In the winter of 2006, when I returned home for Christmas break, I spent my first week in Galle, a port-city on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It had been a year and a half since I last came home, a year and a half in which I began to sense, with urgency, that something had gone terribly wrong with the way I had run away to America. Professors, books, and friends brought me faceto-face with the fact that it was more than just the liberal arts education that drew me to the US. I was beginning to realize my move was inextricably connected to global currents of power and colonialism. So, during my 2006 winter break, I returned to the country I thought had little to offer me (save perhaps its curries – my tongue stubbornly retained the relationship the rest of my body and mind tried to break), aching to see what I had blinded myself to while my eyes turned westwards. It was fitting then, that in my first week home, I found myself in Galle.

Colonialism was woven thickly into the history of Galle. It was Galle that the first Portuguese ship washed into in 1505 beginning the first wave of colonization. It was also in Galle that the Dutch built their sprawling fortress during the second wave of colonization. Colonialism, which seemed a distant phenomenon when I studied it in school, now felt intensely close. Traveling to Galle I wondered how I would react to its presence in the old buildings of the city. I would soon see that it was a place of many revisits and reconfigurations. But before I venture into my time there let me first describe my own return home.