I am a military kid. I have had to adapt in different places. I have had to make new friends. Had to be the new kid in six different schools. Each place I have moved has become a part of me, but the place that affected me the most was my oversea move to Naples, Italy. I arrived in Italy as a girl and returned to the USA a woman. Living in Italy and traveling through Europe left something in me, in my soul, mind and heart. I have forever changed.
Spain was all colours, vibrancy, passion and dance. Everywhere you turned in Spain you saw colours, from paintings by Picasso, to architecture by Gaudi, to the traditional clothing. This sparked my soul to become more free and exuberant. I loved that the people didn’t have to wear suggestive clothing to be desired. How the Spanish move and their confidence makes them desirable.
Greece was the land of white, blues, simplicity and relaxation. Everything was white and blue, from the beaches to the houses to the massive views of the Mediterranean Sea. Greece taught me to ease myself of worry. My soul learned to be thankful for the little things and to not be in a rush everyday.
Belgium and The Netherlands were all about tight quarters, organic, non-biased, and the locals were not afraid to be themselves. I loved how the people there were very honest and accepting of all walks of life. That kind of openness affected me greatly in the soul, now I strive to have a higher self esteem and to be less ethnocentric.
Germany exuded order, efficiency, sharp wit and cordialness. I loved that their culture involved polka music, beer houses (Hofbrauhaus) and singing, yet they are extremely efficient and particular when executing a task. My mind changed after Germany, it taught me to expand my mind by being organized.
France was romance, colourful lights, fashion and elegance. Everywhere you turned you saw beautiful lights that covered the city of Paris. I loved that they were not afraid of sexuality and owned it from fashion to attitude. France expanded my mind to have no fear in regards to personal style.
Austria for me was the arts. From the opera house to the paintings of Gustav Klimt. Austria was the perfect balance of the heart and mind. On one street you would see opera houses and the other you would see immaculate train stations. Austria changed my mind by finding my perfect balance of my artistic side and my analytical side. Austria showed me that they can both work together.
England was charming, picturesque, city life and the signature red telephone booth in every corner. The sense of humor and the warmth of the people was extremely inviting, I felt at home in England. England encouraged me to be more light hearted.
Switzerland was all about security, mountains, multicultural, and breathtaking views. Everywhere you turned you would see the French, German and Italian influence. I also witnessed my Mother’s reconnection with her adolescent days. Switzerland taught me to be adaptable because while traveling there you go from one region to the next and each region may speak a different language and have a different culture.
Now finally, Italy—in many ways I consider it my home, and I feel lost without her. Most of all, Italy taught me how to love. Even though on the outside she was very chaotic and capricious, she was family oriented and fostered a loving culture. Food brought everyone together daily with no cellphones and no work interfering. Italy changed me and I will always be thankful for her.
The Navy has given me and my family a wonderful opportunity of spending time abroad. These countries are now a part of me. All of them have affected my soul, mind and heart somehow.That’s the best part of being a Third Culture Kid, you are influenced by other countries and not with just your primary country. Every country has its benefits, you just have to be open to them.