A little here, a little there, but right now this is home

Published 9:57 am Thursday, July 13, 2017

The hardest question I get asked on a routine basis is “where are you from?”

After moving to a new place, meeting new people is an almost daily occurrence, especially in my line of work.

It has become routine at this point. Shake hands, introduce ourselves to each other, they ask how long I’ve been here, I answer “almost three months,” and then bam “so, where are you from?”

When you have moved as many times as I have, this becomes a progressively harder question to answer. At this point I have crafted a rote response of “I moved here from Georgia. I graduated from high school in Georgia and went to college at Florida State, but I grew up between Florida, Georgia and Louisiana and my parents live just south of Tampa.”

Growing up, I moved five times with the last coming the summer after graduating high school and then I went to Tallahassee for college and am in my second location/state with my career after starting in Bainbridge, Georgia.

Unlike those that have spent their entire lives in one place, I do not have an official hometown or place I call home.

While it makes answering a simple question hard, I wouldn’t trade any of the moves. They have crafted who I am and allowed me to experience cultures throughout the south.

I love my chicken fried and my tea sweet from my years in Georgia, but I never developed a taste for collards. I’ll eat crawfish with the best of them and sometimes think a po’boy is the best way to make a sub from my time in Louisiana. My years in Florida have crafted a love for seafood and an amicable relationship with the beach even if it isn’t my favorite place.

The regions and cultures I have lived in have given me a basic accent without the southern drawl or the Cajun influences although I wish I could turn the southern drawl on on command for fun.

Now it is Vicksburg’s turn to shape me. The culture is a mix of Louisiana Cajun and southern flare, which is right up my alley. The chicken comes out golden, the tea will make your teeth hurt and I had the chance to eat crawfish for the first time since middle school. Maybe I’ll even find a way to get my hands on a good king cake this upcoming Mardi Gras.

I don’t know how my time here will shape me. Maybe my accent will change a little or I’ll find a new food to love. That is why I love moving around (the actually moving part notwithstanding). There are downsides with painful goodbyes, but you make new friends and grow and adapt.

Maybe it is time I change my rote answer to the question “where are you from?” to a more simple “a little here, a little there, but right now this is home.”

Brandon O’Connor is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at brandon.oconnor@vicksburgpost.com.