I just returned from a trip to another system. A cross between murky, moist Dagobah, lush and green Naboo, and a quaint, cobblestoned yet modern and vibrant metropolis unlike any I’ve seen in the Galaxy Far, Far Away, Ireland captured my heart for the seven days I was there and then released it to appreciate my own corner of the world. Being there brought Star Wars to mind.

My ancestors on my father’s side, the ones about whom I have information, hail from Counties Leitrim and Mayo in Ireland. Though I wasn’t able to visit those areas during my brief trip, I was there. In the country where my roots are. In the place my ancestors left to find better lives in the United States. As I listened to tour guides’ tales about the potato famine in the mid-1800’s and the 1916 Easter Rising and read the English side of plaques which were also written in Gaelic, I felt a kinship, a pull, a connection to the stories my very Irish grandmother told me as I grew up. I was aware of the piece of me that belonged there just as I became aware of the whole of me that belongs here in the U.S. I expected to be awed by my trip to my family’s homeland, but I didn’t expect to feel such a strong link to a place I’d never been before.

I believe that family includes more than “just” those who share one’s bloodline, but on this trip, which I took with my daughter, I focused on my blood relatives and the place of our origin. On what it is that binds us. What Force? Irish people have a common look about them that I also didn’t expect, a look that I see in the mirror every day. I also see it on the beautiful face of my daughter. One local gentleman quipped that she, “Looks more Irish than anyone here.” It’s true! She does. A man even stopped us and asked for directions on one of our first days in Dublin.

As much as we loved our time on the Emerald Isle, however, it isn’t the only place where our roots belong. Scotland, Germany, and for my daughter, Poland and England, also hold parts of our past. As Irish as she and I look, I wonder if we would find that same connection to these other countries that we did to Ireland? I find it difficult to believe that anyone would stop and ask us for directions in any of the other countries. When we were in Galway, I had an urge to pick up a handful of Earth and hide it away in my bag to bring a piece of my history with me, a Scarlett O’Hara-esque gesture of my appreciation for the land. I thought of Anakin Skywalker, of his telling Padme that on Tatooine the sand is, “coarse and rough and it gets everywhere.” I doubt Anakin ever had such an urge to carry a pocketful of his home system’s sand around with him. Padme, on the other hand, clearly adored the system of her birth. She didn’t want to escape Naboo; she wanted to find sanctuary there as she desperately fought to create a family with Anakin.

What connects the inhabitants of the GFFA to their home systems, and is that connection relevant in a universe where humanity is such a small part of the whole? Surely each species yearns for the place of its roots, feeling the plight of a diaspora, so far away from collective tradition.

Species are so individualized in Star Wars. We have distinct images of Twi’leks, particularly now in the form of Hera of Star Wars Rebels. There’s Kanan and Ezra, human males from Coruscant and Lothal respectively. Zeb, a Lasat from the Outer Rim world of Lasan. And Sabine, a Mandalorian human female who, I assume, has others in her home world who look much like her (I have to ask fellow CWK blogger Jay Krebs about my assumption about Mandalorians. She is the expert, and I most definitely am not.). Are these characters tied to their species, to their home worlds, to both, to each other? How does it actually work for them? Are humans from different systems more inclined to relate to those who are also from their home worlds, or doesn’t this matter at all in an environment where the inhabitants live and work and play and battle alongside not only different humans from different parts of the same planet but different species from distant worlds? Is it the same as we experience here on Earth, just on a much larger scale, or is it completely different?

As I mentioned, I was struck by the distinct, physical similarities of the Irish people. I don’t know the demographic of Ireland as well as I probably should, but it never occurred to me before this trip that I would find that physical similarity. Probably a small-minded oversight on my part as I think about it. I love that I am able to travel and see other places, but even more fascinating to me are the different people I meet and the ways they live their lives that are different from mine. I learn so much from other people’s ways.

One of the many things I love about Star Wars is its diversity of people and place. Species work alongside each other and do business with each other (often) without consideration of their differences. The Star Wars Rebels team is a great example. But you know what I would love to see? A Spock. A main character who is the product of two different species, a character who grapples with his inherent differences and is stronger for them. I can’t think of a character like this in Star Wars, not a main one anyway (thank you, D).

Hmmmm. Maybe there’s some potential from Kanan and Hera….. (wishful thinking!)

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As much as I cherish the opportunity I had to visit Ireland with my second born, whom I miss terribly (she lives 600 miles away), I am happy to be home in Pennsylvania. Time to catch up on Star Wars Rebels.

How would you feel about a Spock-like main character in Star Wars or perhaps to see the offspring of Kanan and Hera?! I’d love to know. And remember…

This IS the podcast you’re looking for!

Contact Pam at and on Twitter @pambruchwalski.

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  1. Jay Krebs
    August 13, 2015 at 20:25 Reply

    Very powerful piece, Pam!

