“…Tell us Where You’re From….”

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This is a post about identity. Who we are. Who we think we relate to. And it may change over time. And my post may not have a closure. It may loosely tie to racing. It may loosely tie to my dad. Really, it is just a pondering of thought I have had since Saturday…

When I fill out race registrations, I have to put in my address and phone number. So I naturally enter Lethbridge, Alberta, as this is where I live. I am now coming up on my 5-year Canada anniversary (December 2nd) and it is still crazy to think of this whirlwind I have been a part of. My dad was born In Quebec City….moved to Beloit, Wisconsin around age 2. Lived in Switzerland. Back to Wisconsin. Raised a family. Daughter moves to Alberta. What the……?!? Anyway, while entering an address in a race entry form may not seem to be a big deal, the first time it really sank in for me was this April, when I ran the Waukesha Trailbreaker Half back in Wisconsin….but I was entered as a Canadian.
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This past weekend I ran a 10 km in Lethbridge, Alberta. I am now calling this area “my turf” and felt strong going into it. I am use to the weather, the elevation, the surroundings, and the trails. With all that on my side, I rocked out a PR of 45:37 and got 1st overall out of 55 females. Erin from Runners Soul also mentioned me on the microphone before the race as a “strong local runner to watch for in the women’s 10km.”

So I am a Milwaukee girl, born and raised, who lived there for 24 years….and now I am 5 years into being in Lethbridge and am finding my place. But I am still struggling with that question “where are you from?”
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Anytime anyone asks me this in a basic conversation, I say “Well, I am from Wisconsin, but live in Lethbridge, Alberta.” If someone within the province asks me where I am from, like when I went to Banff with my mom this summer, I answer straight with “I am from Lethbridge!” But then they question me because of my ridiculously heavy Milwaukee-esqe accent (trust me, it’s a thing), knowing I am not a since-birth Canadian.

And when I was interviewed by RunDisney last week, they asked me to say my full name and say where I am from (presumably to look me up before adding me into the final cut). I said my whole name and simply said “Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada”
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I know there’s tons of people out there who have been from everywhere under the sun….maybe born overseas on a base, then back to the US, moved around every couple years….so they may be laughing at my post and think I am an idiot since I am FROM one distinctive place but now LIVE in another. But the thing is….Lethbridge is my home and future. Milwaukee is my hometown and my roots will always be firmly planted there. I will always have a ridiculous connection to Milwaukee….it has made me who I am today. Lethbridge is just beginning to experience what Milwaukee created.

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One response »

  1. No. I get it. I’ve moved 25 times in 38 years. Have lived on three continents, and in ten states… have lost count of the cities… I feel like I am betraying my hometown of Washington DC when I say I am from Tallahassee. Inside the Beltway it is comfortable and familiar. But the Sunshine State feels more and more like that, the longer I live here. I’m a Floridian now. Not a fifth generation one like so many here claim to be – but a Floridian nonetheless. I’d move elsewhere in this state – but I hope I don’t ever have to move out of it.

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