“Where are you from?”

News from us, Fall 2021: It’s now been 4 months since we settled in Pennsylvania, a little north of Philadelphia.

We spent a short week in Quebec in August to visit our families and we were able to bring back our little dog Poochy with us. My parents had been taking care of him since we left California.

At the beginning of October, we had our boxes from storage in California delivered. The kids found all the toys, objects, and memories we had kept in less than thirty boxes.

While waiting for our big trip, we returned to a routine of work-school-house repairs-household chores (meh…!). Our days are busy, our weeks pass quickly, it feels good to have our own place. However, our daily life lacks that ‘umph!,’ that ‘wow!’… We no longer have time or energy to explore the surroundings…

We are hesitant to dive into trip preparations; things seem to be improving on the planet (vaccines, borders gradually reopening). We just can’t wait to move and explore. Positive point: the kids being older may remember a bit more the trip later on!

Since we moved, about twenty neighbors have come to introduce themselves. Whenever we stepped outside, someone from the neighborhood would show up to say hello and welcome us. It’s quite pleasant, everyone offered their help and told us to come to them if we had any questions. We feel good here; it was a good choice.

But every time, we struggled to answer this simple question: “Where are you from?”

The first time one of the neighbors asked, Robin looked at me with a panicked expression, “how do we even answer that??”

Here’s our typical response: ‘Well, it’s a bit complicated! We are from Quebec, Canada. But we moved to California in 2015. Then, in March 2020, we decided to travel the world, but Covid hit, so we drove across the USA for the last 16 months, passing by Texas and Florida. We then decided to settle in Pennsylvania to be closer to our family in Canada.’

1- Clearly, because of our accent, we have to say we’re from Quebec. (and 99% of Pennsylvanians know where Quebec is, something that wasn’t the case in California or Texas!) We are proud to say we are Québécois!

2- However, people realize we’re quite familiar with the United States. Our 3 children speak English without any accent. So, we still have to emphasize that we’ve been living in the United States for over 6 years.

3- Then, people ask us, ‘What are you doing in Pennsylvania then??!’ So, we have to justify that we traveled through many states in the last 16 months and decided to stop a bit on our road trip. After several weeks of reflection, we concluded that Pennsylvania was the best place for our family.

It’s probably at this moment that we realized the extent of our journey, all our accomplishments in recent years. This simple question, we can’t answer it simply. Our story is complex: filled with beautiful moments, extremely anxious moments, but it has bonded our family even more, I believe. If we can live as nomads in the midst of a pandemic, honestly, we’re not afraid of many things anymore (except those spiders or tornadoes!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *