When French people ask me where I'm from I always hesistate. If I say where I grew up (Illinois), they assume I moved to here from there. If I say Seattle, they assume I lived there from birth until I moved here.
Vous êtes originaire d'où?
I suppose it shouldn't matter if they assume those things, but the places I've lived have been so important in my life that I cannot let the assumptions slide. So I've develeped a brief, lengthy answer: I grew up in Illinois, studied in North Carolina, and then worked and studied some more in Seattle. All three places marked me deeply, as a child, as a girl/almost woman, and as an adult.
I used to just say that Seattle was my ville de coeur (city of my heart - my expression, not a standard one) but stopped a few years ago when I had to accept the very real possibility that I might never live there again. Heartless.
Ville de coeur. I'm not even sure how it came to be that. Seattle is a city that didn't welcome me so much as look up at me through the mist I loved immediately and say, "What took you so long?"