Sweetpea is Dead

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My name is Paris, and I am not your “Sweetie”, “Sweetpea” or your “Honey”. I am a twenty seven year old adult (as far as you know) that works near you.

There is only one man who is allowed to call me Sweetie, and he wears ugly crocks, speaks bad french and gave me half of my last name (love you Dad).

So why is it, that I find myself being pet-named on frequent occasions, by dudes (and its 99% of the time dudes) I barely know? It is beyond frustrating, rude and very very unprofessional. Haven’t these fuckers watched Mad Men? We don’t want to be cute-sied, we want us to be taken FUCKING seriously. EVERY time some rent-a-suit calls me “Sweetie” I feel my Spice-Girl raised Girl Power soul shrivel and cringe inside. I am woman hear me ROAR.

Why is this happening?

I look down at myself today. Black jeans, black top, side braid, wedges. Nope, as I suspected, not wearing something that could have me be mistaken for a small child on a swing with a broken ice cream cone.

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My attitude? Friendly, bubbly, outgoing. Not ditzy.

Okay. Maybe I’m being sensitive, maybe I should be careful not to fall town the Tumblrina rabbit hole of getting everyone to check their privilege (BOW TO THE POWER OF MY ALL ENCOMPASSING OVARIAN FEMALE MIGHT) but really, I mean really.

Do I look like a Sweetie? Does Madonna get called fucking Sweetpea before she opens a jar of jam with her brickhard thighs? Does Hilary Clinton get “Honey”?

Obama: Hi Honey, just letting you know I’m going to endorse you for president okay pumpkin?

How come I never hear blokes I’ve worked with getting pet names (unless you work in Australia and count ‘Cunt’ as an affectionate pet name)?

It boggles my mind that a man would think its totally fine to call me sweetie, but would NEVER EVER call someone of the same age, and position, different gender, a cute-sy name.

And I wish I could say, “oh its just the older generation, they don’t know any better” but no. No it isn’t. Guys very barely my senior do this. Have they forgotten my name? Is it like when you call someone “Buddy” because you can’t remember and it has been too long and you are afraid to ask?

Thankfully I am not alone in my frustrations. There are plenty of articles online claiming that these “terms of endearment” are actually subtle ways of belittling or condescending strong women in the work force, and urging professional ladies to put their foot down.

Suggestions for combating Sweetie-itis seem to run along the “just say politely do you mind not calling me that” lines, which seems way less dramatic than what I was thinking: morphing into a huge psychotic bitch that no one would dare condescend to and spritzing people with bear mace until they learn.

Sweetpea is dead people. Now, there is only Zuul… I mean Paris.

 

 

5 things I thought would be different when I left home

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It has been almost 10 years since I left home and went out into the wild, scary, unknown world of adulthood living. I feel like I was truly and utterly underprepared for what was out there, and had I known, I’d have pulled a jew-dude (TM) and stayed at home until I was thirty.

But just like with black, there’s really no going back once you have fled the familial nest.

I just had so many misconceptions on what I thought living away from my parents would look like.

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  1. “I can eat whatever I want!”
    Oh, oh…ohhh how I dream of the lovingly prepared home cooked meals of yesteryear. So angry and angsty was I, when a meal was NOT EXACTLY what I felt like eating, but instead an equal measure of vegetables, meat and grains. MEAT! Do you know how expensive that shit is?! What I would give, to have two middle aged people cooking for me three times a day…
  2. “I can stay up SO late”
    Want to know what I did Friday, Saturday and Sunday night this past weekend? Binge watched The Wire (because I’m about 15 years behind in my television programming at this point). I am a morning person, so around 10/10.30pm I start to fade fast. I used to think living away from my parents would be sooooooo wicked because I could just drink and party and watch movies all night long…Turns out my favourite thing these days is sleep. Yeah. I’m pretty cool actually.

