I found this in my drafts folder from last year. Like literally last year–I wrote this in October 2015. I haven’t been here in so long…but I think you may find this entertaining:
I’m twenty-nine years old and I still have issues with the question, “Where are you from?”
I feel like I have a limb in so many places that my brain refuses to settle on one succinct answer. After today, I decided that it’s high time I pick a city/country and just stick to it.
I went to HR earlier to ask a question, and she ended up mentioning how she was new to Arizona, and I had to go and say, “Oh that makes the two of us!”
Naturally, she had to ask, “Oh, where were you before this?”
My brain doesn’t know what to do with this question. Before this immediately? A tiny country in the Persian Gulf that I’m almost sure you’ve never heard of. (Unless you tend to read/know about mind-bogglingly rich Arab countries with a penchant for outlandishly expensive things).
I said, after a now-almost-characteristic pause, “Canada.”
“Oh where in Canada?”
“Oh, do you like it there?”
YES! She didn’t ask me if I spoke French! Good, good.
“Yes, it’s great!”
“What brought you down here?”
My brain is dumb. So dumb. So dumb in its unrelenting penchant for accuracy.
I paused again, motioned with my hands and said, “Aaaa…lot of things.”
Because I left Montreal in 2006. And I’ve been in two countries since. So, yes, a lot did happen to make me wind up here.
Now she looked confused. So I had to tell her that I’ve lived in a lot of places even though I was born in the US but I haven’t lived here. So when people ask me, “Where were you before?” I can literally say one of four different countries and I wouldn’t be wrong. I tried to be quick and simple about it, but after the hole I just dug for myself, there was hardly anything quick and simple to be found.
“Wow, that’s an interesting life story that came out of nowhere,” she said.
I wasn’t sure if that was a jab at my sudden idiotic rambling, or if she was genuinely interested.
(For what it’s worth, she lived in DC before coming here. DC is muggy and cloudy, and Arizona is not).
I wanted to kick myself as I made my way back to my desk. Why didn’t I say, “Canada. Montreal. I found a job here I liked, so I moved.”
For a fleeting moment I thought about picking a US state that sounds bland. Wisconsin. Nebraska. Idaho. I figure no one will ask follow-up questions on a state that sounds like there’s nothing in it. Then I feel bad because what if those states are awesome and I’m just sitting there judging them because they don’t have the enthusiastic marketing team that California and New York do?
Anyways, here’s to me being Canadian, born and bred, and please don’t ask me to speak to you in French.