• Loretta

Overseas to Stateside



As a military kid, moving overseas is seen as a sort of common experience. Your parent(s) get orders to go across an ocean and you go with them. The move is characterized as an adventure, which it is. Moving overseas is an exciting and scary experience all at once. My first time moving overseas was when I was five years old. I had started kindergarten in Pennsylvania, and halfway through the year, I moved to Japan. My years in Japan were full of some of my happiest memories and my oldest friends. Staying there for 4 and a half years, from age 5 to 9, was almost my entire childhood. I got used to the way things worked. I got used to the culture. My TV experience was almost entirely AFN Family, where they would play Sesame Street and I knew the exact time when Elmo’s World would come on (I can still remember the theme song).


Moving from overseas to stateside is just as much a culture shock as moving from stateside to overseas. Many people, both military and civilian alike, equate moving from overseas to stateside as a form of coming home. You are leaving a place you had been put in, a little bit against your will. But in reality, overseas had become your home. Moving from Japan to Nevada was one of the biggest transitions of my life. My childhood was left in Misawa AB, and I was suddenly put in a brand new world with Disney Channel, Five Guys, and Twinkies (of all things).


America had become a foreign place to me, a place that I only visited every other year to see relatives up and down the east coast. Moving stateside was just as much of a culture shock to me as moving overseas had been. Not only did I have to deal with the standard troubles of being a military kid like moving into a new house and making new friends, I had to deal with a new culture and a different type of people - Japanese and American cultures could not be more different from each other. Although this transition was tricky, my family made the most of it. We got to meet new people, who we now consider family, and we were closer to our relatives so we could visit more often.


Moving stateside is often a blessing and a curse, but I've learned that you just have to make the most of it. You will land on your feet, eventually.