“Where are you from?”
It is a seemingly simple question, and one that I get asked all the time–perhaps because people can’t quite pin down my “strange” accent. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty common question when speaking to a stranger. Well, let me tell you something, I hate this question. I hate it because I never know how to answer. My answer usually involves a great deal of “umm”s and “well”s before I give one of the following answers:
1. I’m from Charlotte, NC.
2. I’m from Birmingham, AL.
3. I’m from Birmingham, AL but I grew up in Charlotte, NC.
4. I’m from Birmingham, AL by way of Hattiesburg, MS and Charlotte, NC, but I only lived in Hattiesburg for 2 years and I’m really not even from Birmingham because I only lived there for 3 years before I moved to Auburn for 4 years.
So basically, it all turns into one long, run on sentence. Not cool.
By the time I get to number 4, I realize that I’m not really from anywhere. If I had to choose just one, I would choose Charlotte, but I can’t ignore the other places that I have called home. Each has made me who I am. If I hadn’t lived in Charlotte, I wouldn’t have the same childhood memories and I wouldn’t have been able to see my dad build Covenant Day School from the ground up. If I hadn’t lived in Hattiesburg, I would not have experienced the small town, crawfish boil, four-wheeling life. If I hadn’t moved to Birmingham, I would not have attended Auburn University. They are all a part of my story.
A few weeks ago it hit me. I’m about to move again. This inevitably means that I will answer this question approximately 32, 532 more times. I’m about to start a new adventure in a new state with new friends and a new home. I’m not going to be moving back to Auburn, or Birmingham, or Hattiesburg, or Charlotte. I’m going to be a Georgian for the long haul. And I realized that somewhere, around question number 20, 463, I will start telling people that I’m from Georgia. But don’t worry, you will never, ever, under any circumstances catch me saying, “Go Dawgs.”