You might be quick to reply with the city, state or country in which you were born or grew up when asked where you come from. You may even mention where your parents or grandparents were born and raised.
But does that geography describe – or define – your identity?
Perhaps it’s just a point on map that marks where your identity begins.
El Paso celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez tackles the “where do I come from” question in his new memoir, and talked about his journey for an answer with El Paso Inc. Magazine.
He provoked us to ask ourselves that very question.
Born and raised in El Paso, I spent numerous summers and countless weekends across the border in Juárez – mostly at my grandmother’s small blue adobe house on a dusty hill from which you could see clear across the border into El Paso.
Where I come from is this beautiful, bicultural border community – where a river divides our countries but not our familes; where concrete bridges not only connect nations, but also friends; where we rely on one another on both sides of the border to survive and thrive socially and economically; and where food is spicy, music is bilingual and traditions hold strong.
But where I truly come from is rooted in hard-working, blue-collar immigrant parents who every day took pride in their work – however humble – and whose strong family values I pray I’ve passed on to my sons.
WHERE WE COME FROM
Publisher Secret F. Wherrett
"I’m a product of the world. By age 12 I had lived in five countries and three continents. We were Americans living abroad, but the U.S. was not home. Home was wherever the family was with its unique blend of American and Mexican roots and new cultural adaptations picked up along the way."
Robert Gray / El Paso Inc. Editor
"When people ask, 'Where are you from?' they usually are trying to learn something about your identity. That’s what makes the question difficult for third culture kids. How much I share depends on the situation, everything from 'Southern California' to 'my family sold everything, bought a sailboat and we lived overseas all my teen years.'”
Event Sales & Marketing Manager / Erin Pfirman
"I never connected with my Mexican heritage until I left El Paso. As one of only 10% of students who were not caucasian at a private college in San Diego, I quickly realized that my upbringing was different. Having an identity crisis at 18 proved difficult, but it made me who I am today: a Mexican American woman who comes from a long lineage of strong, Mexican women."
Graphic Designer / Geraldine Villanueva
"I grew up in Hawai'i, where the closest beach was only 10 minutes away. I loved being surrounded by the tropical fruits and flowers, to the eclectic choices of food and people all together. (Oh, and Spam Musubis are AWESOME!)"