Where Are You From?

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I was born in the Netherlands, not surprisingly, I had a bicycle, just like every other person in my family. There is a saying: “the Dutch are born on their bikes,” since cycling is a way of life in the Netherlands. On a very hot day in July, I had come home from a pleasant ride to the news that my family was moving to Pennsylvania, USA. We moved to the United States because of my dad’s business.

It was huge step for me and it was hard to leave my beloved ones behind me. So I talked to my parents, and told them that I was staying in the Netherlands. I was accepted to the University of Amsterdam and got a scholarship and wanted to continue my studies there. My heart wanted to stay but my mind was saying different things. Studying in America was a big advantage: It was the country of opportunities. And I have always been an adventurous so I changed my mind very quickly and made the decision to move.

emineIt’s interesting. Never in my life I was asked where I was from (except on vacations) but I have been exposed to the question “Where are you from?” at least four times a week, here in America. What often follows next is that the person asking me the question either congratulates me on speaking English well or, confused by my answers, looks at me like I don’t understand English. Its obvious that I’m an international and people are curious to know what brought me here and where I’m from. Anyway, I always thought that I was the international and that I was the “different” one, but I came soon to another conclusion. I have learned that I can ask  back “Where are YOU from?” three of the four times.

Even though people are born here, most of them have ancestors that come from overseas. I have also been asked what I like the most about America, and my answer has always been: “the diversity”.

Maybe you are the son of the Jewish family that escaped during the World War II, the lucky Ghanian guy that won the Green Card Lottery, the Asian who’s getting a better education here, the German that is training kids soccer, or maybe you are simply the kid of Canadian parents. But we have all one thing, or actually two things, in common. All of us have different ethnicities and we all live in this melting pot called the United States. WE, the global citizens, are making America America. Let’s never forget where we are coming from because that is the beauty of this country!!


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