Where are you from?

Family March theme

Where are you from?

I don’t know about you, but it’s a question I get asked pretty much every time I meet someone new. And each time I give a different answer, because honestly? There are so many different ways I could define where I come from it’s hard to stick to one.

I don’t know why people think it’s crucial to ask where others are from, and (even worse) to challenge their answer when it isn’t what they wanted to hear, but it’s got me thinking about where I really am from, and how I personally define that.

In my opinion there are two ways you can define ‘where you’re from’ – the genes in your body and the places you’ve lived.

and other stories dress heritage

The genes in your body

When I get asked where I’m from, I know this is what people really want to know – what is your genetic makeup? Where do your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents come from?

When it comes to people I don’t know, I get a bit cagey with this, because why the f*ck do you need to know my heritage?! How is that information that helps you get to know me?!

I’m sure for most people it’s just small talk, but sometimes it can come across as quite invasive and rude, especially when they press me to say…

Anyways, I guess my ancestry is quite interesting, so I’m going to break it down for you now. I’m pretty much a melting pot of cultures, I’m made up for quarters, and if you go far enough back, probably even smaller pieces than that.

I’m 1/4 English. 1/4 Jamaican. 1/4 French and 1/4 Ukrainian

Well, that’s at least what my parents have told me. I may have grown up middle class in a peaceful village of Surrey, but my family is incredibly diverse and I’ve been fortunate enough to experience and enjoy a multitude of cultures.

When I tell people that breakdown, their eyes light up. It’s definitely a talking point, and it is interesting, but sometimes I don’t really want to share that part of me, because it doesn’t define who I am.

In fact, when people ask I always say: London. In my opinion, that is where I’m from, and it’s how I most accurately define ‘me’ and what experiences have shaped the person I am now.

The places you’ve lived

Excluding the flat I live in now and my time at university in Exeter, I’ve only ever lived in one house in my whole life. And typically, that home and the life I had growing up in it is automatically what I think of when people ask me where I come from.

London has always felt like home for me, I remember the adrenaline rush I would get as I spotted the London Eye while my train pulled in to Waterloo from Exeter. It always felt good to be home.

The house I grew up in was just outside of London, but I spent so much time in the city I truly do feel like a Londoner, that’s where I’m from, where I originate from. It’s where I started my life and where I intend to stay.

Funnily, when I answer ‘where are you from?’ with London, I’m typically met with the follow up questions of ‘no, but really, where are you from?’ WHAT?! It’s so frustrating when people question this and almost demand to know where my family originate from.

Maybe I’m just more of a nurture than a nature person, but I really think where you’re from depends on the environment you think has most impacted on your life and development.

Whoops, got a bit sciencey there…but I would love to know how you answer ‘where are you from?’

How do you define the person you are?

Outfit details

Dress – & Other Stories (similar here)

Boots – Vagabond (similar here)

  • Stephanie Hartley

    I live in Gloucestershire now, but come from Slough (near London, aha no one has ever heard of it) and get asked where I’m from because my accent is different. I find it so odd, and a little rude sometimes. I even get asked it by customers at my work! It’s such an invasive question, and as I spent a few years living in Warwickshire too it’s so hard to answer

    Steph – http://www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

    • DippyWrites

      It really is, especially when people push for a specific answer that you clearly don’t want to give!

  • Hi! I studied in Surrey 🙂 I’m from Barcelona, Spain, I was born here and I still live here, and that’s the place I consider home.
    Marta http://abilingualbb.blogspot.com.es/

    • DippyWrites

      Thanks for sharing 🙂 it’s so interesting to hear how everyone defines where they’re from

  • I think there are so many factors that go into how you define the person you are! I’m English, from Manchester and that is where pretty much all of my family are from but that’s not the first thing I’d think of when it comes to defining who I am x


    • DippyWrites

      Yes definitely, everyone defines it in their own way

  • I agree with you that there are so many factors that go into defining who a person is. I’d definitely say that the “who” is more important to me than the “where” but perhaps that comes from constantly being asked that question too. I have a mixed background and an Arabic name and will get people who don’t except London as an answer to the question (even though I was born and lived here all my life). It tends to get awkward when people ask the question again in a different way like “but where were you born?”. Honestly, I think the only reason I consider the question personal and coming across as a bit rude is because it tends to come up in a challenging tone. No one should feel like they have to go into a defensive mode when answering that question. Very insightful post. 🙂 xx

    • DippyWrites

      YES! It always feels like an interrogation, which is why it makes me feel so uncomfortable. I wish people would just accept that sometimes, we don’t want to be defined by the way we look, but by the things that have formed our personalities

  • I really hate it when people ask that too, especially when they ask “but where are you REALLY from?” I know they are asking regarding my ancestry and I get that but I’d rather they get to know me for who I am – my genes are not the be all and end all of my identity. Plus I see my identity as something I can create for myself, and it is subjective and not easily defined.

    What’s worse is sometimes, when I tell people about my ethnic background, they start interrogating me and making it their quest to dig deep into my life story and family background and I don’t like that at all.

    I just prefer to say that I am from London, because it was where I was born and raised and it’s a huge part of my identity.


    • DippyWrites

      It’s so frustrating isn’t it? It’s not that I don’t ever talk about my family, it’s just not what I expect people to deem as most important to know about me! So nice to hear you can relate 🙂