Where Are You From?

Florida life

“Where are you from?” Such a simple, innocent question, but it always makes me freeze up for a bit. In the span of the 3 second pause before I answer, my mind is flooded with thoughts like, “what should I say?, should I go into detail?, where am I from?” Then I usually just spit out “Florida”, because that’s where I spent 12 years of my life, and it’s just the easiest thing to say. The truth, though, is that I’m from so many places, and it feels like I’m not being true to myself when I say, “Florida”. I’m so much more than a Floridian.

Canada life

 I was a military kid, and for the first 11 years of my life, I was “from” Florida and Canada and Panama and Texas, and then Florida again. After high school I was “from” Kentucky and Minnesota and North Carolina. Living in all of those places made me who I am, shaped the person I’ve become, and they all hold a special place in my heart. I’ve lived in so many different houses – some I wouldn’t even recognize today – but they were each an equally important home to me. I’ll never know what it’s like to spend my entire childhood growing up in one house, and I’m good with that. In fact, I’m happy with it. It was a fun, exciting way to grow up, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Panama Life

Now for the tough part – moving was such a constant in my life that I sometimes still struggle with staying in one place for too long. I get restless and I start having lofty daydreams about where TJ and I could end up next, but then I come back down to earth and realize that’s not my life anymore. Which is ok… just different. A part of me will probably always feel a little unsettled by the idea of being too settled in one place, but I truly love where life has taken me, and I’m learning how to be content in one house, in one city for an extended period of time.

Texas life

In short, there’s no easy answer to where I’m “from”, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

North Carolina life

Where are you from? If you have a loaded answer like I do, I’d love to hear it.

  • chelsea
    January 9, 2014

    Such a beautiful post! You’re right, it’s such a loaded questions. Very rarely answered with just one city or state.
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  • Mar Ward
    January 9, 2014

    Great post! You’re definitely not alone in this struggle. When we lived in Alaska I would tell people I was from Toronto because it was the closest big name city to where I grew up. But in all reality, I grew up three hours east in a small town on Lake Huron. Toronto is no where near my true identity and barely influenced my life growing up. Now I actually live in Toronto and call it “home” but at the same time still say I’m going home when I drive three hours east to visit my parents. I guess it’s not a problem to have more than one home, it just means that you were lucky enough to experience different things.

    • ashleynevis
      January 10, 2014

      So nice to hear that I’m not alone! And you’re right – we’re definitely lucky to have been able to experience so many different things!
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  • Sarah Beth
    January 9, 2014

    I read this post and said over and over again, “Wow, this sounds just like me.”
    I wasn’t a military kid, but due to my parents working in ministries, I moved around a lot. I was born in Canada, moved to the US when I was 8 and have lived in 5 different states from New York, California and Minnesota. I know what you mean about feeling “too settled”, I get that way a lot. Now that I’ve just recently graduated from university, I’m struggling with staying or going. But going where? My parent’s are settled here in MN and some of the greatest friends I’ve ever had are here, so really, why do I need to leave? I don’t, it’s just different, like you said.

    • ashleynevis
      January 10, 2014

      I’m so glad you could relate! It is such a strange feeling to realize you’re starting to settle down in a place as an adult when you’ve been so conditioned to move around during your formative years.
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  • Jordan
    January 9, 2014

    Mine is pretty simple – I’m from Houston, TX, born and raised! Reading yours and everyone else’s almost makes me feel boring but I love this city so I guess I’m ok with it. 🙂
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    • ashleynevis
      January 10, 2014

      I don’t think it’s boring to be in one place at all! That’s how my husband grew up, and he thinks it’s sad that I lived in so many different houses, haha.
      ashleynevis recently posted…Where Are You From?My Profile

  • Annie - The Ranting Latina
    January 9, 2014

    What a cool post! And yeah, it’s funny how complex that Q can really be.

    When I’m out with my parents and for instance a salesperson hears them talking and asks, “Where are you from?” my parents (assuming that person is commenting on their accent–even when they may not be but who knows) immediately say, “We’re from here, SLC.” But then I proudly add, “We’re originally from Colombia, moved here over a decade ago and became U.S. citizens recently.” Sure, it’s a mouthful but I wouldn’t want to hide that, you know?

    The salesperson then usually does a combo between an apology and a “omg I love your accent. My friend/sister/parents/etc are from X blab blah.” I’d never want to deny our background to teach a salesperson a manners lesson haha.. (Kind of a long comment but it was a thought-provoking post so it’s your fault :)!)
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    • ashleynevis
      January 11, 2014

      I love that you tell them the whole story! It’s absolutely something to be proud of, and it doesn’t take too much extra time to give them your background – good for you!

  • Amberly
    January 9, 2014

    So fun to learn a little bit more about you! 🙂
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  • Rachel G
    January 9, 2014

    I’m not from a military family, but I am from one who moved fairly frequently, so I can relate very much to the complexity of this question. My different homes all impacted me and I feel more loyal toward some than towards others! And yes, the not wanting to stay in the same place too long or feeling weird when that happens as a grown up–I’ve experience that too! But I wouldn’t have traded our lifestyle for anything!
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    • ashleynevis
      January 11, 2014

      I agree so much about having more loyalty to certain places. Panama is where I first started school and where I have some of my more concrete childhood memories, so it will always hold such a special place in my heart. It’s so great to know I’m not alone in this!
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  • Christy
    January 9, 2014

    Wow, I have a post JUST like this queued up for next week! I was born in New Jersey…moved to Texas when I was 3 and remember nothing of my previous life in NJ. When I was 9, my mom and sister and I moved back to NJ, but when I was 13 I moved back to Texas to live with my dad. I was only there for a year before heading back up to NJ.

    Then I went to college in NY, stayed there for 6 years (leaving for a short stint in Boston) and moved to DC a year ago.

    I’m always really conflicted in that answer too because Texas is where I grew up, but when I say I’m going home, it’s to NJ…I also get some really mean people who say “I’m sorry” when I do tell them I’m from New Jersey. Right now, I tell people I’m from DC because it’s where I live now, but it’s always so complicated!

    • ashleynevis
      January 11, 2014

      I can’t wait to read your post about this, Christy! It sounds like you know exactly where I’m coming from – it’s such a complicated question!
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  • Alisia
    January 9, 2014

    That is a hard question for me to answer as well. I was born in Romania and lived there till I was 7 as well as, my whole family is from Romania as well. But I have spent a few months in Michigan, 2 years in Cleveland, 5 years in another part of Cleveland and now another 10 years in a completely different part of Cleveland. I never know if I should say I’m from Romania because that’s where I was born, its my background, its where all my family is from or do I say Cleveland because that’s where I’ve spent a majority of my life? Tough question to answer at times.
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  • Amy
    September 17, 2014

    Next question.. where in Florida are you from? Now I have another search mission.. *sigh* 😉

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