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  3. “I do what I want!”
    So long as it doesn’t cost money. Seriously. Sometimes over the last few years I have had all of the freedom and none of the money (funemployed/between contracts) and other times I have had some of the money and none of the time (J.O.B). When can I have all of the money and all of the freedom? (right…right…when I rob a bank Oceans Eleven style…got it…have you guys SEEN that movie? It just came out recently in 2001)
  4. “I can date whoever I choose!”
    Remember when your parents hated that guy you were dating in High School and you were like IHATEYOUWEAREINLOVEyoudon’tunderstandmeGETOUTOFMYROOM! Yeah well. Turns out they were right. Man when I was single, I would have given my left ovary (she’s the gimpy one I suspect) for my parents to be hovering over my shoulder as I swiped like: “No. No. No. Yes Paris. No he will have a weird thing for feet. No. No. What about that nice boy from the coffee shop?” It turns out I just wanna date guys that my parents will like and not weirdo’s with spider-man face tattoo’s. Go figure.
  5. “I’m going to get a creative job and YOU CAN’T STOP ME!”
    In grade 12 when picking degree time came, my mother said to me: “Do a degree with the name of a job in it” and I laughed in her face as I applied for my Bachelor of Arts. I guess, if you were to squint your eyes, choke yourself a bit until no oxygen went to your brain and then smoked some meth – you could really consider my whole life one elaborate “Art”. “So what do you do Paris?” oh me? I’m Art. Yeah I studied it at University. In reality, life has been interesting in the working world (#noregrets) but I definitely find myself veering more towards the corporate world as I see all my fellow creatives struggling and think fucccckthatshit. Oh you live in a basement apartment with your sibling, sister and co-business partners and you work in a deli 3 days a week but your new album just dropped on myspace? Cool dude, Imma go over here and work on my excel skills though….

So many people I know have babies now. Literally holding an infant a week ago and thinking: “this adorable squishy baby girl is going to slam a door in your face some day.”

I wish I could go back ten years and slap some sense into my 17 year old self. Eat my free meals, get my free laundry, and remind myself that unfortunately…your parents were right. Uh! Gross.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…or maims you horrifically for life

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I like that saying: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”(WDKYMYS). It sounds good, it’s inspirational. It makes you think “Heck, things were tough/awful/soul destroying – but I’m still here!!”

People have appropriated that saying into songs (looking at you Kelly Clarkson), put it on T-shirts, tattooed it on their bodies, put it over pictures of sunsets and posted it on each others walls when their friends have been dumped by jerk’s named Derrick (fuck you Derrick you meanie!)

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I like the expression, but I don’t know if I always agree with it.

Because sometimes things kill you a little bit inside and they make you feel weaker, they throw off your game.

Was Leo’s character stronger at the end of the Revenant after he got fucked up by a bear, watched his son get murdered, was left for dead and then had to crawl through the snow and shit of 1800’s Canada to Murder my future ex-husband/baby-daddy Tom Hardy’s character? (Oh yeah, spoiler alert… but seriously if you haven’t seen that movie yet get your shit together – it was nominated for and lost best picture like 5 months ago).

I mean…I guess he was stronger – like how calluses get stronger on the tops of your feet. But he was also weaker because he had lost his humanity, and he was a murderer murderer and he was gross (like a callus – see how I tied all that together? Yay Creative Writing Masters degree)

I wonder if people use WDKYMYS as a way to excuse awful situations they don’t know how to extricate themselves from?

I’d consider myself a strong person who has faced some challenges. Would I exchange them for an easy life where some of the shitty things didn’t happen to me? Yes of course! I’m not insane. Faced with two choices: an easy road and a hard, bush-basher of a path, I think most of us would choose the easy option.

But life doesn’t work like that, and there are plenty of things that will try to throw you off the plans you’ve made, a death in the family, a financial set-back, a painful divorce, an unexpected illness.

So I propose a re-word. “What doesn’t kill you makes you different” – because not all things make you stronger, and thats okay too.

You are not a failure if you come out of a near-death-esque experience and think: “well that fucking sucked” and you’re not stronger.

End of Thought.

 

5 Things I am doing in the shower, that is not showering

At my apartment we have a shower bath Combo (which is pretty glorious and so fancy) so that when I feel lazy or sick (like ever since I got from France) I can lie down and just kindof splash around a bit and then BOOM, I’m clean. That’s how hygiene works, right you guys?

