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25 January 2011

Do you identify more with where you grew up or where you currently live? Both? Neither? Why do you identify with that place?
I identify as Alaskan, but not to a particular city. I grew up in Tiny Town, Alaska and currently live in Big Town, Alaska. I have never lived outside of the state and have no desire to. My family is here and my heart is here.

I know of people who have lived here and continue to identify with the state even though they haven't lived here in years (see: Jewel, Tom Bodett, some old high school friends), and that just seems weird. Like if you call one place home, why wouldn't you live there?
posted by rhapsodie 25 January | 02:34
I have never lived outside of the state and have no desire to. My family is here and my heart is here.

This is why Arn and I won't marry in some other state and then pretend we're married here in Georgia. This is our home state, dammit, and they have to deal with us. It's been more than two decades, so come on, FFS. Recognize us as a family.
posted by BoringPostcards 25 January | 02:46
I don't really identify with any one state, just the northeast US in general despite regional differences. I think Alaskan culture would be quite compatible with my various tastes.

If circumstances had been different, I probably could have considered Las Vegas home. If that town ever gets a rail system that services both the general population as well as tourists, I would consider moving back.
posted by Ardiril 25 January | 02:58
I definitely identify with where I am far more than where I grew up as I could never identify with where I grew up and I still can't connect with the place when I go back there.
posted by arse_hat 25 January | 03:28
I still feel like an Arizonan even though I've only lived there only one out of the last eight years. I wish I could live there, but my choice of profession effectively rules that out.
posted by mullacc 25 January | 04:04
I was happily dragged out of Cleveland, Ohio at the age of 5-and-a-half and driven down Route 66 when it was still drivable to California. But my dad must've taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque, because we ended up in Los Angeles, not Pismo Beach (Bugs Bunny cartoon reference). I had a dozen addresses in the L.A. area in 45 years, but almost half of that time I was either living or working in the San Fernando Valley suburbs. But I discovered San Luis Obispo as soon as I could drive up the coast (the days of 60-cents-a-gallon gasoline) and fell in love with the place; made a mistake in not picking Cal Poly for college (but an inferior school offered me a scholarship) and tried to find work up here several times in the ensuing years. Only after becoming officially Disabled I was finally able to move to my little home midway between Pismo and SLO. It's not cheap to live here on a very limited income, but I'm loving it and considering myself finally at home.
posted by oneswellfoop 25 January | 04:56
That's a really interesting question. For pragmatic reasons (it's cheap, and has good transport links) I like where I live, but as a city it's a bit dead. I am torn between feeling guilty that I don't do more to contribute to bringing it to life, and feeling that I want to move back to London where there's lots going on.

I love London but now that I've been away from it for 5 years, I can't afford to move back. There are more job opportunities for mr alto here, and we can live very well on our joint money here, whereas we could only barely survive in London, and one of us would need to commute.

I like the medium-sized town where I grew up more and more as the years go by (couldn't wait to leave and go to university when I was 18) but I don't have many connections there now apart from my parents. I could see myself making a life there, though as it's in southern England it's almost as expensive as London these days.

I've only ever lived in towns; might want to try the village life for a while, though it would be strange for both of us.
posted by altolinguistic 25 January | 06:26
I grew up in North Jersey but left when I turned 18 and don't feel any strong connection to The Garden State. My mom and sister are still there but I just feel like I'm visiting when I go there and not like I'm going home. After three decades in Pennsylvania, I feel like a hick when I go back to the NYC metro area. Everyone there drives expensive cars too fast, talks too fast and doesn't have the time of day to chat.

So far I haven't adopted a western PA accent, I still use the full infinitive verb form and don't pronounce "Don" and "dawn" the same way.
posted by octothorpe 25 January | 07:36
Octo, you nearly made me spit coffee on the "Don" "Dawn" observation, my western PA husband doesn't seem to hear the difference, and it cracks me up every time.

