When someone asks where I’m from, I never know how to answer them. I’ll ask them, “Do you mean where I lived the longest or where I was born?” It’s the perks of being a military brat.
After my dad retired from the army, we moved to Texas and it was the first time I didn’t live on a military base. On the first day of school, my fourth-grade teacher asked me to tell the class where I was from. This was the first time I was ever asked this question and it stumped me, so I said, “I don’t really know.”
My teacher then asked, “Where did you move from then?”
I answered, “I just came from Virginia.”
“Then, you were born and raised in Virginia.”
I was quick to correct and said, “No, that’s not at all what happened.” I told her then where I was actually from.
I was born in Fort Jackson South Carolina, but I wouldn’t call myself South Carolinian considering I only lived there for a year. I don’t remember much from my time in South Carolina, but my best friend was my dog Jackson and our house got hit by a tornado. Those were the most memorable things that happened in Fort Jackson.
Moving on to Ireland, my mam and I lived there with my grandmother. This was where my mam is from, Arklow, Ireland. While we were in Arklow, my dad was stationed in Seoul, South Korea and after a year of being there, my mam and I moved there too.
I started preschool in Seoul. Since it was in an American army base, I didn’t learn any Korean; all of my friends were Americans and so were my teachers. I managed to get a modeling job when I lived there. I did a commercial and was in a lot of magazines. My parents put the money I made into a college fund, but for every gig I did, they would give me 20 dollars to go to the toy store and buy a Bratz doll.
Another notable event that happened was when my brother was born. He isn’t considered Korean since he was born in an American hospital, but it’s always funny to see people’s reactions when we say he’s from Korea. Also while we were there, North Korea was testing their nuclear weapons so we had to run drills in case North Korea decided to attack us. They were just more intense versions of school shooter drills. I had a very interesting life for a four-year-old.
After four years of living in Korea, we said goodbye to Seoul and moved to Fort Belvoir in Virginia. We lived only half an hour away from D.C., and I started elementary school there. My school was one of Michelle Obama’s tester schools for her school lunch plan. We would have lunch teachers who would make sure our lunches were balanced and healthy. We weren’t allowed sugary treats or sodas. I ate a lot of salads for a six-year-old and I don’t really know how I feel about how my school did lunch. Also at this school, we got to meet Jill Biden at a school event and she was really nice. I talked to her for only a little bit but she said I had one of the prettiest names she had heard. After four years of Virginia, my dad retired and we settled down in Texas.
And after all this, I still don’t really know where I’m from.