Saturday, October 6, 2012

Where Are You From?

"Where are you from?" is becoming an increasingly hard question to answer.  We get asked this a lot.  We are originally from Michigan and Indiana.  During our mid-20s and early-30s we lived in Vancouver, Washington (a suburb of Portland, Oregon) but haven't lived there since 2008.  Our license plate is from South Dakota.  What makes it even more complicated is that we don't plan on living in the USA for quite a while.

We've never lived anywhere near South Dakota
Any time we are asked this question, we first have to decide what is being asked before replying.  Is he/she wondering how far we have driven to get to our current location?  Just making small talk?  Wondering where we live at the moment? Or maybe the question is posed to us while we are sitting in the surf lineup.  "Where are you from?" might really mean, can you actually surf?  Or maybe it means, how long are you going to be camped here?  Maybe I should answer "Michigan" instead of "Portland".  That would explain the ketchup I enjoy on so many meals.   For us, it is a very loaded question, regardless of the intent.

For the most part, we usually always answer Portland, Oregon.  This isn't really true, since we never lived in Portland.  Our excuse for saying "Portland" is that no one really knows where Vancouver, Washington is.  In reality, we spent a lot of time in Portland and almost all of our friends live in Portland (even some of our Vancouver friends).  The northwest clicked with us in a way that Indiana and Mighigan never could. From the start, it just felt like home, and it still does. We fell in love with the clean whitewater rivers, the cold Pacific ocean, volcanic mountains, the relentless summer winds of the Columbia river gorge, the music scene, and quality, hand-crafted beer.  Without even noticing, living near Portland also turned us into tree-hugging, hippies.  What other city in the USA provides kitchen compost bins along with garbage containers?

Vancouver, WA is the "backwoods" suburb of Portland, OR (and those cans of beers are props)
When we first meet people, we usually hope the where-are-you-from questioning ends at that.  It gets complicated when people start asking us about the recent weather in Portland or where we recently surfed on the Oregon coast.  We've been wondering how we are going to answer this question as the years go on.  Will we still say "Portland" 5 years from now?  I much prefer the question, "Where are you going?"

At the moment we are in Baja which certainly feels like "home" to us


Juliana said...

I, too, have struggled with this question in the past. I hate that it is almost always the first thing people ask. My response is usually, "Dan is from Wisconsin", because no matter what, it seems everyone has a connection to Wisconsin.

Unknown said...

Looks like all is going well. I will ask where are you thinking of going next? Chet told me he heard from you and I hope you do get to connect in Panama. :)