A Fork in the Road: Where am I From?

I’m back in the shadows of the Big Apple, permanently more or less, after having moved my stuff two weeks ago, then spending last week in the DC area for one final time.

I had orientation yesterday, a mandatory affair for new graduate students at The New School for Social Research (though this week in general is orientation for every one).

While the orientating itself wasn’t anything special, I experienced a moment in which I spent the entire “introduce yourself” segment of the departmental meet-and-greet figuring out how to answer the question “where are you from?”

It seems easy enough, right?

I spent the bulk of my short 27 years in Japan. I consider Japan my “home.”

Yet, when it came time for me introduce myself to my tiny cohort of fellow sociology folk, I opted for the “DC metro region.”

It felt weird, like I was betraying my heritage somehow. My own history.

For others introducing themselves, it seems easy enough.

Sao Paolo.

I could’ve said I was from Japan, but I thought that would be incorrect.

I am from Japan. But that was prior to moving to New York City. Now, I’m “from” the DC area, since I’ve been living in the metro region for the last eight years, and have, to a degree, accepted in my mind that DC is a secondary home.

Though, in some convoluted way, I could say I’m from DC by way of Japan…

Am I leaving something out about myself by not saying that I’m from Japan upfront? Do other folks who have lived overseas, of mixed heritage, have similar issues?


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