But lets be honest – there is something to be said for showers. Not only can you get in and out faster than a bath, showers are great places for activities. It’s a time all of your own where all of life’s irritations just slip away.

For a very long time I was convinced that I was ACTUALLY in the Truman show. I thought there were camera behind the mirrors (this has a large part to play in why I always used to hate being naked as an awkward teenager, even alone in the bathroom…

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that and the film Candy Man which scarred me for life – I thought a man with Hook hands who could control bees would jump out of the mirror and kill me if I said “Candy Man” three times looking into a reflective service…I wouldn’t used a public restroom by myself for 2 years… my parents were furious)

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Thank god there isn’t an audience tuned into me at all times (I’m an attention seeker, but I’m not that bad…). If you were to observe my habits in the shower… you would have me taken off to a nice quiet room somewhere. Somewhere nice with padded walls and a TV set to static.

Things I am doing in the shower, that is not showering

1. Winning imaginary arguments (that have likely ended long ago or never actually occurred)
This is by far the most cliche and popular of the not showering activities. I know I am not alone when I say that I come up with some of my best counter attacks in that damp, white walled solitude. Witty lines that are just the right amount of cutting as to leave my foe destroyed, barbarous parting remarks that I re-enact as I flip my soggy hair over my shoulder. If only there were a way to pause a fight mid-bitch, so that I might run home, jump in the shower, think of all the right things to say, dry off, return to the scene and deliver a long lasting comeuppance. Come on Science, hop to it.

2. Trying out awkward voices and faces
By no means am I a professional voice actor (This face was not made to be hid behind that of a cartoon, I mean c’mon) but I definitely fancy myself a bit of an amateur when it comes to silly voices. My favourite thing to do is speak-sing the words of a song in a really terrifyingly shrill voice. Like “A scrub is a guy who can’t get no love from me, hanging on the passenger side of his best friends ride, trying to holler at me” spoken like a much more high pitched yoda voice. Then imagine me trying to do a convincing velociraptor… all while naked. You’re aroused. I can tell. You’re thinking… HOW is this girl single. I know. I know.

3. Sucking in my Stomach really hard to see how it would be feel to be super skinny
If I sucked in my stomach really hard all the time, man I would be so sexy. I could totally do it right? Just like never breathe or laugh or talk? I’d be like 2 sizes smaller AT LEAST. Try it next time you’re in there and marvel at the body you could totally have if you just weren’t alive and stuff.

4. Trying to figure out how much less I would weigh if I just didn’t have boobs
Is there a way to weigh one specific body part? Like do they have a bra scale that you can just sling over your shoulder and be like: It’s all good guys, I actually only weigh 146 pounds, cos I’m carrying like 10 pounds a boob of breast weight! Or for those with big booties, couldn’t they just have the lip of a seat that you could hang your ass over? And then you could be like I’m not fat, I just have exactly 14lbs of junk in my trunk.

5. Doing Sweet dance moves (I could totally be Beyonce’s back up dancer)
Too bad professional dance studios don’t have shower settings, because the shower brings out the FIERCE in me. I like to shower with music (it makes me feel like I’m in a video clip okay?!) and I like to bust out my MOVES. Sometimes I like to combine my witty comebacks with dance moves like take THAT, biyatch. And then I bust a move in their face. Goddamn I’m hardcore. Hold me back bro.

Isn’t it nice to know that you aren’t alone in your weirdness?

You’re welcome.

Oh, Philip.

I’m not one to jump on bandwagons usually (first of all, I don’t particularly like the idea of travel by wagon, and secondly, I don’t know how much room there would be for me back there, like how big is the band? Are we talking brass, rock, or one-man? A girls gotta know to prepare…what shoes would I wear, how many of my handbags could I bring!?) but I’ve been thinking about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

And though I am just another link/voice/non-authority when it comes to him and his recent death, I had a brief sliding doors type interaction with the man a week and a half before his demise. In my life, where I have been fortunate to be so removed from death and it’s consequences, the news that this highly regarded man passed away, after telling him where the bathrooms were at Sundance (glamorous me – what an interaction!) – well it was weird. I don’t think I have been as saddened by the death of a celebrity, someone I didn’t know, since Heath Ledger passed away.

