Where are you from?

by Brianna Krueger /
Brianna Krueger's picture
Mar 11, 2016 / 0 comments

“Where are you from?” is one of the most common questions when you met someone new. Where someone is from can tell you a lot about them... whether they can drive in the snow, whether they use ‘you guys’ or ‘y’all’, whether they grew up in a concrete jungle or sprawled suburban wasteland or water-front wonderland, whether they’re familiar with the area or not, and so on. 

However, for some, “where are you from” is not so easily answered by the typical single location most expect. Some people move and some people travel, which leads to answers like ‘it’s complicated’ or ‘the long story short is…’

Often, the follow up question is “well, where are you originally from?” but “originally” still doesn’t explain where one is from or answer whether they can drive in the snow (hell, most people can’t no matter what they tell you) or whether they use y’all or not (I’m guilty of using both at some point in my life), or whether they grew up experiencing city or suburban or water life (most have at least experienced all those environments), or whether they’re familiar with the area or not (I know how to get to work, the gym, and the mall and that’s it but send me elsewhere in my area and I’m lost).

Just because you’re “originally” from somewhere doesn’t mean it’s the only place you’re from. Home is where the heart is… no matter how many different roots you’ve planted. You can be from more than one place.

Place – where you’re from, your hometown, etc. – is a huge part of people’s identities, and something most people tend to be proud of. Those that have ‘it’s complicated’ and ‘the long story short’ answers can feel cheap-shotted if they’re not able to include all their ‘froms’ in their answer. Yet giving those answers are hard when most people simply don’t care and just want the typical one location answer. A city.

As if those who have moved or travel can sum up themselves with just one place. It doesn’t explain why I say soda instead of pop (I actually prefer calling it soda pop); why I drive on the right side of the road instead of the left (because everyone does in the states, or is supposed to); why I like Chicago-style pizza over New York-style (though let’s be real, I would never deny any pizza); why I prefer the suburbs over downtowns (grass and space are my friend); why I have a high-tolerance for what’s considered bad weather (try having a month of negative 30 degree with windchill and tell me that 12 degree weather is so horrible – which, yeah, still sucks); why I’m lake snobbist (Lake Huron is the best). 

Where are you from? Not an easy question to answer, for travelers...

So to answer my own question and to the contrast of what most want to hear, I’m from four places. If I wanted to, I could say the Midwest, though the Midwest is a little more intricate than people like to give it credit for. Sure, we all (usually) drive on the right side of the road, but we Midwesterns can’t all agree on soda, pop, or soda pop, nor pizza, and often can’t agree on what states officially make up the Midwest.

That’s all a little beside the point but demonstrates how location, no matter how seemingly similar, can create subtle differences in yourself and your experiences. 

No matter how old I get, I can keep adding to the list of ‘where I’m from’ because I’m still growing, changing and learning from each environment. They all impact me, therefore I’m from there. They made a small part me me. They’re now in my identity.

My name’s Brianna and I’m from four places: 


Buffalo Grove, Illinois 

  • Where… The cul-de-sac was more than just a place, it was a way of life for those of us that lived on it. 
  • Where… Being a kid was what life was all about – fun, imagination, and playing like our lives depended on it – and they did. 
  • Where… I met my first three husbands – Zac Hanson, Johnathon Taylor Thomas, and Brian Littrell.
  • Why… I’m a fan of Chicago sports teams – both Cubs and Sox!
  • Why… I have a Chicago accent.


Mattawan, Michigan 

  • Where… I grew the most from a tween to a young adult.
  • Where… I experienced my first (puppy) love of a lifetime.
  • Where… Friends helped me develop and learn (and love) who I am.
  • Where…My love of writing truly developed. 
  • Why… I use my hand to tell you where I live. 


Prior Lake, Minnesota 

  • Where… Despite my love-hate-mostly-hate relationship with the state, is still a part of me because I learned to be independent and was challenged to be on my own.
  • Where… My love of working out developed.
  • Where… I learned that, yes, weather can always be colder, snowier, and icier.
  • Why… I am a mall snobbist – The Mall of America is amazing.  


Port Austin, Michigan 

  • Where… It’s an obvious choice because half my articles are about how much I love the place, as I’ve grown up knowing the area like a friend. 
  • Where… It’s not summer till I’m here. 
  • Where… Family is friends.
  • Why… I know Lake Huron is the best lake.
  • Why…I refer to the thumb as ‘up north.’  


Where are you from? Not an easy question to answer, for travelers.

Coordinates of my four hometowns:
N 42 W 87 Buffalo Groves; N 42 W 85 – Mattawan; N 44 W 93 – Prior Lake; N 44 W 83 – Port Austin


So, where are you from?


Brianna Krueger is the Chief Editor for Wandering Educators

All photos courtesy and copyright Brianna Krueger