Sunday, September 13, 2015

September 13, 2015

As far as the residence and job, nothing has changed since April. But almost everything else has changed. I now am making enough money to afford such niceties as DNA testing and vacations. The fact that I am getting paid vacations helps too. I found out I probably am a nicer person when I'm not in New York and not around this culture. And after my vacation which ended 10 days ago, I could survive outside the United States (and probably thrive, if not for international immigration requirements).

In May, I took an autosomal DNA test sponsored by It showed I was primarily of Western European (i.e. German, Dutch, French) and Irish origin. I had so little British/English DNA in my sample that it made me question whether the woman I knew as my grandmother Hazel (who was born 104 years ago in Toronto to Worcestershire native parents) actually was my biological grandmother. I later found a Worcestershire DNA match on Ancestry that could only have been related to me through my grandmother's family. For most of the matches that showed up on there (and GEDMatch and the free version of FamilyTreeDNA), I have no idea how I'm related to these people. And the autosomal DNA test never showed me where exactly my Clarke ancestors originated. I have since ordered a more expensive Y-DNA test that should reveal where the Clarke family came from and hopefully find other Clarkes. As far as I know, I'm the last one. My parents are long gone, and my estranged sister is technically a Johnson (of the Tennessee Springer-esque branch). In June, after she threatened to have me arrested over calling a welfare check on her (which resulted in her institutionalization for being suicidal), I cut her off completely.
I figured out how to get vacation time from my job, and used the money I was saving for a car towards my first extended international vacation. To Ireland. In a lot of ways, Ireland is similar to the US. They speak English (with accents just as hard to follow as Americans from the rural South or Northern Appalachia). They listen to the same music that Americans do. They have HD and satellite television, internet, wi-fi, malls, buskers, nice cars, western style housing, and a more advanced bus and railway network. But cars are driven on the left side of the road. The currency is in euros, with anything smaller than 5 euros ($5.50 US) in coins instead of paper money. And the locals are super nice and polite- to the point that they would be easy pickings for con artists and evil-doers if they ever stepped foot in New York. I probably felt more at home in 5 days in Ireland (where I had never been before August 29) than I did in the last 10 years in America, even with the bilingual signs and instructions in Irish (a language I am far less familiar with than Spanish, or French, or Creole). But it would take a high paying job offer, a Mega Millions jackpot, or a marriage offer (from an Irish woman who could still tolerate me after several weeks) before I could ever think of renouncing my American citizenship and move there.
And wherever I end up, I can now claim to be a published writer. Not for my musings on the obscene state of New York and Washington politics, but for my songwriting and poetry abilities. Two of the lyrics to my songs (Ask and Piping Plovers) and 8 other original works were added to the Holy Apostles writers' workshop anthology that was published in June. I got to read some of my works at a public reading on June 25.
The workshop is starting up again on the 17th. However, I don't know if I can attend any of the workshops with my current work schedule.

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