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Stay Here or Go?

Earlier this year, the U.S. News and World Report named Huntsville, Alabama as the best place to live in America. I had never even known the city existed before my father received orders for it, and now I have moved into a new house, enrolled in a new school, and jumped head-first into the never-ending process of adjusting to a new life.

It has been about a year and a half since moving from South Korea back to the U.S., and the transition has been strange, to say the least. The language barrier is gone, all the buildings are spread out instead of stacked on top of each other, the food is not nearly as good, and some people have asked me how I liked living in North Korea. Though I can’t fault them; before moving OCONUS and experiencing more of the world I might have mixed up the two as well. Anyways, if you couldn’t tell, for me it’s the little differences I have noticed that signal a real change has taken place. I’m used to the big differences, like a new school and a new house, but with every move, I’m bombarded by the thousands of tiny glaring contrasts between my old home and my new one. Even though I know I’ll just have to pick them up eventually, I’ve put down roots here in Huntsville. I’ve made amazing friends, gotten involved in school clubs, and even applied to college. That last part is what has made this move different from all the rest because although I’m prepared to move, I won't have to.

Around the time we moved here, I wrote an article about how excited I was to have my very first home and not have to move anymore. As time passed, I felt those feelings shift slightly. It is coming up on the time my family and I should be receiving orders for a new place and packing all our belongings in boxes, and the fact that neither of those things is going to happen is shaking me in ways I didn’t expect. I’m restless and anxious: not to stay, but to go. I’m still ecstatic that we finally have a permanent home, not just a temporary rented one, but it is different from everything I have ever known. I expect to be leaving, not to be staying. I’ll be off to college soon, and despite my desire to move, I chose a school close to Huntsville, where I will be staying for the next four years at least. The longest I have ever lived in the same place is three years, and when I graduate college I will have lived in the same city for six years. That’s almost unimaginable.

I considered moving to attend a far-away school filled with new faces and new experiences, but then I realized I have done that my entire life, and although I find it normal, it has never gotten any easier. I decided to try staying local. This allows me to expand upon the relationships I have just begun to build with the great people here and to seize the chance of building myself up instead of being torn down and starting from the bottom every time I move. Also, the Rocket City wasn’t named the best place to live in America for nothing. This city is thriving, with all different kinds of people, places, things to do and see, and many opportunities. There is no shortage of opportunities for both graduated and in-school students here in a vast variety of fields, and staying to attend a school in the city is definitely a step in the right direction for my future.

My feelings have been conflicted: desperately wanting to move again, but also wanting to stay and see what Huntsville has in store. It will certainly be a strange experience to live in the same place for six years, which is something most people don’t hear that often. Although I chose a school close to home partly because I didn’t want to completely start all over again, I will miss moving and meeting new people, and seeing new places. For now, I will continue to grow my roots here in Alabama, but I will never forget the excitement and wonder of moving to a yet undiscovered place. I plan to continue traveling in the future because I don’t think I will ever be able to stay still for long; I’m too much a part of the military teen life.


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