"Where are you from?"
"Where did you grow up?"
These are such common questions - things that are often asked when you first get to know another individual. There should be a simple answer to this question, right? Everyone has a place that they're from, a place they grew up, a place they call home... Don't they?
Well, for some of us it's not that easy.
See, I was born in Hillsboro, Oregon. I lived out three years of my life right nearby in Forest Grove. It seems like this would be where I'm from. Can this be a place I'm from if I don't remember ever living there? If the only memories I have of Forest Grove are from visiting my grandparents then I don't think it's where I can call home.
The next six years were spent living in Taiwan. It's where my formative years happened and where my earliest memories are from. If I had to choose, I'd say this is where I'm from and where I call home. I can't very well tell people I'm from Taiwan, though. I'm obviously not Asian and saying I'm from Taiwan makes people scratch their heads and ask far more questions than I always want to answer.
For the next two years I lived in Bonney Lake, Washington. I'm pretty sure I can't be from a place where I only lived for two years - especially when these were two of the hardest years of my life. Culture shock hit me HARD! Maybe I really am Asian... (Also I just realized that don't have any pictures on my computer from these two years... Maybe I want to block these two years out???)
From there my family moved to Spokane, Washington. Although it's the place I lived for the longest season of life, I don't think I'm from Spokane. I don't think anyone is from a place where they moved in sixth grade. Too much of myself was already formed when we moved to Spokane. That place didn't shape me and make me who I am in the same way some of the locations before it did.
Now I'm in Portland, Oregon. I've been here since college but it's still not home either. I love it here but I wouldn't say I'm a true Portlandian yet.
Maybe I'll never know where I'm from. Maybe I'll have to spend my life with no good answer to the "Where are you from?" question. Maybe I'll never truly feel at home in any one location. Maybe these things are true but I tend to think that's ok...
Where are YOU from?
Where did YOU grow up?
Where's YOUR home?
Are you like me and don't know the answer to these questions?