This is an old post from a different blog (strange latitudes), but for those meeting me anew here, this is very important to know. It’s the reason for the “stranger in a strange land” subtitle beneath my name…..

In all my life, this has alway been a question I disliked, and it wasn’t because it annoyed me. It didn’t. Explaining my background actually takes a lot of time, and the long winded nature of the answer can sometimes sap a conversation of its energy. So, I write it up here, partly as a reason to explain this blog, a little.

My parents were born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey. They were high school sweethearts, and after years of dating, they finally decided to get married. My father had a PE teaching degree from Trenton State (which is now The College of New Jersey). Together, my parents moved to the greater Washington DC area; he had taken a job within the DC school system. Since DC is not a state, the school system was run by the federal government. Essentially, while the pay was low, he got all the really good benefits of a federal job. Eventually, he wondered what he was going to do with his career. After all, he didn’t want to spend his life teaching PE in the inner city. So, he applied for a job with the Department of Defense.

Basically, the federal government operates a number of American schools on military bases overseas. For my father, getting in was even more important, due to the fact that he had already completed a few years within the ever gigantic federal government. His retirement, basically, rolled into the new job fairly easily. There’s one catch, however — when a service member gets stationed overseas, they likely do a few years and rotate back stateside. DODDS (Department of Defense Dependent Schools) employees go overseas and stay there. With the exception of a few elementary schools, there’s no need for schools on military bases in the States. My father, basically, began what was to be a 30 year career.

His first posting was the Azores, which are little Portuguese islands in the Atlantic Ocean — roughly a two hour plane ride from Lisbon. My sister was born there. From there, my mom, my dad, and my sister moved to the Clark Air Force Base in Philippines. That’s where my brother was born. After that? Germany, where I can into being. My family went on to live in England, Bermuda, Belgium, and The Netherlands, where I graduated from High School (with my Dad, no longer a PE teacher, as my high school principal). I went off to college in West Virginia. My father, once Soesterberg AFB shut down, moved back England. He planned on retiring, but to do so, he had to sell some property he and my mother had bought in England.

So, where am I from? I still don’t have a good answer for that. Most times, I say “New Jersey,” as that’s where I presently live. Other times, I have to dish out this long, long winded answer. I don’t have a hometown, like most other people do. Whenever I get homesick, it’s for many places all at once or not at all. Sometimes I miss Bermuda, most other times I miss The Netherlands or the UK. My upbringing taught me many things, but cheifly: nothing is ever permanent. Landscapes will always change as life moves forward.