• Kayla

Where are you from?

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

This is probably the easiest question to answer for most people but for my family and me, "where are you from" is the WORST question.



My dad had a successful career as a professional hockey player. He won his first Stanley Cup in 1995 with the New Jersey Devils. Sadly, none of the Guerin kids were born yet. My dad won his his second cup in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Penguins (left photo).

When my dad retired as a hockey player in 2010, he started to work as a player development coach and worked his way up to be the assistant general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He won another two Stanley Cups in management. His third cup was in 2016 (bottom left photo) and his fourth cup was in 2017 (bottom right photo). After 10 years of working for the Penguins my dad was hired as the general manager of the Minnesota Wild.

I will forever be thankful for my dad's career in hockey and the amazing opportunities it has given my family.

With that being said, the hockey life is not always as glamorous as it seems. Even though I was able to attend most of my dad's games, I also had to move each time my dad signed a new contract. My dad played for eight different teams in the NHL, which meant a lot of moving for my family. Below is a photo of me wearing his jersey when he played for the New Jersey Devils, the Edmonton Oilers, the Boston Bruins, the Dallas Stars, the St. Louis Blues, the New York Islanders, the San Jose Sharks, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The last photo is of my siblings and I supporting my dad when he got his new role as general manager for the Minnesota Wild.


The Moves

In 1997, I was born in Roseland, New Jersey. Before I turned one, my parents moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where my sister, Grace, was born. In 2000, our family moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where my brother, Liam, was born. Two years later, the five of us moved to Dallas, Texas, where my sister, Lexi, was born.

Fun fact: My dad and my brother are the only two people in my immediate family born in the same state. (My mom was born in Pennsylvania.)

In Dallas, I went to a public school. The school was only a few blocks away from my house so my parents would take us to school on bikes. When I became a third grader, a group of girls and I would walk home from school together every day. I loved walking home with my friends because it made me feel independent at a young age. My favorite memory from Dallas was cheerleading at SMU for every home football game.

In 2006, our family of six moved to Saint Louis, Missouri. Instead of attending public school, Grace, Liam, and I went to Catholic school. I was in fourth grade, Grace was in second grade, and Liam was in kindergarten. Lexi was in pre-school so she attended a different school than us.

Unlike our school in Dallas, our school in St. Louis was a 15 minute drive so we were not able to ride our bikes. Even if the school was closer, we probably would have drove, considering St. Louis is much colder than Dallas.

Before the first day of school, someone told my mom that if students get to school early that they were allowed to play on the playground. Wanting us to make friends, my mom dropped us off early. Liam went to the little kids playground while Grace and I went to the playground for older kids. We felt extremely out of place and awkward so we walked laps around the playground together.

Aside from not having any friends in the beginning, we were also uncomfortable because of our uniforms. We went from being able to wear whatever we wanted at public school to having to wear matching plaid dresses. I was considered "lucky" because fourth graders got to wear collared shirts under our dresses. Grace wasn't as fortunate and had to wear a blouse under her dress.

My family lived in Saint Louis for a couple of months and then moved to San Jose, California. Rather than going to school in California, my siblings and I still went to school in Saint Louis. We would commute between St. Louis and San Jose every couple of weeks.

In the summer of 2007, my family and I moved across the country to Long Island, New York. By the time I was 10, I had already moved six times. Instead of going to a public or Catholic school, my parents enrolled all four of us in a Quaker school. Rather than going to mass once a week we would go to Meeting for Worship in a building with no air conditioning or heat. Unlike Catholic Churches, Quaker spaces are very plain. During the service you are supposed to sit in silence for 45 minutes unless you feel moved to speak. As a fifth grader, Meeting for Worship was torture and sitting in silence felt next to impossible.

On top of having to adjust to a new type of worship, Grace, Liam, Lexi, and I also had to adjust to a new dress code. In Long Island, we had to wear a collared shirt every day with either a skirt that went to our knee or khaki pants. For shoes we had the option between ballet flats or boots. On the first day of school, Grace and I both wore pants. We came home from school completely humiliated because we were the only girls in the grade that did not wear a skirt. That day, my mom took us shopping to buy a few skirts to help us fit in.

