The “Where are you from?” Game

Where are you from

Turned out the guy had never heard of Boston…

What do you think? And what do you actually say?

I think this: “Well, I was born in a small town in New England, about an hour from Boston, but when I was 3 months old my parents took me to Pakistan where they had already established a home. I lived there until I was 18, except for every 4 years when we would go to the United States for a year and I would live in the small town I was born in, or another city about a half hour from there. And then when I graduated I came to the United States and I went to school in Chicago. And then the year after I graduated I lived in Massachusetts for 9 months and then I went back to Pakistan, and then I was deported from Pakistan, and then I met my husband in Chicago and we got engaged in Pakistan and married in Chicago. Then we lived in Chicago a year and moved to New Hampshire for a few months, then we went to Pakistan for 3 years, then we moved to Florida for a year, then we went to Cairo, Egypt for 7 years. After that we were in a small town on the North Shore of Boston for 6 and 1/2 years, then we moved to Phoenix for 4 and 1/2 years, then we moved back to Massachusetts where we live in Cambridge…..”

But I say this: “Right now I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.”

Is anyone tired yet?

Okay – now it’s your turn! What do you think, and what do you say? Please play this game with me! It will be fun, I promise!

*Blogger’s note – click on the picture to head to the original and it will be easier to read the text.

64 thoughts on “The “Where are you from?” Game

  1. I love this question. Although I was born and raised in one town, this is an increasingly difficult question to answer!

    Here is what I am usually thinking when someone asks me “so where are you guys from?” – I run through the list in my mind. “I was born and raised in Central New York, my husband is from the City. Since I’ve been married I’ve lived in Northern NY, Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado, Kansas, Florida – twice, Baden Württemberg and Bavaria. My oldest child was born in Kansas City, and my youngest in Key West.”

    But I usually say – “Originally? I’m from New York. The State, not the City. We moved here from X, but we move around. A lot.”

    It gets too confusing to add in everything between, especially when I’m trying to explain it in another language. :-)

    Like

  2. I’m a bit late to this party, but I love this! I love that there are so many of you whose stories are as crazy if not more so than mine!

    I think: Swiss-French-British-Kiwi, born in Nepal and lived in six other countries, 19 houses/apartments speaking eight languages, two of which I’ve forgotten…

    I say:
    – Do you want the long or the short version (then gauge how short the short needs to be by their response)
    The shortest version consists of picking a country, with the inevitable reply of, “oh, but you don’t sound like you’re from there!” Or “well what passport do you have?” (like that’s going to have an easier answer!!)

    – um…well…it’s kinda complicated

    – a bit of a cocktail really

    – I (currently) live in….

    Like

  3. What I think:

    Well, if you really want to know, I was born in Seoul. Moved to South Carolina when I was two years old. Then moved to Arizona a few years later. Gifted (or cursed) with an intensely accurate childhood memory, I remember all the details of this move and the other moves that followed. (I remember feeling embarrassed that I had a southern accent and sounded different from everyone. Somewhere along the way the southern accent dropped and now people ask me if I’m from Connecticut. WHAT.)
    After five years in Arizona my family moved back to Korea. This part is where it gets hard to explain. Even though the family “stayed” in Korea from then on, we didn’t really “stay”. I was constantly boarding planes to be in Singapore or Japan or the U.S. to be with family or friends or (even) be in school. It was really really confusing because for pockets of time during the year I would be thrown into different worlds and had to speak different languages and take on different mannerisms. In college, I attended an international program in Seoul, geared towards raising multi-cultural, multi-lingual leaders in Asia. It was like international high school on college level. Pretty cool, but not your average college experience. Kids congregated from ALL over the world with ALL kinds of issues. Everybody was trilingual. We spent vacations in each other’s houses around the world OR abroad – interning, volunteering or doing intensive language studies. I spent time in France and also did an exchange program in the U.S.

    Anyways, during college and after college while I worked as a librarian at an international school, I spent 3-4 months of the year traveling or staying with friends in different parts of the world. Mostly Europe and Asia. I fell in love with China and spent a ton of time there. Then for graduate school I moved to Los Angeles. The same year my sister moved to Boston for school and then got really sick. So I was the family member (since parents were 6,000 miles away) that flew 3-4 times a year to Boston to be with her and essentially, ended up establishing a bicoastal life in the States despite student status which led me to be financially broke most of the time – but I would rather be broke and be eating cereal for three meals than have to stay in the same place for more than three months.

