Going home, genetically

going home genetically


More than twenty years ago, my then-boss Sharon took a trip to Africa. She took a balloon trip across the Serengeti, and did everything that moderately wealthy people do when they visit Kenya; I think she even stayed at Treetops.

 

 

As she showed me the pictures she took there, she said something that echoes in my head to this present day: “It was strange there. It felt familiar. They say our first ancestors came from Africa, and maybe we feel at home there.”

 

 

I’ve thought about that statement many times since.

 

 

My friend Bill, Irish by descent, spent his honeymoon in Ireland. He visited the Burren in the western part of the country – a strange stark landscape, with limestone moonscapes – which also happened to be the traditional ancestral country of his family. “It was eerie,” he told me. “It was like going home.”

 

 

And then there’s me.

 

 

Last October Partner and I went to France, and spent four or five days in Normandy. I loved it. It was perfectly wonderful: green fields, grey seashores, tiny fussy villages, narrow streets, ancient farmhouses, medieval ruins.

 

 

I felt at home there.

 

 

My DNA analysis from 23andme.com tells me that my mother’s DNA stems from Doggerland, a now-submerged country along the North Sea, contiguous with Normandy.

 

 

Well, what do you know about that?

 

 

My genes felt at home there.


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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

2 Responses to Going home, genetically

  1. Kathleen Bulloch says:

    This is very true. I have always felt drawn to Europe, more specifically Germany. When I am in Berlin I feel peaceful, It is as if I am supposed to be there. When the plane is landing, I am buzzing with the anticipation of belonging. As the plane leaves, I feel deflated and out of place.

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