So, up until yesterday, there were about five people who read this blog. Now there are, well... more. (That's assuming they come back ;) So I thought it might be nice to introduce myself so that people have some context for the stories I tell. This will take more than one post so I thought I'd start with where I'm from since that can tell you a lot about a person.
One of the first things I should say is that in 43 years I've moved 17 times. (And to answer the inevitable next question, no, my dad was not in the military.) So whenever people ask me where I'm "from," I'm always at a loss for words. I was born in Brooklyn, NY and although I left the area as an infant, there is a lot about NYC that informs who I am. My parents were both Brooklyn born and bred and pretty much my entire extended family lived in NYC or Long Island. I spent a lot of time there growing up so although it's ridiculous to say that I'm "from" New York, sometimes it feels like I am.
We left NY to go to DC. (Actually Reston, VA) We were there for about eight or nine years, until I was ten-years-old. When I think of my true childhood--that idyllic time before adolescence--I think of Reston. Given what an important time of life that is, I feel entitled to say that I'm "from" Reston (even if I haven't been there in almost three decades ;)
From Reston we went to Syracuse, NY. It was a short stay--only four years--but they were such! important! years! (middle school through my first year of high school) My memories of Syracuse are so strong and the friendships I made there so lasting, that I feel completely comfortable saying it's where I'm from (and do so whenever I meet someone from Central New York).
We left Syracuse for Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (And if you think that was traumatic for me three days before my sophomore year of high school, you'd be correct.) Little did I know that I'd fall in love with Wisconsin and stay in Milwaukee all the way through college (and even a little beyond). In fact, I ended up marrying a boy from my high school and long after my parents left the area, his remained. As a result, we were regular visitors to Milwaukee until three years ago when they finally sold the family home and retired to Mexico. So am I from Milwaukee? You betcha! (<-- My Milwaukee friends will understand that reference.)
From Milwaukee it was back to NYC but I was only there for about nine months. I was a live-in nanny on the Upper West Side and to be honest, I was miserable. I should probably write an entirely separate post about that, but for the purpose of this post, that was not a particularly important time of my life.
I left Manhattan to chase after that boy I mentioned earlier. (I caught him btw, and we've been together for almost 20 years.) He was living in Madison, WI at the time. I lived there for one summer but seeing as that summer marked the beginning of a pretty magical relationship, Madison will always hold a special place in my heart.
After Madison I went to Chicago. Rather, I should say that I followed the boy to Chicago. I had been there maybe once before and knew nothing about it. I had no job, no place to live, and no clue. So imagine my surprise when fourteen years later I was still there. It feels both natural and weird to say that I'm "from" Chicago. On the one hand, it's the place I've lived the longest. On the other hand, I didn't get there until I was an adult and being "from" somewhere implies that it's where you originated. Do you see why this question throws me off?
(I should mentioned that I was not in Chicago for the entire 14 years. After my husband graduated from law school he did a clerkship with a judge in Ft. Lauderdale. We were there for two years and I LOVED it. But even without those two years, Chicago is still the place I lived the longest.)
As much as I loved and will always identify with Chicago, the last few years there were hard. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and the seven months of winter became progressively more difficult for me (especially after having had a taste of South Florida). For that reason (and a number of others) we decided to relocate to San Diego. We've been here for six years now and I absolutely love it! In seven more years we'll have been here longer than we were in Chicago. At that point I intend to tell people that it's where I'm from. (And with any luck it will be where I remain!)
So, where are you from?