I remember… (Part 1)


There is one question that I always find too complicated to answer. When I hear it, I have to take a deep breath, I have to hold on to something. The answer is never easy nor short.

Where do you come from?

This may seem like a simple question. One we ask every new person we meet. We want to know where they come from because we think that will give us an idea of who this person is.

Where do I come from?Β The question takes me back to every place I have lived in.

I remember riding my red tricycle around our apartment in Mexico City while my sister ran or danced or jumped. I remember sitting in my uncle’s apartment and staring at the coffee table full of newspapers while my family talked about the latest news or a new book. I remember going to school in my uniform and winning a swimming medal. I remember missing school when my little sister was born and my dad sneaking me in the hospital to see my mom.

Where do I come from?

I remember moving to a nice house that appeared so big compared to my little body. I remember going to school and missing out on Physical Education to take remedial English classes. I remember making new friends and taking care of and losing the class pets over Christmas. I remember going to football games with my friends and planning for college.

Where do I come from?

I remember moving to the dorms afraid of starting over. I remember meeting new friends and not knowing who would remain a friend after college. I remember taking exams, writing essays, failing my first class, and selling back my books to go shopping. I remember the boys making hamburgers on sunny days and laying in the quad instead of going to class. I remember walking across the stage and receiving my diploma.

Where do I come from?

I remember moving back to my childhood home and feeling out of place. I remember driving back to see my friends. I remember spending mornings at Starbucks writing while my sister was in school. I remember driving late at night for some food or just to drive around.

Where do I come from?

I remember the long drive to our new/old home. I remember Christmas dinner with my family. We were confused, happy, agitated. I remember buying furniture, taking classes, trying to make friends. I remember finding a job, buying an apartment, traveling to the beach.

Where do I come from?

I remember flying to this new place with my cat hoping we would both survive the flight. I remember unpacking and waking up to a new place. I remember trying new food, missing old food, hearing new sounds, learning a new language, learning to cook dinner.

Where do I come from?

I am from here and there. I was born in one place, grew up in another, studied somewhere else, started being an adult in a fourth place, and creating a family in a fifth one. My heart is split up to fit all the people, the sights, the smells, the tastes and the sounds. I don’t come from one place, but at the same time I come from them all.

Where do I come from?

I lost one nationality, but I have gained many more.


12 thoughts on “I remember… (Part 1)

  1. Though I have lived in so many places, I don’t find it challenging to tell people where I am from originally. I can really relate to your post though. When I was living in Chile, the question people asked me constantly, which became more and more challenging for me to answer as time went by was, “Why did you move to Chile?” In fact, every time I relocate and people ask me what brought me to a place, I find it somewhat challenging and have developed a mental script so that I can answer spontaneously without becoming overly philosophical. Though you can gauge something about a person based on where they’ve lived, we are all much more than the places we’ve lived.

  2. What a wonderful post. I think it’s reflective of so many of our lives. We live on a planet that gets smaller by the minute and most of us are from many places. Few of us articulate it so well. πŸ™‚

  3. I think you did a good job of answering where you come from in this post. Having a similarly checkered origin, I often say. Its a long story, are you sure you want to hear it. Happily, man people do !

  4. The more I read your post the more I enjoyed it. You really captured the thoughts that go through a persons mind when people ask this simple but complicated question. I can totally relate.

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