• Cécile Graven

Where are you from?

Dear girls and guys, what do you answer when asked: “Where are you from?.

Is the answer the place you do live in or do you tell them where you were born?

Abroad  I know  how to answer that question.

“From the Netherlands”, I say.

And in 99 percent that is answer enough.

In the Netherlands, but not in my village I tell people I do live in St Nyk / Sint Nicolaasga.

But when in my village  when that question is asked me I sort of go into a panic.

I do not know what to answer.

What does the questioner wants to know?

Where I lived before I came to live in St Nyk?

Or where I was born?

Where are you from? The question makes no sense to me.What kind of information does the questioner wants to gain? Why would anyone want to know where I was born? Why would anyone want to know where I lived before I arrived here?

I think I panic because I do not have a feeling of belonging.

I do not feel I have roots in some place.

My family is scattered all over the earth, so I do not even feel belonging to a family.

Where are you from?

I don’t know.

I was born in Heemstede, a little (rich) village near Haarlem in North-Holland. ( here ) I do not remember much of those years. It has not a great significance to me.

I was 3 yrs young when my parents ( and I, offcourse) moved to a small village in South-Holland. A poor village called Hardinxveld-Giessendam next to the river Merwede. My father did work on a shipbuilding yard. (  here ).

I remember some ( school)friends, neighbourkids, swimming in the river and seen big ships being launched first time to the water.

Only 5 years later my parents ( ofcourse with me and this time with my little sister) moved to Rotterdam ( South-Holland). here.  I stayed with my parents till I was 17, so I could say I have lived in Rotterdam for nine maybe ten years. But those 10 years are broken in 2 different lives. From 2 through 6th grade primary school near our home and then 5 years higher education in another part of the town. We lived on the south bank of the river Maas ( as they say in Rotterdam: We leefden op Zuid ) and  that school was on the north bank.

When I was 17 I leaved home to study ( forestry) in Arnhem, Gelderland.  here .

There I moved home from my single student room to an appartment where I lived with my husband to be. After 4 yrs I graduated and I followed my husband to be to a little town in South-Holland , Alphen aan den Rijn.  ( here  )

After 3 years in an appartment we ( including our fosterson) moved to a nice house where we did live for about 15 years.

And then, for 16 years, I did live in Gouda  (here) . Also South-Holland.

And then I moved to where I am living now for nearly 7 years, St Nicolaasga in Friesland. here 

And in a few years I will move house again, because this village is not okay to live in for an elderly lady without a car. Not enough shops 😉

In Alphen a.d.Rijn I made the best friends. And I loved my job.

I continued to love my job after I moved to Gouda and I loved the old houses in Gouda. Look here for a lot of pictures .

And here in Friesland I have good opportunities to make pictures of landscapes and flowers . I would like to make pictures of birds too, but they are too fast. And my house is fabulous 🙂

Well this all because of the question: Where are you from?

And I like to hear from you what kind of answer you would like to get when you ask that question. AND I like to hear from you what would be your answer to the question Where are you from.


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Thanks for visiting today 🙂

#AlphenadRijn #Heemstede #gouda #Netherlands #rotterdam #HardinxveldGiessendam

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