It gets harder and harder as the years – and the moves – go by to answer that inevitable question "where are you from?". And when you have the pleasure of starting x new jobs in y new countries it tends to come up quite a bit. It's been almost 10 years that I left the UK to study in France (I went to the 'prestigious' ESC Marseille-Provence; recently rebranded to Euromed Marseille Ecole de Management – see one of my early posts here) and I've bounced around the world a little over that time – so how or what decides where we are really from?
I guess that this is almost a nature versus nurture question. From a nature point-of-view I would have to English – although when we start to look at my bloodlines even that comes into question: My mother was born and raised in Argentina, my father in the UK – but their respective parents are a combination of Austrian and Polish, and Swedish and English – finally there is some English in there too and I did spend the majority of my formative years in London (being born in Switzerland simply confuses matters and adds little relevant information). For the nurture side of things, I might plump for French, even if I can't sing along to the cartoons of the 80s and I'm still not 100% sure of what happened in May 68, and this mainly because of the fact that I guess I could say I've moved (or moved back) to France three times over the last 10 years and so it seems that it is becoming my 'port d'attache'.
So am I English, British, Ango-Saxon, Anglophone, just Anglo, or just me? I'm not quite sure.
My answer, for today, goes something like this:
I'm an Anglo-Saxon at heart, when I write I don't follow the structured these, anti-these, synthese approach, I speak a combination of English, French and Spanish, my family roots are definitely in the UK, but I'm a Parisian in my soul. How's that for an elusive answer?