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Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm a Brat, Part Two

This post is part of a Q&A series. Check it out here.

The Source asked: "I'm assuming you moved around a lot as a child? How do you think it shaped your personality? Do you feel like you make friends more easily? Do you jump right into situations or hang back? What was it like?"

Good guess, Source. We moved 12 times during my childhood. I attended eight schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Count 'em... EIGHT. All were public schools and only one was located on a military base, which means I went to school with the locals. The locals who'd known each other since kindergarten. This was, of course, easy to do in kindergarten, but not so much in high school. Or in junior high, when I attended a different school each year for fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth grades.

No wonder I looked like such a geek back then. No one knew me well enough to tell me that a perm might not be the best choice for me.

I do believe moving so often shaped a good bit of my personality. For starters, I am an extreme introvert disguised as an extrovert. Unless people know me well, they assume that I thrive in social situations, that I LOVE parties and that I always want to be around others. Umm... no (except for y'all, of course). My momma, the husband, Canuck K, my sister KitKat - they will all tell you that I thrive on being alone. Before the Tongginator entered our lives, I cherished my days off from teaching school because I wouldn't have to say a single word to anyone for HOURS at a time. Then, of course, by the time the husband came home, I was ready for a marathon chat session.

I talk most to the ones I love the most. Poor Tonggu Daady. And oh, my poor momma. When I was younger, I even followed her into the bathroom on occasion, chattering away. As a teenager. I am hanging my head in shame.

Despite my introversion, I am very good at small talk. I have a lot of confidence in awkward social situations... you know, the company Christmas party, the husband's 20 year high school reunion, my ten year reunion (gag), the coffee hour as a church visitor. I can talk to almost anyone for at least 30 minutes without running out of questions to ask or something to say. The Husband believes that this phenomena (and it is a phenomena for someone like me) occurs because I've had such a broad range of experiences. Most often I can find commonalities with just about anyone. For example, how many people can say that they've been to George?

I also feel that moving so often, to such varied locales, really helped me grasp how big is our world, how gray are the areas between black and white and how rich are the cultures and colors of people all around us. I think it is one of the many reasons I felt pulled to adopt internationally.

I still don't have very many friends. Well, maybe I do, but only because the husband and I absorb people like the blob and never let them escape. Unless, of course, they move to get away from us. And many of them do that (ahem... Organic Nerd, Anne/ Blue and Georgia Peach). But I'm not bitter.

Not at all.

I think the most challenging aspect of my personality (for others) is that I make up my mind pretty quickly about people. I don't care if someone is a total mess (because - seriously - who am I to talk? ... plus, messy is interesting), but I do care if they are authentic and real. Because I totally don't have time to wait around while someone decides whether or not they're going to show me who they truly are. I think this comes from moving so much... there were times I only lived in a state for ten or 11 months. Who has time to pretend when you're heading out the door soon?

Since I've continued on the Living A Lot Of Places Thread, I thought now might be a good time to answer The Happy Geek's question. She asked, "favorite place to watch the sunset?"

Since I've lived just about everywhere (not really, but it sure feels like it), I can totally offer up some good advice for Best Sunset Locales. Unfortunately, I have this annoying habit of being completely unable to make up my mind. I love several different spots, for very different reasons.

I do love the neighboring Kailua and Lanikai Beaches on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. There is a great view of the Mokes (two islands off the coast), but it's a sunrise beach rather than a place to watch the sunset. This kinda puts a damper on things if you aren't a morning person (me).

View of The Mokes, Kailua/Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

Then there is San Francisco. Because that is just a beautiful town... when it isn't foggy. But of course it is almost always foggy.

TM and her sister KitKat, San Francisco, California, 1987

I also loved, loved, loved watching the sunsets when we lived in Newport, Rhode Island. My daddy taught me to sail the year we lived there. And I loved to watch the sunsets while out on the water with him.

View of the Claiborne Pell Bridge, Newport, Rhode Island
and of course, this photo makes the other ones look lame,
but that's because it's the first photo OF an actual sunset

But probably my favorite place to watch the sunset was at Glacier National Park in Montana. Because the husband was there with me. And it was gorgeous. And so was he. This picture, however, isn't. Because we took it earlier in the day. Because I totally didn't know five years ago that I'd be posting it on a blog and talking about sunsets.

Tonggu Momma and the Husband at Avalanche Lake,
Glacier National Park, Montana
, Summer of 2004

So where is YOUR favorite place to watch the sunset?


The Source said...

My back deck. No, really. We get some pretty amazing sunsets up here on our little hill. Now, sunrise would be Hilton Head Island. Because I never woke up early enough to watch a sunrise in the Virgin Islands. :)

You did a terrific job answering my questions! Having been a local most of my life I envy the ability to pop yourself right into a situation. But I like that there are lots of people I've known forever. Mostly.

