Saturday, September 06, 2008

Exploring the Moko's ancestry

When I was in high school my mother sat me down one day and told me it was time to start looking for college scholarship money. So I went to my high school counselor, who was probably stretched a bit thin between me and the other 800 or so students he was assigned to. After asking me who I was and was I sure I attended his high school, he cut quickly to the chase and brandished a large, white binder: was my dad in the military and if so had he or any other relatives died in any wars? Was my dad a farmer, did I have a learning disability, or was I a daughter of the American Revolution? Did I own horses?

When I said no to all of the above, he flipped past the first two pages of the binder and then pointed to the remainder.

“Well, there are a lot of scholarships right now for minority groups. Are you a minority?”

If he was blind that probably would have been a normal question. But I think that somewhere between my freckled white hands and my green eyes most people can figure out that I am only a minority in the sense that the Luxembourgeois might feel like a minority next to the French. I gave him the look teenagers reserves for guidance counselors, parents, and the 7-11 guy who refuses to let you fill your slurpee in the biggest soda cup.

But then I leaned forward and looked at his list: I was a minority!

Because there, in the middle of the page, was the Welsh Heritage Scholarship.

All I knew about Wales came from my grandfather: we were Welsh, my ancestors had been kept from speaking their native tongue, and we were consistently overrun, overruled, raped, and pillaged by ugly Englishmen throughout the centuries. (I think at some point we married them, bred, and became English ourselves, but I could leave that part out of the application essay.)

Granted, I didn't really even know where Welshland was, but I was ready to declare my allegiance to my people in the name of cash for college. I got past the first screening round thanks to my Welsh last name, but abandoned ship when I realized I wasn't ready to meet all of the scholarship requirements, one of which involved achieving fluency in a nearly-dead language.

But--and sorry, I know this is getting long—the mystery of Wales remained until I arrived in England and reconnected with my Welsh roots. (Ha! Who knew? Wales is in England!) And how did that connection happen? Through chocolate of course. My co-worker spent a few weeks this summer in Wales and brought this sprinkle-covered, Welsh chocolate bar back to me.

And what can I say? Well, basically that I kinda get why the English just kept running us over. I mean, chocolate with sprinkles? That hardly screams 'mighty nation of bonecrushers.' It's more like 'nation of cupcake eaters.'

But maybe that's just me being bitter about having to pay for college...


2 comments:

Jon said...

layers of the onion (or dare i say gobstopper) of moko's mysterious identity begins to peel away. hopefully, some of the more outlandish rumours will now be put to rest...

Moko said...

Yes yes, so now you know I am part Welsh and I hate Cadburys and KitKats. Once you know my thoughts about peanut butter you'll have me all figured out.