My family has had it’s brush with drug addiction. That is no secret.

In fact – the reason this has all been churning inside of me is the following Facebook post from my mother:

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Philip Seymour Hoffman’s children are small, but the internet is easy to navigate. A ten year old today knows how to get online. It will take three clicks and his kids will know all the details of his death. There is a lot that is positive stuff out there about him (amazing actor, well respected), but his children will be exposed to the good, the bad & the ugly. The spotlight casts a lot of shadows, and it seems (from an outside perspective) that some of his shadows were very, very dark indeed.

I am sorry for them, those children left behind by their fathers death. Left behind by the demonic-grip that is addiction. I have seen it’s destructive force, and it is not pretty. It is terrifying to have a parent flip-flop from the person you love, trust and respect, to someone you don’t recognize – someone who’s behavior is so unpredictable, you live with the ice-flushing fear that you will say or do the wrong thing. The type of situation where you curl into a ball to make yourself as small as possible somewhere, and just wish and wish and wish, with a feverish desire that you can’t shake, that you could be someone, anyone else or somewhere, anywhere but there. You look at other people’s families (likely as fucked up as your own – but how do you know that) and ask yourself why you couldn’t have been born into the family across the street.

Is that sad to read?

When drug addiction affected our family, I was older than Philip’s kids are now. The drug was not as “hard” and at first, it was not a “problem”. I was a teenager, and I had the “cool mum” who was out partying, who would catch the later ferry home than us on a Friday night. I wouldn’t say that I was oblivious, but there is a lot you don’t know. It doesn’t start at the extreme with a needle hanging out of your inner elbow. Drug addiction creeps in, under the door, through the cracks, until there is such a mass in the room with you that you can choose to avert your eyes, but you all know it is there. Right in front of your face.

We are a fortunate family. I have two living, loving, parents who support me and tell me I’m great (thanks guys) and two younger brothers I couldn’t live without (seriously guys, Imma need those organs at some point….) but it could have all been a very different story, very easily.

I don’t know PSH’s situation. I don’t know why he was drawn to shooting shit into himself to alter his reality – I only know what I know from our experience as a family. Not everybody has a support network that is good and wants what is best for you, not everybody has had a life devoid of tragedy or fucked up fuckery that makes retreating the easiest option. There is no way I can possibly judge Philip, I did not know him.

But what I can say is, no matter how well his wife shielded their children from the addiction, they knew Daddy wasn’t totally fine.

Even the five year old.

And now that their father is gone, they will struggle with the choices he made – to leave them – to harm himself with things that were so clearly awful for him – and they will ask themselves:

didn’t he love us?

Because that is what we do, the children of this disease. We internalize.

It is impossible at first to separate your parents actions from how they reflect on you. Was I impossible to deal with without the drugs? Wasn’t I good enough? Could I have done something better/differently/wrong? Maybe if I had been XYZ he would have stopped. Maybe if I had said XYZ he would have listened. How could he be so selfish? Why didn’t somebody help him?

The truth is, he needed to help himself. He probably thought he could quit any time he wanted, but he didn’t. Not before it killed him. Maybe he didn’t want to quit – maybe it didn’t seem like it was a problem – we all know what that sounds like.

We all make horrible decisions sometimes, we are all flawed – even the people who give birth to other people (like our parents). PSH made a terrible decision and the results are devastating.

I hope that his kids realize that this is not their fault -it takes a long time to accept that, and that their father had demons that did not relate to them.

I also hope that Philips death, such a high profile waste of talent, serves as a wake up call to others.

His is not the first shocking-drug related death, and it wont be the last.

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/drug_substance_abuse_addiction_signs_effects_treatment.htm

Paris

Happy Happy Hanukkah, Chandler and Monica

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I LOVE the end of the year.

