NAME: Deepti Ramakrishnan
AGE: 21-year-old senior
HOMETOWN: currently Beijing, China
POPULATION: 13 million
When people ask you where you are from, what do you tell them?
“I usually ask them if they want an easy explanation or a twenty minute answer. It’s really hard to give one place and say it’s my hometown.”
“I was born in India, but I haven’t lived there in twelve years. I spent a huge chunk of my time in Japan. I did all of high school there and that was the place I have been the longest outside of India.”
Is Japan more of your hometown then?
“I think that’s more of a hometown right now but my parents don’t live there so there is no actual physical home. But I’m most comfortable in Japan.”
Where did you live in Japan?
“It’s very quiet compared to the States. The people are very respectful. It’s a very safe place. It’s a good place for a child to grow up in because you learn so much from the culture from the way people interact with each other. They are very helpful but there is the whole side where they keep things private.”
When you go home, where have you been going now? Where is your physical home?
“The last time I was home was this summer and I went to China because that’s where my parents are right now. That was the first time I’ve ever been ‘home,’ in quotation marks.
“I used to go back to Japan and it was like, ‘this is great: I know my house, I have my friends.’ That was easy. But going home to China… It was home because my parents lived there but there is nothing home about it. It’s just really weird right now because I can’t say where my home is. Right now, home is where my parents are but I don’t feel at home in China.”
Where are you going next?
“When I graduate I’d like to stay here because I’ve been in an American education system since seventh grade. This is my latest experience (my four years in the US) so I would like to stay here but it all depends on visa stuff and immigration.”
What is the breakdown of when you lived where?
“I was born in India and lived there seven years. Then we moved to Australia for a year and a half. We moved back to India for two years. Then we moved to Indonesia for two years. Then I moved to Japan for four. My parents were there longer, for six. Then they moved to China this January.”
Why do you move around so often?
“My dad works for Proctor and Gamble. He is in research and development and he starts projects in different places so he gets to train people. That’s partly why they keep moving him around.”
Was it hard to move?
“There are definitely pros and cons to moving around a lot. The pros are: you get to experience so many different cultures, see so many different places and learn so much about people. It opens you up. You’re not confined.”
Has it been hard to keep friends?
“I think that’s the hard part of it. And, not being able to answer a simple question about yourself. There is no stability. Where is your house? Bam, I’d have an answer. Who is your best friend in the world. Bam, I’d have an answer. There is none of that. The little trivial things that get to you like: filling out a permanent home address. I don’t have one. While all these things aren’t that big of a deal, they get to you after awhile. I’m sick of answering the question, ‘where are you from?’”
Will you be more stable in your own life?
“I am so grateful my dad had us move around so much because I got to live in so many different countries in such a short period of time. I would definitely do it again if I could. What I would like to have is a stable home base. And I’d like to keep traveling a lot and maybe have assignments where I’m living in a place for three or four years or a year or two, and then come back.”
Where is your extended family?
“All in India.”
How many languages do you speak?
“Six. There is Hindi, there is Marathi. Living in India you have to know at least three. Tamil. Malayalam. And there is English too. I went to English schools in India too. And in Indonesia I learned French.”
Popularity: 1% [?]