Monday, March 10, 2014

"where are you from?"

This is a very commonly asked question. So simple, so common. Usually always asked when you first meet people. But for me, it is the one question I hate the most.

Yes, you read that right, it is my least favorite question.

"Why?" You might ask, "you just said, it's such a simple question." "Where are you from?" - Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado.... there are 50 states, just pick the place you're from and say it. Right?

Wrong. Well, at least for me. You see, you may not know this (or maybe you do), but I'm not from anywhere. It's true. I'm kind of from everywhere. Thus, the reason I loathe being asked this question so much.

Do you want to know where I'm from? I'll give you the long version... I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. When I was two my family moved to Lawrence, Kansas. When I was about four we moved to Washington (probably one of the most beautiful states ever). Then when I was nine we packed up our house (though I'm not really sure how much packing I did for that move...) and moved across the ocean to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea where my parents served as missionaries. My sophomore year of high school we moved to Bangkok, Thailand and two short years later we moved north to Chiang Mai, Thailand where I graduated from high school.

Upon my high school graduation I packed up all of my belongings into three Rubbermaid tubs and two suitcases and moved into a dorm at a small Christian college in Bourbonnais, Illinois [story: when I was moving into the dorms I thought I had so much crap with my three tubs and two pieces of luggage in tow. But then I saw all of the other girls bringing up tvs, mini fridges, and boxes upon boxes of clothes and other belongings. So, no, in comparison, I didn't have a lot of crap at all. If only that were still the case...]. The following Fall I transferred to a state school in Kentucky for financial reason for a semester and returned to Illinois in the Spring. The Fall of my junior year of college I transferred to another small Christian college in Nampa, Idaho where I lived until I graduated. During the four years spent at college I spent summers and breaks in: California, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, and Minnesota.

After I graduated from college I moved to Lexington, Kentucky, got married a year later and moved to College Station, Texas where my hubby was pursing his Masters degree at A&M. We spent one year in College Station and then moved to Louisville, Kentucky because that is where he got a job. We lived in Louisville for about four years, but during that time we also lived in Davis, California and Washington D.C. for a while. This past August we moved to Champaign, Illinois and will probably be here for four years or so while my hubby works on his PhD.

So, as you can see, "Where are you from" proves to be a difficult question for me to answer and one that causes me great stress. I never know how to answer that question and my answer will change from person to person and from time to time.

map from Google images

Sometimes I say I'm from Washington, it is after all, my favorite state and the prettiest, so why not call that home? But then, sometimes I say I'm from Kentucky or Idaho or Thailand... Though, I don't really feel as though I'm from any of those places. I've lived there, sure, they are apart of me, yes. But I'm not from there.

My answer to this question changes based on who I'm talking to:
a stranger, someone at church, someone I might see again, someone I'd like to be friends with, a friend of a friend, a colleague, a professor, an acquaintance of my husband, a colleague of my husband, someone from my husbands hometown...

My answer also changes based on my mood:
am I feeling chatty? friendly? happy? lonely? cranky? do I really want to invest five minutes answering this question? do I care? do they really care? do I want to actually talk to them - cause it's a great conversation piece - or do I just want to say hey?

One line that works fairly well for me is, "I just moved here from _______," because then people usually assume you are from that place.

Anyhow, now you know where I am from. The long version. Which I'm sure you can see by now is why I don't really like this question. It's too complicated and takes about a year and a half to answer (which is why I usually just pick a place I feel like at the moment). But, you also probably now know a lot more about me now than you did at the beginning of the post.
So, where are you from? :)


Amy said...

Thanks for sharing this, Hannah! It's so neat to hear about how other's grew up. :)

kelseylynae said...

One of my favorite posts of yours yet! :) I remember learning all of this about you and I was amazed and exhausted just thinking about it :) What a unique heritage of place-- you're better for it, I'm sure. And that map with all the stars? Holy moly! I made my sister "state art" for Christmas, of the four states she and her husband have lived in, either together or separately. FOUR. And I thought that was a lot. I think it's safe to say I could not make state art for you. ;)

Rachel Lynn said...

Geez louise. I thought we moved a lot....but that's since we've been married, not my whole life. I thoroughly enjoyed and am glad you shared the "long" version :)

Sarah @ The Not Quite Military Wife said...

Wow, I had no idea that you had lived so many places!! I bounced around as a child too. I usually just answer, everywhere or we recently moved from here...and let them assume what they want :)

Whitney said...

Goodness gracious! I can't even imagine moving that many times and to so many very different places!

Sarah said...

You really have moved around! I've lived in Minnesota my entire life both in the Twin Cities area and Duluth area. Glad to see you made it here one summer!

Lauren said...

Wow! This makes my life seem so boring. I lived in the same house from birth until I moved to the dorms, moved to an apartment during junior year of college, back home for the year before we were married and now I've lived in the same house for 7 years. A grand total of 4 different houses have I ever called home!

The Purple Front Door said...

Goodness gracious girl! You have lived a lot of places! I grew up about 30 minutes south of Kankakee in a small farming community. I'm familiar with your school in Bourbonnais, my cousin actually went there! Now, Matt and I we live about 30 minutes West of Champaign. It's such a small world!

Callie Nicole said...

Wow, I never realized you have lived in so many places! I'm sure it does make the question hard to answer, but it also makes it interesting!

Susannah said...

HOW DID I NEVER KNOW YOU LIVED IN ASIA?!!??!?!? Also, I'm right there with you on this! I always want to tell people I'm "from" Taiwan but I usually don't want to deal with all the questions that brings with it.