This is my first post of the new school year, so I thought that it would be best to start it as an introduction of myself. Usually, when a person talks about themselves they address the question “Where are you from?” I hate that question. I don’t hate it for the usual reasons people have. I hate it because I have no idea what it means anymore. And I don’t know how to answer it.
I was born in Jordan. But I’m not Jordanian. Sure, by passport I would be considered Jordanian, but the Arab side in me is actually Palestinian. Well, until I discovered last year that the city that my father was originally from, Safad, is on the border between Palestine and Lebanon, so we actually look Lebanese, cook like the Lebanese, and talk a bit like them as well. Up until here it’s not too confusing; I could say I’m Lebanese, Palestinian, but born in Jordan and have never stepped foot in Palestine. The problem is that that only makes up half of my blood. The other half is American. My mothers’ ancestry is originally from Wales, but somewhere along the way her mother’s side of the family got introduced to Native American and Persian blood.
So I have Palestinian, Lebanese, Welsh, Native American, and Persian blood in me, but the only places I’ve actually lived in are Pakistan, Jordan, and America. To make matters even more confusing, I’ve lived in ten cities in America in the ten years I’ve lived here.
The question “Where are you from?” is generally asked for two purposes: curiosity, and to understand a person better. And it is a valid question, because the place you’re from does help make the person that you are, and it could give the asker clues about the asked and how to talk to and treat them. But for a person who doesn’t have an emotional attachment to any place, to whom being new is normal and being a regular is scary, where I’m from has little connection to me, while where I’ve lived has a huge connection to my character and personality.
So, to finally get to the introductory part of this post…
I was born in Jordan, but then I moved to Pakistan when I was two and lived there for three years. We then moved back and I lived in Amman, Jordan for a year without my parents. Then I moved to Teaneck, NJ and lived there for a year. After that year we hit some financial problems and I moved back to Jordan without my parents and lived there for two years. Then I moved back to America, and lived in Yonkers, NY for a year. Then I moved to Highland Park, NJ and lived there for four years, and then I moved to North Haledon, NJ. After that I lived for two years in Jordan without my parents, and then I came back to Monmouth Junction, NJ. After half a year, we moved to Metuchen, NJ. And we’ve been living there ever since (1.5 years).
That’s me and welcome to my column! I’m going to be blogging every other Friday under the column Ayah’s Opinions On… I hope you’ll read my posts and comment, and go through this journey with me. See you next next Friday!!
What do you think about the inevitable “Where are you from?” Let us know below!