This past week Simon had to conduct an interview with a family member, and then he and to illustrate that interview. I was the lucky family member he chose to divulge all our family secrets. I enjoyed talking about our family traditions (we discussed a couple before settling on our tradition of going to the park and playing Ultimate on Saturday mornings as the one to highlight in the interview) and I loved seeing the illustrations he came up with (especially the one of us sitting on the couch singing, “Here comes the oxcart” to honor our heritage.
But my favorite part, by far, was the one in which he had to tell where we are from. We decided to be more specific than “all over Western Europe” and chose to focus on my great great great grandmother, Tarjer Serine Torjusdatter, who came from Norway. So we learned how to say “Hello, how are you?” in Norwegian (“Hei hvor er du?”), and we used Google Maps to find the little tiny town where she was born.
I highly recommend this activity. Because, well, it turned this dot on a map:
into this beautiful landscape that seems like it may not have changed a whole lot in the past nearly 200 years since she was born:
And suddenly I can appreciate so much more how hard it must have been to leave behind her home and her family and to come to America and cross the country and start a new life. Look at those trees! And the sunshine! And the beautiful little Scandinavian house! There are several more along that stretch of road, and I’ve scooted my way down it a couple of times just to admire the scenery and imagine what it might have been like to live there. Looks lovely. And I’m happy to know that that little corner of the world is part of our heritage.