Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. And while it is true that literature and history contain heroic, romantic, glorious, or even triumphant episodes in an exile’s life, these are no more than efforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement. The achievements of exile are permanently undermined by the loss of something left behind. Edward Said, Reflections on Exile
It’s not fair to compare an academic’s life to that of a true exile, but these words have haunted me since the beginning of this journey. We are all in exile as we move toward our new homes – intellectually, physically, emotionally. It’s the reconciliation of the past to the present and all the possibilities of the future that need meeting in this space, even as we unravel who we were to become who we will be.