“So where are you from?”
Simple question right? We hear it all the time in our daily conversations and its one of the first things we ask when meeting someone new and most of the time we are only asking out of habit. Do we really even care where this person is from? And are they asking where I am from or where I call home? Cause that is different right?
But let me pause right there for a second. I am an over-thinker, if that is even a word. Things that should be so simple I tend to wrestle with in my mind over and over. I am also a details person and have a hard time giving general summaries because I feel the need to give you the whole picture piece by piece. But at the same time I am introverted so I don’t always like to give all the details, especially if I don’t know you that well. Make sense? Yeah I get confused too.
So back to that question, for me it usually goes something like this:
“Where are you from?”
Me over-thinking: where was I born? Or what is home? Where have I lived the longest? Or do you mean where do I live now? Because I didn’t always live here but I have almost, mostly, lived here. I mean, I was born in California and I lived there until I was 12, but really I don’t even remember most of those years so does that count? Ok, maybe I am from Washington then because that is where I moved next. But really I only lived there 9 years and now I have lived in Oregon for almost 12 so does that make me more from Oregon yet? When can I say I am from Oregon? Oregon isn’t where I started, and I haven’t technically lived here the longest yet, but its my favorite. Doesn’t time matter? Wait, or do they want to know what I consider home because isn’t that a different question? But no, I was born in California, that is what they want to know. But I went to school at Washington State, Go Cougs! Oh great, what was the question? Can I just say West Coast? I have lived in all three states that pretty much make up the whole West coast boarder. So that makes sense. Yeah I’ll just go with that.
“I’m from… California. I mean, Washington. Well kind of, I live in Oregon now. I like Oregon. Go Cougs! or I mean Ducks! Wait what was your question?”
Insert face-palm emoji here! Idiot!
I know I can’t be the only one who has trouble with this. I mean really I have only lived in three states that isn’t too bad. Lots of people travel all over during their life times. What do they say?
Again, I don’t know why this even bothers me, but it does. For some reason I feel the need to explain myself. I don’t just want to say one state or the other, that’s not fair (yes yes, I like balance and fairness and things to all line up in neat little rows. Because life is always so nicely laid out like that for us! PSA: have they invented a sarcastic font yet?) But it’s how my mind works, so humor me for now please.
I want to say all three states because they have all been a part of making me who I am, so I am “from” all of them. So I don’t want to say where I am from, I want to say where I am home. And I think I figured that out. You ready for this?
“Home is where the heart is.”
Ok not really. I stole that from somewhere. But there is a little truth to it. I am coming to realize that home for me is the place where you discover who you are. The place where it all ‘clicked.’ The place where it all didn’t have to make sense, but it was all accepted. For me California and Washington left me with lots of unanswered questions, lots of loose ends, lots of growing and maturing, lots of lessons learned, and lots of discovering, but they were just stepping stones that led me to Oregon. It doesn’t matter where I was at, it was where I was heading. I knew there was more, I wasn’t there yet.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Oregon as a state. It is amazing in every way, the beauty of it is unmatched. I might be biased as I haven’t even traveled off the West coast, but if you would like to bring me out to your favorite state to prove me wrong I would be open-minded, try me! I dare you, I’ll even let you pay for it!
But my point is, it wasn’t necessarily the place that made it home, it was the people. I fell in love in Oregon, I became a mom in Oregon, my family grew in Oregon, my faith grew in Oregon and I am learning to let go in Oregon. I found ME in Oregon and that’s what makes it home. I know its a place where I belong. It’s the place where I will watch my boys grow up and that will stick with me forever.
It could have been any state on either coast, but it happened to be Oregon. And now it will forever be Oregon. I could move tomorrow across the country and never live here again but it would still be home and from now on I know the answer to that question.
We are home now.