Teen Without a Country

December 27, 2011
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Being one of the only civilian teenagers in a european DOD school for “army brats” gives you a unique insight into the lives of a teenager born into a military family.
I am a teen living in europe, my parents are civil service but about 80 percent of my classmates have one or more parents deployed in Afghanistan. I am always there for my friends when their parents leave and come home.  All teens are already in an emotional and confusing time in their life, but living in a foreign country and having a parent deployed adds stresses that most people cant understand.  One friend recently surprised me when she said she was unsure if she wanted her dad to retire from the military for good. She loves him but for most of her life it was her and her mom. Adding in a full time dad into her life was a scary thought. On the other hand a different friend wanted nothing more than to have parents come home forever. Both of her parents were deployed at the same time so she has been living with a host family while they are away. The family she is with are friends, so she was comfortable and happy but it is never going to be the same as having your parents home and living in your own house. Friends come to me at school crying because their parents deployed and they needed a someone to “vent” to.  My parents don’t deploy I am one of the few who can listen without getting upset.  

The positive side to living a military life is that there is a sense of community because during a deployment my friends need people around to help them and most of their friends knows what they are going through. They know what is like to have their parent deployed, they know what it is like to come into a new school have to make new friends and adapt to the new curriculum and they know what is like to live overseas.

Living in a foreign country is equally exciting as it is difficult. You get to travel to exotic places, try a varity of food, and meet people from around the world. But day to day life can be difficult. Every base has a commissary, which is like a grocery store and a PX which is like a department store, but you don’t find everything you need there so you have to go into the “economy” which is all the stores outside the base. Playing charades with store clerks can be hilarious but after awhile it gets frustrating. Never knowing exactly what you are getting or eating is adventurous and annoying.

But when I take a good look at my life and the life of my friends. Through the deployments, adventures, hardships, and traveling, we wouldn’t change it for anything.

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