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Are we there yet? Every place is the center of the universe

There’s a certain charm to people’s belief that where they live is the center of the universe. It’s only natural, especially when you’re young, to think that your hometown is where everything important and meaningful happens.

365体育官网One recent example took place over winter break when our younger son, a college sophomore, told us he just realized that Sudwerk is not one of the “four big beer companies.” You know, Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Corona and Sudwerk. He’s seen the locally brewed beer in our house for most of his life, so he just assumed it was world-wide.

Another charming illustration comes from my husband’s dad, who grew up in New Orleans. Soon after arriving at the University of Maryland for graduate school, he said he asked fellow students where Baltimore’s French Quarter was. Because why wouldn’t every city have a French Quarter?

By far the craziest center-of-the-universe example occurred right after my husband, S, and I moved to Richmond, Va. After S attended grad school at UC Davis, his first career position took us to Virginia Commonwealth University, and the capital of the Confederacy.

365体育官网I had completed the work for my K-6 teaching credential right before we left California. I thought I might want to teach in Richmond, so I went to the Virginia Department of Education to see what was required to get a Virginia credential. I was told that Virginia had a list of states whose teaching credentials were accepted outright, and California was one of them. Thus, I simply needed to show that I was certified to teach in California. Easy-peasy! (This was in the mid-1990s, and maybe they do things differently now.)

365体育官网Very soon after, S and I were at a party thrown by some new friends. As we were mingling and talking to people about what we thought of our time in Richmond so far, I relayed the story about being pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to take any extra courses if I wanted to be a teacher in Virginia. “I think it’s a bit strange, though,” I told the group, “that I didn’t even have to prove I know anything about Virginia state history yet could be a fourth-grade teacher.”

365体育官网A few people nodded, murmuring surprise. But one young woman said, “Well, don’t you remember Virginia state history from when you were in fourth grade?”

365体育官网“No,” I explained, “I grew up in California.”

365体育官网This appeared to clear up nothing, so I elaborated. “Therefore I took California state history in the fourth grade.”

365体育官网To which she responded — I swear this is true — “Ohhhh, I thought everyone took Virginia state history in fourth grade and learned about the rest of the country in fifth grade.”

It was such a fabulous indoctrination into how Richmonders saw themselves, and there were plenty of examples that surprised S and I in our next three years as Virginians. Most were centered on the same theme — America started here, so we are what matters most in the country.

365体育官网I don’t mean to make fun of this woman’s love of her home state — I find it very sweet that people elevate the importance and impact of where they’re from.

Having grown up in the Los Angeles area, I was completely under the belief that SoCal was the axis around which all other places orbited. To be fair, I wasn’t totally wrong, if you consider all the things where SoCal really does set the trends. But even I didn’t think the other 49 states spent their fourth grade history instruction exclusively on California.

I mean, can you just picture Minnesotans making sugar-cube Spanish missions?

— Tanya Perez lives in Davis with her family. Her column is published every other Sunday. Reach her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @californiatanya.

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