My life has been lived like a gypsy. The longest I've ever lived in one place, is when I was a child growing up in California. I was born in a small town in Northern California and lived there until I was fourteen years old.
My parents divorced when I was five years old, I bounced back and force between parents, which were two hours away from one another. My mom had remarried and when her second marriage didn't work out she decided to move out of state. This was the first time I had been outside of California. It was summer when we moved, we finally arrived in Utah after a two day trip in a Uhaul truck with my mom, brother, and our cat "spooks," I felt as if I was in a foreign country. I was naive enough at my young age to assume all of the United States looked like California. The first thing I noticed was the mountains and they were everywhere. I was feeling claustrophobic. As beautiful as the mountains were I felt as if I couldn't breath, I was surrounded by mountains. I struggled not being able to see anything but mountains and it took me a few years to adapt to them. The people here looked like barbie dolls compared to the casual natural, liberal, hobby look, I was use to in California. Everyone was more into fashion, make up, their hair. I even got caught up in the whole make up and hair thing during my High School years; Couldn't get my hair big enough. Thank you, Aqua Net! Utah has a language all its own with a country slang I had never heard before. Using words, such as, "sluff," which, meant to "ditch" school, and "Oh my Heck," which was the Utah's version of "Oh my God." I was teased for talking to proper and pronouncing my "ing." In Utah they ended their words with "in."( For example, "nothing" would be "nothin.") Utah was a much more conservative state, not the liberal views I was use to in California. Moving to Utah was the first of many moves; I was yet to understand the chain reaction it would create.
As fast as I made friends was how fast we were packing and moving to the next town. Every town and school was a different experience. I hung around the jocks and cheerleaders in one school, and the "parking lot crew"(the stoners) in the next school. I never had the same two experiences. I quickly learned how different people were depending on where they lived. I experienced all kinds of attitudes from people, and learned how being the new girl could be a good thing or bad thing depending on where we lived, and how judgmental and ignorant people could be. I was judged for being new, coming from a single parent home, not having enough money, not being churchy enough or for being to nice. We moved to seven different towns, and a third failed marriage before my mom finally settled in a small town in Southern Utah. I went to five different Elementary schools, two different middle schools, and four different High Schools.
After High School I couldn't wait to move out . I was the typical 18 year old who thought I knew everything. I was ready for my own adventures. I left to be a Nanny in New York. I left the day after my High School graduation. I couldn't have left fast enough. I shared this experience with a couple of High School friends, who decided to be Nannies also and it was amazing! I met a lot of wonderful people and had an experience of a lifetime. It was very liberating and for the first time I was questioning everything. I didn't have my mom there telling me what to do, the decisions I made were mine to make! I loved the freedom, I felt so carefree, as if the world was ALL mine! My favorite memories were the times I went into Manhattan, such as, walking in Central Park, jumping on the giant piano in FAO Swartz, walking down Time Square and taking pictures with President Reagan and other card board life size images of celebrities we would see on the sidewalks, Seeing the "BIG" screen at the diagonal of Time Square was memorizing and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving parade was unforgettable. I can't forget a taxi running over my foot in front of Macy's. I wasn't hurt just stunned. Don't get in those taxis way! Going to "SOHO" and buying my first imitation "guess" watch from a guy selling them on the street. I wanted to experience something crazy and that was my crazy. Going on a night cruise on the Hudson river and going under the Brooklyn Bridge was amazing. I attempted to stand in line to take the ferry over to see the lady herself(The Statue of Liberty), but being the impatient teenager I was after four hours of standing in line I gave up. Regretfully, not seeing her or the "Twin Towers" are the things I wish I had visited while I was there. After "9/11" I regretted it even more. I went on a church camping trip with friends and while we were sitting and talking on a floating dock in the middle of the lake we saw a man drown and come back to life with the help of stranger at the lake who preformed CPR. Yes, It is lifesaving! Friends and I would always get together at a place called, "Friendly's"(ice cream parlor). I have never seen ice cream served as big as Friendly's. The servings were so huge we all shared one ice cream and still couldn't finish it. The best ice cream I've ever had.
I went on vacations with the family I nannied for. We drove the East Coast and it was astonishing. I toured historical homes in Rhode Island, and picnicked in Massachusetts, but the most memorable of them all was seeing all the transvestites in Cape Cod. Talk about an eye opening experience for me! I would try to imagine them without their makeup and how they looked as a guy. Coming from Utah I was in shock that these woman were men and at the same time in awwh, that some of them were prettier than the real girls. Oh, did they know how to work it! They walked with more of a shake than any girl I had ever seen and with such attitude. They dressed in high heels, short mini skirts, and sleazy tank tops. Some were even flapping around feathers around there necks. Lots of caked on make up and big long hair. I couldn't help but stare. I never saw anything like this before, but I remember I loved the reggae music that was playing. There was a different band all along Cape Cod and people dancing everywhere. We stayed the night in a little bed and breakfast and ate at this little seafood restaurant along the ocean. If, I had liked seafood it would of been a great experience. It was suppose to be the best in town and we had a long wait to get a table just for me to have my cheeseburger and fries. My employers were shaking their heads as if I was missing out on something terrific, but to me it was all wonderful. The next morning we took the ferry over to Nantucket and stayed for a weekend. It was breathtaking. I tanned on the beach and listened to the Atlantic ocean waves peacefully roll in at night. The streets were made of cobblestone and everyone got around by moped. We took an excursion to watch the whales and the only thing I ended up watching was the captains son who was guiding the sails on the boat. He couldn't be much older than me at the time and he was gorgeous. I can't even remember if we saw any whales that day or not, but I remember talking to him and sailing on the boat.
