My heritage quilt is by far one of the best accomplishments for last year. I really loved making blocks from flags that represented the countries my ancestors came from to the United States.
I'm 1/4 British, 1/4 Danish and 1/2 Slovakian. I'm so proud of that. I am proud that I had ancestors strong enough to come to a new country and risk everything because of their quest for a new religion or for hope of a better way to make a living for their family.
In particular, I'm especially grateful for my Slovak grandparents. My grandmother never spoke English and always wished to go back and visit family in Slovakia. My father always wanted to go see where his parents lived and go back to "the old country" as well. But neither of them made it. I am sure that I won't make it to Slovakia myself, either.
My daughter Chelsey is spending the summer working in Europe as a make-up artisit. She had the opportunity to accept work in Bratislava Slovakia this week. My dad would be so proud and happy to know one of his grandchildren was able to go back to Slovakia and visit the town where his parents grew-up. Chelsey and her friend rented a car and drove the 6 hour rural road from Bratislava into Bela Nad Cirochou, the little tiny village in the Snina area of Slovakia.
Chelsey tried to translate this via Google for me. I actually don't know much about the town of Bela and really I don't know much about the life my grandparents, Jacob and Mary Breton (Britan, Brittan) lived in Bela, except it was near a beautiful lake and was a green, lush area of the world.
I had no idea that there were very old castles in Slovakia. This castle is called Spis Castle. But apparently there are dozens and dozens of castles there.
One of the things I wanted Chelsey to do in Bela was to visit the cemetery. I understand I am related to most of the people in that cemetery. Britanova would be the feminine of Britan. When my grandfather arrived at Ellis Island either he or someone there changed the spelling of Britan to Breton. I grew up being a Breton.
Chelsey said the cemetery is very beautiful and there were flowers on nearly every grave. I was deeply touched by that. I think our ties to our ancestors are very strong and I'm sure they are incredibly happy to have Chelsey visit the village where our heritage still lies.