    Many of my friends are TCKS so I had to fly from Los Angeles to Singapore for my best friend’s wedding even though neither her husband or best friend are from Singapore. In fact, best friend is now living in Taiwan. But she was living in New York when I had moved to Los Angeles. And she met her husband in Tokyo even though neither of them are from Japan. My sister has lived and worked in in Brazil, France, Cambodia,China and Japan. So even if I may not be the one moving around, my friends or family members are constantly moving around (sister is now moving from Boston to Atlanta for new job) and it just seems like people and memories and life is scattered here and there and everywhere….but I’ve grown accustomed to it. I hope I meet someone that will understand this. I’ve noticed many of my TCK friends (the lucky ones) have found spouses that share their life and in their new family units they have found a home. I wish I could have a place or a person I can call home.

    What I say:
    I’m from Korea.

    Then they say:
    But your English is perfect!

    Then I say:
    I lived in Arizona as a child.

    Like

  4. I think: I was born in Guam to a Dutch/Indonesian dad and Korean mom. At age 2 we moved to New Zealand where my brother was born and my dad bought a house. Then we moved to Urayasu, Japan (outside Tokyo) where he got a great job offer. Then up to Sapporo (on north island of Japan) for a year, then down to Kobe (southern region) for a year and a half. We left Kobe right before the 1994 earthquake struck back to New Zealand b/c my dad had quit his job so we were broke. Then he got a job offer in Gold Coast, Australia then after less than a year we moved up to Cairns (far northeast Queensland) for about 4 years. Then we moved back to Japan (Tokyo this time) where I did all 4 years of high school. Then for college I went to LA and then San Francisco for 6 years and now I’m in Honolulu, Hawaii where I’m surrounded by mixed people. (phew, my fingers are tired… hehe)

    I say: San Francisco

    Like

    1. Oh Wow – so many stories in this comment. I’m curious as to what led your dad to New Zealand in the first place….had he visited? It’s a place I’ve always wanted to go and I have dear friends who live there.

      Like

      1. That’s such a good question – for some reason, my dad’s entire family lives/lived in New Zealand. His parents both lived there until they passed away and his sister is also there. She has 4 kids and they all live in NZ/AUS. But as for why NZ, I don’t know, as they are Dutch-Indonesian. It’s still a mystery to me. My brother is soon to join them. Guess I’ll be visiting next year!

        Like

      2. The call of family is strong!! I’m always fascinated to look at migration patterns of families. Obviously there are many times when it’s about immigration or refugee status. But in my own family one whole group moved from East to West coast and have been there for year now. I’d like to do the same to Istanbul :)

        Like

  5. What amazing stories! I wish I could have a cup of tea and a chat with every one of these amazing people. Makes my life sound pretty dull! Thanks Marilyn.

    Like

    1. Your life is anything but Dull. Let’s see it would go like this: I was born and raised in a small town, but after I got married I took a six week journey to a new country called Pakistan. First I lived in a 2 room house with 5 other adults and 5 children, then I moved into a house with a family of 36 Hindus who lived above us. I lived in Ratodero, Jacobabad, Larkana, Hyderabad, and Shikarpur in Pakistan but every summer I lived in a different place in Murree. And etc….!! And then at 84 I moved to Rochester, NY where I teach English, exercise, write, participate in my church and pray for 17 grandchildren and their parents and spouses…..

      Like

  6. I think: I was born in Wellington, New Zealand. When i was 11 we moved to Kuwait in the middle east, I spent three years in Kuwait then moved back to New Zealand to go to a boarding school. My family spent four years in Kuwait and now live in Indonesia.
    What I say: Umm i was born in New Zealand and I Live In New Zealand most of the time, except for school holidays!

