The coronavirus pandemic has had the surprising impact of helping two California neighbors discover they are not only from the same tiny Norwegian town, but are also long-lost cousins.
Kjetil Njoten, his wife and son moved to La Cresenta just a few months ago, not knowing the COVID-19 pandemic was about to blanket the world.
As they got to know their neighbors, Erik and Jen Strom, from a social distance, they learned that Kjetil and Erik both shared a Norwegian heritage.
"I was looking for my husband's relatives from an island I couldn't find, and I had mentioned it to them," Jen told Inside Edition.
The Stroms knew that the island Eric was from was called "Newton," which sounded awfully similar to Kjetil's last name "Njoten." And Njoten is also the small island, population 30, where Kjetil's family is originally from.
Astoundingly, after some digging, the two men realized it was the same place, with "Newton" being the English translation.
The neighbors who now live just four houses away from each other were not only from the same isolated island 5000 miles away, but they also share a great-great grandfather, making them cousins.
Now the families are looking forward to another milestone — that first hug once the lockdown is lifted.