When I arrived in Kansas, ready to start my college experience, I was a 17-year-old kid already moving into my 9th home. I was returning to my home country, only to find that I felt like a bit of an outsider. During my nearly decade-long absence from the US, I’d fallen a bit behind on American pop culture and had learned to approach certain social situations in a different style (parties were quite different, to say the least, but I’ll save that for another time). I was faced with the unique prospect of having to adapt to fit in in the place that I call home – well, in the sense that I can actually call anywhere home. I’ve never been able to give a proper answer to the question “Where are you from?” because I’ve never been in any one place long enough to truly identify myself as a local. I’ll sometimes claim California because it’s my birthplace and I’ve lived there twice, but it was only for a combined 4 years or so, just a fifth of my short life so far.
Most people would say that I’m lucky to have gotten to experience so many different environments and I’d generally agree that my 9 years in Europe were among the best times of my life. However, it’s hard to really get comfortable when you know that, wherever you are, no matter how you feel about the place, you’ll be somewhere else in a short while. Having been in the military community, most of my friends were in the same boat. There would be no returning to my previous home to see all of my old friends. By the time I had a chance to return, they’d have already moved.
A lot of the traits I’m most proud of have stemmed from these constant moves and being forced to adapt over and over, but I can’t help but be stricken with envy when I see a couple getting married and the groom talking about how his best man has been his closest friend since he was a baby. It’s a shame that it’s a situation I’ll never have the chance to experience, but at times I wonder if I really do want to settle down in one spot.
I’ve gotten used to moving about every two years to the point where two years after arriving in Kansas, I was already feeling the urge to move on and experience something new. I’ve gotten increasingly anxious to get out of small-town Kansas and into some place more exotic, or at least big. And diverse. A place where shit actually happens from time to time.
There’s just one year left before graduation and a world full of places I’ve yet to live in that I’m dying to finally experience. Next summer, I’ll see if I was able to move on to bigger and better things, whether in the US or abroad.