Glaciers at the forefront with snow covered mountains in the background

“Where I Come From” is a Darling series that pays homage to the cities, towns and countries that we call home. Although we are not defined by where we come from, these places are a defining part of our stories.

Where I come from is a coin with two faces.

Born in a town in the foothills of Denali,
I swam in glacier water every summer
During never ending days.

In the winter, we scaled the hills of Hatchers Pass
Holding tightly a mug of hot cocoa
When frost’s bite sunk into our skin.

In the North, I learned to grit
And bare whenever cold is near
To love the radiant sky,
Blooming birch and freshwater lakes.

My family traded four seasons for two
When we set foot on foreign soil
A land of sand and volcanic rock
Of coffee beans and rain forest
Of people with rough hands and the kindest homes.

Forced to find comfort in the unfamiliar,
I opened my mind
When the world opened up for me.
My tongue was forced to move
In strange, new ways
My bones shook from the shock of cultures.

Where I come from is a coin with two faces.

While my blood runs
With glacier water,
The tropical sun has
Kissed my eyes a thousand times.

Where I come from,
I learned it is far better to heal
From pains of a cross-cultural childhood
Than to remain stuck
In bliss-less ignorance of myself.
Identity is more than clear glass.
It is a moving and iridescent prism.

What did your hometown or country teach you? How has it played a part in your identity?

Image via Peter Dawson, Darling Issue No. 6

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