What is it like living in another country?

On The Road To Early Adulthood

Memoir from my early teens.

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Most individuals would define me as a military brat. My dad, who is now retired, dedicated twenty-two years of his life to fighting for his country in the United States Army. In the last two or so years of his career, my mom, my two little sisters and I trekked across the ocean with him all the way to his last duty station in Wiesbaden, Germany. Boy, was that a new experience. I was starting my freshman year of high school in a strange place. To make matters worse, we had moved in the middle of the year so it was clear I was going to be one of, if not the only, new kid.

Although the school was run by the military, meaning it was full of American students, I still had the jitters about the whole situation. It seemed to be a whole new world overseas. Not just the school, but the quaint little towns and nearby cities. High school there turned out to be way better than I thought. In fact, that is what began my transition to adulthood.

While the school provided lunch for all students, most were allowed to leave and go off campus to nearby stores to obtain their lunches. Going off campus was about the only adult-like thing I had done at that point and I absolutely loved it. Nearly every day I left campus to go to the bowling alley, commissary, or PX to buy whatever I wanted for lunch. After arriving home and completing all of my homework, my parents allowed me to go out with my friends and ride the nearby bus to downtown Wiesbaden, which happened to be a short distance away.

I was presented with yet another adult like situation. Who else gets to walk around and shop with friends in a foreign country with no parents in sight? I was finally able to be free and buy clothes, accessories, and more without the watchful eyes of my parents. It was a great experience and I loved every moment of it. After a while though, I figured out that both lunch and shopping was adding up to much more money than I expected. At that point, I decided to get a job.

Babysitting was the easiest job to attain, but the hardest to perform. My mom made friends with ladies that had loads of children for me to watch. Watching children younger than me gave me a sense of responsibility. It was my first job and I was going to do my very best to uphold it.

After some of my first babysitting jobs, it hit me that I was no longer a little child anymore.I had blossomed into a young lady. I continued to babysit for the remainder of the time there so I could acquire a constant flow of income. That way, I could afford to pay for my lunch and shopping trips with no problem.

Living in Wiesbaden, Germany was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. With that transition, my childhood began to disappear as my adulthood blossomed to incorporate my new interests and activities.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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Why You Should Bring Your Close Friend As Your Formal Date

Before asking that cute girl to formal think about asking a friend

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Every year since I was a junior in high school I have always looked forward to homecoming or prom. When I got to college I began to look forward to my fraternity formal. I was never concerned with what to wear or the expense of formal but rather who I was going to ask. It can be difficult to make a decision. If you ask anyone friends with me they will tell you how I am one of the most indecisive people out there. There are so many people I am friendly with or have a close relationship that it can feel difficult to make a decision. But let's look at that phrase again. You might think why does he want to bring someone who is his friend to his fraternity formal rather than someone he likes or is dating. To answer this question, some of the girls I have liked I have not been able to be the true me around and that also applies to the girls I have dated as well. I am different around my friends and I want someone to know the real me rather than me just having to pretend.

Maybe I am still experiencing the effects of a fun weekend but I have noticed that every formal or prom that I have brought a date with not only was a fun formal but interacted and connected well with my friends. That is the main thing I look for in a formal date, they need to be liked by my friends and many of them are still pretty friendly after the formal. You are spending the weekend with them and the drive down for you formal. There will be a lot of time spent with your date so it is important to bring someone you know you will have fun with. I am not saying that there isn't anything wrong with bringing someone else but I always found it best to bring a friend if you are not dating someone.

Think about the people you know you will always have fun with. This can be an indication of who you should bring and why but you should also think about the positives in this situation. Your fun and the time spent with the people should be prioritized before anything else. This event is about you and you should have someone with you that you know is fun to be around and someone you can enjoy yourself around along with your friends. Friends know you as well as you know yourself so there is not an idea of having to pretend to be someone else. The good thing about friends is that you do not run out of things to talk about and there is always something new to learn. Take your formal as a trip that you get to experience with the people closest to you. That is my take.

The key for me is to know that I will have fun with my date at formal. The drive to formal can be long and you are sharing a hotel room with your date along with spending time with them during the trip. I talk a lot. I want someone I know who I can carry a conversation with and will not just respond with words such as Yeah or Sounds good. I have always been able to remember not only my formals but specific parts of it as well. I think this is possible because of who I have brought and the memories I made with them.

Formals are important to everyone so think about who you want to spend that moment with. There is nothing wrong with bringing someone who you like but there also is nothing wrong with bringing a friend. Some people might bring someone they are dating but you should not have to compare yourself to other people. Do what makes you happy but remember this weekend is about you and you deserve to bring someone you will have fun with.

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