Reflecting on the question, “Where are you from?”

  • Published
  • By Miya Lennon
  • Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

One of the hardest questions you can ever ask me is, “Where are you from?” To be completely honest, I don’t know the answer. I was born into a military family, where both of my parents served.  Being a military kid means I am from all over. I go places, and I come from places. I arrive and then I leave.


As morbid as it may sound, goodbyes come easy to me. The military life consists of friends moving and parents deploying. Every once in a while, one of my parents would deploy, leaving the family to adjust to the missing piece of the family puzzle.


At seven-years-old, I experienced my first deployment, when my father deployed to Afghanistan for six months. At such a young age, it was difficult to handle the idea of my father working in a war stricken area. Some nights I would lie in bed, crying myself to sleep, wondering if my dad would ever make it home safely.


My mom, one of the strongest people I know, had to juggle working full time and taking care of four kids. My parents did everything in their power to make the transition as easy as possible for us.


Skype calls were made weekly and bedtime stories were recorded to watch every night. As time went on, like a chameleon, I adapted.


Before I was 13, I had already discovered how to cope with the separation of friends and family. Separation is a way of living for many military families. We are separated from each other and also sometimes from our home land.


In the mid 2000’s, my family and I were assigned to relocate to Germany, once again leaving our world behind. The first couple of years we spent in a German town named Jettenbach, where I experienced the culture. I attended festivals such as the Oktoberfest, celebrated German holidays, and interacted with the local people. I was so fascinated with the culture that I even enrolled in a German-immersion class where we’d speak German in the morning and English in the afternoon. Along with other German schools we took field trips to plays, I breathed German culture.


This life-changing move gave me the opportunity to discover more of Europe. So, while many have only seen Europe in pictures, I have been able to live there. I have walked the streets of Spain, toured the castles of Austria, smelled the tulips of Holland and ridden the gondolas of Italy.


So, where am I from? I am from my mother; she is strong. I am from my father; he is intelligent. I am from my family; we are love. I am from the arid air of Texas, the cities of Virginia, the beautiful land of Germany, and the Great Plains of North Dakota.

Every place I have lived and left, a little piece of my heart has stayed behind, and I’ve also taken a little bit of that place with me.