    Like

  7. I think: I was born in Phoenix, AZ, moved to DC when I was 6 mos old, moved to Valeo, CA, then to Nellis AFB Nevada, then to Seattle where my youngest sister was born, then to Minot North Dakota, then back to Phoenix while Dad was in Japan, then to Omaha, Neb, then to DC again, then to Acton MA where I graduated high school (this was my 13th school!) and met my husband, then college years in Missouri, then to Salt Lake City, UT, then to Alexandria, VA, then to Fulda, Germany where we travelled ALL over Europe, Scandinavia, & Russia exploring, then to Atlanta, GA (where I suffered severe culture shock!), then back to Germany to Frankfurt where I gave birth to 2 boys 10,000 miles from Mom & family, then to O’Fallon, ILL and Scott AFB then to Massachusetts, then to CA for 6 years and now back to Massachusetts again.

    But I say: “I was born in Phoenix, AZ, but my Dad was military” – which usually elicits what I call “The Nod of Knowing”

    He says: “Ah! You are from nowhere and everywhere.”

    And I say: “Yes.”

    Love, Love , love this post, Marilyn! Thanks so much! All your commenters are a much travelled bunch!

    Like

    1. Love this Deborah and so glad you came by! Military is another world that is understood immediately by others who grew up in the military. I’ll never forget going to a bed and breakfast one time with my husband. Another couple was there and he had grown up military, airforce like my husband. They began comparing and the similarities were astounding, even down to having moms who had houses full of hummels and shrunks and Lladros. I love it when people immediately ‘get’ it. It’s a huge gift of understanding.

      Like

  8. I think: “I was born in Singapore but my family was already living in New Zealand by then. My mum only came back to Singapore for a funeral for the man who I’m named after. So I was moved to New Zealand at 6 months old and thats where I (and my family) am a citizen. At 9 we moved to Brunei with my Mum while my Dad was living in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. At 14 we then moved to Hong Kong where my Dad got a new job and my Mum decided to join him. My parents have stayed there ever since and I have Hong Kong residency. I then moved to Melbourne, Australia for University, bouncing back to Hong Kong during the holidays. I stayed there for 6 years and then moved to London in January 2013 to work on a startup called Friends of Friends Travel (www.foftravel.com) – of course, with another TCK from my Hong Kong days…and it’s all about being a TCK. I am Indian by ethnicity but my Mum was born and raised in Singapore while my Dad was born and raised in Malaysia. They both have New Zealand citizenship now, though, and live in Hong Kong (though they plan to retire in Malaysia).”

    What I say: I usually find that if I try and just say a part of it, people tend to ask further questions (because of my skin colour and my weird blended accent) so I usually actually do give the spiel (prefaced with “I’ll give you the spiel” and a very big breath): “I was born in Singapore, moved to New Zealand as a baby, moved to Brunei when I was 9, moved to Hong Kong when I was 14, moved to Melbourne for University, moved to London earlier this year. I’m Indian ethnically but my mum was born and raised in Singapore, my dad in Malaysia and we’re New Zealand citizens but they live in Hong Kong.”

    It’s hard to cut any of it out!

    Like

    1. I love your life. As many moves, and stories, and chances of misrepresentation that are woven through this comment – you have an amazing story to tell. I’m glad you give the ‘spiel’.

      Like

  9. I think: I was born in Nigeria – the only white baby in the nursery – and the nurse still thought to look for me by name tag. At 2, we moved back to the States and at 6 ended up in France for a year – where I started first grade. At 7, we moved to Senegal – I stayed there until I was 19.. oh, except for almost every summer and those 2 times that I spent months in American schools… 8th grade was particularly wonderful with blonde haired, blue eyed kids (like me) telling me to go back to Africa where I came from. At 19, I moved to college in Minnesota – studied abroad in Rome, returned to Rome after graduation, lived in PA, and NY in the middle of all of that – many stops to Paris to my friends from Senegal – and then did my graduate degree in Turin where I met my husband – and now live, a couple of years later (after more time in PA).

    I say: I’m from PA – near Philadelphia.

    I learned not to say:
    – I’m from Senegal (“you’re not black/Muslim/African,”/ “you don’t speak Wolof” /”where’s your passport?”)
    – I’m from Africa (“you mean South Africa, right?”)
    – I’m American but was born and raised in West Africa (“… blank stare….”)
    – My parents are from near Harrisburg (“no, but wait, what big city is that near?”)

