To get a better understanding of my identity, I completed the Ancestry.com DNA test, and this is what I found out.
I've always been interested in history, stemming from my own personal family heritage that was told in fragments throughout my life.
Coming from Polish grandparents who survived a German concentration camp in WWII, there wasn't a lot of happy stories about their life and as such, I never heard much of it.
But their story remained unresolved, their lack of presence like an open wound that got bigger as I grew older.
And as I knew my heritage from my mum's side, (or thought I knew), I felt as though I was half full in knowing where I belonged in the world.
While I spoke with my cousins and found some documents online, it wasn't enough to make me feel connected. So, it was then that I ordered a DNA kit from Ancestry.com to find out where I came from, and to get the answers that my father's side wouldn't tell me, or weren't able to.
Image credit: News.com.au
I needed hard evidence, and this was going to tell me. For $99, I ordered the kit from Ancestry.com.au which arrived in a white cardboard box, including a plastic vial and several clear packets inside.
It looked very scientific, which I liked as it gave me more confidence, and after adding saliva into the vial, sealing it in a plastic packet and posting in a smaller cardboard box, I just had to wait.
Around six weeks later, I received an email saying my results were ready to view. My DNA had been tested at their lab and my entire heritage lay unopened in this email.
With high anticipation, I opened my results and saw a great, sprawling yellow shape over Eastern Europe.
I barely noticed the tiny orange dot on the east coast of Australia, as I became so filled with pride that I could see 'me'.
On the right, the results detail the percentage of ethnicity from each country. I knew my grandparents were Polish, but I was still excited to see that I'm 46 per cent Eastern European. Almost exactly half of me.
The second strongest ethnicity is Irish and Scottish, being 30 per cent - which was a surprise in itself, as I always thought my mother's side was predominantly English.
But it was the little names and numbers below that excited me the most, as up until now, I had never known of this information about myself: 8 per cent Baltic, only 7 per cent English and small amounts of Scandinavia.
I had recently discovered immigration papers from my paternal grandparents travelling to Australia, as well as my grandfather's processing documents from the concentration camp, so this experience felt even more raw and heartfelt.
I had been told throughout my life that I looked like my grandmother, and on the immigration paper, I found a photo of her as a 24 year old, already with two toddlers awaiting a new life.
Sharing my experience with my family, especially my dad, led hearing of happy memories and stories about her that I'd never heard of before. My continuing interest also intrigued my dad to take ownership of his heritage, and at the age of 63, apply for a Polish passport.
I've since bought DNA kits for other family and friends who have shown interest in finding out more about their heritage, with some discovering they were largely another ethnicity they never knew about.
While it may not change anything, it certainly makes you feel something - and sometimes, that's more powerful.
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