Where are you from?

Where are you from?  That was always a tough question for me to answer.  For most people it would be where they were born.  Maybe they had a childhood in one place where they had the same bedroom from the time they started school until they left home.  If I was visiting another country then it would be easy..."Well, I am from Canada", but I am rarely out of the country so the question gets harder.

I was born in Fredericton NB...I'm told we stayed there for a few short weeks before my father was posted to an Air Force base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  Maybe then I am from Moose Jaw? Nope, it was just a course and we were shipped off to Edmonton Alberta by the time I was 2.  Am I an Alberta boy then? I guess I was for a couple years.  The next move was to Comox, BC.  I'm sure that you can see the pattern developing here.  Every two to three years we would move.  My dad was a Search and Rescue pilot in the Canadian Armed Forces.  

Moving wasn't so hard, at least in the beginning.  It was exciting! What new place are we going to next? I wonder what my room is going to look like? Does the hotel we are in tonight have a pool?

Once everything was packed and taken by the movers (and with any luck I would get one of the moving guys to give me one of these huge rubber bands they had that I could turn into sling shots for my own entertainment), my family would split up into pairs of parent and child (There was just the four of us, my Mother and Father, my Sister and I) to drive across Canada to our new home. This was often the time that I would get to see my grandparents and relatives as we would stop in on the way through for a few days.  One set of grandparents lived in Alberta (a very small town named Consort..home of KD Lang, and Chad Kroeger of Nickelback..until you realize just how small the town is it won't strike you on how impressive that is), and the other set lived in Renous, NB.  Talk about covering both ends of the country! It was exciting to travel across the country as a kid! Eventually that stuff wore off a bit and I was a typical teenager that was too cool care my families car just climbed Mount Washington..just let me go back to sleep and let me know when we are there.  

We always made an adventure of the move, stopping at multiple tourist targets and landmarks.  My parents always tried to make sure that there was a pool at the hotel we stayed at.  Driving any distance with my own kids now makes me wonder how they made it across.  Once we dipped down and went through the US.  I was in a huge Star Wars phase and was collecting the figures.  Kmart had the figures for waaaay cheaper than they were in Canada, or so I thought.  I had no idea what exchange on the dollar was. The lady at the counter laughed at me and asked if that was Monopoly money when I tried to use my crumpled up Canadian dollars. My parents bailed me out of that one. I also found out in a diner along that trip that iced tea is made from real tea in the USA.  Imagine that!  Picture your favourite seven year old taking a big gulp of cold tea with the expectation it was going to taste like Nestea from back home.  Barf.

So after moving from province to province it became increasingly difficult to say where I was from.  It was always the last place that I had moved from as a kid.  I was, more times than most people, the new kid in school.  Where are you from new kid?  Um, Trenton Ontario. Uh, Gander NF. In high school I did grade 10 in Winnipeg MB, grade 11 in Summerside PEI, and graduated from West Kings High School when I lived in Greenwood NS for grade 12. 

Where are you from took on a new meaning once I was out of school and on my own.  That's when it really hit me I guess that I don't have a place that I grew up as most did.  Most people I know can answer that question definitively even if they have moved. They can tell you stories about their best buddies and how they have done crazy things together since they met in first grade. My wife Kelly tells me those kinds of stories.  For the longest time growing up I thought that maybe I should just pick one of the places I lived longest?

I've learned now that where I am from is where I have family.  Even though I moved around from place to place to place, those places stayed constant.  I have no idea what any of my relatives street addresses are in NB, but I can tell you how close I am based on the old house on the right beside the big church in Rogersville; by the left hand turn after the bridge that everyone fishes under; by the old general store that has a new name that my cousins and I would walk to from their house. In the middle of prairie Alberta, I could tell you that you are almost there when you pass the sign that said 'Home of KD Lang"; just one more left at the UFA and head straight up till you see the White House with a ramp on it...green hedge all around it and the huge garden, the one kitty corner from the towns outdoor pool. 

Now I live in Nova Scotia.  I have my own family, and I haven't moved in quite awhile.  I don't expect to move in the foreseeable future but who knows, anything is possible. What I do know is that I don't need a geographic place to call home.  I don't need a specific place to say "that's my hometown".  I don't have that. If I am pressed, my answer now is "I was born in Fredericton and I currently live in Lawrencetown".  That usually satisfies anyone that really presses.  The reality is...Home is where the love is, and I am lucky to have a few places to call home....now if I could only figure out a way to bring my own bed to all of them.  


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