    Like

    1. Love this so much….what you learned not to say?! So poignant, so hard. And to have all those stories dissected into “I’m from PA near Philadelphia” makes my heart hurt. Thank you for playing :)

      Like

  10. I think: I’m English married to a Frenchman, grew up in Pakistan, lived in the UK, France, NZ, Fiji and Australia. I lived in Brighton but my parents live in Wales and I don’t really come from either place. My children have three different nationalities and we have 11 passports between us.

    I say: would you like the long version or the short version? The short version is I’m from English but I grew up abroad.

    I think: if they’re interested, their next question is: Oh whereabouts did you grow up? Most people are singularly uncurious.

    Like

    1. 11 passports! That’s fabulous. I am SOOOO jealous Sophie! That would be my dream. Your words “singularly uncurious” resonate — although I’m learning to be surprised. I wish we lived closer.

      Like

    1. I look forward to heading to your link. Do you think, though, that people will stop asking? Culturally isn’t it the western way of greeting? Would love to talk more about this.

      Like

  11. Thanks for this topic.

    Before I respond at all, I feel disappointment (and some frustration) because of the probable motives of the question. Then, as I tell the inquirer that they probably won’t like my answer, I start sizing up how I want to answer based on my best guess as to their motives (which they no-doubt perceive as completely innocent).

    A few weeks ago I attended a brief seminar about the U.S. experience of people of mixed race. One participant who, like me, could mark at least four of the usual race-category choices, summed up the frustration and desire of many present regarding the question (or similar questions like, “What’s your background?”). She finds the query insulting to the extent that it often constitutes a socially-sanctioned method for the inquirer to relieve anxiety by placing her in a convenient “box” of assumptions. Unlike you and I, that participant did not (also) grow up in a “mix” of geography, culture and language.

    More important to me though was her desire that the inquirer have the patience (and wisdom) to find out about her through experience over time. I cannot remember ever thinking of rattling of a list of my past countries and states of residence. Besides boring the listener, it would still not say much about what I feel is important about and for me. For example: “I was born in Turkey.” brings on set of associations; “My Father was working for the US Embassy.” brings different associations; and “I have no recollection having only lived there the first year of my life,” add a third layer.

    The same participant also said that since she moved this little city in Northern California about a year ago, she had never felt so at home as she did during that seminar. She might have identified the small fraction of mixed-race attendants as the reason for her apparent relief. However, after attending innumerable workshops and seminars on the subject of diversity and noticing myself feeling more “alive” afterwards than anywhere else in my life, I came to identify ambiguity as the key factor. One thing that such discussions held in common (especially in a country which has been so racially divided and charged) was ambiguity. For once, as they struggled for the “right” answers to the goal of cultural sensitivity, the audience was joining with me in my world of ever-present ambiguity.

    In any case, despite their discomfort, my response is usually designed to be frustratingly vague and yet just intriguing to spark some further discussion. And, if I’m lucky, we might come away understanding some important things about each other.

    Like

    1. There are so many layers to this comment that I wish we could have coffee. I facilitate workshops like the one you describe and if there is anything I want people to come away with it’s the idea of being capable of complexity. That is huge. And for them to experience what so many of us feel on a daily basis, it takes a set up like the one you describe. This sentence in your comment: “For once, as they struggled for the “right” answers to the goal of cultural sensitivity, the audience was joining with me in my world of ever-present ambiguity” Love this. I’m also interested that your goal in answering is to be “frustratingly vague” because in this you know quickly who is interested in more information and how that may play out, fostering relationship. At any rate – I am so grateful for this comment. Thank you.

      Like

  12. I think this: I was born in northern Nigeria and during home assignments I lived in Ohio….but my dad is from Pennsylvania and my mom from Indiana. Then we moved from northern Nigeria to south-central Nigeria. We came back to the USA when I was 10 and lived in Indiana, New York, and Colorado before I graduated from high school. Then it was back to Ohio for college and before I knew it my parents had moved to South Carolina. After college graduation I lived in North Carolina before returning to Nigeria as a missionary. I met my husband there….we got married in New York, lived our first year between Pennsylvania and Quebec and then ended up in Niger. Oh and I won’t even tell you where all I’ve lived in Niger because you probably don’t even know where Niger is and think I’m talking about Nigeria. My parents, siblings, and all my in-laws live scattered all over the USA. My husband was born in Turkey, my son in Niger, and my daughter in the USA so we have four birth countries represented among four people.

