This post is dedicated to every MK, army brat, and expat kid who has lived overseas. You may not have chosen this kind of life, but your parents believe you will be a better person having lived it. This is written by me from the perspective of my 7 year old son, Caeden.
I belong to the world. At the age of 7 I’ve already been on more planes, trains, buses, taxis, and subways then all my other relatives back home, even the grown ups. I’m a little professional when it comes to traveling: I walk through an airport with my little blue Nike backpack and rolling my suitcase behind me like I was born there. It doesn’t matter what language comes over the loudspeaker, I know when to “turn off my electronic devices, open my window blind, and store my tray table.” I can sleep anywhere, anytime. I snooze the hours away on any form of transport, oblivious to the uncomfortable adults around me tossing and turning for hours in their tiny seats. The world is my playground. I made a slide out of Mars Hills in Athens, I’ve danced in Red Square, I played tag in front of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. Heedless of the history and not yet caring or realizing where my feet have tread, I think of all of this as only natural—to be in places of beauty and mystery and history, places so many only can dream of seeing. I’ve played on the mountains in Tbilisi, floated in the Dead Sea, scaled the rocks in Yerevan, and skipped in the center of Helsinki. I followed the footsteps of Jesus on the Via Delarosa, descended into Peter and Paul’s Mamartine prison, and climbed the Coliseum. My only thoughts were about the best places to play and when my next snack was coming. My mom says some day when I’m older that I’ll appreciate all this, but I think I appreciate it enough now. The world is my playground. My memories of life in America are hazy at best. I visit in the summer and all I can think of is being with my forever family and forever friends. So many people still think of me and care for me there, but I’m still young so I don’t really understand this. America stands for fun and family and getting spoiled by my grandparents. But it’s not really my country. And Russia is just where I live, it’s not my country either. I don’t have a country. I belong to the world.