Some friends and I even managed to drive up to the famous "West Point Academy" and tour their campus and attend their weekend dances. The men were so proper in their white uniform and clean cut look. The boys would come talk to me and I got all shy and was scared to talk to them, A dead give away of how naive I still was. I look back now and think, Wow! I was a stupid little girl.
This was the first time that I was able to think for myself and not believe something because it was what I was told to believe my entire life. I started questioning religion and wanted to know which one was true. I did a lot of soul searching while I was a Nanny. My employers were jewish and I learned to have a great respect for the jewish religion, they enjoyed teaching me their faith and I enjoyed learning about it. I studied more intensely into the mormon and catholic religion, I talked to a monk who explained Buddhism to me and was impressed with their teachings. Pretty much any religion I could think of I studied. I came to the conclusion that there were things I liked and didn't like with all of them. There isn't one certain religion I believed 100%, but I did learn they all believe in love, faith, peace, family and a Higher Being. They all believe in us as individuals becoming the best person we can become. Ultimately everyone is trying to return to the same place we are all just traveling down different roads. We just need to find the path that fits are lifestyle and needs.
My experience being a Nanny was one of the best things I ever did. I saw so much. It was a time in my life to discover me. I have cherished these memories and will never forget them. I hope someday to take my family their and let them experience New York also.
It wasn't until after my time in New York when I ventured into my life of adulthood, that I realized how much the instabilities of my childhood had affected my decision making as an adult. I started college and dropped out of college several times. I kept moving around because I couldn't figure out where or what I wanted to be. I got bored with jobs and didn't like being stuck in the same routine every day. Working a job longer than a year, it seemed I should be moving and doing something new, but I didn't know what I was looking for. It took me several years after I was married to realize I was repeating the same choices my mom had made, and I married a person who grew up the same way; neither one of us knew how to be settled. In my adult life I continued moving around. So far, in my Eighteen years of marriage we have lived in six different places and three different states, this time following my husbands jobs. We have never lived in one place longer than five years during our married life. I've tried my best to keep my children settled, but life circumstances have kept us moving around and I saw myself becoming resentful again. Hating my adult life because it didn't follow the path I had imagined I would be taking.
I hit my rock bottom the day my husband told me we needed to move for the seventh time and once again start over. I was getting to old for this. My kids weren't little anymore. I was tired of moving, and all the packing and having to get rid of belongings. At this very moment I realized I had the power to change my life. I could tell him no and refuse to go and finally settle down, or I could accept we will always have to move around for his job and go with him. I couldn't take starting over again. The decision now was to stay married or not to stay married; with this empowering new enlightenment I felt a big weight lifted from me. I didn't have to go!!
I anxiously talked to the kids one day while my husband was gone and expressed my concern about moving again and having to start over. Having my kids best interest at heart I thought they would be thrilled to hear we didn't have to go with daddy and we could stay, they were always complaining about us moving anyways, but to my surprise when I told them we didn't have to move anymore and could settle down they didn't want to stay if it meant not being a family and their dad would be somewhere else; at this very moment I learned the value of family. It didn't matter where we lived, or how we lived what mattered was that we lived it together as a family. Then it hit me! I could remain angry and be miserable the rest of my life, or I could change my attitude and see the good in all this. For one, I had a hard working husband that provides for us four healthy children, and we were getting to travel and see more places then most people get to do.
It's been good and bad not being settled. My family has experienced a lot of different cultures and met a lot of different people each one with a story to share and something to give. There has been a lesson to learn every place we have lived for either myself, my husband or my children. I wouldn't trade the memories I've shared with my family for anything. I've met wonderful people and made some lifetime friends. I talk to people who have never left the town they were born in and I think to myself how sad it is they will never know what else is out there. Moving around can be hard and sometimes devastating, but it can also be very rewarding. I hated my mom as a child for moving me around and I've resented my husband for moving us around and choosing a career that doesn't keep us settled, but when I changed my attitude to see the positive in all of it and everything I was learning every time we moved I don't regret any of it. This brings me to one of my favorite quotes:
" Be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what's right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in." Andrew Zimmern
I finally did finish school, but like my life it took me a while, when I did I walked a way with a Cosmetology license, Medical Assisting Certificate, and two separate Associates Degree's. Everyone teases me with all the education I've gotten I should have my Master's Degree. I don't have a Master's Degree on paper, but I have earned it in life, with every journey I have been on, every road I have traveled, through my husband, my parents, my children, my friends and every person I have encountered, through laughter and tears, trials and tribulations, I've had a lifetime of learning and I continue to learn everyday.
So, now I prepare with my family to start another journey in our gypsy lives and I look forward to what I will see, experiences I will have, people I will meet, and memories I will make together with my family. I know my life isn't an easy one or for that matter a normal one, but it's always an interesting one.
It's all about how you handle life situations and the challenges that are thrown in front of you. You can become hateful, angry, and bitter, or you can see the positive in every situation and the lesson to learn, this is what determines the integrity, dignity, and character of your soul.