When meeting someone new I often get asked the question “Where are you from?”
I find it difficult to answer. I moved every several years as a child and lived everywhere from Western Canada to Wisconsin. I am not from one place, I am not from anywhere, I am from everywhere.
I have now spent more of my life living in Wisconsin than anywhere else. Wisconsin is where my husband and I met, where we got married, built a family and a community. Wisconsin introduced me to the city of Milwaukee, a place I now call home. I have always been a city girl, but Milwaukee is special. I love the people that make up my city, the cultural diversity and celebrations, the wide array of restaurants, festivals and activities. I love that Milwaukee is big enough to feel like a city but small enough to know it intimately. My family and I are deeply invested in our city, participating in the beauty that it has to offer as well as what we have to offer to make it an even better place for all people.
Milwaukee is my home, but recently I found myself on a plane returning to one of the homes of my childhood. I was traveling back to Seattle to speak at a women’s event. Seattle, another city that has held my heart, also holds my entire extended family. Until a long-awaited family reunion this summer, I had not seen my Seattle family for twelve years and here I was given the opportunity to see them twice in the same year!
My heart fluttered as we approached the landing and I could almost make out Mount Rainer and then the Seattle Skyline. My adrenaline picked up as I exited the plane and walked towards the meeting spot where my dear Auntie and Uncle would pick me up. As we drove I quickly saw how much twelve years changed the landscape of the city, I could not recognize where I was much of the time yet it still felt comfortable like my favorite old sweatshirt.
The four days I spent back in one of my childhood homes filled my heart to the brim. Sharing meals, memories and laughter with my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins and visiting some of my favorite places like Pike’s Place Market made me feel at home again. Yet I knew in a matter of days I would be leaving this home to return to another home and I was finally okay with that. I am finally okay with saying I am from more than one place — and knowing that I have roots in more than one location. Being rooted in two different places does not mean I belong to either one less, it means I belong to both. I have finally found the place(es) where I belong. I have found my home.