Monday, February 19, 2007

Where are you from?

I've had to answer that question a lot these past few days. It's conference time, and I'm meeting a lot of new people. For some people, that question isn't too bad. A person can either answer it by stating where they grew up, or where they are presently living. But if you live overseas, that question has many more implications. It could mean where I grew up. It could mean all of the places I have lived. It could mean where I live now, and it could even mean where I consider "home."

It's even worse for my kids. When I grew up, I only moved 3 times, so I was relatively stable. My kids moved six times in three years at one point. We've moved even more times than that, but those three years were pretty rough. During that time I went to an education conference in which the speaker told us we should ask our kids a certain question to find out where they considered "home." Knowing how much we had been traveling, I really didn't want to ask that question. But I did. The question was: "Where do you feel the most at home." My kids' answer? A hotel. That was rough. But then I realized that the reason they felt the most at home in a hotel was because they knew exactly what the hotel would look like when they went in. It was a constant in their lives at a time when there weren't many other constants.

So to answer where I am from: I grew up in Texas and California, which is why I have a Californian accent (yes, California has an accent!) with a little bit of a Texas twang. I went to college in Missouri, met my husband, had my daughter, received my teaching degree (in that order), moved to Florida, then to Thailand, China and Taiwan. Where do I feel the most at home? I would have to say Texas and Florida, because that's where family is.

Now you. Where do you feel the most at home?


Carmi said...

Darn good question, Stacy. I'd have to say home is anywhere my wife and kids are. If we're driving cross-country on the way to see my in-laws, then home at that moment is the little microworld within our minivan. Wherever they are, I'm home.

When we moved from Montreal to London in the middle of winter, we felt like we had left home behind. And for the first few months in this cold place where we had no family, it did not feel like home.

Eventually, we connected, laid down roots, and got into the groove of our adopted city. It became home, somewhat. And I realized that the true home lay within the walls my wife and I had built for our family. As long as we held fast to that, we'd be OK.

Thanks for provoking thought with this entry. I'll be churning it in my head some more before tucking in.

Carmi said...

Oops, one more thing: I read your comment on my blog. Thanks for noticing the apple pic: I love this picture, for some reason. The juxtaposition of colors just does it for me. The fact that I took it while we were in transit, en route to see family, while my little guy and I waited for my wife, son and daughter to get back to the car, makes it even more special. He laughed as I got on the ground to take it. "Silly daddy," he said. "Why do you take such funny pictures?"

I know he's glad that I do. I know he's comforted in the knowledge that his dad likes to look at the world a little funny.

Feel free to use the pic. I'm excited to see how you build an entry around it. Please let me know once it's been posted (I'm reading you regularly anyway, but I'm going to be so busy this week that I may need a kick in the behind. Thanks!)

Stacy said...


I agree...home is where our families are! Thanks for letting me use your picture. For whatever reason that picture of the road made me think. I love that. I'll post the story soon. I have a rough draft, and I think I'll be changing it around a bit.

My brother lived in London. Lakenheath, I think. I loved it the time I went. Brought home lace curtains and teapots. And McVities cookies. Can't forget the McVities!