“Where are you from?”
In the land of hostels and travels, this is invariably the first thing asked of you and by you as you check in and out of cities and countries. Accents pique interest and catch ears’ attentions; clearly foreign fashion makes one look twice and notice a difference in the stranger and themselves.
But where are you from? It’s not always a straightforward question, is it?
Yesterday, three girls lugged their suitcases into our six-person room. A mixture of American and UK English mixed in the air.
“Where are you from?” I asked.
“Well, we’re from England,” one said, motioning to herself and another girl.
“I’m from America,” said one more.
“But we’re all teaching English in Spain. In Madrid, actually,” one of them clarified.
And so, I’m not sure what answer I was looking for. Did I want to know where they were originally from or did I want to know the last destination from which they’d departed?
It seems, too, that sometimes people aren’t from a place, but from something else. Some people come from sadness. Some people come from losing a parent. Some people come from university, or teaching, or from a place of adventure and reflection. Some people don’t belong to places, but situations or emotions. Some people are simply in a perpetual state of arriving and never leaving, their trail a Mobius band of continual motion and never-wasted energy.
These people are typically those who have the most to give, the most curiosity for what’s out there, and who are the most interesting.
This makes me wonder: where do I come from? Do I come from a specific place or am I one of those who comes from a feeling that helps to shape herself?