    As soon as I read “I believe that family includes more than “just” those who share one’s bloodline”, I immediately thought of the Mando’a phrase “Aliit ori’shya tal’din”, which means “family is more than blood(line)”. It’s a connection, a force that tugs at our heartstrings, and nourishes one’s soul.

    Your visit to Ireland, as much as a pilgrimage as it was to your own bloodline, allowed you to make a much deeper connection – that of the land and the people as a whole. Being “irish” is SO much more than your heritage, as you felt in your heart. I LOVED the Tara reference of the land – you should’ve put some in a jar to bring home! …CAN someone do that? or would the TSA have you arrested for smuggling?!

    I think it’s interesting that you felt “at home” in Ireland because of the way you and your daughter looked. An unspoken rite of passage into a culture, almost. I imagine it made you feel even more at ease in an unfamiliar land.

    Not to go on a tangent, but the Mando culture was one of an intertwining of people, nomads, who bonded together for a common good. Not a bloodline, per se, and in the beginning with no actual homeworld (unless you count Concord Dawn, which is where you may get some common physical characteristics), and who would adopt orphan children without a second thought. So, to “look Mandalorian”, is somewhat of an oxymoron. Yet, the Mando families and their successors are of the strongest in the GFFA, in more ways than one.

    Love…LOVE the Spock idea. You know how much I adore Spock. Hera and Kanan? That would be interesting! 🙂 Being of two different species, although both humanoid, I wonder if intermixed children are even a possibility??

    Thanks for the kind shout-out, by the way! I’m not really an expert, just a simple girl…well, you know the rest! 😉

    EXCELLENT post! 🙂

  2. Pam Bruchwalski
    August 14, 2015 at 07:16 Reply

    Thanks so much, Jay! I knew you’d like the Tara reference…Spock as well! I really did have that urge, though. I wanted to bring a piece of that land back with me, representative of the piece of me that resides there. I do think there are laws about that, however, and I opted to bring a bottle of 12-year-old Jameson!

    Thank you for your description of the Mando family culture. I know far too little.

  3. Melinda
    August 20, 2015 at 08:34 Reply

    Superb, Pam! 🙂

    I have so much catching up to do here at CWK, and my plan really is to do so chronologically (going back a couple of months!), but I decided to go out of order, and visit your blog first. I knew it had to do with your recent visit to Ireland — my favorite country (that I’ve visited) outside of the United States. I felt an instant connection to the Emerald Island when we visited there a few years ago, and I haven’t an ounce of Irish blood coursing through my veins! 😉

    I think of the United States, and a few other countries, as examples of life in the GFFA — a melting pot of sorts. Not perfect. Sadly, nothing ever is. But here, people can and do live together, work together, play together without the thought of their differences. Like you, I think it would be wonderful to see a “Spock” show up as a major or secondary character in Star Wars (one of the films or series). There have been unions involving individuals from different species in the EU (Legends, to those who have come around to the new nomenclature 😉 ), and I think that’s wonderful! 🙂

    I wonder what would have happened at customs on this side of the Pond had you brought back a handful of Irish earth. When Caitlin and I flew home from England a couple of years ago, I forgot that I had tucked an apple into my carry-on bag. The two of us were waiting for our luggage to come down the carousel at O’Hare, and I felt this little nudge against the calf of one of my legs. I looked down, and saw the cutest basset sniffing about. My first thought — the pooch was someone’s companion dog, and just wanted to be friendly. I was about to pet the dog, when a kind, female voice said, “Please don’t do that ma’am.” I know there are strict guidelines regarding interactions with companion dogs. I rose and turned, and there, standing before me, was a customs agent in her uniform. “Have you any food items in your bag?” she asked very nicely. My first response was a simple “no,” but then it quickly dawned on me that I DID have the piece of fruit! What kind of trouble had I just gotten myself into?! I owned up to my faux pas, and apologized. The customs agent really was very nice, and asked me to retrieve it. I explained that I had totally forgotten about it (hence my not reporting it on my customs form) as I removed it from my carry-on bag. It had been a long day, after all, considering Caitlin and I got to Heathrow very early that morning, and then we had the long flight home. “This happens more often than people think,” she mentioned considerately. She took the apple, and then she and her friendly companion were on their way. Those dogs’ snouts are incredible! I wonder if one would have been able to detect earth from another land.

    It’s wonderful to travel abroad, isn’t it? 🙂 Of course, one doesn’t have to travel outside of the U.S. to see some pretty incredible landscapes that conjure ideas that one has traveled to a planet far, far away. Ever been to the Badlands in South Dakota? Now there’s a terrain that harkens to a lunar landscape! Take a walk through Sequoia National Park, and one feels as if one is on Kashyyyk. 🙂 I could go on, but this comment already is long enough. 😉

    I loved this entry, Pam. It was the perfect place to start. Because yes, there is no place like home. 🙂

    Welcome Home, Traveler!

    MTFBWY 🙂

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Pam is a writer, editor, mother, fangirl, and self-proclaimed geek from Pittsburgh, PA.

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