Last week, I described in likely far too many words how after only being told by my father as a child and then again as an adult, that my last name (and therefore my ancestry) was “Yugoslavian” (my father reasserted this claim even after Yugoslavia, which only really existed for a handful of decades, dissolved into the disparate factions that had been ruled over by a variety of entities for centuries–my father is an engineer, not a historian).
After a visit to the region in college, I “determined” that I was, in fact, Serbian, one of the many distinct nationalities that were once incorporated under the Yugoslavian flag. Then, as a result of a brutal and senseless war perpetrated by mostly the Serbs (which included accusations of genocide), I came to “believe” that I was Croatian.
I was under that delusion until this past Spring when I spit into a vial and sent it off to 23 & Me.
Now, before you judge me for willingly giving up my DNA to a company whose main purpose is to exploit my genetic information for profit (profit which they have no intention to share with me), save your breath (or keystrokes).
I have read all about the cons of voluntarily giving up my DNA and it really does not bother me as much as it apparently should. Why not? Pretty simple: I have tried pretty hard not to commit any felonies (unless you consider joining a bowling league as a crime against the state–if you do, let me know as we start “rolling” next week, so there is still time to back out). Yes, that information could potentially be used by a host of entities that would like to limit my freedom, but unlike Archduke Ferdinand I will (hopefully) cross that Princeps Bridge when I get there (those of you that picked up on what I did just there get extra credit).
My much anticipated 23 & Me report landed with a bit of a dud, but it did assert that I was not Croatian. Nor Serbian. And certainly not “Yugoslavian.” No, apparently I am of Slovenian descent (or at least the part of me that is associated with my last name).
Quick. Name a famous Slovenian.
If you are like me, all you came up with was Melania Trump.
Despite the revelation that I was no longer what I had believed I was for so many years (yes, I am ignoring the shared heritage I may have with anyone whose last name rhymes with “rump”), I still had an unquenchable desire to visit my (now former) “homeland” (a couple of generations on my father’s side were born in Cleveland–I have been there with little desire to return, so that is not what I mean).
I wanted to go back to Croatia, a country that I had visited briefly in college, but I had only been in Zagreb, the capital which is a couple hundred kilometers from the coast, for which the country is most known. Specifically, I wanted to see Dubrovnik, the “Jewell of the Adriatic” which had been badly affected by the war, but now, purportedly, has been completely restored to its former glory.
Just before school started up again for the boys, we decided to take a family vacation to Europe. The overwhelming consensus was to visit Rome, where none of the four of us had ever been. Through a bit of cajoling, I was able to convince my brood to include nearly a week in the Dalmatian (the coastal region of Croatia) capital of Split.
They also agreed, much to my glee, to take a trip down the coast and spend a day in Dubrovnik. I think I can safely say that both Split and Dubrovnik were memorable for all. Here are a few photographs of that day:
I’ll be back next week with a few more photos including a few that will get the Game of Thrones folk all excited!