I once heard the phrase "people make the places", and I didn’t realize then how true that would ring to the military teen until recently. We are constantly moved from place to place, having to abandon the physical friendship but taking with us the memories and experiences. The place we move to may have a wonderful beach or an adventurous mountain, but the people make the place because having friends to share in your adventures and experiences helps you make memories. The memories are what we take with us when we move again and again and leave our friends. However, making friends isn’t always easy.
The pace of moving may not sync with your ability and style of making friends. However, it will force you out of your comfort zone for the better and help you to be more social. In my own experience, I like to be slow and deliberate in finding my friends. Last year, I had no such luxury. I quickly became friends with a handful of people who turned out to be amazing. I became very close with them throughout my eleven-month assignment (three of which were in quarantine), and they helped make Carlisle a great place for me to live. It was awesome being able to get to know them and having them to help make online school a lot less boring.
I also made some great friends in North Carolina with whom I talk to almost everyday. The memories I share with these friends range from swimming in the lake to epic snowball fights and have kept me connected with them. I just recently had the pleasure of reconnecting with one of my friends from first grade as well! I have pictures of us trick-or-treating together in Kansas. We now both live in Korea.
I wouldn’t have met any of my close friends if I weren’t a military child. We are able to bond with friends over shared struggles and experiences that your non-military peers might not be able to relate to. There is a downside to being a military teen that I have already mentioned - moving constantly. Moving will cause you to leave friends. You may not see them again for awhile, but this is when true friendships shine their brightest. Because of our shared experiences and things in common, I enjoy and look forward to talking with my friends that are overseas. Even though you may be halfway across the world from a friend, you can still communicate. For example, I make plans beforehand with my friends from the 'States so I can talk with them. My friends from North Carolina moved from the U.S. to Italy and then back, but we always found time to talk to each other!
Through these hardships, lifelong friendships are forged. People make all the difference in a place. You could live in the most bland and boring place in the world, but the people there can make it the best place you’ve ever lived in. Winnie the Pooh once said, “How lucky am I to have people that make saying goodbye so hard.” I hope this article encourages you to make new friends and keep in touch with old ones!