In March 2009, my family "half-moved" to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At this point, I was in sixth grade, Grace was in fourth grade, Liam was in second grade, and Lexi was in first grade. We still went to school in Long Island, but at least three times a month, we were flying to Pittsburgh.

In September 2009, we "fully-moved" to Pittsburgh three or four days before seventh grade started. I was very thankful that I played soccer because during pre-season I was able to meet a few of the girls that I was going to have classes with. I really liked living in Pittsburgh because our school was a few blocks away from town. In Long Island, I was barely allowed to walk around town with my friends during the day but in the small suburban town outside of Pittsburgh, I was allowed to walk around, even at night, with my friends. This gave me a new sense of freedom and independence. On top of liking the town, I also liked that the school's dress code was very lenient and I did not have to wear a collared shirt.

When the school year ended, my family moved back to Long Island, New York. Our plan was to spend the summer there and then figure out our plans. About a week or two before eighth grade started, my parents decided we were going to stay in Long Island "forever."

I moved back to Long Island thinking I would have the same friends as I did before. I didn't think about how I changed in the last seven months in Pittsburgh or how my friends from Long Island might have changed. My first three days of eighth grade, I sat with my old friends at lunch. I felt completely left out of the conversation and I did not have anything in common with my old friends. It was extremely awkward. On my fourth day, I switched tables at lunch and sat with a new group of girls that had the same interests as me. For the next two years, the new group of girls were my friends.

Even though we thought Long Island was our "forever" home, we moved back to Pittsburgh in 2012. At this point, I was going into my sophomore year of high school and was on my ninth move. As I learned before, moving somewhere for the second time is the absolute worst.

Once again, I did not fit in with my old group and had to find a new group. On top of needing to find new friends, I did not have the same sense of freedom I felt in seventh grade in our suburban town. When I lived in Long Island for the second time, I was given more independence and could hang around town with my friends at night. When I got back to Pittsburgh I had the same privileges as I did in Long Island, but the town was much smaller and did not have much to offer so I often got bored there.

In 2015, I graduated high school from Pittsburgh. Although I was so excited to go to Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, I was so nervous to stay in one place for four years. Fortunately, I loved college.

Even though I attended the same school for four years, my summers were slightly crazy. After freshman year I went to Pittsburgh. After sophomore year, I lived in the NYU dorms in New York City and had an internship at Wheels Up (left picture). My junior year, I spent part of winter break living at a family friends' house in Long Island and I commuted into the city for an externship at WantLeverage Communications. The summer after my junior year, I lived in the NYU dorms again for an internship at CSM LeadDog (right picture).

Entering senior year of college, I would have promised that I would have ended up in New York City after graduation. I loved the night life, the endless restaurant options, and the shopping. I somehow also loved the simplicity of the subway and the fast life style New York offered. Most importantly, I loved my friends in New York City.

Even though I was in love with the idea of living in New York after college, I applied to Durham University in the United Kingdom for graduate school. I was accepted into the school and very excited to study abroad and play lacrosse for another year. I made plans to move there in September 2019.

The summer before I moved to Durham, I lived at my parents summer home in Ocean City, New Jersey. I spent the next three months working at Kohr Bros. My last week in New Jersey, my parents unexpectedly moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The day we found out my parents were moving, Liam and I packed up everything in New Jersey, drove to Pittsburgh, and then flew to Minneapolis. After spending two days in Minneapolis, I went back to Pittsburgh and packed all of my stuff to officially move to England.

When I finally got to Durham, England, the question, "where are you from" became even more complicated. My Grandfather lived in New Jersey, my mom was trying to sell our house in Pittsburgh, my Dad was living in Minnesota, Grace was going to school in Easton, Pennsylvania, and Liam and Lexi were going to two different schools in Connecticut.

Not sure how to answer the question, I would usually say I was from Pennsylvania because the two girls I was with the most were from Pennsylvania and it was just easier to say "same." If I was ever without the Pennsylvania girls, I would say that I was from New Jersey.

As I finally settled into my new life in England, coronavirus started to spread. I spent the first two weeks of quarantine in England, two weeks of quarantine in New Jersey, four weeks of quarantine in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and six months in New Jersey.

Like many young adults affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, I moved in with my parents. On November 8, 2020, I officially moved to Wayzata, Minnesota.

At 23 years old I have already lived in three countries and seven states. Now I am waiting to see what's next!

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