Our hotel concierge was wrong. The sky lanterns, the ones you light up with a flame and release into the night sky, actually are going up tonight all over the city of Chiangmai, and fireworks still happened, just perhaps on a lesser scale. The viewing of the sky lanterns being released was not as picturesque as it is during the Yi Peng Festival, when they are traditionally in unison released, as the New Year’s sky lanterns release was really started because of its popularity with foreigners (like us), but it was still beautiful. We released one at a temple near the Thapae Gate, and thank goodness that it actually released properly and floated up into the sky with some others. We saw so many that failed to release, caught fire, and got stuck up in trees. At Thapae Gate, the local firemen were ready in the event of an emergency and had their fire trucks lined up at the center of the square.
2016 is ending. It’s been an intense year with our wedding, travels, Hillary vs. Trump, Trump disgustingly winning the 2016 presidential election despite being a complete racist, sexist, and ignorant moron, and work becoming tumultuous for me. It has been a bittersweet year, one where I’ve gotten more emotional and angry about politics than I ever have before, a time when I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude for family and friends flying from all over the world just to see Chris and me exchange vows, and for their generosity in donating to my AFSP fundraising efforts. I hope 2017 has more positivity in store for us and the world, and that despite a Trump presidency that progress will still happen. I am hopeful in spite of the odds because if I weren’t, I probably wouldn’t be here today. If we don’t have hope, we have nothing.