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You Are What You Eat

Life as a military kid can change a lot about you. How you make and keep friends, where you live, how you travel, and even how and what you eat. I have lived most of my life overseas and it has definitely changed me and how I view my food. It has also changed my standards and the culture shock I experience. Twelve out of my fourteen years of my life has been overseas, there has been a lot about food to learn, eat, and love.

Living in Europe, there are a lot of places to travel and foods to eat. One tradition my family has kept while traveling is to try a Coca-Cola every place we visit. Surprisingly, Coca-Cola isn't the same everywhere, each place has differences in taste! Another thing I learned while living in Europe is to appreciate the bread, pastries, bakeries, and all the foods without extra sugar. It's not every day you can go out and buy a fresh, crusty baguette to eat as a snack.

I have lived in Asia twice as a military teen and both experiences were amazing, but also very different from each other. I lived in Kuwait for two years, which is also where I was born. Those two years I grew up eating flatbread, basmati rice, and mini samosas. That alone broadened my food palate from the very start. Now, my family uses basmati rice almost every time we eat rice.

Fast forward to the end of 2019, my family moved to South Korea. I got to try so many Korean foods and loved so many of them. Some of my favorites are bibimbap (which is sticky rice mixed with egg, bulgogi, and veggies,) Korean BBQ, Chilsung Cider (which tastes like Sprite but so much better,) and cucumber kimchi. Another cool thing that I found in Korea is purple rice. The rice is called Forbidden Rice and you only use a little bit with sticky rice. After it is cooked, looks purple. A difficult thing in Korea is having Celiac Disease. Korean genetics do not get a Celiac disease, which makes going out to eat in Korea really hard, especially with the language barrier.

The first time I moved to the United States was when I was seven years old. There was a lot of culture shock, especially surrounding food. When I walked into an American grocery store for the first time it was very overwhelming. Why were there so many different kinds of everything? My seven-year-old self had only been to the US a couple of times in the summer before then and was not used to big grocery stores. I was also not prepared for how much added sugar there is to food in the States, even in common things like deli meat, bread, and cheese. Another big culture shock to food in the US was restaurants. There were so many restaurants, everywhere, and mostly similar. In the United States, there tend to be similar kinds of restaurants everywhere, with basic American dishes. A lot of restaurants also tend to have many microwaved or frozen foods that they just heat up and serve. A little disappointing at first but, if you ask the right people you can find many great places to eat, too!

Living in these countries has changed the way I eat, my view, and my standards. After moving to multiple countries, I eat basmati instead of plain white rice most of the time. I can now tell the difference between fresh and canned green beans, as well as prefer Italian pizza over any other (sorry New York). It's almost like collecting pieces of myself and items to a menu that complete myself and my food palate. It is a learning experience of taking risks and trying foods that I cannot even pronounce, but it all has been worth it. Of course, there will always be some things that I don't prefer over others, but that doesn't stop me from trying new foods, especially as a military kid; that's just my life. I guess you can say that truly does make me what I eat.


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