Digging Up Roots

America is the land of immigrants.  I listen all the time to people who’s families have been there for generations talk about how they are a little of this, a little of that, with such pride.  They have all lost connection with whatever family they had in those far off countries, many not even knowing the name of great-great-great-great grandparents that first departed.

My mom’s family has been trying hard to put together a massive family tree for us.  It includes photographs, trees, and bits of information.  I remember flipping through it once as a child and thinking how cool it was.  Here are the faces of my great-great-great relatives.

One of the draws that brought me to Denmark (and convinced Odin to finally concede in bringing me along) was that I have family here.  Not only do I have family, I have contact information.  After making a call, a day was set, and I was off to meet one of my relatives.

Aunt Edith.  Great aunt?  Cousin?  I’m not entirely sure what the proper term would be, but she was lovely.  She invited me into her home and together we poured over photo albums of the family (she found photos of me at the mischievous age of 3 or 4 from her trip to the US).  She told me all about her family and parents and I asked many questions about the area and her life.  See those pictures behind her?  She painted those.  They were stunning.  Now she likes to paint with her granddaughter.  She felt good to hear that many of us are artistically inclined as well, as I pulled out my travel diary and showed her some of my sketches.

We had a proper tea:

During which she kept telling me to “eat, eat, they are for you!”  Until I could hardly move.

We admired the view from her house:

Baelum is such a beautiful town.  Very quiet and pleasant.  And it was such a warm and wonderful day.

She showed me the socks she knit for her grandchildren

I may be the only one that finds this amusing and endearing.  (when I was waiting for my transfer bus later, I sat next to another elderly woman who was busy knitting socks.  I found it somewhat hilarious when I pulled out my sock in progress and began working as well!)

And that was it.  It was a wonderful afternoon just talking about the family and reconnecting.  She drove me to the bus stop and waved through the window as the bus was pulling away.  It was a strange feeling.

I feel a bit different now.  Like I have re-established my roots in Denmark and can legitimately tell people that I am part Danish.  Not that it ever needed validating before, just how do you connect yourself with a country and culture that has forgotten you?

I ran into Odin and Jung on my way back to the hotel and walked around together.  They were trying to meet up with someone for dinner and drinks but couldn’t find them.  Instead, we went to Shawarma’s King (I couldn’t find a link to it).  It’s this fast food wrap place that is probably horribly unhealthy – the guy didn’t use gloves – and somehow strangely delicious.  I was surprised to see a vegetarian option on the menu, and instantly realized that I was indeed hungry.

Yet I could only eat half!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. michimusic
    Apr 12, 2011 @ 13:39:45

    fantastic! Well done! Sounds like you have a lovely bunch of relatives. And yes, I think it’s cute that you were knitting on the bus 🙂 I feel the same way about the man who rides the train with his headphones & laptop…writing music (i can see the notes on his screen). I haven’t gathered up the courage to talk to him just yet, but I feel a kinship anyway. Good on you for stretching out those roots.


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