A normal part of being human is being from somewhere, and it’s an easy way for all of us to learn a little bit, quickly, about a person we meet. It might appear to be an easy question – but it’s not so for everyone. For me, it’s a question that does not have a one word answer. I was born in Kenya, grew up in Zambia, spent many years in South Africa and now live in Kilkenny, Ireland.
To be ‘from’ Kilkenny your family have to have lived here for a minimum of 150 years … last week I heard someone say, ‘Well, sure, that family only arrived here in the late 1800’s, they’re only runners,’ so I am quite sure my eight years here do not qualify me ! Having said that I feel very at home here and have been welcomed without hesitation by people in the city. My parents live in North Wales now, having moved there from Africa in the nineties, but my dad also lived in Burma and India as a child, and my ancestors came from England, Burma, Holland, Scotland and Ireland. So, a mixed bag. My answer to ‘where are you from?’ would probably be – ‘Well, different places really, but from here at the moment.’
I feel privileged to have lived in different places and from each of them I have learned different things. I sometimes think it must be satisfying to have a complete sense of where you are from, a national identity, a confidence to say, ‘I am Irish’ or ‘I am Zambian’ but never having had that it is not something I miss.