Michelle said...

I just love these Q & A. And BTW, I do think you knew in 2004 that you would start blogging. I mean, look at that photo. Is that a TM photo or what? You and TH are faced AWAY from the camera. Maybe this was the photo that started it all. Hmmmmmm....


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Wow! That's a lot of moves! And I can so empathize about loving your alone time.
I love the sunsets at the beach, probably because I take time to enjoy them there. Hmm. I should check out the sunsets in my own backyard!

Andrea said...

My favorite place to watch a sunset is on the beach. Thanks for sharing the photos and info. I am quiet until I get to know people, so blogging is really fun for me.

OH MY #6 said...

My favourite place for a sunset is at the cottage. Which is Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada. People come from far and wide to see. I met a lady on the beach last year who had come from China to see.


Sharie said...

I have to agree that San Francisco is a beautiful place! Rhode island too - I think the most beautiful sunset though is the one at the end of a very stressful day:)

McEwens said...

Never would have guessed you to be a shy one!

I love watching the sunset on the beach! ANY BEACH! Just take me to the beach, I am tired of being cold!

Laura L. said...

Like you, I'd probably have a hard time choosing just one place to watch the most beautiful sunset.

The best place is wherever I am at the time. :)

I have to admire those who moved constantly as a child, due to being a military family.
My husband did it. I'm not sure I would have survived it. Too shy.

LindaJ said...

We must have been separated at birth. I'm a total introvert disguised as an extrovert. Every one thinks I'm the class clown, but really I hate social settings. I love my alone time and would rather stay home. I think Of every excuse to stay home.

Seriously some days I will do my running around and play a little game where I see how long I can go with out talking to anyone. (I do smile and nod) But then when my BFF or husband call I'm a blabber mouth.

Briana's Mom said...

I moved once in my life from Miami to Georgia and it was very traumatic for me. I went from being popular and well liked to being a nobody. A lot to handle for a 13 year old. I can't imagine moving as much as you. I admire how well you handled it.

Yep, I am an introvert disguised as an extrovert too. I truly love being by myself.

My favorite sunset was in Grand Cayman Island on my honeymoon. Beautiful!

Aunt LoLo said...

The Puget Sound, hands down.

And I KNEW I'd been to George..that's where the Gorge is! The Gorge at George..I saw Alanis Morissette in concert there. :-)

Quirky Mom said...

I used to watch some fabulous sunsets when I lived in SoCal, at the beach, and I've watched a really incredible one from the beach in Carmel. Now I live just east of a big river, so they sky is relatively open to the setting sun, and we've got some really great sunsets here as well. Here being somewhere in NorCal where there is a big river.

Colleen said...

I love the picture of you and Husband. So sweet...aaahhhhhhh!!! I must say in the picture with you and your sister, you wear purple so well.
I love to watch the sunset when we are on a cruise. It's beautiful!!!!
Can't wait for more Q&A...you are so much fun!

discombobulated said...

I love any sunset probably because I haven't gotten to see very many. My timing isn't very good.

Rhode Island- that's when you left me the first time...
As the friend who was always left behind because my parents stayed in the same house for 35 years, I was always envious of the friend who got to move away. I thought "wow, she must be scared, but she will get to experience new things".

Remember the tape recordings we used to send back and forth after we got tired of writing letters? :)

Missy said...

I am completely blown away by the fact that YOU are an introvert...no way, nuh uh...won't believe it. : )

You sure have seen a lot of the world!!!

happygeek said...

Most of my favorite bloggers all say the same thing. While they are outgoing on the blog, in reality, they are actually quite shy.
I wonder why that is?
Any-hoo, my favorite place to watch the sunset is crescent beach in White Rock BC.
I used to teach 5 minutes from there and would occasionally go down after a hard day of teaching and grade papers there and then watch the sunset.
Watching it set over a frozen Saskatchewan prairie is a close second. There is nothing but sky. It lights up the sow in the most extraordinary way.

Tonggu Grammy said...

TM is not really shy, just introverted, although VERY socially adept. She likes people ---- she just likes having her peace and quiet. Can you imagine living with the Tongginator when you crave peace and quiet? I find it rather humorous since she used to follow me everywhere (including the bathroom) to talk. God definitely has a sense of humor!!!

CC said...

You named 2 places I've lived in this post and have loved the sunsets in both of them! But overall, Bay Area sunsets rock (it must be all the pollution over the water....)

Patty O. said...

I know what you mean about being a closet introvert. I like being around some close friends, but prefer small groups. Big parties tend to take a lot out of me. I can keep a conversation going, mostly because I am good at asking other people lots of questions, but still small talk is sometimes tiring and I love to come home and be quiet and alone sometimes.

Debbie said...

I am really enjoying this series and getting to know more about you.