We're Not In Pennsylvania Anymore, Toto.

We're Not In Pennsylvania Anymore, Toto.

The reflection of someone who has moved more than a few times.

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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.


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7 Things You Do If You’re One Of Those 'I Always Order Chicken Tenders' People

It's hard to love food but also hate it at the same time.

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Growing up, my mom would usually have to cook me a separate dinner from my siblings. Why? Because I was ridiculously picky and wouldn't eat the same foods as everyone else. Trust me, it gets old. It's not my fault certain things just taste gross, you learn to live with it.

1. You eat something you hate just to see if you still hate it

I'll take a bite of a burger every once in a while just to reaffirm that it still tastes like dirt. I just have to know. Don't even get me started on vegetables.

2. When trying to explain what you actually like to eat, people give you major side eye

Don't ask me about my eating habits unless you want to get into a long, confusing conversation.

3. Eating at someone else’s house when you were younger was a pain

You hate to tell their parents just how much you hate the food that they gave you. So, you sucked it up and ate it anyway only to come home and whine to your parents.

4. There’s one thing on any menu you always fall back on...even if it’s on the kids menu

Pizza, maybe. Chicken tenders, always.

5. Trying a new food is a very proud moment

It's like, wow! Look at me being all adventurous.

6. When you realize you actually like some new food, that’s an even more amazing moment

Crazy times. This rarely happens.

7. Sometimes it’s the texture, sometimes it’s the flavor, all the time it’s left on your plate

Oops. At restaurants it's either left on your plate or your order is very specified.

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I Couldn't Wait To Get Out Of My Hometown, And Now I Can't Wait To Go Back

I was just a small town girl who couldn't wait to see the world.

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For the majority of my life, I have lived in a small town in northern Arizona. As I got older it seemed as if my town got smaller.

All that I could see in the town were negatives. It looked ugly, felt small and filled with terrible people. Yes, I was bullied throughout elementary, middle school and high school, but that is not the story I am here to tell.

Needless to say, I was ready to get the heck out of that town and move on to bigger and better things. I wanted to meet new people to be in new places with bigger opportunities. That is exactly what I did, and I would not change it for the world. I moved to the city of Phoenix to go to college and pursue what I am most passionate about.

For the first year that I was away from home, I wanted to stay away and never go back. I hated going back for Christmas break or visiting at any point. When people would say they were taking a trip to my hometown I would always question "Why would you want to do that? It's so ugly and there's nothing to do there" All I had towards my hometown was negative emotions and maybe even a bit of anger.

After being away for about three years now, my perspective has completely changed. I have nothing but love for my hometown, its beauty, and the sentimental value that it holds. Every time I visit, I stare at the beautiful mountains and stare at the sunsets and visit the local shops as much as humanly possible. Adventuring around my hometown whenever possible has become my new favorite thing to do.

At the end of the day, it is where I am from, where I grew up. Yes, there are bad memories, but there are also so many good ones, like dad racing the train on the way to school, or mom letting us stop for ice cream every Friday after school to celebrate the end of the week or walking around downtown with friends in high school thinking we were cool.

It is the little things that you learn to appreciate. It might take being away from something for you to truly appreciate it. It is true when people say that distance makes the heart grow fonder.

I hated my hometown for the longest time, but now I visit every chance I get. Even if I am no longer living there, it will always hold a piece of my heart.

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