The coming of 2016 felt like the world, the whole of humanity, was on the verge of something. I look around: The sunlight is much softer, hearts are kinder, and the atmosphere glows, making its touch less volatile.

I spent New Year’s with my family in the province. I was really anxious about it. The air was crisp and cold when I arrived, a gentle reminder of the coming onslaught of “hey ho’s,” fireworks, hugs, and warmth. The first blast of fireworks went off at exactly 11:11 PM. I smiled inwardly. I felt my heart beat fast as the countdown started. “Finally, 2015, so long, my friend! Adieu!” Farewells I’d never tire of. When the clock struck midnight, I thought of Snow White. Three minutes of fireworks left me in awe, jumping up and down, coins wiggling in my pockets, hugging and kissing grandma—some early 2016 memories. My 7-year-old cousin and I shared a bottle of apple-flavored beer, and he drank more than I did. Before sleeping, I wrote, “We will not flicker nor fade” in my journal.

I took a bus bound back to the city the next day. As we crossed the threshold of the place I once called home, I thought of all the pains I’d endured which had led me to grow. I whisper a prayer of gratitude. I knew right then that I’d keep roaming, moving, growing. And home will be a whisper away. ♦