Archives for the day of: March 9, 2014

I'd say my #GEDMatch #DNA eye color predictor was pretty spot on

This DNA thing has been a waiting game. Order the kit- wait. Spit in a tube and drop it in the mail- wait. Get your results- FREAK OUT. Upload to GEDMatch- wait. Get mom tested- wait. Add like two more waits in there. I’m actually still currently waiting for three different things to process. Turns out this process is not for the impatient. It’s hard to be patient when it feels like each step just might be the step that gives me a piece of critical information to piece together the identity of my biological father.

As of this week, for the first time in my life I now KNOW something. Not just assume. I KNOW. I know my father is just a little under half Ashkenazi Jewish. I’ve never said anything about my father that included the word “know”. I always kind of assumed he had dark eyes since I am the only one in the family who has dark eyes. I figure he was short, since my mom is over 6′ tall, and I’m 5’4″. Part of me assumed he was a musician, since my mom was probably into that at the time. All of these things were speculation, daydreams, me piecing little tidbits of information together- but nothing concrete. Until now.

I was driving to Chipotle on December 15th when my first set of results came back. I glanced at my phone (at a stoplight, obvi) and I saw “Your AncestryDNA results are in!” My heart stopped. I pulled over.

My hands were shaking as I pulled up the website, logged in, and looked at the first data I had available. My ethnic background. 80% was completely as I expected. Western European- my German heritage was no mystery. The other 20% was completely new to me- Ashkenazi Jewish. My head swirled! I had always assumed I had some sort of hispanic background, but I was incorrect. My ancestry was also speckled with different areas of the Middle East. I felt exotic :) I finally had an answer to the question I had been asked since I was a teen- what are you?

My next step was uploading my raw data to a 3rd party site called GEDMatch. It’s a free service that regardless of which testing service you utilized, you can upload your results and have one big shared database, and access to more matches. My plan was to spread my “net” as far and wide as possible, and then (surprise, surprise) wait. The goal would be to have my contact information out there, and hopefully at some point a close relative such as a first cousin or sibling may eventually get tested and give me a close lead. This could be a process spanning years, but at least I was starting.

The GEDMatch upload took about 12 weeks to process, but it finally tokenized. It arranged a whole new set of matches for me to explore, and plopped one at the top, who I decided to reach out to. He had a website and a blog all dedicated to genealogy, so I thought he would be a good place to start. I sent a message introducing myself to this guy, and we did a little corresponding. He lives in Jerusalem. After a few emails, he asks where I was born and my maiden name. I tell him I was born Molly Melinat, in Fairbanks Alaska.

“Oh, I have a cousin in Alaska”

I love the #architecture of the #EastCoast

I enjoy public speaking. I know it’s this weird thing to enjoy, and for tons of people it’s something they have nightmares about or it’s practically considered punishment. I will be the first to admit I assume it’s because I enjoy being the center of attention. I’m talkative. I’m articulate and can be charming in a crowd. I light up during presentations and it’s a thrill to have people hanging on your every word. While I have managed to parlay this little skill into a career, it’s not to say I don’t bomb the occasion presentation. 100% of the time it’s because I let insecurities turn into nervousness. It’s not the nervousness of presenting- I like that part. It’s this weird fear that the information I’m presenting is bullshit. Like, regardless of the source, someone is sitting there thinking “ughhh she’s so full of it. All this is wrong”

I’ve managed to get over this for the most part, but where it still trips me up sometimes is the fact that I’m often in a position to present medical concepts to doctors.

Talk about intimidating.

I failed Chemistry in college, which is why I’m not writing about my adventures as a dental hygienist. I ended up a communications major, which may be the exact opposite of a BS in anything.

So flash forward today, and I had to jet to St Louis to conduct a training for 18 plastic surgery residents and 2 attending physicians. I was terrified. Last night I must have reviewed my slides and studied proton mobility of aqueous solutions 100 times. I slept poorly. My stomach hurt when I woke up. I tried to get ahold of my inner voice and say “Self: you are going to do great. You know your stuff. You are prepared. Plus you’re bringing them breakfast and gifts.”

As soon as I got in, everyone was so kind and thankful for the catered breakfast. My presentation went beautifully, I was able to handle most questions (and even surprised myself a few times).

The hands-on demos and training went even better. Everyone was so gracious and thankful for the time I spent with them. It finally made me wrap my mind around the whole thing- yes, they’ve been to medical school, but they don’t necessarily know what it is I’m teaching. I’m adding to their wealth of information and helping them serve their patients more completely.

I feel like I took my fear head on and came out a better and more confident presenter. Mission accomplished.