I’m not from around here.
When you ask most people where they are from you’re probably going to get a pretty quick answer and it won’t take too much explaining. For me, it’s a loaded question.
My father served in the U.S. Army for a good chunk of my childhood. I was born in a military hospital in Frankfurt Germany and spent a number of years in Germany along with various cities through out the United States.
While wondering around the web tonight I came across an article that tackled a subject that always bothered me, but I could never really quantify why it bothered me. The author included a number of quotes from children of the military and how they respond when being asked “where are you from?”
I recognize for people who didn’t grow up in the military the question is pretty simple. It has a right answer. For me, there really isn’t a right answer. I was born in Germany but I’m a United States citizen. I went to schools in a number of states and in two different countries. I don’t have a home town.
When people ask me where I’m from, my canned answer is “that’s a loaded question.” Depending on my mood I might go into more detail beyond my Dad was in the Army, but for the most part I try to leave it at “I was born in Germany.”
When I give my answer I often I hear “that must have been tough moving around a lot.” I think that’s where the bothersome part starts to creep in. I had a great childhood. It wasn’t like yours I’m sure, but I had great experiences everywhere I lived. And I was with my family for a good chunk of that time. Sure, my Dad would have assignments and would be gone for a while – but he never saw combat.
While I don’t identify myself as being “from” anywhere in particular, I do feel at home in the United States. I’m proud to be a citizen of this country and I’m proud of my father’s service to the United States.
My father has been out of the service since the early 1990s and most of my military experience comes from being very young, but it really did set me along the path I’m on today.
I really do understand when people ask where I’m from, they’re trying to get to know me. It’s a great opening line to get to know most people. Unfortunately I don’t have a clear answer for you.
The article ‘What Military Children Won’t Tell You about Being Asked, “Where Are You From?”‘ includes perspective from a number of children of the military. I find it amazing how universal the reaction to the question seems to be.
At any rate, here’s my answer: ” … I was born in Germany, then moved to Georgia, South Carolina, Washington State, back to Germany, Iowa, Minnesota and now I live in Tyler.” I’ll also throw in that I was in Germany when the Berlin Wall came down. I almost feel like I have it down as a script.
I’m happy people want to get to know me and the question doesn’t bother me too much, but it’s just one of those things that comes up every so often. Reading the article brought that all out. I’m not from anywhere in particular. I live in Tyler.