Military life creates homes throughout the world

Home… It’s a wonderful place! A place you always look forward to, especially on breaks, because of all the memories it brings back. But… What if you don’t have a home? Or you’ve been so many places that you have multiple homes? How do you ever get over that feeling of homesickness?

Well, that’s normal for anyone in the military. My dad joined the Navy when I was in 6th grade and we ended up moving to Japan to be stationed an ocean away from our family. It’s a wonderful place! Amazing food, people, cute stuff everywhere, a great sense of security all around and so many trains. I was there for seven and a half years, in Yokosuka and Okinawa.

While I was in Japan, I would always get homesick for Arkansas— the fall leaves, open spaces, Chick-Fil-A, but mostly for family. When I moved back to the states, I grew homesick for Japan. Now, unlike when I lived in Japan knowing I’d be going back to the States at some point, it’s hard to know when or if I’ll be able to go back.

You see, the Navy is wonderful. It brought my family to Japan to experience the most wonderful years we would never have imagined we’d be given. However, we kept on having to be uprooted. It’s a part of life, and I was one of the lucky ones. I knew people in high school that went to a new school every year, and it was hard enough for me with the few times I moved.

In the military, you have to get used to this feeling. You grow to love so many places that your heart is torn into multiple pieces. I came to love many different things in Arkansas, Yokosuka and Okinawa that couldn’t be found in the other places. You leave family and friends behind wherever you go and don’t get to return to those places that hold great memories often. It can take a toll on the heart, especially when you’re homesick for different places all at once.

However, this is still a great life. Even through all of the moving, uprooting, leaving friends and memories behind. I got to go out and make more. You make more friends than ever, have memories all over the U.S. or world and get to go on adventures when you’re in the military.

Japan was the greatest adventure of my life and I made amazing friends and discoveries that I never would have made in Arkansas. I can still remember the sand on the beach in Okinawa, the smell of Coco’s Curry, the landmarks I’d pass by on the trains in Yokosuka and the places I’d hang out with my friends. They’re great memories.

Even though I often get homesick for the many places I’ve lived, it can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s a joy to have lived and experienced all of this by this point in my life, which wouldn’t have been possible without the Navy.

I have so many wonderful friends and fun memories that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Even though I get homesick often, it can be worth it because of the gift that the Navy has been to me. Yes, I will always be missing something or someone, but to have known them or experienced these things is what matters most.

Shafer is a sophomore majoring in biblical and theological studies. She can be reached at ShaferZ@jbu.edu.