of conversation so often that I know them by heart:

New Acquaintance (NA): So where you from?

    Me: umm... Everywhere.

    NA: What does that mean?

    Me: umm... Well, I was born in... (go through the list)

    NA: Wow. That's a lot of places, why did you move so much?

    Me: My parents are diplomats.

Here the conversation can split into different variations:

    NA: What's a diplomat?

    NA: What was it like moving all the time?

    Me: (long spiel about what diplomats do)

    Me: (go through long pros and cons list)

The concept of having fun at the mall still escapes my understanding. The huge grocery stores still overwhelm me. There are 15 types of orange juice; I just want some orange juice.  Ahh, too many choices!!

I have a hard time comprehending what it was like for people to have lived in the same place all their lives. I don't understand, and I don't really want to understand those people who grew up in one place and plan to move straight back there after they graduate to live out the rest of their lives. Moving every 2 to 4 years has instilled wanderlust in me. I just finished my third year at college, and already I am getting antsy to move on. Yeah, I guess some things never change.


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