Exile vs Immigrant

A few days ago, Renee and I were talking about how different moving to Jackson was compared to moving to Raleigh in 2007.

There are lots of ways in which it is different, but the biggest one for me is that we intentionally moved here to start a new life, whereas Raleigh felt like a place to live for a while.

Put another way, in Raleigh I was in exile, whereas in Jackson, I feel like an immigrant.

If you are in exile, you leave one place for another, but there is always the hope you will be able to return. Immigrants, however, plan on building a life in, and living in, the new place.

It’s like the difference between renting a home and owning one. The owned home will always be cared for more by its occupant because they have committed to it for the long haul. They are not just sleeping in a home but investing in it, caring for it with the hope that it will take care of them, too. The renter does the minimum because it does not make sense to invest in a place you will not be staying.

So we are immigrants here, and planning on being here for the long term. Here we will build new routines, be hospitable, and build unlikely friendships. We will work to take care of our new city, with the hope that it will take care of us, too.