No matter where in the world I am I always get asked the same dreaded question. It is a question which is asked innocently at the beginning stage of most acquaintanceships. Yet it is a question which has always marked me as unusual and one, for not having a simple answer, I do not welcome.
I have noticed that when it is obvious that someone is from the locality they do not get asked that question. However, since it is apparently plainly obvious no matter where in the world I am, that I am not a native, I almost invariably will get asked that in fairly short order upon meeting someone new. Therefore, I am not from any of those places where I do get asked “Where are you from?” ..
I have tried giving all sorts of short answers to avoid a long winded story I have repeated thousands of times already, but it never seems to satisfy peoples intrigue, so I usually have to end up giving the long version.
So to clear that up here right from the start, I will give you the longer version.

My father, Peter (né Per), was born in Norway to a wealthy businessman and his wife. Grandfather was well decorated by war efforts, as a pilot. He had pilot’s license number 12 in Norway. He was also a ski champion of Norway, winning several times the combination cross-country and ski jump events. He had some Sami blood too, which due to the prevalent prejudices of the time, he denied, but is actually true.
My mother was born to a French missionary and his German wife. They had met during the war which due to their nationalities caused quite some difficulties during the war years. My mother, Lydia, was born on the ferry “Henriette” between the island of Lifou and Nouméa.

The ferry "Henriette"

The ferry “Henriette”


My father and mother met for the first time when she was six years old. At that time , she was living with her five sisters and one brother on her father’s sailing ship. Peter was in his thirties, yet Lydia, declared to him that one day they would marry. Peter didn’t think much of it at the time, but as fate would have it, they did meet again, eleven years later, while he was building his boat and they did marry!

Father, mother and I

Father, mother and I


I was born on my father’s boat, the “L’Artemis de Pytheas”, in the Indian Ocean, the Straights of Malacca, to be precise. The winds were not favourable and we did not reach the harbour in time. I was fifteen days old when we reached Singapore.
This caused my father enormous difficulties for obtaining my papers, and on several occasions it was threatened that I should be removed from him. In fact it was only six years later that he was finally able to get me any papers.

"L'Artemis de Pytheas"

“L’Artemis de Pytheas”


The following fifteen years were spent on that same boat sailing to what I estimate to be around thirty-five different countries. My little sister, Carmen, was later born in Portugal and got a Portuguese passport. My second little sister, Virginia, got an American passport, since she was born in Puerto Rico, also on board our boat. I feel no allegiance to any country and can easily adapt to most cultures. In fact I feel that I am an earthling, a human, rather than from any country and its rather arbitrary boundaries. If more people felt like me, surely we would have fewer wars…

So, where am I from?