UNUSUAL THINGS ABOUT GROWING UP AMERICAN OVERSEAS
I spent ages 10-18 living in Germany and France, and people always have a lot of questions about it.
- •Approx. 1/2 of every grade at your international school moves out every yearAnd is replaced by new kids. (Fingers were crossed every August for hot boys.) People think this makes you a social genius, but it actually just makes you ill-equipped for a world where people view outsiders with caution. You approach social interactions in the "real world" with a raw friendliness born of necessity that most people find deeply unnerving.
- •Embassy housingChefs, BUTLERS (honest to god valets), huge banisters to slide down, and tons of empty bedrooms for diplomatic guests for pre-adolescent games of hide and seek and post-adolescent games of "hide and seek". Smart game was to find the ambassador's kids and SUCK THE FUCK UP
- •Lots of Mormons!They wear CTR rings and always possess one brutally amazing secret talent (music, drawing, basketball) that they will not demonstrate until the end of the year, inflaming your sexual desire with their hidden depths of arcane Mormon knowledge before they move to Abu Dhabi or wherever. (I used to think they were abroad because their parents were on missions? But it turns out they are just a mobile people.)
- •Yes, you learn French/German but not fluently and mostly swears
- •Somebody in your grade WILL have a bodyguardAnd might possibly be an illegitimate child of the Sultan of Brunei
- •Pet quarantine lawsYou become intimately familiar with these very quickly. We once had to foster a dog from Togo for two months so a family friend could circumnavigate quarantine when returning to Takoma Park. Lots of sad stories here of dogs left behind :(
- •Black markets for American junk foodWe were all in HFCS withdrawal. Kids with commissary or military base access could easily rack up hundreds selling Reese's and root beer (which most Europeans hate! They think it tastes like medicine.)
- •Pommes mit mayo/ Frites mayonnaiseFRIES. WITH. MAYONNAISE. the true sign of going native (I 100% did. Bonus points for curry mayo).
- •Nobody can drive. EVERYBODY can drink.Example: My senior class sold champagne as a fundraiser, which was served to us (along with red and white wine for the appropriate dishes) (it was a sit down full-service dinner and dance) (I know, it's completely insane) AT OUR PROM. One of innumerable examples of school-sanctioned drinking.