Where are you from?

What happens when you are asked, “where are you from?”

You freeze!

Then you are filled with dread and think “oh no, not again!” then you take a deep breath and ask yourself what this person actually wants to know?

Is it:

  • where were you born?
  • what nationality you are?
  • where you live now?
  • where you grew up?

You then try and work out if this question is just polite conversation, or if they are actually interested and want to know more!

Once you have decided how to answer, depending on how you gauge their level of interest, you then choose from your menu of possible answers. These can range from a generally safe reply, “I am from X” to the full, much richer version, for example, “my father is Swedish, my mother Japanese and I was born and raised in Peru”.

TCKs/ATCKs have a menu of possible answers, as experience has taught them that giving the full version is either a conversation stopper or simply generates too many inquisitive questions that they may not want to answer, especially not to someone they have just met.

“Where are you from” is a complicated question to answer for TCKs/ATCKs as they feel like they do not really fully belong anywhere, and creates one of the fundamental characteristics that TCKs share: A sense of rootlessness.