I don’t know, is it important to you? I think it’s interesting to know my roots, and I certainly had fun the other day snooping up my relatives on Ancestry.com. Many people share a sense of curiosity about who their ancestors were and where they came from, hence the huge popularity of genealogy and, lately, those DNA swab tests to determine old lineage. There are also plenty of people who don’t really care, happy to just be themselves without thinking much about past relatives.
Until this June BlogHer project of daily postings on the theme of roots, I was happy knowing only that I was Japanese and Dutch. I know of my Japanese aunts and a few cousins, but never have met them. I knew a handful of relatives on my dad’s side, but now know one uncle’s family that I’m not close to. Someday there will be just my sister’s family and mine trying to keep our bonds. My fun is more in participating in the cultures of my heritage and hearing stories of history mixed with culture from my parents. I love history and culture – anybody’s.
Why do we care where we came from, and why would that be important? My cultural heritage is very strong since my mother and my paternal grandparents were immigrants, so I feel a sense of belonging to those cultures, particularly to the Japanese side since I don’t look very Dutch. Someday I may visit the Netherlands and Japan to stand on the grounds of my ancestors and see if I feel at home, but I feel at home right here where I live. I love where I live, and I definitely have an American mindset, which doesn’t go over so well in Japan at least. I’d be “that gaijin.” If I had more mix in my heritage or my immigrant relatives were farther back in time, I probably wouldn’t feel a strong bond with any of my cultures. I’d be “just” American.
Curiosity. Where does my puzzle piece fit in the world. I guess the importance of roots is more a matter of personality. Are you the curious type? If you’ve stood on the ground of your ancestors, did you feel a sense of home?