How well do we know our neighbors? Have we spent enough time with them to know where they come from or what their families’ histories are?
Well, let’s admit it. Most of us have no more interaction with our neighbors than the casual greetings or even some complaints every now and then- if we’re not too lucky.
But, have you ever thought that there might be more to this relationship than you’d ever imagined? Have you considered the possibility of actually being blood relatives with one of your neighbors? Sounds impossible? Let us tell you it’s not. In fact, it happened to two families in California a few weeks ago.
Kjetil and Zoe Njoten with their 10-year old son moved into their new house in the Los Angeles area just a few months ago- back when we had no idea how dramatically our lives would change soon.
They wanted to meet their neighbors, so they knew another family, Erik and Jan Strom and their 4-year old daughter, lived a few blocks away, so they exchanged the casual “Hi’s” every time they met.
But, then the pandemic came and everyone slowed down and took a step back on their routines, and that’s what these two families did as well.
At some point, there was an unofficial neighborhood get-together, where they had the chance to chat a little bit more about their lives.
“We all have Norwegian background,” Jen Strom told Inside Edition.“I was looking for some of my husband’s relatives from this island that I couldn’t find and I’d mentioned that to them.”
Yet, at first, it wasn’t easy for the Njotens to understand what island Strom was originally from, as they pronounced the name differently. The island is called Njoten, but in order to be more easily pronounced by English speakers, they also refer to it as “Newton”. Strom was looking for the latter and that’s why they had had no luck finding it until then.
Kjetil Njoten, who grew up on the same island himself, eventually asked if that was it- and it was.
When they realized they came from the same island, they joked about the possibility of being relatives too, which they thought would be crazy. Well, guess what! They are.
Once Strom had found out what the original name of the island was, he called his mom and asked her to look at their family history book for more information. The lady did as she was asked, and she soon sent her son a family photo featuring his great-great-grandfather.
Now, here’s the biggest surprise: Njoten’s great-great-grandfather was the exact same person. In fact, Njoten grew up in the same house the man had lived more than a century before.
In case you still haven’t figured it out, Strom and Njoten had just found out that they were cousins!
The families were excited to have found each other and now they can’t wait to hug each other and organize a huge party to celebrate this family reunion, once the pandemic is over.
“There are people from all over the country who are related to us who are interested in coming out and meeting and just participating in the story,” Erik Strom told CNN.
This story reminds us that even in times like these there are still positive experiences to share.
You can watch the story in detail in the video below.
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