Where are you a local?

Friday, October 02, 2015

Every time someone asks me, 'Where are you from?' I pause slightly. What answer is this person expecting? Why is this person asking me this question? 

If the person had asked me, 'Where are you a local?' what would I answer?

Auckland, Bordeaux, Christchurch, Melbourne, Seoul, Paris, La Rochelle... Such a long list! These are all places I'd called home in the past. London, though I'd lived there for four months, doesn't count, because I didn't quite leave a piece of my heart behind in that city. Perhaps Tauranga will become another of my localities. Maybe Melbourne will cease to be one, with time. 

Taiye Selasi talks about Rituals, Relationships and Restrictions to define whether one is a local. 

In every city I've always tried to choose a local hangout to make me feel at home, to gain a sense of belonging. Relationship wise, my weeklies are Auckland, Bordeaux, Christchurch. ABC. I hold one New Zealand passport, which makes travelling to Auckland, Christchurch and Melbourne quite easy, but puts Restrictions on long term plans on all the other cities. Not that that stops me visiting again and again.  

But as you evolve, so does your experience with your localities. Every time I go to one of my homes, they have changed so much they almost become foreign to me. But then again, some things never change. 

Where am I a local? I was born in Seoul, raised in Christchurch, studied in Auckland and Paris, and worked in Auckland, Melbourne and Bordeaux. My French hometown will always be La Rochelle - Angoulins Sur Mer, to be exact. Most recently I've returned to New Zealand, and split my time (unevenly) between Auckland, Christchurch and Tauranga. 

Where am I a local? In all these, perhaps too many, places. 

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