Now It’s Time To Play: State Your State

It’s no secret by now that I’m a Canadian ex-pat. I moved to California when I was 19, chasing after a girl. Fifteen years later I’m still in California. Fifteen years later I’m still chasing after that girl, but she chases back, and we both chase our kids.

For a few years after the move I still considered Canada my home. I wasn’t aching to go back, but it was still what was familiar. It was the earth my personality came from. It was the history I had. But California has been my home for a long time now. It has shaped my personality in my adult years. My history now includes so much California that my affinity to Canada is only romanticizing now. It’s not false, but everything Canadian feels to me like a novelization if itself. My high school memories have lost their mundanity, and I only remember the ones that factor into a long narrative of my own development. I barely remember anyone I went to high school with, even though I saw them every day. Geography has warped on me, and since I never drove until I was in California I lack the kind of geographical knowledge of my home province and cities that usually comes with long driving exposure to them.

I still consider myself an ex-patriot Canadian, but instead of just being an ex-pat, I’m also a Californian. I know what my state is up to. I know what its problems are. I know where its beauty lies. I will defend it against those who denigrate it. I’m loyal.

Where is your loyalty? Are you an ex-patriot living abroad? Are you still living in the town you were born in? What kind of loyalty and history do you have to the place your live?

27 thoughts on “Now It’s Time To Play: State Your State”

  1. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area (give it up for the East Bay. Whoop, whoop!). I lived in the city for a while before I moved across the country to attend grad school in Pennsylvania and ended up in western Colorado.

    I've been here for 15 years. My daughter was born here. I am happy here, but I always say that given the chance I'd live in San Francisco again (and it does kind of freak me out that my kid doesn't have a relationship with the ocean — instead she knows mountains and the high desert).

    I think that I, too, have romanticized San Francisco, but I still love all that Northern California has to offer. I would love to for my daughter to experience it's splendors.

    Having said all that (sorry, I'm rambling), I still think of myself as a Californian, but I think I'm really a Coloradan now.

    Weird.

    Thanks for posing this question.

  2. After an Army Brat childhood which included 18 different schools in 12 years, College and a few years roaming New England. I have settled in Northern Minnesota for a life, and a career. I even conned a woman into coming with me. I only had to marry her first. It is the longest time I have every lived in one place. Ergo, I am from Cook, MN. I am an Ex-Pat of NY/NJ/RI/MA/ME/VA/OK/TX/NC/SC/Germany (3 times)/VT/and I can't remember where else.

  3. Still live in my home town. Since leaving high school I've bounced between my college town and the ranch I grew up on (The Other California). It's a good, simple life, which is appropriate to my very simple nature. Good subject!

  4. I was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida and – like you – am an ex-pat. I moved to Canada and live in Ottawa now. Florida hasn't felt like home in a number of years, especially since my mom died. I feel bad saying that since my dad still lives there, but the more it changes and the more I change…well, that's just the way life goes.

    I love Ottawa, though I wouldn't be opposed to moving to a warmer climate – not Florida-warm, though. I still like having different seasons. I think it would be extremely hard to leave; I've made a life here and have many good friends I'd have to leave behind. It feels comfortable and I am home here for as long as it's the right place to be for our family.

    I am sad that my son will not get to experience the things I did growing up – Marching Band/Football (with four downs), Florida State University and the ocean. But I'll just make sure I brainwash him to be a Nole fan from Ontario and schedule lots of visits. :)

  5. I was born in California (san Luis Obispo), grew up mostly in Oklahoma, moved back to California and now live in Colorado. I have been here for ten years; I dig it. But if I win the lottery, I'm totally moving back to Cali.

  6. Funny, I had a similar conversation with friends the other day. I am a Canadian, having been born here. But I lived in Greece when I was a child. I'm a Greek-Canadian. Canadian-Greek. I have a European passport. I'm 100% Greek in my blood. I consider my children Canadian-Greek. They speak both languages. Here in Canada, when I'm asked what I am, I say Greek (Canadian). But when I'm in Greece, I say I am Canadian. I think I suffer from identity issues! When Greece won the Euro Cup (miracle of miracles) I was proudly waving my Greek flag. When the Sens were close to winning the Stanley Cup, I was proudly waving my Canadian flag. I lived in D.C. briefly, and to everyone there, I said I was Canadian. Anyway. There you go. My ramble for the day!

  7. I moved out here to CA 16 years ago. People still roll their eyes when I represent Boston in everything I do/say/tweet. I was born and raised there and tell at least one person daily that I am moving back there. Boston rules. There is no city on this planet better than Boston. Boston is my home. I hate the Lakers, I like the way "T-shurt" is pronounced when spoken with a proper Boston accent. I like pubs, not clubs. I like that there's only one place in town to go on July 4 and New Year's Eve (the Esplanade)… I'm being wikid annoying right now and I will stop because I like you.

  8. I moved out here to CA 16 years ago. People still roll their eyes when I represent Boston in everything I do/say/tweet. I was born and raised there and tell at least one person daily that I am moving back there. Boston rules. There is no city on this planet better than Boston. Boston is my home. I hate the Lakers, I like the way “T-shurt” is pronounced when spoken with a proper Boston accent. I like pubs, not clubs. I like that there’s only one place in town to go on July 4 and New Year’s Eve (the Esplanade)… I’m being wikid annoying right now and I will stop because I like you.

  9. I moved out here to CA 16 years ago. People still roll their eyes when I represent Boston in everything I do/say/tweet. I was born and raised there and tell at least one person daily that I am moving back there. Boston rules. There is no city on this planet better than Boston. Boston is my home. I hate the Lakers, I like the way “T-shurt” is pronounced when spoken with a proper Boston accent. I like pubs, not clubs. I like that there’s only one place in town to go on July 4 and New Year’s Eve (the Esplanade)… I’m being wikid annoying right now and I will stop because I like you.

