Being a military child usually means lots of travel, from base to base and from assignment to assignment. For me, it meant constantly losing friends, and having to make new ones rather quickly. My dad was an officer in the Air Force and worked in the Intelligence Department, which meant he had to constantly re-locate in order to train new teams to use the rising technology of the time: computers.
Therefore, I spent a lot of time on airplanes throughout my childhood. It wasn’t all that bad, because I have been all over the country, something I would have never done otherwise. Every time I stepped onto the airplane that would take me to another part of the U.S., I wondered what exactly was in store for me when we landed. This was particularly vivid the first time I ever flew before, when I was six years old.
I was born in Honolulu where my dad was stationed as a Color Sergeant. Growing up near the beach was amazing, and I never wanted to leave. Unfortunately, my dad couldn’t be stationed there forever, and he was reassigned to Abilene, Texas. Having lived on the island my entire life, the prospect of leaving for the mainland and never returning was horrendous. I remember I threw tantrum after tantrum to try and convince my parents to stay, but it ultimately wasn’t up to them. So on July 26, 1999, I entered Honolulu International Airport, preparing to leave my small little world, and to land on another continent.
I can still remember the bustling terminals. Some people were obviously tourists, with their Hawaiian leis and sandals on. Others were either businessmen in their sharp suits, or everyday people greeting friends and family as they arrived. Then there were the sounds, thousands of conversations conflicting with one another, while the baggage carts and announcements overhead supplied a mechanic background melody. The smell was especially pungent, with dozens of restaurants bordering each terminal. All of this combined to scare the six-year-old me half to death. I wasn’t accustomed to this harsh new world, and I began to think this was what life was like outside of Hawaii. My parents kept dragging me along though, so I had no choice other than to follow them.
We arrived at our terminal about half an hour early, due to my dad’s philosophy of “If you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time, you’re late.” However, this philosophy meant we had to kill some serious time sitting in those awfully uncomfortable things that pass for chairs outside of the boarding area. As we claimed a spot and began to get comfortable, another family sat down across from us. After a little bit of small talk, my parents discovered that the other family was actually from a town called Plano, Texas. They also happened to have a son who was around my age, but a little older. As our parents continued to mingle, the other little boy and I slowly began to show interest in each other. I started off by showing him my Scooby Doo coloring book, and then he showed me his Scooby Doo backpack. We became quick friends. He began to tell me about his home back in Plano. He spoke mainly about all his friends, and all the different things his parents took him to. This wasn’t the world I had imagined Texas to be: I didn’t think there were going to be new friends and new friends and new adventures—I felt like my life was going to be worse once we moved. After talking with my new best friend for another hour, because our plane was delayed, I realized that maybe this move wasn’t so bad after all.
As we boarded the plane together and took our seats, I slowly started to get excited about this new place called Texas, and as the plane took off my excitement grew as fast as the plane climbed through the air. This is exactly how I feel now every time I board a plane, I become excited for the new adventures that lie ahead.