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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Lamb

2024 begins with a flight


Panoramic view of the earth below from the window of an airplane. The wing of the plane is in close focus through the middle of the image, with the sunrise shining in the background, illuminating the sky and ground below.
Catching flights. Nils Nedel. December 2023. Unsplash.

Flights are booked, apartment reserved, packing list actively in the works, and the excitement continues to build. 2024 begins starts with an international flight! This isn't just any trip, though. For the first 3 months of 2024, I will be based in Rome, on a study abroad assignment through the University of Washington.


As a cohort, we will focus on the global refugee crisis - the multitude of reasons why people flee their homeland, the lived experience of refugees and asylum seekers, systems and policies, and local organizations that provide services. We will discuss, wrestle with, observe, and engage in field work on this critical humanitarian issue.


I'm excited, yet that feels incomplete in describing the emotions running through me. Excited, yes, but humbled, honored, and a little nervous that I will be seen as another white woman in over her head trying to appease guilt.


The truth is that I know I have experienced levels of privilege as a white woman. Yet, I have lived experience of leaving home and moving to a location with no external supports. Of having to leave an abusive relationship. Of picking up the pieces with no financial security and starting over. Again. And even though these experience are not the same as being forced to flee my homeland and never return, they give me a deeper level of empathy and a sense of responsibility to honor the hard work ahead.


This blog will be a space to share what I am learning and processing, the hard and the joy. It will also be a space to share the beauty and marvel of living in Rome for 2 and 1/2 months. The dichotomy is not lost on me, and I aim to share the juxtoposition of beauty and pain, joy and sorrow, and how they intertwine, like a rose bush.


So, I offer this space as way to join along this journey together.


Arrangement of flowers in shades of cream, yellow, and peach in the foreground. Sign behind the flowers is partially obscured, but cafè can be read. In the background is a bicycle propped on a stop sign in front of a shop, with Armani / Via Manzo written in the window.
Flower Vendor Street Cart in Milan. May 2006. Author's personal collection.

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