    What I say: We take our home assignments in Pennsylvania.

    Like

    1. I love this so much! “We ‘take’ our home assignments in Pennsylvania” sort of like sitting at a table and narrowing down the menu “I’ll take coffee”. Thanks Nancy. And as with all the others – soooo many stories!

      Like

  13. I was born in Pennsylvania but moved to FL at 6 years if age. For my adult life, I have lived equal amounts of time in Washington DC and the Middle East (6 different countries). My house is in FL where a lot of my family and house are located. My identity is wrapped up equally in 3 parts: FL, DC, and Middle East.

    Like

  14. I think: I was born in Louisiana but left there when I was little. I considered it “home home” (just “home” is where we are living now) for many years because of my grandparents and other relatives who lived there. I’ve lived outside of the US for 28 of my 50 years. We’ve moved around a lot and the list is too long to go into, but I’ve had bedrooms in six of the seven continents. The longest I’d ever lived anywhere was nine consecutive years in Houston, where my sisters and mother still live and we own a house.
    What I say: “I call Houston my hometown.” And I say it just like that. Because I had to pick someplace and Houston seemed the most logical.

    Like

  15. What I say: …still haven’t figured that one out.

    What I think is: I was born in China and lived there till I was about 4 yrs old, then moved WITH MY PARENTS to Sweden (no I was not adopted), lived in Sweden till I was 20ish something, moved back to China between 2008 and 2012 four times, lived in Nanjing, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen (yeah betcha you don’t know where those are lol), actually went to SWE-ENG bilingual school in upper-secondary school (why I don’t have a Swedish accent when I speak English).

    To Chinese people it’s a little different, since in Chinese you don’t ask where you are from, but what location’s people you belong to (Ni shi na li ren = you are where people), and you answer beijinger (beijing ren) or shanghaier (shanghai ren). Then I usually just reference to my parents being Nanjingers and I grew up abroad.

    Like

    1. I like how you’ve brought up different cultural views and responses to the where are you from. I’ve been to conferences sponsored by native american populations and you say your tribe and your fathers, in Pakistan it’s about who your family is. A reminder to me that we in the west are linear thinkers and we want quick information that’s easily understood and dissected…no wonder so many of us struggle!

      Like

  16. I think this: well, I was born in California, was raised on an island below Australia most people haven’t heard of, moved back to the U.S. in high school where I lived in various places in Norcal, went to college in LA and spent the summers in North Carolina; after college I lived in Korea for a few months, moved back to LA, then to Boise, Idaho, where I currently live. What I say: When I was in college, I’d say I was from Sacramento; since leaving LA, I’ve said LA – when I leave Idaho…who knows. I’ll pick one. Or, I just say “I’m kind of from various places – I moved a lot” and wait to see if people are actually interested or are satisfied with the reference.

    Like

  17. I think this: I was born in Cleveland, Ohio (but only because my mom was given a due date a MONTH earlier than it actually was), moved to Guatemala when I was 6 weeks old. Lived there until I was 3, then moved a few hours north into Mexico where I lived until I was 17 with frequent trips to Guatemala, romping all over 40+ US states, 3 Canadian provinces, and Panama. Then moved to the Philippines for a year before starting college in California. I lived in California for a year and a half at 18, before moving to Colorado for a year to attend a different school, then moved back to California at 20 to finish my degree. During my 4 “college years” I lived in 14 homes with 48 different housemates. The day after I graduated from college, I moved back to the Philippines for another year of volunteer work (which I’m presently finishing).

    After I finish my contract here, I will be staying in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Macau before flying back to California where I will spend 2 short weeks before I fly out to spend three weeks in Europe and Morocco. On my way home to Mexico from Morocco, I’ll be stopping to spend a week in Canada with family, then 2 months back home in Mexico with the rest of my family, where I will celebrate my 23rd birthday, before I move back to California (for now).

    I say: California.

    Like

    1. 14 homes and 48 housemates! You are amazing and personify adaptability. I read this comment 3 times – I think the stark contrast between all the stories, all the detail, all the life experience encapsulated in you compared to the one word response that is required of you…..wow. So much there. Thank you.

