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As I looked at the photo of my grandparents, who died oceans apart, I realized that every happy family is a tragedy, because it exists for a limited time only. Children grow up to form their own families, parents die, and the original family is lost forever. Every family is a civilization, and all of them decline too quickly. Immersing myself in the village had allowed me to extend my family a little longer and to expand its sphere to include many people who had been there at its beginning. I might be leaving, but the affection I had for my new extended family would travel with me.


In Lia, people who didn’t recognize me never asked, “Who are you?” but “Whose are you?” because they suspected they would know my family, and therefore understand why I was there.

Eleni N. Gage, North of Ithaka

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