Starting in October with Canadian Thanksgiving, and stretching through to Chinese New Year, there always seems to be something to be joyful about in the winter-time, something to look forward to and something to Celebrate an excuse to eat as much as you can possibly cram into your face. I mean, lets put aside that right after CNY we’ve got Valentines day (which I totally buy into – a little heads up any potensh’s out there) Easter (Chocolate…YAY!) then a bunch of Queen Related/National days (woopie commonwealth!) and then we’re right back at the end of the year…

Humans: Non-stop-party-rock.

But I especially love the end of the year. Thanksgiving has become a new one for me that I truly love, and Halloween in North America makes me want to chop off my legs, dress up as a ghost (easy, a sheet and two eye holes…who’s going to know?!) and get free candy (suckers). Totally worth it. That dude in South Africa who shot his girlfriend had no legs, and he was a total fox. I’m sure I’ll still pick up.

I’m very lucky to have lived all over the world, to have met all kinds of people, and to have been exposed to different cultures and customs. I always find it weird when people are like “why are they blasting Christmas carols in the super markets?!? I’m not Catholic/Christian/Religious. Why are they foisting their beliefs on me. I am offended. *meanface*” To which I ask… Are you retarded? Christmas carols are nice. And okay! Sometimes they don’t make a whole lot of sense. Like: I’m not worshiping some boy child that is the son of some King (ohhhkay fine, newlyborn baby Prince George – I’d worship him) & I barely know one wise man, how’d they find 3?! What is this nonsense tune? I’ll celebrate any holiday you want – so long as it involves eating my face off and pretty shiny things.

Today is the first day of Hanukkah, which is great because the majority of my friends in Canada celebrate it. I knew a couple of Jewish people in Sydney when I was in middle school (I’m going to go with…4,  three classmates and a teacher) and one in Hong Kong – my mums best friend. But it wasn’t until my friend and I accidentally applied to a Jewish summer camp that I really got to know what Judaism was about:

Durka (my friend I originally came to Canada with): it says on our packing list we need white clothes for Friday nights.

Me: That’s a bit weird.

Durka: Yeah it says every Friday we’ll have Shaybatt dinner. Whats that?

Me: No clue. Probably some weird Canadian thing.

3 Cool things about being Jewish (get ready for stereotypppppes – just kidding, or am I?):

1. Awesome Community
Never have I met a community that sticks so closely together. Supportive, well-connected, passionate about causes – people always ready to get involved and help each other out. Some people have described it as a bubble – but if you don’t like bubbles you must be a monster that also doesn’t like rainbows and cupcakes.

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2. Always something to Celebrate
Between Weddings, Engagements, Holidays, Births, Events, Anniversary’s – most of my Jewish friends are always celebrating something. I guess when the community is as big and close as it is here in Toronto, there is always something worth noting or someone worth Congratulating. And I must say that is nice. Life is short, be happy – enjoy the moments – that is what I have learned.

3. The Foooooood
There is a word for non-Jews like me, and that word is “Goy.” Similar to the Cantonese word “Gweilo” (male) or Gweipo/Gwei Mui (female) which literally translates to “ghost boy” or “White Devil” and was a negative word for Foreigners in Hong Kong, I believe the word “Goy” began as a derogatory word. But you’re going to have to goy-t outta here if you think that offends me, because you don’t have to be Jewish to love Latkes, Knish and Matza Ball soup. We’re all people right? And people have taste buds (sorry to those who don’t). The only difference between me and my Jewish crew is that I got to experience the joy of Jewish-mother home cooking in my twenties – so it was all new to me.

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There is something magical in the air (or I imagine there is) especially in Canada, with the snow, the glittering lights everywhere (seriously, nice job with the Christmas trees you guys). And while its cold and grey out there a lot of the time, I feel warmed by the idea of family, people randomly singing, lots of food, and the act of giving – drinking a lot and reflecting on the year.

So whatever your beliefs or non-beliefs, I hope you’re as excited as I am to get as fat as possible (any excuse) and balloon to a gigantic size so that when Summer rolls around, you’ll regret every winter calorie you ever consumed.

