MSEJ July 2017 - Page 18

Congratulations to one of America’s newest citizen,

CASY & MSCCN’s Melanie Nicks!

Melanie’s Story

My journey began about 18 years ago when I met my husband, a United States Marine, who received orders to be stationed in my home country, Germany. We met at a BBQ on the day his plane landed in Germany, and two years later, we were married then had our first child. I knew that my husband's time in Germany would be limited, which meant I would have to move to the States with him eventually to keep our family together, and I was okay with that.

During those first years, I learned a lot about the Marine Corps and the military lifestyle overall. It was nothing I was familiar with or I've experienced before, but I truly enjoyed the strong bond amongst the "military families," which made my decision to move to the States one day much easier.

From Germany to North Carolina

A couple of years later, it was time to say goodbye to my family, friends, country, and everything I have known and move across the Ocean to Jacksonville, North Carolina. It was

definitely a culture shock for me, and I realized quickly that my life in NC would not resemble what I have seen so far in most Hollywood movies.

There were many times when I felt like I didn't belong here; felt like I was too different, plus my English needed lots of improvement. I missed my family, friends, and the familiarities, especially during my husband's multiple deployments. I often had to tell myself that I was not a quitter—I followed my heart and made the choice of coming here so I had to be strong, which was sometimes easier said than done.

I often had to tell myself that I was not a quitter—I followed my heart and made the choice of coming here so I had to be strong, which was sometimes easier said than done.