Friday, February 29, 2008

On origins

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?"


Leah said...

I have a similar problem...born in Canada, moved to Connecticut at a young age, went to college in Virginia, came to France, then moved to Montreal. It makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

Another hard question for me is how long I've been here because I've technically been here three different times...4 months in 2002, 8 months in 04-05 and then I've been here currently since september 2006. I either try to calculate the total time if I'm feeling mathematical or, more likely, I just say I've been here since September 2006 and let them do the math.

Nicole said...

Leah - Move much?

Lorraine said...

Seattle called. It still misses you.

D.A. said...

Yes, I have a standard answer always at the ready under my sleeve too...

This is the first time I've visited your blog. I've very much enjoyed the posts I've read so far. Time permitting, I'll definitely pop over again.