I am nineteen years old, and I have still not figured out how to properly respond to the question, "where are you from?" There are simply too many answers to this question, and I don't know which one to go with when prompted. This is one of the main questions you are hit with when you meet someone, so as I meet people at school, I've heard it an abundance of times.
I am from Minnesota Nice, I am from a little sunshine shade of yellow house in New Jersey, a town with a park on the same street as my house in Illinois, a hill filled town in southern California, and a small town in Pennsylvania. I am from, "oh, isn't that where that big mall is?" but I am also from, "I've always wanted to live in California! What's it like?". I am from a lot of places, each place containing a different part of me.
Minnesota holds my younger years. The years of going to the zoo and watching the dolphins for hours on end, and a lot of years I don't have much of a memory of. Minnesota holds a plethora of children's hospital visits to Gilette Children's. That place became almost a second home if homes can terrify you down to the bone, for a lot of my life. Minnesota holds height checks and weight checks and x-rays like you can't believe. Eighteen years of children's hospital visits and x-rays become like a second nature.
Illinois holds my years of elementary school, dealing with mean kids for the first time in my life, but it also holds the time I asked if I could sled out the kitchen window on a particularly snowy day. Don't say I was not an adventurous child. Illinois holds the swim team years of chlorinated everything and going to a Hannah Montana concert in the middle of a two-day swim meet. Illinois holds my first best friend and just how painful it was to leave her.
California holds my years of crutching through open-air hallways in middle school after numerous surgeries. California holds beach camping trips, band concerts, and a neighborhood pool. California holds me coming to the realization that the ocean terrifies me. California holds the first "boyfriend" I had who would carry my backpack and call me after nine o'clock at night. (That was a big deal at the time, trust me.)
Pennsylvania holds my middle school through high school years. As you can imagine, they weren't my favorite. Originally when my parents told seventh grade, Megan, we were moving to Pennsylvania, I lost it a little. How dare they rip us from our oh so steady lives? (Yeah, middle school Megan was dramatic.) High school was better than eighth grade because most things are better than middle school. Pennsylvania holds the year I was a cheerleader, a dark year, but it also holds the time I figured out who I wanted to be. All of these places are so important to me that even thinking about the question, "where are you from?" evokes a tornado inside of my brain.
Technically, right now, I am from Pennsylvania. That's where I moved from when I came to school. People react the same way here as they did at home when I said I was going to school in Iowa. What could possibly be in Iowa, right? Other than corn? I explained that the writing program is one of the best in the country, but that never seemed to ease the furrowed eyebrows and bewildered expressions. The majority of University of Iowa attendees are from the midwest. If you visit Raygun in town, a t-shirt will tell you that Iowa City is Chicago's favorite suburb. Being from Pennsylvania, but being born in the midwest, I sort of understand the "oh, wow"s and "that's pretty far!"s. I promise I'm not on a cheesesteak diet, and I can pronounce water the same way you can. I can't promise, however, that I won't get in an argument defending the Flyers. I tend to get pretty passionate about Philadelphia hockey.
Even after putting my tornado of thoughts into coherent sentences, I most likely still will not be able to answer this question. Where are you from? Well, I could explain it all to you, but I'll probably just say Pennsylvania.