Happy Winter!

Saying Goodbye to “Home”

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When people ask me where I’m from, I can’t help it. I take a deep breath in, and I roll my eyes slightly.

Where am I from?

What a pointless question.

I think people ask it because I have a hard-to-place accent. I think people ask it, because they are trying to put you in a box in their mind. I think people are trying to categorize you. Do the places we are “from” define who we are? I suppose in some ways they do. Where you hail from is a cultural touchstone, a window into the type of person you might be.

Canadians and Americans are similar but different. If you are from Toronto, you are different from someone who is from Montreal or Vancouver. If you are an Australian, people generally assume you are friendly and outgoing. If you are Irish, you like the drink and you can get a bit crazy. Am I stereotyping? Stop me if you disagree. Are people asking you where you are from to hint at who you are? What your roots or heritage might reveal?

There are endless ways we divide ourselves, label ourselves, identify ourselves. In Toronto, I’ve heard people tell they are “from” a specific suburb. Like the area within the city, within the provence, within the country, might help signify more about them.

So where am I from?

I tell people, short answer form, that I am from Australia. I have the (slight) accent, I have the passport, I have the birth certificate. When people ask me where in Australia I am from, I tell them Sydney, because it is the place in Australia I lived most recently (for University) and spent the most years.

In reality, I was born in Perth, on the West Coast, where my father now lives, and where my cousins, Aunts, Uncles and Grandmother have always lived. I think I have spent a total of 6 months in that part of the world in over 25 years.

My mother is a New Zealand citizen. Am I from New Zealand? No. I have never been there and she left when she was 7.

Where am I from?

I spent the greater part of my life in Asia. If I told you I was from Hong Kong, you would laugh in my face (it has happened, people have done a double take and then asked me seriously… “Are you Chinese?”). I am a blonde haired, green eyed, Caucasian woman. My brother is a 6″1 hairy, caucasian giant. He was born in Hong Kong. Where is he from?

My other brother 6″3 currently blonde (or pink) haired (I think) was born in Kuala Lumper. Is he from Malaysia?

I remember a childhood of sweaty hot, monsoony nights. Street food and night markets, grinning faces that looked very different from mine, and conversations all around me in languages that I couldn’t understand.

My Mother has packed up her apartment in Hong Kong, and plans to move to Thailand this month. I am excited for her, for her new adventure. After a decade and a half in the hustling, bustling Fragrant Harbour, I know she is going to enjoy the peace and tranquility of Thailand. I know that she is chasing her dreams, and entering the next chapter of her life. With three fully grown children and another forty years in her, she has definitely got the right idea, jumping into the next adventure.

But a part of me mourns.

For someone who is a self-proclaimed Expat Brat, who moved to Canada without a backwards glance, Hong Kong was in many ways my “Home.” As culturally confused as my family and friends are, Hong Kong is a backdrop where we can all fit in.

Sorry to sound like I’m excluding, but you wouldn’t get it unless you’d grown up there, or lived in another major Expat City, (Kuala Lumper, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Seoul…)

And Hong Kong will always be there. My Mothers departure does not mark the end of the existence of that city. It is simply the last, torn out root of that chapter of my life. I can always still go there, I will always have friends there. I just won’t go “Home” to Hong Kong when I visit my parents.

My parents will be in their chosen cities, and I will be in mine.

Hong Kong is our central location, geographically a middle ground, or halfway house, for my family which is spread out across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. And while Thailand is close by, it does not hold any of the memories for my family. It will not feel like “Home” for me. Perhaps it will for my brothers who spent a year at Boarding School there. I don’t know. Even between the siblings, with only five years between the youngest and oldest, there is a vast ocean of experiences and childhood memories.

Where am I from?

Home is a word. It embodies a feeling. It cannot be one place because if you asked someone in Cairo where home was, and asked someone in Chicago the same question, both people would point to different spots on the map. It is not a charted destination. It is not physical. Maybe that is why I have always found the concept so confusing. Maybe that is why I think about it more deeply than those who ask:

Where are you from?