      Like

  18. What I think: I was born in NC, USA, even though neither of my parents are American, grew up in Austria, Romania, Philippines and now live in Canada. I’ve spent one third of my life in Europe, one third in Asia and one third in North America. I’m an Austrian and American citizen (and will be a Canadian as well someday soon)… by heritage I’ve also got some Jewish roots in me so I’m not sure where those fit in…

    What I say: If I talk to someone from Europe, I tell them I’m from Canada; if I talk to North Americans I say I’m European. It depends on my mood, but I will warn them that that’s not the whole story and give them a quick summary.

    Like

    1. I love that you change it according to who you’re speaking with. Love even more that you give a warning and let them know there’s more. What country are your parents from?

      Like

      1. My mom is from Austria and my dad is Romanian. It’s a pretty unique heritage, and I’m proud of it. :)
        It’s so fun to read other people’s stories here too. Thanks for the opportunity.

        Like

  19. I think this: Well, I was born in Colorado Springs, CO when my dad was in the army, posted to Fort Carson. I was six months old when we moved to Chicago and then two years old when we moved to Princeton, NJ. I lived there until I graduated from high school and then went to college in Beloit, WI. Upon graduation I joined Peace Corps and was assigned to a village in The Gambia, West Africa. When I returned to the States, I moved to Madison, WI to be close to my boyfriend. A year later, when the two of us got engaged, we moved together to Columbus, OH (though we had the wedding in my parents’ backyard in Princeton). Our first son was born in Columbus and our second son was born in Northampton, MA, where we had moved to attend grad school at UMass-Amherst. Our first post-grad job was in Cairo, Egypt, where our daughter was born. Six years later, we returned to our home country to live in Atlanta, GA for four years. When a job opened again in Cairo, the five of us were all happy to return to Egypt. I lived there for another 12 years working as the elementary librarian at the largest American school. For the last three years of those 12, my husband worked in Kabul, Afghanistan (as his projects in Egypt had ended) and just last month, he moved to Dhaka, Bangladesh to start a new project. Two months ago, I moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to work again as the elementary librarian in an international school.
    But I say, “I’m a US Yankee who currently lives in Cambodia.”

    Like

  20. I say “Chicago”.

    I think: “Oh gosh… I was born in Jerseyville, IL which is a farm community, but no one knows where it is, so I mention St. Louis, as it is the most major metropolitan area around. But I wasn’t a city kid, and I didn’t live in that area long before I moved to Papua New Guinea. In PNG I lived in 17 different places, but I’m sure you don’t even know where Papua New Guinea is and think I’m talking about Equatorial Guinea and are going to start asking me questions about Africa–which is complicated because I spent a year in S. Africa doing volunteer work, but that wasn’t until I was in my 20s… but I can still answer some of your questions. Anyway, I moved to Kankakee, IL for college after living in Papua New Guinea, but my family moved to Vietnam while I was in school there. After college, I moved to Kansas CIty to do graduate work. Yes, I know there is a Missouri and a Kansas-based Kansas City. I actually lived in both at various times. Then I moved to Evanston, IL to go to more graduate school. And now I live in Chicago–really Chicago… it is the city of my address. Not one of the suburbs. Chicago is where I currently feed my cat.”

    Like

  21. I tell people that I am “from” Victoria B.C. Canada but that I now “live” in Dayton OH but that I moved there after living in Toronto ON for 25 yrs…. but I clarify that I am not FROM Dayton OH, I simply live there at the moment – and then there is my husband’s residential history…… however, even in telling mine, I don’t include the city where I was born and lived for 5 yrs, nor the city where I spent 5.5 yrs and went through high school, nor my 3 yrs in college in Chicago, nor a couple of other short term moves. Most people only want the précis version. It is hard for me to believe that some people actually live in the same city all their lives…. and hence where they are “from” and where they “live” is the same.

    Like

    1. It was fascinating yesterday for me as I was speaking to a group of second year med students. I asked them to tell me their names and where they were born, sure that there would be a TCK among them. Sure enough – someone born in Baghdad. So the fascinating thing though was with those who are local – not only did they not say the city, they got as local as the hospital.

