How do you Know Where You’re “From?”

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“We need to go buy some soda.”

I’m from Northern California – and when we want a carbonated beverage, that’s what we say.

At least I thought I was from Northern California. But according to this series of maps that made its way around Facebook last week, I’m from everywhere and nowhere all at once.

How do you know where you’re “from?” I figure when you’re from somewhere you use their colloquialism, their phraseology and share their secret knowledge. I’m a Northern Californian because I know “dude” is a generic term you can call your mom. Because I never drink “pop.” And because I know how to cook and eat fresh artichokes.

But this map claims I am homeless. This map says I’m from everywhere.

And I kind of am. Since I turned 18, I have lived in six distinct regions of the US – West Coast, Pacific Northwest, South, Southeast, East Coast and North (or whatever Michigan technically is) – and I have picked up something from almost all of them. I liberally mix “you guys” and ‘y’all” when referring to a group of people. I drive on both “roundabouts” AND “traffic circles.”

I am a mish-mash of America.

It made me laugh to see that, according to these regional phraseology, I am just as much “from” California as I am “from” the East Coast and “from” Georgia.

When people ask me where I’m from I kind of blink at them. It depends on what they want to know. Are they asking where I lived before I moved here? Are they asking where I’ve spent most of my time? Do they want to know what place I identify with?

So I usually end up just saying “oh, we’re in the military — I’m really not from anywhere anymore.”

And this map series proves that as true.

And I wonder where my sons or other military kids will fall on this map. When they want a coke what will they say? Will they just split the difference and  call it “soda pop” to be safe?

Where are you “from” according to this map?

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • Karen

    my response… I’m from everywhere. when I get the head tilt/labrador wanting the ball thrown blank stare – I translate. State Dept brat, Army wife – from nowhere in particular.

  • http://charlatanpsychic.blogspot.com Charla

    I grew up in Wyoming, and my answers match the map in all but 1 or 2 words, but my husband was an Army Brat. He says everywhere and then specifies that his dad was military. I just say “originally” from Wyoming.

  • Tips From The Homefront

    I don’t say I’m from anywhere. I say I grew up in PA and we just left____(fill in the blank). My boys say they were born in Virginia and Japan and then say they just moved from____(fill in the blank). We then nicely say we are a military family. Most people are like, “WOW, that’s cool! So, where have you lived?”

  • Brian

    I’m all over that map as far as the pronunciations go. I tell people I was born in Wa State but i’m from all over. I grew up overseas an expat non-military brat i guess you could say…lol, mainly Japan, Singapore and Philippines. I’ve spent more time overseas and in Asia than i have in the US. My daughter was born in FL but spent most of her pre-teen and teen years in Japan, same with my two boys, they were both born in Japan. All 3 speak fluent Japanese. The kids like to say they’re from Japan, it throws people for a loop since they’re Caucasian.

  • military-flights

    Military brats are interesting characters no one really ever completely understands, at least it seemed that way as a child. I always enjoy hearing about others’ travel experiences and the places visited and still get a good laugh when a local is dumbstruck about “my location” and where I’m from…but hey, I wouldn’t have it any other way!