Sunday, October 7

so... where are you from?

I've often found this to be a tricky question: where are you from? I'm not sure if they're asking where I grew up, where I just moved from, what my roots are, or what. I'm constantly accessing "Are they being polite or do they want my life story?" but I usually guess wrong.

Part of the problem is that I'm not from one place. My Dad's job took us all over the country when I was growing up. I lived in 5 different states before I was 12, and even since I moved out my parents have moved twice more. As an adult I've lived in 4 states, and there's potential for more.

The other night my parents and I were discussing how each of us says we're from another state. My Mom tells people she's from Rhode Island because they lived there just before they moved down to Alabama and there's NO WAY she's saying she's from Alabama. I say I'm from Pennsylvania because we moved there when I was 11 and I graduated high school there... it's the longest I've ever consecutively lived anywhere, but I still haven't lived there since the year 2000. If I'm feeling specific, I say "I grew up mostly in Pennsylvania." Mostly. Yeah, that's clear-ish, right?

Even Doug who was born and raised in Washington had to start answering that question with more precision when we moved to Virginia. He'd tell people "Washington" and they'd say, "Oh, just up in D.C., eh?" Oh. So now he says Washington state, just to save himself the extra explanation.

Since I know people are never going to stop asking that question, I think I'm just going to start handing out a brief autobiography to anyone that's interested. They can toss it if they'd like, or they can walk away really knowing where I'm coming from. Shoot, maybe I'll even throw in some insights into my hopes and dreams too, just to be thorough.


Jenna said...

Oh Jackie, you're such a clever writer. I always give a long-winded answer with hopes it will either help make a connection or let someone know early on what they're in for if they spark up a conversation with me.

melissa said...

I'd read your autobiography! Now that we've moved to the Bay Area (where I grew up), I feel like I have to explain that we moved FROM Utah but I'm really FROM here. Because people always want to tell me how different California is from Utah. Thanks.

Dustin said...

I feel the same way, and I never know how much depth I should go into when people I say where I grew up mostly (in oregon), where I went to college(in Utah), and dental school(in virginia), and now residency (in chicago). I guess most people just stay in the same general area for their whole lives..booring!