      Like

  22. I THINK:
    I was born just outside Boston but lived in Boston for my first year, then moved to the town I was born in for 3 years, then lived in a tiny town in a small African country for FIVE years (the longest I lived anywhere until I turned 46), then one year in the town I was born in, then 1 1/2 years in another town in that small African country, then a year spent between 2 towns in that small African country, then 1 1/2 years between a city in South Africa and that small African country, then five years switching back and forth between NH and Massachusetts, then Mass., Africa, Mass, Africa, Mass, Philippines, then a year in a rented room in Lowell, MA and another year in a rented apartment in Quincy, MA, then four years in KS, 2 years in NH, then several different apartments in MA for the next ten years, then back to NH for ten years (my most stable period :) and then 3 1/2 years in southwest Florida in a town no-one has heard of since it didn’t exist 75 years ago.
    I SAY:
    Well, right now I live in Sarasota County, Florida.
    I WOULD LIKE TO SAY:
    Well, I have lived in a lot of places but earth is not my real home ~ I am a child of the King and plan on living in heaven with Him for eternity.
    But usually that is not considered polite or what they want to hear.

    Like

  23. I usually say, “Where am I from, WHEN?” Born in Kansas City, raised in Colombia (mostly Medellín) with a couple more years in KC, college in Kansas, a year in Honduras, a couple of years in Miami, 25 years in Dallas interrupted by four in Costa Rica… and since last year I live in Tampa.

    Like

  24. I think this: Well I was born in London, England but moved with my parents to Edmonton, Alberta when I was 3. At 15 my family moved back to England where I lived in London until after university. Then I moved to New York for a year but had to go as I couldn’t get a visa so I went back to England. I moved back to Canada but to Vancouver for a short stint to satisfy my belief that Canada was home but it turned out it totally wasn’t so I went back to the UK for 2 years. Then I moved to Beijing for a job for 1 year and then because I wanted to stay in Asia I moved to Hong Kong where incidentally my family had also moved to whilst I was in Beijing. I lived in Hong Kong for 4 years, then I moved to Ghana. I was supposed to stay for 2 years but because of a family crisis I had to leave. Later that year I moved to Uganda and stayed for 2 years. After Uganda, I moved back to the UK but got a job in Hong Kong so I moved back there. This past June I moved back to the UK with my son and (sigh) have just applied for a job in Singapore….

    I have British nationality, with a Canadian accent and I’m Chinese.. what I say can be Canada, UK, Hong Kong. Usually, it’s what I think the other person wants to hear and gets me to the next question the quickest…

    Like

    1. So truly tck’ish of you….to give them what they want to hear! That’s what we do right? And sometimes it gets so hard. I would love to hear more of your story – and the big question is – do you want to move to Singapore?

      Like

  25. I know lots of TCKs hate this question, but I am going to keep on asking it. If I don’t ask, that means I don’t care. Tell me the long version, it defines who you are and I care about who you are.

    Like

    1. nice! never thought about it that way :) actually the other day on a plane someone asked me and I told them the long version, and the lady simply replied: “So you are a TCK”. Whoppieee someone finally got it!! :D

      Like

  26. I think: I was born in Burma and grew up in Mexico, Colombia, Nigeria, Switzerland, and the US. I went to college in California and lived in Denver, Boston, Minneapolis, Dunedin,FL and Washington DC. My husband and I moved to Moscow, Russia in the 90’s and we stayed there for 9 years. The Russians kicked us out so we lived temporarily in Minnesota and then moved to Virginia. I have been in Virginia for 11 years.
    What I say depends on who I am talking to. I usually say I’m not really from anywhere but I live in the DC area.

    Like

    1. 9 years in Russia in the 90’s – would LOVE to hear more of that. My husband is currently studying Russian and we have good friends as well as a cousin in Moscow right now.

      Like

  27. I think this: I was born in Prince George, BC but we moved 19 times before we moved to Pakistan when I was 8 years old. Life in Pakistan was punctuated by frequent moves between boarding school and Layyah and back to boarding school and then moving from boarding to our house in Murree. When I was 18 I returned to my passport country, Canada. I stayed there until I was 24 at which point I married my Lowell and we moved temporarily to Kansas before relocating to India. We lived in North India for 13 years –although three years into that we moved back to the US for a year. In 2007 we moved to Kansas and we’ve been here ever since.
    I say: Kansas!

    Like

Add to the discussion...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s