Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all out there! I’ve just gotten home and thought I’d reflect on this syrupy sweet day in which we celebrate our concept of love once openly once a year. Growing up in the US, I can remember as a child in elementary school how much I enjoyed Valentine’s Day as we would make those little Valentine boxes or pouches to hang in the front of the classroom. Then of course you’d go with Mom to the grocery store, K-mart, Wal-mart…whatever….to chose the little pack of cards you wanted to give your classmates. Then you’d go home and write to Jason, Chris, Mark, or Debbie on the front of the little white envelopes and write your name on the card inside 20 or 30 times. Then the big V-day arrived and we’d go up one by one to put everyone’s card into their pouch. I remember how much I enjoyed tearing into each little card and there were always a couple of candy/cards thrown in for good measure, right? I just loved the whole tradition as a child, so I made the best of the day with my students here as well. We made cards for them to take home to whoever, and then we made some cute little heart shaped necklaces from pipe cleaners and beads to take home as well. It was a cute and relaxing day, and i think the little ones enjoyed it.
Then it was off to Siam Paragon to buy my Valentine his present and you’d have thought it was the mad day before Christmas rush again. There were sooooo many people there carrying over sized stuffed animals, bouquets of flowers, chocolates, and all the other cutesy stuff that you wouldn’t want were it not Valentine’s Day. The Thais really, really, really get into the whole spirit of Valentine’s Day and why not i guess, right? I was thinking I was going to write about my concept of love for today, so bear with me as I explore this train of thought here for you. I honestly think I learned to love from my family. I have the good fortune of coming from a very caring and loving family, where warm hugs and kisses where never in short supply when we were growing up. Sure we had arguments, and there were certainly rough patches through the years as i grew to be a man, but their love was always unconditional. My Mom and Dad still flirt with each other to this day after all their many years together, and I see their love as an example of what I always assumed I’d find myself. It is like that with all my family members and I have learned to appreciate this fact as I get older. Then of course there were the endless stream of Disney movies i watched, and no matter the trouble or fabulous villan, there was always a happy ending because Prince Charming was always there in the end to save the day.
However, I learned as I grew up that not everyone has the same concept of love as I do. Sometimes people don’t grow up in loving homes, and sometimes there can be enough heart break to make a person lose faith in the capacity of others to love or love them. Also, I think love can be very culturally based because I have learned the word “love” can be used quite easily here in Thailand. Is love simple? Is love only as complicated as we make? I’ve had boyfriends here over the years, and there have been some similarities in the way they professed their love for me. In the west, or in at least where I’m from, your lover/partner/husband/wife…whatever….was number one in your life when you made a commitment to each other. Partner, family, work, friends….or something along those lines are how I approach love and priorities in my life. However, It is not so here. I have noticed that the priorities seem to line up with family first, work second, friends, and then partner last or partner on equal grounds with friends. It has been that way with each love interest i’ve had here over the years and I have had to learn to adapt my concept of love and personal priorities as time has gone by. I hope that made some kind of sense, and you didn’t pause to scratch your head when you read through it.
So, I’ll close here and wish everyone lots of love out there, whether you want it or not! I have the privilege of loving so many of you out there in so many ways, and I’m happy to get the chance today to say so. Give yourself a hug from me, and now I must finish writing out this card I bought earlier and go get ready to have my own little Valentine dinner with my guy tonight. Love and hugs to you and of course…talk to you again soon!