Where Are You From Anyway?


Natalia Sosa ‘23


Where are you from? That is a very interesting question I get almost everyday, everytime I speak, and despite this, I still don’t have an answer for it. I could tell you where my parents are from, or the last place I lived before here, but I don’t think that’s quite the right answer. I also feel like I’d have to talk about the entertainment and music I grew up consuming and the people I looked up to.


I feel like I’m not being completely honest if I do what is probably expected from me and write something describing “my culture” and how proud I am of it, because I don’t actually feel belonging or find in myself pieces of a single culture but a bunch of different ones, and I can’t highlight one more than the other, even though I am writing this with a delicious hot Mate (a traditional South American herbal drink) in my hand like a good fellow from Los Andes mountains.


My parents are Colombian and I can feel it every time someone plays cumbia as I watch my Caribbean body moving automatically to the rhythm. When I think about my Colombian culture, what comes to mind is an arepa con queso, hot cocoa and the breeze of the Caribbean sea. The funny thing is that I don’t know where I got that image from because life at home was never like that. When I lived in Colombia, I lived in an apartment downtown 334 miles away from the beach, ate hamburgers and pizza, and listened to my dad’s music which was fundamentally American Rock from the 90’s.


Ever since I can remember, all the shows, movies and music I grew up  consuming were mostly American, and that certainly shaped the way I act and see the world. I definitely feel more identified culturally to the progressive British rock of the 70’s or the grunge American movement of the 90’s than the reggaeton music that is popular in Colombia. 


What I mean is that I grew up watching Hayao Miyazaki movies and Japanese anime that gave me the most beautiful eastern philosophical teachings, reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid that taught me everything I don’t want to be, and watching Pewdiepie videos, even though at the time I barely understood them. And I think that has shaped who I am today more than the old customs from my country of origin. 


Where am I from anyway? I like to think of myself as a world citizen. I won’t say that cultures don’t matter anymore, but because of globalization and technology, I can say that all cultures are being homogenized and don’t play such a big role in people’s identities anymore. People in my generation feel closer to what they grew up consuming and the sub-cultures that they  identified with more than the story they’ve been told about their country of origin.