From the left – my Great Grandma Hjort, my Great-Great Grandma Lena Olsen, and Louise Hjort – we called her “Auntie Bis” – Bis is my Grandma Leone (Hjort) Ness’s sister…year? I will get back to you on that…This is Mom’s side of the family…

I NEVER take for granted that I know of (and have pictures of) my ancestors. These ladies remind me that I come from solid Norwegian stock. Hearty souls as my Dad used to say.

I like to look at this picture in times of stress or doubt as a beacon of strength, joy and connection. How cool it would be to sit with my Mom and have coffee with all of my (our) Grandma’s….sigh….I would want to know their opinions on EVERYTHING. I would want to know about their childhoods, their dreams and their struggles.

This summer I get to travel to Norway part of a 10 country tour of Europe and Scandinavia with Semester at Sea. I have an incredible opportunity in ways I probably cannot even imagine at this point. I am not sure what Norway will hold for me – I most likely will not be able to track down actual relatives – but I am hoping to have some kind  of feeling of being in my Home Land 🙂 Film at 11.

These are my ancestral roots. I have also created roots in every place I have ever lived – including this 14 year stint in Rochester. Older roots here look like wonderful and extensive networks of friends, neighbors, co-workers, volunteer pals, and sailing buddies. Newer roots here look like the 100 year old home I’ve lived in for 5 years, my 4-year-old garden AND having my book on the shelves at Wegman’s (I am really proud to be able to say that)!

More important than the geographical roots are the relationships. Family across the US, friends from shore to shore and overseas are the root system just below the surface. In spite of the distance, it grounds me to remember their faces, their kindness, their wisdom.

I can only hope I am helping ground nephews in some of the same ways…and I hope all of my Grandma’s would be pleased to know I am paying it forward – from Norway to Florida…

Who are your roots?

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin


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