Around this time last year I asked Carlos if I could order the DNA test for my birthday present. Ever since then Carlos has been wanting to do his own DNA test, but has always balked at spending the money on it. I decided that since my birthday is coming up again, this year my present will be Carlos’s test. You may wonder how something for Carlos is a birthday gift for me, but I’m just as curious about his results as he is, and I can think of few things I want that would be this much fun. So we ordered the test today. Below is my interview with Carlos to see how he’s feeling and his thoughts on the topic. Because I already covered the “how to” of the DNA test in Part 1 when I did mine, we’ll skip discussing the technical aspect of Carlos’s test. Part 4 will be posted when we receive his results!
Tracy: How are you feeling about the DNA test? Nervous? Anxious? Excited?
Carlos: I’m not really nervous, more curious than anything else.
Tracy: What do you think you’ll find out? Any predictions?
Carlos: No, I’m not sure. No idea. Maybe that I’m mostly indigenous?
Tracy: Why do you say that? Did anyone in your family speak an indigenous language or anything?
Carlos: I don’t know, because of my skin color, I guess. No one in my family spoke Náhuat that I know of, I don’t know if older generations spoke it.
Tracy: What do you already know, or think you know, about your roots? What family stories, recipes, or traditions did you have growing up that offer clues to your ancestry?
Carlos: I don’t have any clues. My family didn’t pass down traditions the way people do here [in the United States]… I mean, my family’s traditions were like everyone’s traditions – just Salvadoran traditions, Salvadoran culture.
Tracy: Were both sides of your family Catholic?
Carlos: Yes, as far as I know.
Tracy: Who are the oldest relatives you remember, and what do you remember about them?
Carlos: My mom says some of her father’s side of the family was light-skinned, but for my dad I don’t really know anything. My dad looked more Japanese than anything, and his mother looked Asian too.
Tracy: Your mother’s side of the family, as far back as you know, was from Chalatenango and your father’s side was from Ilobasco, right?
Carlos: Right, as far as I know. I don’t know any family history farther than that.
Tracy: Wait, you told me a story once about one of your family members in Europe, didn’t you? Who was that? Was she born in Europe?
Carlos: Oh, that was one of my [maternal] grandfather’s grandmother’s sisters…I think. She was born in El Salvador but she learned French and went to be a nanny in France. During World War II they had to flee and the family got separated. She took the child up to the mountains and kept him safe. When the family was reunited they were so thankful that they took care of her the rest of her life.
Tracy: She stayed in France and died there?
Carlos: No, she came back to El Salvador but they sent her money the rest of her life… Something like that. I’m never sure about these stories.
Tracy: Anyway, you said she was born in El Salvador, so that wouldn’t make you French.
Tracy: What if you get a really unexpected result? Do you think you’ll want to explore that culture and your roots a bit more?
Carlos: Yes, definitely.
Tracy: When I got my results I shared them with my sisters so they would know more about their heritage, but you don’t have any full-blooded brothers or sisters; all your siblings are half-siblings. Do you think you’ll share your results with any of them even though they won’t know what parts of your ancestry results are also theirs?
Carlos: No, it’s more for me to know, and for our boys to know the other half of their heritage.