27 January 2011

Moving Around

Growing up as an Army brat, we moved around a lot.  I learned life lessons from moving around.  I learned a lot about nation and global communities.  I learned to make new friends with each move.  I didn't always like the leaving friends behind, but there were always great adventures that I knew were ahead.  I am a very independent person. I learned early on that things didn't happen on their own, that I made things happen.  I'm not afraid to go to strange lands or to try new things (although I keep to bottled water and chicken when we travel to far off places.)

I suppose one could argue that moving around and not being in one place very long would be a great hardship, that my kids are missing out on the life long friendships they could have, or not giving them a sense of "home" from living in the same town while growing up.

I think my kids are better off moving around from place to place.  I have three children: 14, 11, and 7.  They know no other way of life- as I did growing up.  They've spent several Spring Breaks in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and this last year traveled to the Mediterranean.  They have lived in the Middle East for 4 years (two separate 2 yr. assignments), have lived on the West Coast and the East Coast, and now again in the Mountain West.  They are seasoned travelers and are great adventurers.

I take great care when I know we're getting ready for a move.  Most times we have a bout 6 months to a year to get ready.  My children are a big part of the planning and researching.  This most recent move took us from an urban big city way of life, to a more laid back lifestyle suburban.  My husband and I made sure our kids were included when it came time to look at houses online.  We saw that most of the houses we looked at online had pools.  After being in a downtown rowhouse for 6 years, it seemed like a fun thing to try and find.  We found websites of all the schools we were looking at- looked at their afterschool activities, extra curriculars, neighborhood sports, and other activities.  We found travel books that gave us an idea of what it would be like in the new place- what was there to do outdoors, or what were some of the cultural activities they had available.

As we researched together, the kids became more and more excited about the move.  We made sure we took lots of photos of friends before we left and wrote down all the email addresses as well as the mailing addresses.   They haven't seemed to miss the old place too terribly.  The first month or so was hard when friends weren't writing letters back, but we kept them busy making new friends and exploring our new surroundings.

We haven't been here 6 months yet and the kids are already asking about the new assignment in 2-3 years.  Is that an indicator that they don't like it here or are they making sure they make the most of what they do like.

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