I've always been a woman without a country, and in turns, that makes me a world citizen, and really from no where at all. I don't have a place to call "home", but there are two places, which couldn't be more different from each other that I am most comfortable in. One is the teensy tiny liberal southern US town called Chapel Hill. We bought a home here, we have put down roots, sent our kid to high school here, family lives nearby, etc.
But my heart, my beating bloody heart belongs in São Paulo, and always will. We try to go back at least once a year to visit friends and family, and I always feel "at home" when I am there. One day, we will retire in Brazil, not in São Paulo, sadly, the city isn't what it used to be, but somewhere a bit further south. In my heart, that's my home. As much as I like Chapel Hill, it doesn't feel permanent.
posted by msali 25 January | 09:19
I don't really know how to answer that. I've chosen to make my adult home in the same small New England city where my family lived until my seventh birthday. If the demands of schooling and careers allow, we might never leave here.

In fact, we now live just a few minutes' walk from the old hose where my family lived; on evening strolls, I sometimes detour past to look at the granite fence I used to play on. But my childhood memories of this place are limited to just a few blocks' radius and a few years of consciousness.

But is this where I "grew up"? Not really: from 7 to 15, I lived in Houston. That's really where I grew up: I started striking out on my own, I learned the neighborhoods, I had my coming-of-age experiences there, I made my childhood best friend there (yes, we are still in touch all the time and even share a blog).

I only think about Houston when it's in the news for some sort of weather disaster, and only because my friend's mom (whom I adore) lives there and I worry about her.
posted by Elsa 25 January | 09:49
Service brat here. Didn't live anywhere very long. We spent many years in Florida, and some of my siblings still live there. I love visiting but it hasn't occurred to me to go back to stay.

At this point I've lived in Texas more than I've lived anywhere else. It's home because my parents are here and since my dad is in hospice I'm not going anywhere. When I visit Tennessee I feel claustrophobic when I can't see the horizon for all the trees. I definitely enjoy the wide open spaces here.
posted by toastedbeagle 25 January | 10:03
I have noticed that most of my dreams take place in the house and neighborhood of my childhood. I do not envision living there again, if for no other reason that I could not afford to, but something in my unconscious is still connected to there.
posted by danf 25 January | 10:38
I consider myself largely without a home. At least with no connection to a place.

I moved to where I currently live about 26 or more years ago. I've never identified with the area. Frankly, I've never liked living here. I came here for a job and that's about as far as my connection goes.

Unfortunately, I don't really identify with the city I came from originally, either. And, to put a cap on it, I have no emotional connection with the state, too, and I've lived here all my life. I can't say why I feel this way about Indiana. I just do. Maybe I never fell-in with the right, supportive crowd? Beats me.

Unfortunately, I can't afford to leave the place.
posted by Thorzdad 25 January | 10:41
I'm probably exactly where I should be: a beautiful land full of nice people, wonderful food and thousands of overeducated twits like myself.

Unfortunately, that doesn't do much for wanting to expand my horizons.
posted by Madamina 25 January | 10:46
I identify more with cyberspace.
posted by Obscure Reference 25 January | 10:59
I've now lived in Salt Lake City longer than I've lived anywhere else. But having grown up on Long Island - and having later spent a few years living in Manhattan - I am at heart a New Yorker.

The legacy endures in my speaking accent ("Lawn Guyland"), my Social Security number, and the quality of my teeth - which is apparently rare among recipients of Utah dentistry.
posted by Joe Beese 25 January | 11:17
I can't even identify "where I grew up." I usually just tell people I'm from NY since that's where my family's from and it's where I live now.
posted by Eideteker 25 January | 11:18
For most of my life, I identified so strongly with Minnesota (both the cultural stereotypes--polite, low-key, un-trendy, civic-minded--and also the lakes and the prairies and the brutal winters and the summer heatwaves and tornadoes, and all of it) that I couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

