Friday, March 14, 2008

The Mexican Identity Crisis

First off thanks for the Tripps for the cool widget. Although it probably over inflates my already over inflated ego. Does that make me a super-ego? I never did understand Freud.

On to my current crisis. For those of you who didn't know, in college I dated a Finn...That is an individual from Finland...Finland is in Europe...That's east of Boston for some of you less cartographically inclined readers.

Now the Finns are an interesting people. Their language is impossibly difficult. In fact it would probably be easier to learn to juggle without hands than to learn that language. I'm amazed their children can even learn it. Astrid you live next to Finland, couldn't you Swedes have done something during your centuries of domination to eradicate that language?

Besides the linguistic problems other difficulties existed in that relationship. Notable on the list was what can be described as a fierce ethno-nationalism amongst the populace that sometimes borders on xenophobic racism. Oh the fact that I kissed Wife before I broke up with Finland-Girl might have been another strain on the relationship, but I digress, race was the main issue. As with most Finns, Finland-Girl was fair skinned despite her dark hair. I on the other hand look like I'm either coming from a Bar Mitzvah or a Ramadan celebration. Needless to say her father wasn't pleased with the prospect of her dating me.

I mean honestly I look like a rabbinical student.

My ethnic ambiguity has actually been a source of great pride for me. Quite like our friend Sina I have been blessed with the ability to "pass" in nearly country bordering the Mediterranean and not look like a tourist. Indeed I've taken pride in my Franco-Scots-Mexican heritage to the point that I might have made a tiny oversight in my genealogical research. While my dad's family is 50% Scottish and 49% French (1% other, we don't like to talk about them (Irish)), my mom's family is 25% Mexican. Of course I tend to forget about that remaining 25%, largely because they've been in American since before the Revolution. I just assumed that they were English and quite frankly who pays attention to the English.

How surprised was I then to get the results from the mitochondrial DNA sample that my sister sent in to the Genographic Project (greatest Christmas present ever). For those of you not familiar with the Genographic Project they basically take DNA samples from you and trace the most dominant genetic line. For women this means they sample your mitochondrial DNA which is passed from mother to daughter. This means that they can trace the dominant female line genetically and based on mutations in your genetic code they can determine where people with your genotype constitute a large proportion of the population. Thus they can tell you fairly accurately where that line came from. They do a similar thing with men but using the Y-chromosome. Here're my results (okay actually my sister's but we're fairly confident we have the same mother):

As you can see, I quite clearly was dating my cousin in college. I must ask though if I have to have Scandinavian blood in my veins why can't I be one of the cool viking ethnicities like the Swedes or Danes. Why the Finns? They're like the Welsh or Arkansans of Scandinavia.

Here's another Matt Costa video. This guy rocks, thanks Ty.


Astrid said...

"They're language is impossibly difficult." Is this American college level? ;)

As for the Finns, we tried. They know Swedish though, at least most of them, so we got that far - compulsory Swedish classes at school.

Alissa said...

I've heard Estonian and Finnish are close as far as difficult languages go.

Also, the govt has your DNA? Don't you feel exposed?

La Yen said...

Astrid is on our shortlist of names.

And take it from me, the Jane Goodall of Mexico, stick with the Finns.

dastew said...

Astrid: I know its horrible how bad the American education system is, isn't it.

Alissa: If I wasn't on a government watch list before that, I'd be really surprised.

Yen: Yeah but Finnish food? Yucky!

Dwight said...

I don't speak much Swedish despite the 9 months I've lived here. Perhaps it is something in the water giving me Swedish pride. Whenever we drive, especially around Stockholm, and I see a Finnish truck it angers the blood. So many unnecessary vowels and other double letters. The Danes speak like they have a mouth full of taffy. Something they've infected upon southern Sweden. At least the Norwegians seem to be on par with Sweden and can only be mocked for superficial reasons. Which is probably good since my cousin will be there before the end of the summer on his mission.

Roy @ CNM said...

Nice post. As one of Scandinavian descent, I appreciate the discussion. I know nothing of my Swedish ancestry, but I feel great pride in it for some reason. Ditto with what Welsh I have in me.

Cami said...

awesome! - i'm going to look into that database. is it expensive?

Karyn said...

Figures you would get a college upper-grad rating! Way to go on being SO smart!

dastew said...

Cami: I think it's $100. It was an expensive b-day present. But since I got something out of it too I didn't think it was that bad.

Astrid said...

$100 isn't so bad. I'd only have to ban Dwight from McD 10 times to be able to afford that.

Coops said...

I missed this post somehow - but seeing as I am no longer smart enough to read your blog, I'm going to give it a break for a while ;)