Traveling the world, learning languages, and immersing myself in new cultures.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Where are you from?

This is one of the hardest questions I get while living and traveling in Europe. I usually just say USA but that begs the follow-up question, "Which state"? Then I say South Carolina, since that's where I'm registered to vote and I have a driver's license from there. But where am I really from?

The reason that is tough to answer is because I am a military brat and I don't really understand the question. It actually has many connotations and, therefore, different answers for me. Some people are born in a city, grow up there, go to college there, and then work there. Their whole life is in that one city/state/country. No matter how you look at it, they are from that place.

I want to make it clear that this is not a sob story. I absolutely enjoyed my childhood and wouldn't do it any other way. The following scenarios are my attempt to answer where I am from. Which do you think is the best response for me?

Where were you born?

I was born in Fairfield, California, in the United States of America, and lived there until I was 4 and never returned. I guess this is what gives me the right to call myself an American.

Where did you go to school while growing up?

I went to 12 different schools from kindergarten to high school, in 9 different cities and 6 different states. I couldn't even narrow it down to a region of the country, as I was in every corner of the U.S., including Guam for two years.

Where do you live now?

This question brings to mind three tour guides from my travels who were from other locations, but claimed the city I was visiting: Jen the Brit claiming Edinburgh, Scotland; Laura the American claiming Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Viviana the Columbian claiming Madrid, Spain. I currently live in Pamplona, Spain so what does that make me?

Where do your parents live?

I have military parents, so it is thanks to them that we moved every two to three years. They are still serving in the military, and therefore still moving around. They both have hometowns, but neither of which I identify with.

Where have you spent the longest amount of time in your life?

If this question is the determinant of where I'm from, then I'm officially Belgian. Though I have learned quite a bit of Bruxellois slang, and I'm almost fluent in French, I don't think I have the paperwork to back up this claim.

Where do you say you're from?

This is pretty much how I've been operating, and I say I'm from South Carolina. There, I went to college for two years, and stayed for a little over a year after school. It was really hot in this state for a very long time, so I've sweated enough to claim it.

So now that you understand my conundrum, which do you think is the best response for me, to the question "Where are you from"? What other responses could I give? Feel free to let me know in the comments below or on Facebook.

Fun reads for people who don't know what a military brat is, and, for those who can they can relate.
25 Signs You Grew Up As A Military Brat and 13 Signs That You Grew Up In A Military Family.



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