And then, at some point in my 50s ... it was like one of those good, steady, long-term marriages where at some point you realize you've changed, it's not just that you've fallen out of love but you're no longer that person who was happy in that way, with that other person, for so many years, and it's an amicable parting, but still sad and wistful. And then you fall in love again, with someone new (in my case, the Pacific NW) and -- wow, life is amazing, and full of changes and surprises and new starts. I'm so very glad I had the one love all those years, and the new one now, and I can't imagine my life without both of them.
posted by kat allison 25 January | 12:28
I mostly grew up in rural Ohio just northeast of Cincinnati. I left Ohio frequently as a child and young adult on various attempts to free myself. I left permanently over a decade ago and have no desire to ever go back. I absolutely identify more with my adopted town (Boulder, Colorado). I also don't really have family or any close friends in Ohio, so there is that.

I think it kind of depends on your perspective, where you grew up, and whether you threw down roots in your hometown. Mr. lfr is like me and prefers Boulder to his hometown of Grants, NM. He refers to the area he grew up as "The Land of Entrapment", due to the tendency for the locals to remain there.
posted by lonefrontranger 25 January | 12:37
Oh, such an interesting question. I was surprised to realize that I suddenly really lost my identification with the Boston area when my dad, who lived there, died. All these years I had thought that I had picked Seattle to live because it had so many of the things I loved about Boston (close to the ocean, bookish, home to universities and a well regarded medical community, baseball) and not things I loved a lot less (insularity, ethnic tensions, racism, pretty overt class differentiation.) But actually I think I've been identifying as a Seattleite and Pacific NW person for a long time. I think my dad's death snapped my last fraying emotional ties to the Boston area.
posted by bearwife 25 January | 12:52
Great question. Being in the Boston area is PART of me. Totally ingrained. Will. Not. live anywhere else. Why? No idea. It just IS. Even living an hour south of Boston felt weird.

And, I just realized, it's so ingrained that I've given up a couple of boyfriend opportunities. Amazing. I constantly whine, despair about not having one, sometimes cry at night over it. And yet I didn't/won't move. Huh.
posted by Melismata 25 January | 13:05
I grew up in Derbyshire, but left at 17 and have lived in east London or Essex ever since.

I see Essex as my home, and am fiercely loyal to my adopted county and will defend it to those who like to slag it off (Essex is the New Jersey of England).

I live in an affluent, middle-class area, but I can never forget my working-class background or what it was like growing up in a cold, filthy two-up, two-down terraced house (in a street identical to this one) with alcoholic and dysfunctional parents. It makes me very grateful to be living in such a nice place now.
posted by Senyar 25 January | 13:20
Nice tangent to our recent listing of all the places we'd lived in our lives!

I don't really feel a connection to Houston even though it's regained the top spot as far as how long I've lived in any one city--taking over from Santa Barbara as of last year. I don't have any problems identifying as a Texan, though, as this state has many areas of beauty, and such diverse examples of beauty at that.

However, I'll always think of my self as a Santa Barbara resident. The majority of my adult life was lived there, most of my dear friends and loves are from there, it's the place where I came out of the closet, helped to raise my goddaughter, and mourned the loss of nearly 100 friends and loves from 1989 to 1995 from HIV. The experiences I had there, not to mention the absolutely stunning beauty and perfect climate, all contributed to make me the man that I am today.

Somewhere up in the mix though, is a deep and abiding love for New Mexico. "Land of Entrapment" indeed :-)

posted by WolfDaddy 25 January | 13:24
I grew up in a small town in Cheshire, and moved to Scotland when I was 18. That was twelve years ago and Scotland mostly does feel like home now - I love it here (even when Glasgow's depressingly grimy), and I have no desire to leave. But, I still feel like I *belong* in the place where I grew up. Don't particularly want to move back there, but feel like it's always going to be stamped on me in a way that no other place could ever be.
posted by Catseye 25 January | 13:29
heh, WolfDaddy... I really like Albuquerque and the surrounding mountains, and the mister has expressed a desire to possibly return to ABQ someday. Despite how much we both love Boulder, the cost of living here = ARGH with a capital ARRR. NM is gorgeous, mostly, despite that much of it is hotter than the hinges of Hades in summer.

