TED Conversations

Kate Torgovnick May

writer, TED


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For people who have a hard time answering the question: "Where are you from?"

In Pico Iyer's talk from TEDGlobal 2013, he looks at the complex nature of the question: "Where are you from?" Because while his family originally comes from India, Iyer himself grew up in the United Kingdom. He spent the next 48 years living in the United States. Meanwhile, his heart resides in Japan. He calls these the "pieces of a stained glass self."

As he notes, in our increasingly global world, it's not uncommon to be a half-Korean, half-German woman in love with Paris or a half-Thai, half-French man in Canada.

And so we're curious: what are the pieces of YOUR stained glass whole? Share here and you may see your answers on the TED Blog soon.

I'll share first: I am a half-Italian, half-Polish Jewish-Christian with a Russian last name, who grew up in the Southern United States and now calls herself a New Yorker.

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  • Aug 5 2013: This has been a tough question over my lifetime. I was born in Oklahoma and raised in Ethiopia. My Mother is Comanche and My Father is American. My biggest problem with this question is for the longest time no one would believe this Comanche Boy could have possibly traveled to Africa. The question would more often then not lead to criticism or total disbelief. I was safer making up something.

    Now that I am older and people tend to have a broader world view, being from Ethiopia is a great conversation started. As time passes I am able to enjoy answering "Where are you from?".

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