December 31, 2018
Every December, one big highlight chases another: my birthday, the 26st anniversary of our arrival in the US, Advent, Christmas, the end of the current year and the beginning of a new one.
My Birthday and Christmas
How many reminders do you need that your birthday is coming? For me it starts in October when the first Christmas decorations are put up and the Christmas music starts. It's a very busy time of the year, the days are short and everyone is preparing first for Thanksgiving and, directly after that day, for Christmas. My name is associated with Christmas, probably similar to many people born under the sign of Sagittarius. My birthday is during the 3rd advent, when the third candle is lit on the wreath. It took me years to understand how special this time of the year is. It is the time to celebrate and to remember our traditions. Traditions like preparing seasonal foods, putting up decorations, listening to seasonal music, sharing and giving, remembering our ancestors, connecting with friends and family, etc. Christmas trees are everywhere and stores are beautifully decorated. One highlight this year was a Christmas get together at GAI (Germanic American Institute), with great food from Helga's Küche, singing German Christmas songs, and ending with a birthday song.
“O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, wie grün sind deine Blätter.
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit, nein auch im Winter wenn es schneit. O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blätter.”
“Hoch soll sie Leben…”
2018 in Genetics
One of my goals for 2018 was to find out where my ancestors came from. To do that I had my DNA sequenced. The results were astounding. The migration of my ancestors traces back to 180,000 years!
They came from Europe and migrated within Europe: Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Scandinavian, French German, England, Wales, Northwestern Europe. The timeline shows the immigration in the 19th century from Europe to the United States. I found out that I have over 1000 relatives living in the US. The largest number of them live in California, Texas, Florida, and Illinois. In addition, King Richard III was listed as a common ancestor.
I’m asking “what will I do with this information?” I could set new adventures for 2019, for example:
Get creative in the kitchen, try some new recipes inspired by my ancestors.
Learn a new language and travel to my ancestral countries.
Start grooving, to create a playlist of genres and artists inspired by my ancestors.
Plan an ancestry field trip. Visit a library, history museum, or art museum to learn about the migratory patterns, historic events, and cultural movements connected to my ancestors.
Create an ancestry-inspired reading list that can help illuminate key historic moments, cultural traditions, and aspects of identity.
I’ll keep you up to date. So far, I have started to learn the Russian language and have visited a Russian restaurant. Now I'm looking forward to continuing with more activities in this area.
Visiting Relatives and Happy New Year
At the end of this year we celebrated another very special event. We traveled to the east coast to attend our nephew’s wedding. It was nice to catch up with the family, especially seeing my mother-in-law, nephews and nieces.
Today the Gregorian calendar points to the last day of 2018 and the beginning of 2019. Looking back at 2018, I am happy and fortunate to have had a healthy and enjoyable year. My retirement suits me well, and it is filled with wonderful activities. I’m excited to start 2019 and continue with my adventures.
To all my true friends and family, I wish you deep from my heart a Happy New Year.