Sunday, April 20, 2014

So, where are you from?

I met a new friend at the Ninja Turtle birthday party.  She is American, and I casually asked, "So, where are you from?"  She paused, not really sure how to answer my question.  Her answer was, "Well, Oman is my 24th move.  I have a brother in Oregon."

When you are an expat, 'Where are you from?' is never an easy answer.  But even before I moved to Oman, this was not an easy answer for me.  I was born in Puerto Rico, and lived there for six years.  Then my military father was stationed in Germany, and we lived there for six years.  I didn't even move to the States until I was 12 years old (I never ate at McDonalds or watched American cartoons until that time).  But I did go to junior high and high school in Killeen, Texas, so that is what I consider my hometown.  So when I was asked the question, my answer depended on how long I wanted to talk.  Short answer-- Texas.  

Then I got married, to a man who works for a large corporation.  I moved six times in the US, to three different states.  I am so thrilled that we actually lived in the same town in Texas for the whole time my older kids went to junior high and high school.  When they went to college and people asked them where they were from, they had an easy answer.  Although Jared stills struggles a bit with the question.  He lives in Philadelphia, and was telling people he was going home for Christmas.  Well, he meant home to his family.  It took him a bit to tell them he was not going to Texas or Chicago, but to Oman.

I have met a lot of Americans here who work for the embassy.  They move a LOT.  I get a kick out of one of Savannah's good friends.  I was driving them around one day, and this girl starts speaking fluent Mandarin!  Now she is American.  But she is not sure what a nickel is worth.  She has not spent enough time in a place that uses American money.

Now we live in Oman, with two children whose time before now had been split between Texas and Illinois.  Two years in Oman, but they will graduate from high school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  I have no idea what they will say when they go off to college and are asked, "So, where are you from?"

1 comment:

  1. So true! As a fellow army brat, I still struggle even though I have been back in Texas since 1994..I sometimes still say Illinois...One day I will tell you of the story my brother said when we were asked as kids where we were from?