  10. I moved out here to CA 16 years ago. People still roll their eyes when I represent Boston in everything I do/say/tweet. I was born and raised there and tell at least one person daily that I am moving back there. Boston rules. There is no city on this planet better than Boston. Boston is my home. I hate the Lakers, I like the way “T-shurt” is pronounced when spoken with a proper Boston accent. I like pubs, not clubs. I like that there’s only one place in town to go on July 4 and New Year’s Eve (the Esplanade)… I’m being wikid annoying right now and I will stop because I like you.

  11. I'm currently in a small town that's roughly 30miles from the small Wisconsin town I grew up in. I haven't been here the whole time. I lived a whole 2 hours away from where I grew up for awhile.
    And California for a couple years. But now, I'm more or less back where I started. And I'm okay with that, for now.

  12. I've lived in Colorado for 17 years, but was born and raised in New York. There's no taking the Yankee out of this woman.

  13. Speaking of Yankees – I've been in Alabama for 15 years now, we moved for careers and have established ourselves – built two houses, had two children here, but home will always be Wisconsin. My cousin is the mayor of my hometown and my sisters are raising their families there with my parents within a 15 minute drive. We're 5th generation on both sides – we laugh we either are related by blood or marriage to just about everyone. And although I love it here and could not imagine living elsewhere, it still makes me sad to think about my kids home being somewhere other than Racine. I only hope it helps them feel that one day they could also go anywhere from here…I want them to feel free to explore the world. I'd happily follow!

  14. i was born and raised in southern illinois & my small town is still home. i've lived in kentucky (5 months,) austin (2 years,) st. louis (3 years,) and now phoenix (5 years total,) but will never feel at home anywhere, but my hometown.

  15. I love this. First of all, I always thought I should have been Canadian. Mainly for my love of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Degrassi Jr High. (I am being totally serious.) Funny thing is that I am from Northwest Indiana and have lived here all my life aside from a 1 year stint in Chicago. And yet, I do not remember anyone I went to school with either. But maybe that has more to do with what I was on while I listened to Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. :)

    There is one place that I've visited that I felt an ache when I left, and that was Colorado. I don't think I could leave my family here, but if I could take them with me, we'd be in Boulder.

    Steph

  16. born in Kansas City, Missouri and yes still here, a whopping 5 or 6 miles from my childhood home….

  17. Born and raised in Northern Massachusetts, I scooted over the line into New Hampshire 27 years ago. I am proud to consider myself a New Hampshirite now, and scoff at "Tax-achusetts". Although oddly enough, I'm proud of my Boston accent.

  18. I was born in Muncie, Indiana and visited family there so regularly that it seemed like my home, even though I was being raised in Buffalo New York. After college I moved to the Northern Virginia area (outside of Washington DC). While I tell everyone I'm from Buffalo I feel guilty about not mentioning my Indiana background. When I tell people I'm from Buffalo, I'm proud to be from there….but secretly LOVE living in Virginia. Now if I could only convince my family to move down here too everything would be perfect!

  19. I was raised in upstate New York and have been in Florida now for a good 11 years. It still doesn't feel like home and I still dream of moving back up north if only my husband didn't hate the cold so much.

  20. I was born and raised in London, Ontario, Canada. I lived there until I was 24 years old, at which time I packed up and moved to Russell, KS. I was all set to move home at the end of my 2 year contract with the hospital there, but 6 months before that contract was up, I met my husband.

    Kansas was where we lived for 8 1/2 years. We've been in Alaska for the last 4. But HOME… HOME is still Canada.

  21. I was raised in California from when I was 5 until I was 11. Then we moved to Texas and have been here for the last 18 years. It wasn't until I was probably 20 that I admitted I was a Texan and I will never leave.

    But I definitely still romanticize California.

  22. I, too, am an ex-pat. Even more than you — I've got a residence permit in my Canadian passport, and everything.

    Even so, London is definitely my home. By the time I finished University, my Mom no longer lived in Kingston and my Dad didn't live in the same apartment. The people I knew from Kingston were long gone to places like *cough* California *cough*, and "home" changed to being Hamilton, Ontario.

    But Hamilton never quite felt like home. I worked in Toronto (or, later, Waterloo), lived near the place I went to University, and never felt at home outside my little corner of the city.

    By the time I'd been in London for eight months, it was home.

    I went "home" to Canada for Christmas my first year here. I remember the feeling when I looked out the window and saw London sprawled out beneath the plane, the Thames snaking through the middle. I got off the plane onto the train into town and felt that I was really home. It was probably the first time I really felt that way in ten years.

    So, yeah. An ex-pat, at home now, and probably never leaving.

  23. I *was* an ex-pat. I spent almost 8 years in California, and when I finally went "home" to Canada, I took a look around and asked myself "Self, what the heck was I thinking?!" I wish I'd never left Cali, but it's really REALLY difficult to get back. :(

  24. Born and raised in Detroit so I will always be faithful to my sports teams. That is easy to do with the Red Wings as they are the best of course and even the Pistons show promise most of the time. But I have stuck it out with the Tigers and even (albeit really hard) with the Lions through the years.
    Since the Tigers are an American League I lovingly embraced the Dodgers (since I now live in Los Angeles) as my National League team.
    Why does your spell check hate Los Angeles?

  25. Born in Florida but moved a lot as a kid. Ended up in Minnesota when I was 12 and other than a few years spent across the Mississippi in Wisconsin – well I've always felt like Minnesota was my home. Must have been all of those Laura Ingalls Wilder books I read when I was younger.

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