I looked back at my path and saw millions of things I wish I would have done differently. A different approach and ideas for my first client presentation. The ways I treated my friends and moments that will never be happening again. Lost loves and why I let it slip away. Yet the most intriguing question is: what am I doing here? My life would be a zillion different if only I could stay where I was. Families and friends I’ve known for years, colleagues I most enjoyed working with, adventure in small cosmopolitan city and food considered most delicious. Because they are home. But home is no more for me. I am now a nomad.
Some people have military history in their family. When they don’t, they are at least American or married to one. It’s not easy when the person guiding me into American culture is not fully immersed to its root. I don’t know their jokes, I don’t understand why it’s a happy thing just to hang out drinking beer, I haven’t realized how important it is for a military spouse to volunteer to a point where it’s morally a responsibility, and I couldn’t be totally who I am simply because of a different culture.
I haven’t met any Asian who are best friends with Caucasian or other races up until now on my second year in US, with utmost exception that they are born and raised in Unites States or attended US school since they were little. In most cases, those who attended high school or college are friends with Asian from different region, but rarely with Caucasian or African American or Hispanic/Latin. If you are not shallow then you can understand this is merely from my observation in limited time and place. Then again, I haven’t been to globally connected cities in US, such as New York or Chicago. I live in a bubble.
On the other side, I begin to see a different angle. Maybe they are taught to be careful to strangers. Maybe some people still have perception that Asian American or American of Asian Descent (even those who were born here) are not Americans. United States may comprise of many different ethnicities, but some rural area, small town, or suburban doesn’t have as much diversity as New York City, for example. Or California where most Asian Immigrants resided. Maybe they are not as receptive as we were: Asians are comprised of hundreds of different ethnicity, each with different language and culture, even in the same continent or country. It’s how people were raised, how they develop relationship with others, how to communicate, and what to expect from the community, that makes them or us different.
I think that’s what’s happening to military spouses. Strangers in a strange town, helping one another because they’re the ones who knows what it felt to be left behind. I just read Military Spouse magazine October edition this week, which makes me realize that it comes to an extend where it feels like volunteering could be the ‘one’ career a Milspouse should be proud of, amongst other jobs they can do. Volunteering makes them proud of their spouse, their country, and their community. They tried to get in touch with each other by having a gathering: beyond all ethnicity, language, differences. Because our families are not here, neither does our friends and memories. We are nomad. We adjust, explore, wandering. And I am merely accepting the truth. Have you?
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