Wednesday, December 26, 2012

'New hometown'

Over the past few weeks I've read in various different publications the expression 'new hometown'.  The latest example featured someone who'd moved to a new city and within one month was referring to it as, you guessed it, her 'new hometown'.  Like with the confusing, new use of 'bespoke' to now mean anything hand-made, I'm a bit perplexed at how to understand the joining of 'new' with 'hometown'.  Sure, I've read 'adopted hometown' which I've taken to mean 'the place in which one now lives and considers home, but not the place where one is originally from'.  That makes sense.  Of course, there is also that interesting breed of folk who, for whatever reason, were moved around a ton by their parents when they were growing up.  They may claim multiple 'hometowns', or even, 'home regions/countries'.  I think, however, that the majority of us aren't 'army brats' or children of diplomats and didn't have (what I see as) the privilege of experiencing a variety of different cultures/places during childhood.

Maybe most young folk today have moved around quite a bit since being born, and I just sound like a crotchety, old crab-ass here, but, when I was a kid, I lived, with the exception of a few years, in the same town until I turned 18 and moved away from home.  Even then, I only moved about 35 miles away.  We're not talking about a massive uprooting.

I recall meeting a fellow 'Californian' while working at a Farmers' Market a few months back.  -turns out the guy was actually from Ohio.

Our exchange went something like this--
Me: (upon hearing his American accent) where you from?
Dude: California.
Me: Oh, really?  Me, too.  Where are you from (in CA.)?
Dude: San Francisco.
Me: Cool.  I'm from Pacifica.  You know, it's just south of city on HWY 1.
Dude: (blank look on his face) Oh, cool.

The above exchange alone should, sort of, tell the reader that this dude was not from San Francisco.  At that point in the convo I figured he was from a small town somewhere in the Central Valley, or up by the Oregon border or what-not.  I teased him a bit about not knowing Bay Area geography and he fessed up to having moved to SF from Ohio and living there for about six years before moving to Zurich.  I'll wager he probably referred to SF as his 'new hometown'.   

Ohio, with its very pronounced seasons, and, I would imagine, different architecture based on the fact that it doesn't suffer from earthquakes, is very, very different from coastal California.

We are shaped by our environments.  I have to say that, compared to an Ohio teen, I had it pretty easy all year 'round.  -no snow-shoveling.  -no intense summer heat waves.  -no giant insects.  Of course, I didn't appreciate how good I had it until I left.  I remember my first 'white' Winter when I was living in Germany.  I went outside to 'experience' snow, took my first step, and promptly fell on my ass.  I didn't even know how to walk in the stuff! 

Since leaving the home-turf in 2009 for places both snowy and foreign, I can now say I know how to successfully walk in snow.  I wouldn't say, however, that the town in which I have been living for 7 months, Zurich, is my 'new hometown'.  And it would certainly take years for me to even consider Zurich my 'adopted hometown', if at all.


  1. I was born in the county I live in now. I've been in and out of the county since HS and it's now considered my hometown. My Mom moved us around some and I lived in a few other cities for a while before the big move here, but nothing I can consider home. I've always lived in GA, so it works for me.

    1. I hear you. Post-divorce I moved with my mom to another county, then, after a few years, went back to the same county. I have an affinity for that first place, that first area.


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