Grants is just way, way, WAY too podunk for either of us. It is pretty much the definition of podunk, actually.
posted by lonefrontranger 25 January | 13:47
Though my parents were both from Northern New England, they raised us in the flatlands of Ohio. I feel at home in Ohio, but Home is now Maine. I moved 11 miles from Portland, to a suburban, rural-ish town, and I still feel like Portland is Home. My son is grateful that I raised him in Maine, not Ohio. Smart kid.
posted by theora55 25 January | 13:52
I used to identify as a New Yorker, even though I had barely any right to. Most of my family is from New York. Odd one out, I was born in Atlanta. We moved to NYC and I spent years 3-9 in Queens. Moved to Florida and absolutely hated it. Though I spent the bulk of my life there, I refuse to ident as Floridian. I visited Boston 15 years ago when I was 23 and fell in love. Moved up six months later and never looked back. And as Melismata says, being in the Boston area is a part of me. Totally ingrained. I really can't imagine living anywhere else (well, other than NYC. That place is my second home and ingrained in me too, but in a different way). For better or worse, I'm a Bostonian and pretty happy with that.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts 25 January | 15:06
I strongly identify with where I am from over where I currently live. But I would argue that it is because a) they are REALLY different places and b) the place I'm from is strongly identifiable-people who are from there are always from there in a lot of ways. So I'm from Austin, TX but I live just outside Minneapolis/St. Paul. I would argue that Texans tend to be attached to TX, so no surprise there. I like MN though-in some ways much more than TX, but when people ask where I'm from, I say "Texas," rather wistfully and I suspect I always will.
posted by supercapitalist 25 January | 15:18
I grew up in Southern California and do not identify with it at all. I first saw Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in my early 20s and fell head over heels in love. Although I never lived in Seattle proper (Shoreline and Edmonds for about a year total) I consider it my hometown.

In short, I totally identify with the PNW no matter what side of the border. And I really love living in British Columbia.
posted by deborah 25 January | 16:08
I grew up in Santa Barbara, but I've been away long enough that it's a new place, somewhere I don't really need to return. I left to college without needing to leave the area, but driving two hours north was enough to separate me from there. I now consider San Luis Obispo a college town, even though it isn't. It was where I went to college, and most all of my college friends have left the area, yet here I am. I've moved 25 minutes south to a smaller community, vaguely coastal, vaguely a town, but it's not my home. My wife and I are renting, talking about the next place, eying Albuquerque, thinking about anywhere but here (well, anywhere like here, but somewhere we could actually buy a house). California is in the rear view, even though we're still spinning our wheels in the Nipomo sands.

I identify more with cyberspace.

Currently, that might be what fits for me. The anywhere / elsewhere of the internet. The people, the potential, the not here.
posted by filthy light thief 25 January | 16:41
Like Eideteker, I couldn't really tell you where I grew up. We moved every year more or less, pretty much staying in New England and New York, but moving, moving. I went to a different school every year. I say Charleston is my hometown because it's where we moved when I was 14 and I somehow fit in for the first time, oddly enough. My father's family is from there since forever - he had been fleeing, I think. Anyway, suddenly there were cousins everywhere and a family graveyard and family history that I'd had no idea about during my childhood. I've thought of myself as a Southerner since and been one for more than 30 years now - well, if you consider Baltimore Southern and don't count those couple of years living in New York in the 80s trying to be cool. Baltimore was never really home even though I was there for a long time.

That said, though, I don't much like Charleston anymore. It's grown too big too fast for me and it's just not the same. I miss the old Charleston of my teens and twenties but I've spent more time in Asheville now than anywhere else I've ever lived and it's really home. I've been coming to these mountains my whole life - my aunt & uncle had a house up in Jackson County and we always came to visit in the summers - and WNC (western north carolina) is just home in some intangible way I can't quite define. It smells like home. Every time I go away I miss it and when I see the mountains again my heart lifts and I know I'm where I belong.
posted by mygothlaundry 25 January | 16:46
I grew up in the real West Texas - El Paso, but I've lived longer in the Other West Texas - Lubbock, longer. I'm in the town but not of it.

