home is where you hang yer hat!

I was reading the blog of a friend yesterday.

http://mytruantpen.com/2010/03/12/hey-thats-me/ 

In her post she was mentioning having come from a very small place that no one has ever heard of and the difficulty of trying to explain where you are from when you aren’t from a place that’s even on a lot of maps. I came from this same little place. I understand the difficulty she is describing. But, further muddying things for me is the fact that I moved around a lot growing up. So, perhaps I can explain to you where I came from, but first I have to decide where that was.

I was born in Canada, just across the border in a little tiny town by the name of Trail. But, we were only there in the hospital for five days and I’ve only been to Canada one other time for a weekend, so I don’t think that counts as “where I’m from.” Trail is hardly ever on any maps, either. However, oddly, I’ve seen it on some globes. It must be on a longitude line or something.

We actually lived in another little tiny town in NE Washington called Northport.  This town is just south of the border near Colville. (I know that doesn’t really mean much if you aren’t familiar with Washington’s geography, but it is on most maps.) We left Northport when I was about four to move to Santa Monica, California.

If you aren’t familiar with that one, it’s one of the cities that make up Los Angeles. It’s right on the beach. Not far from Beverly Hills  (90210). We lived there for about 8 years. I count it as one of the places that I’m from. Much of my family was, and is, there. I went to elementary school there.

When I was 12 we moved to Lake Tahoe. My Dad and grandparents lived there. I had also been spending summers there, with my dad, since I was very little. We didn’t live there very long, but having been there so much as a child and having moved back later, I count it, too.

Later that year, we moved back to Washington. This time we landed in Morton. Another small town that not many people have heard of. It is on maps, but why would you be looking for it? It is near Mt. Rainier, if that helps. We lived there until I was 18 and I moved out on my own back to Tahoe.

I feel like I’ve spent enough time in all of these places to qualify as “from” there. Yet, no one place is more qualified than another. Usually, I say “all over the west coast.” 

 “Oh, army brat, huh?”

“No, just moved around a lot.”

Apparently, my tribe is semi-nomadic.

I know people who lived in one place their entire childhood and they strongly identify with that place as home. They seem to never really feel comfortable other places. Well, maybe after a long, long time. Tahoe probably comes closest to that feeling for me.I don’t identify a place as home nearly so much. I attach my feelings of home to people. So that wherever they are is home to me.

Platypus

 

 

Where I live college football is all about Ducks and Beavers. We’ve recently had some pretty big games going on which has brought the subject of whether you are a duck or a beaver somewhat more to the forefront of conversations. The school I just transferred to houses both universities and so calls itself a platypus. You know, both.

*Platypus – A small, aquatic, egg-laying mammal,

Ornithorhynchus anatinus, of Eastern Australia,

having webbed feet, a tail like that of a beaver

and a sensitive bill resembling that of a duck.

I am coming to relate very strongly to the platypus. I’m sure we all remember the platypus as a bit of an anomaly. It’s a mammal, but it lays eggs? It’s like a beaver, but it’s also like a duck. Having characteristics of both, but belonging with neither. It’s probably hard for a platypus to find a place to fit in. As a matter of fact, I just did a search for what to call a group of platypus and got this response: there is no collective word for platypus. The platypus is a solitary animal which does not form social or family groups so there has been no need for such a word. Well, okay then.

For me, I think I would modify that to: does not form social or family groups easily.

I don’t open up to people very easily. It’s probably due, in large part, to the fact that I’ve moved around a lot in my life. When I last counted, it was around 30 times so far. Which doesn’t include summers with my dad in another state and any traveling I’ve had the good fortune to do. So, basically, I’m a nomad. Which means that often you are the new girl who doesn’t know anyone and doesn’t know “the ropes.”

So, it takes a bit to settle in and get adjusted. But, I’m weird. I have weird parents (don’t argue- you know you are.) Thanks to my nomadic existence, I’ve been exposed to a variety of people and places and views that most people I meet haven’t.  Oh, wait, I forgot: I’m not weird, I’m unique or different. Which makes me a bit guarded, I suppose.

And brings me back to the point. Which is that while I can mingle and get along great with all you ducks and beavers, I really am a platypus searching out other platypi. Luckily, I have found a few. ♥