Moving with the military
It is your first day at a new school in a foreign country and as you walk through the halls, you see a blend of saris, hijabs, yamakas and western style clothing that inundate the school. Although a student at Annandale may be used to this form of diversity, being forced into this setting in a foreign country out of necessity can be stressful.
Sophomore Aaron Pierce, whose dad works in the Navy at the Pentagon, and mom whom was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii, has experienced this transition. Pierce’s family has spent many years across the U.S. and has lived in many countries overseas.
“I lived in Spain for two years and Japan for three years, but I loved Spain the most,” Pierce said.
Pierce was born in Hawaii, then moved to Chicago when he was a year old. He went to Florida when he was five, and three years after that, he moved again to Madrid, Spain. He then came back to Chicago for a year, went back to Spain, moved to Japan when he was 11 years old and then finally came back to the U.S. at the age of 14.
“We’ve adjusted pretty well overall, but it can be stressful because sometimes I didn’t see my dad for nearly nine months,” Pierce said. “Personally, I enjoy the experience.”
Overseas, his father worked with NATO in Spain and worked with the Navy while stationed in Japan. He is currently the Assistant Secretary of the Navy and is working in the Pentagon.
Even though some people would think that it was difficult to move from one place to another and constantly be changing friends and schools, Pierce has a very positive outlook on being part of a military family.
“It has a positive effect because even though I didn’t see [my friends], I saw them a lot more than other military kids,” Pierce said. “It also made my mind more open.”
Transitioning from one country to another was also easy for Pierce since he has become so open, and he didn’t isolate himself from everyone else.
“The best part of being part of a military family is being able to travel to so many places and explore everything,” Pierce said.
Among his best experiences, Pierce visited the Tokyo Tower and Universal Studios in Japan, climbed Mt. Fuji, and roamed through the many streets of Madrid.
“I miss Spain the most because it had great education and generally the place was amazing,” Pierce said.
According to Pierce, he received a strong education there because it was a military installation, or a DODDS school (Department of Defense Dependents Schools. DODDS schools have American school systems and serve many different dependents of the U.S military and are located in many other countries around the world.
“I made a lot of friends in Spain,” Pierce said. “They were from nearly 47 different countries around the world.”
Pierce’s dad is currently stationed in the Pentagon. When Pierce returned, it was somewhat difficult for him to readjust to the American culture.
“At first I experienced culture shock because I was overseas for nearly five years,” Pierce said. “It was hard in Japan because the portions were smaller, and in Spain the food is delicious and I miss that the most.”
Pierce also talked about how it was easy for him to adapt to the new culture, by making new friends and being open minded.
“Once I got more adapted to the environment I became more social and made new friends.” Pierce said.
Having reached the three year mark of his time here in the U.S., the time for Pierce to move is approaching.
“We are not sure where we are going to move, but we are pretty sure we will be moving in the summer.” Pierce said.