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Aethelwine's avatar

How do I determine where I am from?

Asked by Aethelwine (42958points) January 15th, 2019

This is a legitimate question. I’ve struggled with this answer lately. I have lived in many cities.

How do you determine where you are from if you moved a bunch when you were younger?

Here’s my history:
Born in central Illinois. Lived there for a year.
Lived in a Los Angeles suburb for a year.
Lived in Flagstaff, AZ for a year.
Lived in Petaluma, CA for a year.
Lived in Novato, CA for a year.
Lived in Las Vegas, NV for ten years. The majority of my educational years.
Lived in central Illinois for two years.
Two years spent on the central Californian coast..
The remainder of my adult years in central Illinois.
Currently and not planning on leaving, Wisconsin.

I’ve often said I’m from Las Vegas since I spent my formative years there but I feel a disconnect lately, especially since my last visit was in 1991. It’s a whole different city these days.

I’ll post this in social for a kind roasting but I’d appreciate some real answers. :)

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18 Answers

Aethelwine's avatar

‘murica :D

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Where do you feel like you’re from?

Yellowdog's avatar

The ten year stint in Vegas was a long time, and as you say the majority of your education years, so those years influenced you in many ways.

Say, then, that you’re from all over, but mostly Vegas.

I agree with @Dutchess_lll for once. Where do you FEEL you are from? What resonates within you? What places and experiences the most vital?

Aethelwine's avatar

Honestly, Wisconsin is the first place that feels like home but we’ve only been here for 5 months.

Aethelwine's avatar

Everything else feels like a hodgepodge.

Jeruba's avatar

When you think “back home, ” what’s the first place that comes to mind? That might be your answer.

I’ve heard people with such varied histories as yours say “I’ve moved around a lot” or just “All over.”

My father was a preacher’s kid and moved every couple of years until he was on his own. He never spoke of being “from” somewhere much more specific than just the Maritime Provinces. But he always retained a strong tie to the village he was born in.

My mother, on the other hand, never showed much attachment to her birthplace, but thought of herself as from the city where she spent her most memorable childhood years.

I guess I’d agree that wherever you feel like you’re from is where you’re from. But what matters now is where you’re to.

lemon_of_lemons's avatar

Depends on the context. ‘Where are you from’ can mean ‘Where do you currently live?’, ‘Where were you born?’, ‘Where was the best place you’ve ever lived?’. So you can answer these questions according to the conversation you have.

JLeslie's avatar

I was born in Washington DC, we were living in a suburb in Maryland at the time.

When I was 1.5 years old we moved to Westchester County, NY. It’s a suburb of NYC.

When I was 9 we moved back to Maryland, and I stayed there until I graduated high school, plus, I did a 1.5 years of community college part-time.

As a Sophomore I transferred to Michigan State University (I was 19) and completed my bachelors degree there in 3 years.

I went home for a few months to Maryland, and then moved to Florida. I’ve moved back to Florida three separate times, living in various parts of the state. Inbetween I lived in North Carolina for almost 2 years, and the suburbs of Memphis, TN for 8 years.

If someone asks where I’m from I say “Maryland,” or “the metro DC area.” If I can tell they are from NY I say “when I was very young I lived in Westchester, but mostly I’m a Washingtonian.” If people know the DC area I tell them the city I’m from.

In my opinion you moved around a lot, but mostly are from Las Vegas, because similar to me, those were the years that are very formative and lasting. But, the moving around a lot counts too. I think you are from wherever you feel you are from.

One thing I also throw in is I say, “my parents are from The Bronx, so I could have grown up in China, but I still have parents from The Bronx.” I say this because where they are from does influence many things about me.

If it comes up that I’ve lived in many states I say I’ve lived many places north and south east of the Mississippi.

If I’m with people who are foreign born and they ask me, I usually say I was born in America. Usually, they have follow up questions either pertaining to where my family was from (what countries) or what cities I grew up in.

If I’m in a foreign country I say I’m from America, or the United States of America, or some variation thereof. It depends what language I was speaking in front of them. If it’s Spanish I would clarify USA, because just America they might assume Latin America.

I remember when Hillary Clinton was running for President and she had a Southern accent in the South, and she said she was from the Midwest when she was campaigning in the Midwest, and then in NY she would say things to identify her as a Northeasterner. People called it pandoring and I say she is exactly all of those things. She was raised by Midwesterners in the Midwest. She went to university in the northeast, she lived in Arkansas as a young adult for many years, and then she was back in the northeast again. She identifies with all of it, the same way I identify with all the places I lived for many years.

I usually talk about where I’m from or where I lived in reference to connecting with the person I’m talking to, so where they are from influences my answer a little also. It’s a rapport building thing.

seawulf575's avatar

I tend to go with my early years. We moved a lot, but much of it was in the same general area…NE Ohio. We did move out of state, and I did join the navy and move around there. But I tend to think about where I was born and spent most of my early life as where I am “from”.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’m glad I asked this. Thank you for your responses!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have lived all over but Western North Carolina is where my heart is. Where does yours say you are from?

Aethelwine's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Both my parents grew up in Illinois and my dad still lives there. I did live there the majority of my life. Seventeen years spent on the west coast and thirty years in Illinois. I’d probably go with Illinois. I have more connections there. I guess I’d probably say from Illinois but grew up in Las Vegas.

What prompted this question was the bio section on Facebook. For the longest time I considered it to be Las Vegas and that’s what I had listed for the past ten years, but now that I’ve lived in the Midwest for most of my adult life that connection with Vegas isn’t there like it used to be.

Thanks for helping me figure this out. :)

Jeruba's avatar

@Aethelwine, so there’s no place you long to go back to? You’re happy where you are? I wonder if you know how lucky you are.

JLeslie's avatar

The thing about Facebook is people might use it as a search parameter when trying to find you. I’m not sure if we can search home town on Facebook? Maybe having your high school on there is enough for the search?

I don’t know how common your maiden name is. Mine is extremely rare, there are two people with my first and last name in the entire world from what I can tell, so as long as a childhood friend spells my last name correctly, they find me. The other JL is much younger.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Jeruba I really don’t long to go back anywhere I’ve lived. It’s been our dream to live in Wisconsin for the past 20 years and we finally made it happen. We feel blessed every day.

@JLeslie I’ve found everyone I want to connect with. I have a small facebook friend count. Just a little over 100. I want to keep it that way.

JLeslie's avatar

Funny, where I live, when you buy a house you can opt to have your contact info printed in the community phone book (my community is really a city of 120,000 people). In the phone book you also give your hometown.

The first part of the book is alphabetical by last name. The second part of the book is alphabetical by hometown state, and then within the state it’s alphabetical by last name. I decided to put the city my husband and I could call our hometown as a couple, since the phone book listing is for both of us. It is sort of my adult life hometown.

It’s kind of cool being able to look through the state section and see who is from your city.

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