Living abroad means you get asked the question, “Where are you from?” all of the time. When you have made your life in many different places, and have been created by many different places in turn, how do you go about answering that question? I usually answer with:
“Well, that depends on where you want to start. I was conceived in San Francisco, born in Florida, raised in Pennsylvania, and chose Seoul, China, and Seattle as places to call home. I usually say I am “from” Seattle.”
When I gave this answer, omitting the conceived bit, to my soccer team, they formulated their own understanding:
“So you’re half San Francisco, a quarter Pennsylvania and Seattleite, and a quarter East Asian.”
This way of piecing me together seemed the most accurate I have ever heard, especially in an international context where each person is noting your origins. All of my experiences have shaped me, for better or worse. Of course my parents have shaped me as well.
The man singing “into the tap handle,” is mi padre. Sometimes I look at this photo and completely understand myself. If you know me well, this may explain a lot. If you don’t know me well, this may help you to understand. My mother cannot be explained in graphics – she has to be experienced. One of my fondest memories of her involves her laughing for countless minutes over a croaking frog toy in Williamsburg, Virginia. She just couldn’t stop. It wasn’t an infectious kind of laughter at the time, but now it is.
While writing this, I was chatting with my best friend and decided to send it to him to proof – his response was not what I expected, or asked for.
“But the astonishing thing about you is in spite of your experiences you are 100% you. I’ll write more later, gotta go for now. Love you.”
And that is why we are best friends. My husband always comments on how I cannot have conversations, I just talk “at” people. Well, blame John. We went to several dances together in high school, and this is just the classiest of our senior year homecoming photos. Everyone dreams of having their photos taken in what resembles a car-park.
In college, we were often separated for long intervals by his dance group’s touring schedule, when we did get together it usually involved strange photo sessions on my computer’s Photo Booth.
One thing to note is that I have not stopped making this face in photos. John has.
In our more recent photos, we have made good on our promise to work on our facial expressions. We’re getting better.
While thinking of home, I realized I haven’t written a letter since my arrival. My intention was to make all of my close friends a pen-pal, and have yet to make good on those promises. Well no more!
Bat for Lashes is on repeat. Stationary found. Pens have been rounded up from their many secret stashes.
Until next time, friends.
❤ love<3 love<3