I had an ah-ha moment in Jo’burg yesterday as I was pondering why it felt so normal and comfortable to be there and in England. Here’s what I came to: When I’m overseas I’m from someplace, granted it’s from someplace else, but when I’m in the US, I’m from nowhere. Overseas I’m from America. That’s what my passport says, and that’s where my people are. Being from America is enough. Sometimes I’ll meet another American or someone who knows the States who wants to know specifically where I’m from. And I can say Houston, and it’s okay. It’s what my driver’s license says. It’s where I work, live, worship, and play. It’s what I consider home right now and have for the last seven years.
But when I’m living in Houston, I’m clearly not from there. I didn’t grow up there. I didn’t go to high school there. Definitions of origin and belonging change. It’s not enough to just be American. I need to be tied by birth or formation to a specific state or town or neighborhood or high school. And I’m not. So in America I’m not from anywhere.
In other countries I am.