October 02, 2009
Student discovers Swedish heritageExploring various cultures has always been something that excites me, especially when it's my own. My great grandfather on my mother's side of the family was born in Sweden and came to the United States when he was still very young. In fact, I had the privilege of meeting his brother's grandchildren and great-grandchildren about two years ago when I traveled to Sweden.
My mom, sisters, cousins and grandmother joined me and it was quite an adventure, especially when my grandmother lost her passport. But that's beside the point.
I was quite impressed with how well most of them spoke English. My one cousin, Christopher, spoke with such a high English vocabulary. I found out later that he was an important political representative within the Swedish government.
I also found it fascinating that my other cousin, Christian, is deaf and could read lips in three different languages. He also knew Swedish and English sign language.
The point of this story is not to simply fill you in on my Swedish background, but to give you an example of how it is truly intriguing to explore your own culture and background. I wanted to figure out exactly where I came from, and what a better way than to travel there?
Recently, my cousin Andreas came over from Sweden to visit me at school and brought along his friend, Tim. They had such a great time. They shared with me their thoughts on the United States, seeing as it was their first time over here. Andreas mentioned his favorite part of the trip was eating the food. I couldn't believe it. He also said everyone was nicer here. That surprised me too.
They re-taught me some Swedish, seeing as during the past two years I've forgotten even the basic words. The thing that I loved the most was realizing that Andreas is not just my cousin, he's my cousin from Sweden. He's different from all of my other cousins because he represents where I came from.
I plan to visit Sweden again. It's almost like a second home to me, even though I've only visited once. Knowing I have family in another country that speaks a different language and live in a completely different culture inspires me to learn more about them. After all, Sweden is where my family and I came from.
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