Please Don’t Ask Where I’m From

Home is where the heart belong, right? My heart belong to 2 places and where I am from used to be a question I didn’t want people to ask me.

I was born and raised in Chiclayo, Peru. I was there for the first 18 years of my life; however, I can say that I grew up in Reno, NV where I have been for almost 15 years.

How do I answer to that question now? Very simple: I am from both places. I am from Reno and Chiclayo.  I am from here and there. How could that be possible?

I am lucky enough to have experienced the best of 2 worlds. Two worlds that on the surface seem to be very different just like the 2 languages I speak (Spanish and English); however, just like those 2 languages, my 2 worlds have a lot in common.

Reno is the “biggest little city in the world” with dry weather and well defined seasons. On the other hand, Chiclayo is 6 times the size of the area of Reno and about 3 times its population. Furthermore, Chiclayo is only 89 ft above sea level with a very warm and dry desert climate.

Consequently, I was born and grew up as a spoiled teenager in a small town where everybody knew everybody else and their family, enjoying the beach every summer on Christmas and complaining about a little breeze during winter. Now, I live in a small town, where almost everybody knows everybody and we enjoy a white cold Christmas during winter while we complaint that it is hot like an oven in the summer.

I believe that where you are from matters, but what matters more is where you are and where you are going. Next time, before asking somebody where they are from, take a pause, answer the following questions first and then ask them: “Are you where you want to be?” and then follow up with: “Where are you going?”


About MariaManess

A passionate and creative engineer woman with a business mind, working hard to accomplish life-long goals.

Posted on February 13, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I can definitely related to you. Whenever I meet someone, aside from the usual “where are you from” question, they often follow up with “so, do you like it here?” Do I like it here? Of course I like it here! Otherwise I would just pack up and leave.

  2. Thanks for your comment Kevin!

    Sometimes I feel like a tourist in my own town!

  3. I had a friend who had lived here since he was a kid (originally from Vietnam), and that question.would drive him crazy. He said that it seemed like that was the default conversation starter question for him. Sometimes he would say that he was from some random country, like France or Australia, just to see the other person’s reaction.

    • Yeah, I relate to that too Matthew. Thanks for sharing your friend’s perspective!
      I guess it’s not that bad that they ask where I’m from; it’s worst when they assume I’m from another country like Mexico for example.

  4. Maria, you make a beautiful point. Asking someone where they’re from or why they are where they are can be a wonderful way to get to know them and their story. But if that question is meant to judge their worth then I’m afraid those people are missing out on getting to know some really good people.

    • Thanks Jeff!
      Some people have stereotypes and prejudices. My goal is to change the bad perception some people have of immigrants. I want to humanize that perception and show examples of successful immigrants in the USA, especially in Nevada

  1. Pingback: A Rainbow of Poems and Numbers in the White House | Living The Maria Maness

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