I don't miss El Paso people, but I do miss the mountains. I might end up settling in New Mexico if I don't end up in the Northwest.
posted by lysdexic 25 January | 16:47
"I am a part of all that I have met." I feel strong connections to my birthplace and family in Texas, strong connections to my formative growing-up and early 20s years in New Jersey, and strong connections to my chosen home in New England. I'm glad to have had experiences of these different places to live and part of me identifies with all of them. My one true home is the coast, and I've had that in all three of my main regions.
posted by Miko 25 January | 16:58
The more countries I live in, the more Californian I feel. I'm so glad I grew up in a place where having 35% of your neighbors come from another country is normal. I've become an immigrant somewhere else, and I love the challenges I face in the new countries I've lived in. But being from California and growing up surrounded by people doing the same thing has made it far easier.
posted by mdonley 25 January | 17:29
I've lived in central Illinois for about three quarters of my life, and think of it as home. But yes, I still identify more with where I grew up - the eastern US, Pennsylvania in particular. I left my heart in Havertown, I guess. (Went to visit a childhood home there some years ago...the hotel I had arranged to stay at had just finished burning down as I arrived. Smoldering wreckage, firemen policing up their gear, water running down the side of the street. (No one had gotten hurt.) Home was 900 miles away in one direction and decades ago in the other. Yeeesh. Nice, sunny day, though!)
posted by Kronos_to_Earth 25 January | 17:54
I don't really identify with either. I live in San Francisco and grew up in Half Moon Bay and Pacifica (just down the coast). Both of the towns I grew up in have changed enough from when I lived there that they feel like somewhere else. I've only lived in SF for a year and a half, and while I like the city I still feel like I'm visiting. I think you have to have settled down mentally for a place to feel like home but I assume I will be moving in the future and I assume I'll retire somewhere else (somewhere cheaper than the Bay Area), so home is, if anywhere, somewhere down the road.
posted by doctor_negative 25 January | 19:07
Sports-wise, my home teams are still the Buffalo Bills and Sabres. Other than that, Buffalo isn't really home anymore, and I'm getting rather attached to Fort Worth.
posted by Doohickie 25 January | 21:07
I've pretty much always felt like a round peg in square holes, and identify with "not here" by default. Yeah, I moved around a bit when I was a kid, and as I got older. When I was in Raleigh, N.C. I was wee and it was the seventies, short shorts and thighs burning on vinylseats in cars parked in the sun. Sunsets like in the Golden Grahams ads. Pool parties! Car pooling in various enormous American cars with fake wood paneling on the doors. Socks that reached my knees and dresses that barely covered my heinie. Long haired cats that smelled of brown dust. Big dogs that smelled of tickspray. Frisbees. Lice. Scraped knees. Rollerdisco parties. Skate parks. Cheerleading. Crickets. Firebugs. Really big frogs. Creeks with leeches. Longleaf pine trees. A tireswing at the brown lake, where nobody would swim toward the east end because there's snapping turtles there.

Summer at grandmas, northern Sweden, was swimming in a river so clear, blue and crisp against a backdrop of mountains as the sun never set. Spending hours in the forest looking for lingonberries. Petting elk. Walking for miles without seeing another person, only reindeer. Getting water from a stream in the mountain. Using an outhouse. Eating thin pancakes instead of thick ones. Birches. Pine trees. Heather. Moss. Granit rocks.

And that's just before I turned 8. I kinda feel like I'm from planet earth. I never really know how to answer the question, I always want to go experience somewhere else. I miss foods from far away. I felt home in New York City. I liked San Francisco in many ways but it never was home. I like Malmö, but I still feel like I'm just visiting. I miss being seven years old. I'll always have a soft spot for the humidity of the southern states.
posted by dabitch 25 January | 22:22
Update on the paper airplane letters from/to the Cleveland Browns || Do you care about the Superbowl?