Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Home is where the heart is...I guess?

"Where are you from?" an elderly Brit asked me a few years back. 
While I sipped on my stout in the dank pub in my favorite seaside village, Doolin, I thought, then answered, "Canada, and you?"
 "Connecticut", he replied back in a thick English accent. 
Hmmm, something is going on here that I'm not privy to it seems..."You mean, Connecticut, in the United States, that Connecticut?" I asked, smartly, and to clarify.
 "Yes" he kept on, without pause, "how long are you here for?" 
Ok, I don't get it, either my stouts been drugged, or, well, that must be beer has been drugged!  Help!  "Well, how long am I in Doolin?...only until the end of the weekend, but in Ireland?, well, I live in Dublin, soooo...and you?  When do you return to "Connecticut"" I asked, slowly, making the appropriate hand gestures. 
"Oh," he said in a bit of tone, "you're not from Canada at all then, you're from Dublin".
 Mayu and I had an ongoing joke after this encounter, that whenever we were asked "Where are you from", we'd reply with the location we most recently came from (we figured this was better than the alternative:  "Planet Earth, the Mothership"). 
"Where are you from?" he asked.
 "The basement" I answered. 
"The basement?  Where's that?" 
"Oh, about 3 meters yonder" I answered, pointing to the basement, of the bar, where the toilets were located.
But in all seriousness, when you've moved a lot, and have been nowhere in particular longer than somewhere, or have taken up residence in a location which is not your parents', or for that matter, have never lived in the place where your parents reside, nor have spent any time in your birthplace...where do you say you're from?  Many of the above are true for, both, me and my husband.  His parents moved between various places in Central America and Berlin, and my dad played football when I was young, and after his retirement, my parents seemed to just keep moving.  To complicate matters, we've moved around a lot as adults and have taken up shop in Sweden, where neither us were born, nor speak the language, yet both our girls were born here, and our oldest daughter, Olive, says more in Swedish than the languages spoken, to her, at home (English and German).  As we learn more about the culture and customs in Sweden, although some weird (Crayfish parties), some annoying (cutting in line, as if the queue of people with groceries overflowing from their baskets is invisible), some wonderful (dagis/subsidized daycare & föräldrapenning/generous parental leave), some crazy-fun (Midsummers) and some peculiar (black clothes, black prams and white walls), we fall more and more in love with the country and all of its peculiarities.  But when, if ever, will we say that we are from here...and if we never say such a thing, as time goes on, where will we be from? 
Although I'm not from Sweden (yet?), I can say one thing for sure, since returning from a month in Canada, I felt more at home this morning on my walk, with Olive, to dagis, when I passed a neighbor saying "Welcome back", than I did the entire time I was in Canada.  Perhaps home really is where the heart is, or, at very least, can help to explain where you are from.  Now I just have to learn Swedish!
Until next time...

Grumpy Old Sarah

If you'd like to eat organic and/or be kinder to the earth, but can't justify/or afford the cost, Eco milk is a good place to start - you'll be doing your bit and it has a relatively big impact on the environment.

And, since I'm a mom of 2 under the age of 2, I just can't justify enough, that a glass of wine each evening is good for me, so, drink up!


  1. Very introspective Sarah. And I still don't really know where you're "from". But for the record does it really even matter??? Loved it. xo

  2. You know, I had this problem even in England and I was born there. 'Where are you from?' 'London, but originally from India'. I used to try and get away with just 'London' but this doesn't work when you're abroad; they just think of me as you did of that guy from Connecticut! Also, if you just say 'London' to any other Indian person, they will immediately say, 'but where do your parents come from?' And then I had to go into the spiel about how their grandparents moved from India to East Africa blah, blah, blah.
    I've complicated matters even further with marrying a man from Sindh (now Pakistan, but you can't say you're from Pakistan, because that carries a whole load of conotations and isn't true since Vik's parents left before Pakistan was formed and his parents then moved to Gran Canaria of all places.
    Poor old Jasmine - what's she going to say to people?

  3. Imagine if Jasmine & Olive run away together??

  4. The above comment was Sarah by the way, not me. She just forgot to log off my account, because she never logs off anything! :-)

    Anyways, this was a great post honey. I laughed when I read the part about "I'm from the basement". Good times!

  5. What, like as a couple? I mean I know they were snogging the other day, but I'm not sure they're ready for that yet ;)

    Great post Sarah xxx

  6. a friend said to me the other day that we need to make one country "home" for our kids. i disagree. i like that they are "international", and so are we. they adapt better than we do, they speak all languages better and they love just be where you may be. however i myself will always be scottish......and when the rugby's on, so will my kids, but when the footballs on, well, lets be spanish :)

  7. Well Caroline, I've decided that my girls will forever live down the road from me, oh, and they'll have band maybe, which I'll manage of course, so to keep them near...something like the Partridge Family...yes, and home, well, it'll be "Near Mom"...WAHAHA. In all seriousness, I agree, they will fair very well being "international", as long as, when asked where they're from, they never answer something pompous like, "Oh me?, oh, I'm a citizen of the universe. Location?, oh, planet earth of course. I'm global."