Sep 07

Where Are You From?

by in Ramblings

Say you moved around when you were growing up, or maybe you were raised in one place but moved away and frequently changed locations as an adult. Then you take a trip and someone asks you, “Where are you from?”

How do you answer?

In today’s climate of uber-travel, blended ethnicity, hyper-migration, globalization, and expatrification, the question “Where are you from?” is as complex as ever. Perhaps a deconstruction of this simple question may seem overwrought, but why is virtually everyone inclined to ask it? And more importantly, what do they really want to know when they do?

This simple question can comprehend so many different concepts depending upon who is asking, why they are asking, and where you, the respondent, happen to be emotionally and physically when you are answering. “Where are you from?” might imply:

Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Where is your family from originally?
Where do you currently live?
Where did you last live?

I’ve been asked this question so often that you would think my response might be more fluid, more graceful than it actually is. But no. Instead, I still act like a deer-in-the-headlights. Why? Because I pause to consider why the question is being asked and which bits of information might be most relevant for the person asking it.

It’s likely that someone asks out of curiosity, to put us in context. Many people expect a static answer because the assumption is that we, like they, have come from one place and have probably lived in that place most of our lives. For better or for worse, where a person comes from helps many folks place strangers in cultural and socioeconomic context.

Do you have a difficult time answering the question, “Where are you from?” If so, what answer do you give? Where you were born, grew up, live currently, last lived. Or do you say something entirely different?

And in the end, does it matter where you are from? After all, we’re all citizens of the same planet, aren’t we?

2 Responses to “Where Are You From?”

  1. From Jose Joaquin Herrand:

    Totally agree!

    Posted on 17. Aug, 2011 at 12:50 am #
  2. From ken:

    Hola Joaquin! Ahora, estoy media dominicano. No?

    Posted on 17. Aug, 2011 at 1:24 am #

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