Roots are not in a landscape or a country, or a people, they are inside of you.” Isabel Allende

I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. I told myself it would be another piece of information, giving me more links to those connections I’ve long pined for.

I did some research and read a number of different articles including those that told me not to do it. I thought about it some more.

The website extoled the ease by which I could proceed and listed everything I would discover. So I leaped, or rather, ordered, spit (really), and then prepared myself to discover a new world and another piece of my puzzle.  

I signed up on line and answered a number of questions. I was told that some of the results might be upsetting and was asked if I’d rather not be told. My response: I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t want to hear it all: the good and the bad.

A few days later, I received a package with my kit and instructions and a welcome note from co-founder, Anne Wojcicki. I thought this personal touch was lovely. Of course I would. I like human connection, even when it comes in the form of a letter.

I spit into the vial provided, sealed up the return packet and sent it back to 23 and me on January 29th. I received my report this week.

Nothing surprising in the results, except I did think I was predominately southern European, specifically Greek. Instead, I’m 65.2% Middle Eastern and North African (both my maternal grandparents were Lebanese and French) and 33.7% southern European (my paternal grandparents were Greek and Italian). My distant roots, going back to the 17th century, are Italian. No wonder I have an affinity for Greece and Italy. But it made me wonder why I’ve never felt close to my Middle Eastern roots. My simple answer: I was raised Greek. This is how I’ve always identified and yet maybe it’s time to discover this other, larger part of me. This possibility fascinates me.

Other findings of interest: I have a slightly increased risk of developing macular degeneration, no variant for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s (although my mother died of complications from Parkinson’s) and I’m lactose intolerant. I’m also prone to being under weight and I’m not a good sleeper (I could have told them that).

There was no indication of the Beta Thalassemia variant. Except I do have it. Well I have beta thalassemia minor, not major. I was diagnosed when I was a child. In reading the report, it appears they are referring to the major form, not the minor one, but like the pushy broad I am, I’ve asked the question and await a response.

I’ve enjoyed this experience. And when my friends ask me, I tell them I would do it again. It’s a journey of discovery and all such voyages are good.

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