Category Archives: military

TCK: Where are you From?


Knowing where you are from is part of your self identity.  It is also the way others can form initial impressions and gain an understanding to who you are upon your meeting.  For many this is an easy, quick to answer question that requires no premeditated thought. For some it may take a little time as they have moved around, but upon further investigation will find they have a ‘family’ home through their family relations. Then in walks the Third Culture Kid (TCK) who may love or loathe this question for there is no real simple answer. Do you want the short version or the long version? How many more questions will you ask depending on the answer I give? How will you label me if I bring up certain places? Will you stop listening when my answer goes past two words?

I became a TCK because I grew up in a US military family that moved around military bases overseas. Not all my peers had the same extreme nomadic lifestyle that I did growing up.  They may have spent two years or maybe six abroad but returned ‘home’ to a semi stable lifestyle stateside.  I on the other hand have lived some places for a few months up to a few years (though never more than three) over and over again. If I were to go off the typical reasoning for being ‘from’ somewhere I would be without a country/city/state/province/town to hold as my own. As a TCK I hold each significant place that I have spent time in as a part of who I am.  Perhaps I only lived in that place for 3 years but it has now become one of my ‘homes’.  I am a citizen of the world and I am proud of all the stamps in every passport I have.


Where are from in the US?
Technically I am not. I was born in England during my father’s second tour (out of three) with the US Air Force.  I moved to the states at seventeen after growing up across military bases in Europe. I spent the next eleven and a half years spending several months to a few years living in various parts of the United States, including three summers abroad to Italy, Australia, and Thailand.

Alright but where is your family from in the US?
My dad was from Newark, New Jersey. He left at 17 to go to the USAF Academy and moved frequently for his work until he retired in Arizona. He is survived by a younger brother but I have probably only been to NJ less than ten times in my entire life. My mum had a nomadic life within the US as a church planting kid and I never knew her extended family either. While we have relations in the US, there is no grand family home to return to for the holidays.

When your husband was in the military, where were you guys stationed?
We were in Monterey, California for close to 2 years and then on the island of Oahu in Hawaii for 3-4 years.  We were blessed with ocean side locations during our six years as a military family. Hawaii is now the longest place I have lived anywhere in the US.

Where have you lived in Europe?
I was born in Oxfordshire, England and also spent a few years in Norfolk during the first gulf war.  Then I lived in Stuttgart, Germany in between two separate tours to Naples, Italy.  Three years ago this coming May we moved to Brighton, England and we moved to Bath a year ago this past Christmas.

What brought you to England this time around?
When my husband and I were engaged at Uni we had plans to move abroad to Europe.  He joined the military in hopes we could get overseas assignments like my father.  While Hawaii and California were great, when my husband finished his enlistment we decided to move on.  My husband started a masters programme in England and with my dual citizenship we left the US to start a new life for our family.  We now work and live in Bath.

Where will you move next?
We have no current plans to move.  This is the first time in my entire life I have not had to think about moving in the near future. The historic city of Bath is beautiful, quite safe, and a lovely community with picturesque countrysides surrounding it. We can now plan towards the future and look forward to future events here with our family.  I know that may seem like a lot coming from someone with such a nomadic background.  However, I have never felt as happy or as content as I do now.  It solidifies our decision to leave the US to see how happy my whole family is here together at last.

Want to know more about Third Culture Kids?
Read my other TCK related posts.

Veterans Day & My Heroes

Today is Veterans Day, an official United States holiday which honors people who have served in armed service, also known as veterans. I have many veterans in my family including my husband and father who served in the USAF and my grandfather who fought in Italy and France in WWII with the US Army. While I do not live in the US and today is not a day off for my husband, I took a moment today to think about my father.  My dad was laid to rest at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs in 2008. I was able to visit his grave site a year later but I do not know when I will have that opportunity again.  For me I do not have a specific place I call home.  Memories of my dad instead tied to the many places we lived and traveled together as a military family.  It is because of him and his service that I was born in England, that I have dual nationality, and how we are now able to live our expat life abroad in Europe.  While I wish my dad was alive today to enjoy this time of my life with my sons, I know he is looking down on us from Heaven.  I love you Daddy and you are never far from our hearts. 

While today is a US holiday I still would like to
thank you to all those who serve for your country.

*photo belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

My Life as a Military Brat

The ‘My Life as a Military Brat’ series talks about my my life growing up.  When people ask where I am from, it is sometimes easier to just say ‘Everywhere. Military brat’.  I have been asked by many readers to talk more about what it was like growing up in Europe as a military kid.  For me I loved it and love that my parents chose to keep choosing overseas assignments. 
My Beginning. 
I was born into a military family that was stationed overseas in Europe, on my father’s second tour in England. For the next seventeen years I would move around frequently as my father chose other overseas assignments.  Sometimes we would live in a place for a few months and sometimes for a few years.  Up until today I have still never lived in one place for longer than three years at a time.  There are so many numbers in my head correlating to aspects of my life as a military brat.  
Thirteen is the number of bedrooms in homes I had until I left the house for University. Nine is the number of schools I attended until my high school graduation. Four is the number of countries I grew up in and two is the number of continents.  I still have a hard time tallying up the number of countries I have step foot in (up until the age of seventeen) without talking it over with my mum.  Even though it has been thirteen years since I grew up as a military dependent, I am still attached to my military brat identity.
What is a military brat?
Many traditions in the US military come from the British Army. For example, if a member of the British Army was given an assignment to India and could take his family with him, they went with the member in an Admin status called: BRAT status. In this instance BRAT stands for: British Regiment Attached Traveler. As time went by it became a title given only to the children (omitting the wives) of the military member and taken to be used in the US military world as well.  
A Military Subculture.
On top of living the life of an ‘american’ family and living in different countries and cultures overseas, there is a military culture too.  It is not something you choose like your parents who joined and becomes an integral part of every day life.  So many expectations are set on rules & regulations and conduct for the military kids.  There were also many privileges and perks of having a military ID card: the comforts of ‘home’ for shopping on base, free admission to the on base cinema (overseas), and military resorts and lodging.  Then the day to day life of  hearing reveille in the morning, the retreat  at the end of the duty day, and having to stand for the pledge of allegiance before a movie begins on post. When I think of my own life growing up overseas it becomes a mishmash of so many different cultures and growing up military is a huge part of that. 

