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How do you Know Where You’re “From?”

“We need to go buy some soda.”

I’m from Northern California – and when we want a carbonated beverage, that’s what we say.

At least I thought I was from Northern California. But according to this series of maps that made its way around Facebook last week, I’m from everywhere and nowhere all at once.

How do you know where you’re “from?” I figure when you’re from somewhere you use their colloquialism, their phraseology and share their secret knowledge. I’m a Northern Californian because I know “dude” is a generic term you can call your mom. Because I never drink “pop.” And because I know how to cook and eat fresh artichokes.

But this map claims I am homeless. This map says I’m from everywhere.

And I kind of am. Since I turned 18, I have lived in six distinct regions of the US – West Coast, Pacific Northwest, South, Southeast, East Coast and North (or whatever Michigan technically is) – and I have picked up something from almost all of them. I liberally mix “you guys” and ‘y’all” when referring to a group of people. I drive on both “roundabouts” AND “traffic circles.”

I am a mish-mash of America.

It made me laugh to see that, according to these regional phraseology, I am just as much “from” California as I am “from” the East Coast and “from” Georgia.

When people ask me where I’m from I kind of blink at them. It depends on what they want to know. Are they asking where I lived before I moved here? Are they asking where I’ve spent most of my time? Do they want to know what place I identify with?

So I usually end up just saying “oh, we’re in the military — I’m really not from anywhere anymore.”

And this map series proves that as true.

And I wonder where my sons or other military kids will fall on this map. When they want a coke what will they say? Will they just split the difference and  call it “soda pop” to be safe?

Where are you “from” according to this map?

About Amy Bushatz

Amy is the managing editor of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is an Associate Editor. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on NPR and in the New York Times. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

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