I went on a semester exchange to York England when I was in undergrad. Because of the constant excitement of new experiences and meeting new people and learning new things, I never really got homesick in my four months there, even though everybody warned me that I would.
But when I got back to Canada, I was depressed and discombobulated and disjointed for quite awhile. I talked to a friend who'd travelled a lot more widely than I had about these feelings and she said “You're theresick.” Theresick? “It's the opposite of homesick. You have all the same emotions when you come back from a journey as when you go but they're for the place that you left, not for the place that you come from. Nobody warns you about it so it's often much worse than homesickness.”
I went to a party last night for the people who were graduating this semester and that strange term kept popping into my head as I listened to people talking. Someone observed that the billboards for football tickets
were up again, just like when they arrived last September and that they'd like to go to a game but would be gone by the time this season starts. Others
talked of the strange feeling of not having anything to worry about,
nothing pressing in the back of their brain for the first
time in twelve months. Some talked of plans to meet again at future
conferences or during future travels. Someone talked about how the
Internet made it so much easier to stay in touch but it would never
recapture the shared experience of everybody being here together.
So many of the people who attend this program have a similar experience to the one that I had in England (or that many people have when doing any extended traveling.) You spend an incredibly short period of time with a small group of people in very close quarters, bonding before, during and after classes. Then, all of a sudden, it's over and you don't know when, if ever, you'll see these people again.
Most cohorts bond quite tightly but for some reason, there isn't as much interaction between cohorts and it wasn't really until second semester until I began to really get to know some of the people beyond those who started with me in January.
Mike Thibault is one of those people and today I got an e-mail from him that he'd sent after the party ended late last night. He was wrestling with some of those same mixed emotions and felt that this speech from Henry V summarized things in a way that he never could. I'm reprinting the speech he sent me with his permission – although I didn't get clearance from Billy Shakespeare.)
The Feast of Crispian is October 25 which roughly coincides with Fall convocation (October 20) which is fitting as well.
(Here's an MP3 you might want to listen to while you read this.)
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall see this day, and live old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian's
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother. Be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
Mike added this thought to the Bard's very appropriate words: