Saturday, May 8, 2010

Volume, By Gabrielle Marchan, Age 12

What is a military brat? This is a term to describe kids like me. A term that says we are dependent, whiny, childish, and immature - that we lack a voice and aspiration. But you'll be surprised at how we truly live. We live with a kind of maturity you wouldn't think of, while carrying the weight of many responsibilities. And we military kids do have a voice - an astonishing one.

It was extremely hard to leave San Diego, California for the first time. Actually, that's an understatement. I will miss sandy beaches, bustling downtown, and blue oceans. Days where I wake up at 7:00 a.m. to drive to High Tech Middle where all my best friends will be waiting for me seem far away. I will long for the mornings of cousins and family chatting and watching television. But, I am to blame for this. I made the choice to go to Sicily, Italy so there's no backing out. Like they say, you get what you asked for. However, what I got wasn't half bad.

The thought of school in Sicily made me shudder, yet it filled me with curiosity. I knew it would be a bit hard to adjust to this school since I came from a project-based learning school. What would the classes be like? What classes will I be taking? What are the students like? Will I fit in? These questions stirred in my head while I made my plans to survive middle school. I had decided then to stay low, meet some friends, and get through everything. Only later, had I realized I was wrong. Like every person does before its back to school again, I got a new look. Although, not only had my looks changed, how I thought became different too. I felt more patient and understanding. I looked at life differently and looked for inspiration in many situations. I also felt more confident about myself, like a unique individual. I'm not trying to be narcissistic, I'm just simply acknowledging the fact that I'm different and I'm proud of that.

For me, making friends was unbelievably easy. At first I was quiet, and reserved. Many of my classmates have told me they were intimidated by me the first time they met me. I kept to myself. But, once I showed my true colors, people threw themselves at me like moths drawn to a fire.

Living abroad has its ups and downs. Keeping in touch with my family and friends back in San Diego can be difficult at times, especially with the different time zones. Also, going out into town is a disadvantage if you don't know where to go and/or if the language is different. But, with the disadvantages comes the better part of living abroad. First, the beautiful places and cultures are amazing to see, because they hold so much history. The best part though, is meeting new people.

Whenever I think about being in this military family, I feel lucky. Many Filipinos have dreamed of one day going to America. My family was one of those lucky ones. Many years have passed and now we've arrived in Italy. To tell you the truth, I'm proud of my father for being in the military for such a long time.

Deployments are very long and worrying. It can be hard for a family member to be gone for that long, but you get used to it sometimes. But whenever my father is gone I have a responsibility that I have to carry out on my part. I have to help out my mother with daily activities and do chores that my dad would usually do. I have to act mature and be responsible in school. So even while my dad is gone, I still have many responsibilities.

My stay in Sicily, Italy has so far been amazing. When I look at what I said about just trying to survive being a military kid, I realize now that I must live with a purpose, or as Henry David Thoreau said, "to live deliberately”. I encourage military kids all over the globe that are lacking ambition to finally stand up and speak with loud voices letting people know who they are and what they stand for. I hope that they find that inspiration, patience, maturity, emotion, and strength that I've found during my stay here. I hope that they find that uniqueness in themselves as military kids and be recognized for it.

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Julie Rahm

Mindset means everything. And no one knows this better than Julie Rahm, aka America's Mindset Mechanic. A former naval physicist, Julie applies physics to the energy of human thought and the results thoughts create. As a military daughter, spouse and mother-in-law she has experienced the challenges of deployment separations, frequent moves and telecommuting careers while remaining happy and achieving her dreams. With her passion and people-loving style, Julie has provided the metaphorical tools for thousands of people to bridge the gap between their thoughts and their lives. Julie Rahm, M.S., is a certified Frame of Mind Coach who has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including The Phil Knight Show and ABC affiliates. She hosts The Mindset Mechanic LIVE on Saturdays and Sundays on FM107.1 WTKF and AM1240 WJNC in Eastern NC. Her weekly column The Mindset Mechanic appears in The Pamlico News. She has been quoted in numerous newspapers, and on the web at and Julie is an inspirational keynote speaker conveying life lessons through a blend of intuitive success strategies, enlightened wisdom, humor and fun. She is the Champion of Military Kids around the World. Julie's latest book is Volume I of Military Kids Speak.

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