Growing up, I'd never been away from my parents for more than two weeks. Naturally, we were all dreading dropping me off to college, over 5000 miles and two transatlantic plane rides away. The weeks leading up to our departure, I remember worrying that New York wouldn't live up to my expectations. Somewhere along the line, the city of lights, of dreams, of love, had been steadfastly romanticized to me—the books, the movies, friends and family who had visited—that it very quickly became the dream my overprotective, worrier of a father didn't want me to have; New York was dangerous he had heard, it was big, it was fast. Home, Accra, was the opposite. I'd lived in the same house and attended the same school and had the same friends my whole life. I didn't know how to start over—I'd never had to do it before. When I told my friend Kusi of my worries, he told me what I already knew, to take it one day at a time. A few days before I left, he gave me this decorative wall hanging. It had been a fixture in his room for as long as he could remember and he thought it would be of better use to me. He was right. I've hung it on the wall in every room I've lived in and in moments of overwhelming homesickness, winter, and loneliness, my eyes find the words and I'm filled with some semblance of relief and calmness, as if I were being given a big hug. It reminds me of home, it reminds me I'm love, and most of all, it reminds me, that contrary to what I think, I can, in fact, do this.
– Roshani Moorjani