Where are you from? A straightforward question. Who doesn’t know where they’re from? Italians do. They, for the most part, remain where they were born, where their ancestors have lived for hundreds of years. Where are you from? means Who are your people? and therefore, Who are you? I was born in Ohio, but lived in south Florida for 10 years. I spent a year in Denver and would happily live there again. 3 years in San Francisco and she became my City. Now it’s been 6 years in Italy, where the cat is. My family is in Ohio (except for when they are wintering in Arizona and Florida) where my formative years were spent, but my cohort is spread across the globe. All of these places have made their marks on who I am. So, when someone asks, Where are you from? I tend to gape, silently, like some sort of fish, wondering just what, exactly, they mean by Where.
Where do I call Home? Home with a lower case ‘h’ is where I lay my head at night, where the cat is. But this one will never be Home, capital. That kind is the roof which will welcome you when the bottom drops out and the sky caves in. I am so blessed as to have 3 of those, maybe 2 where I could afford to stay, with the 3rd being where I’d really prefer to live. And most probably will never abide in any of them again. Home is also where one has invested in people, relationships, or the place that infuses the soul with life. Right now, I am joyfully Home where I have both. Familiar faces, smiling and laughing our history between us, lift me up. Palm trees and giant flowers and dark humidity percolate in my creative spirit.
Part of me is from Florida, the part that glories in the tropics, thrills at the sight of a flight of pelicans, and is willing to eat herself into anaphylactic shock on fresh mango. But that doesn’t tell anyone that I bleed Scarlet & Gray, learned to ski on an icy bump, and am deleteriously rule-following; from Ohio. Nor that I love SantaCon, Chinese New Year, and aspire toward veganism; from San Francisco. And none of these places speak of my faith or political proclivities. All of Europe, too, is leaving its imprint on my world view. Where are you from? is such a loaded question.
Maybe I’ll just go with, “The government and I’m here to help,” if only to see if anyone is listening at all.