Nomadic Life.
As a military brat we were always moving.  I was constantly in a cycle of three phases: being the new kid, finally being settled, and preparing to move.  There was one year where I went to four different schools on two different continents because we were following my father to keep together as a family. As of today my sister and I both still move around frequently only staying in one place for a few years at a time. Often asked how I can do it, I answer from the heart: It is all I have ever known.
Q: Do you have any questions you would liked answered in this series?

Click to view the Giveaway

I have one extra special treat for you today, a guest spotlight! You may remember Lindsey as this is her second time sponsoring A Compass Rose.  I love having her aboard on the side bar and getting sick with wanderlust from her blog.  One of my most favourite posts is her recent one about dancing on tables at Oktoberfest! Now theres one for your bucket lists, I know it is on mine! For her #TravelTuesday post this week she took us all with her to The Swiss Countryside with beautiful photographs of picturesque views!  She has just started a twitter account so you can now send her tweets too!

“Hello everyone! This space is called ‘A Broad’s World’ but you can call me Lindsey. My blog meanders through my life abroad, from leaving Thailand to transitioning into Australia, and all the adventures in between. Occasionally I get distracted and write something on the lines of the very chaotic yet always rewarding task of being an ESL teacher, or about concoctions that I bring to life in my kitchen, or about the preparations and results to my sometimes-insane decisions to participate in marathons and other outdoor adventures. I hope you enjoy this space that acts as my creative outlet and I hope you stay awhile!” – Lindsey (A Broad’s World)


P O S T S  BY  L I N D S E Y 

M A K E   F R I E N D S   &   F O L L O W   L I N D S E Y !

*photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

Memorial Day

While today is Bank Holiday in England it is Memorial Day back in the United States.  While either day may mean days off from work, picnics, and bbqs, I take this time to remember those closest in my life who have risked much for the the many they will never meet.  Especially for the fallen heroes, those who never got the opportunity to return home to their loved ones and to the ones still Missing in Action. 

The F-111 in Lakenheath, England is the plane my dad used to fly.  He was a navigator and bombardier in the USAF. He retired as a Lt. Col after 30+ years of service that included fighting in the Gulf War.  
My fondest memories of Memorial day with my daddy is visiting the American Military Cemetery in Nettuno near Anzio.  I remember once we went there and got there when Clinton was in office and I was so excited to get to see the President in person.  I believe it was a special place for my dad because his father had fought here in Italy during WWII.  Basically that is three genrations of my family who have spent significant parts of their life in Italy and four generations of my family whom have lived in Europe. 

Although no longer with us, I remember him especially today.  He is the reason I was born abroad and was able to grow up on military bases overseas until the age of seventeen.  He was an influential person in my husband’s life and a big factor for why he chose to follow in his footsteps and join the USAF too.    I wish he could visit us and enjoy our life here in Europe with us but I know he is smiling down from Heaven.

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. 
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
– Gen. Patton

This is my time to remember my dad’s father, my dad, and my husband for their years of service and in the US Armed Forces.  I also say thank you to everyone else who has served their country and sacrificed  much.  It is a great honour, purpose, and duty and to you I write this post.  Thank you. 
Happy Memorial Day Everyone. 
*photographs found here are sourced and those not sourced belong to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

I Miss My Daddy

Day 12, Sunday of  the Challenge: What do you miss?

 I miss my Daddy. In August 2008 he was hit on his bicycle by a young driver, Faith Quick, under the influence of drugs with a prior record. She was never official charged for his death and spent just a few days in jail for the drug use. My father served 30+ years in the USAF, was a Veteran of Foreign Wars, and until his death was a teacher at Accelerated Learning Laboratory in Tucson, AZ.  He rode his bicycle to and from work to be eco friendly.  He is one of many who have been killed on bicycles by cars or buses.  I miss him a lot, and I really wish I could get the time back that was stolen from us, and from my sons. 

This is the last photo I had the opportunity of taking of him (July 4th, 2007) and fortunately it was with both of his grandsons. He had come to Oahu for a few weeks to visit after the birth of my son Maddox. 

At our home in Ewa Beach my dad read to my son Ronan with their long hair and in their Aloha Shirts. 

Dinner at Duke’s in Waikiki my son Maddox Charles with his namesake, Grandpa Charles aka ‘Grandpa Chuckles’. 

Two years after his funeral we returned to the USAF Academy in Colorado to visit my Dad in 2010.

It was the last time I have been able to visit his final resting place at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs. 
Diary entry from my nine year old self back on the 6th of March, 1991 about how 
much I missed my daddy who was fighting in the Gulf War with the USAF. 

“March 6, 1991: It’s been over three months since Daddy has been in the Gulf. I really miss him. I’m not sure what I’m going to do first when Daddy comes home. Right now the time is 7:51 pm. I can’t wait! Wait! Until Daddy comes home!” 

(spelling corrected so you can read to understand)
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*photographs found here either belong to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved |