Our First Valentine’s Day

It’s been a month since The Girlfriend and I celebrated our first (Western) Valentine’s day together. I’ve been wanting to write this for some time, but I’ve been quite busy to get started. Well… Let’s start first with presents! Everybody loves presents!

So… What did The Girlfriend get?

Well, I bought several hand-made roses (I didn’t know how to make them myself). They’re made of foam. I got 6 red roses and 7 white roses. So far, nothing special.
What I did next was to pick out one white rose…

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…And coloured it using a red and a black permanent marker.

Next, I put that specially coloured rose in the middle and you get…

A pokeball in a pokeball!

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Can you see the pokeball in a pokeball?

To top it all off, I had it wrapped in coloured rice paper and tied a ribbon around it. And voila! A beautiful bouquet for my beloved!

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Why a pokeball (in a pokeball)?

Haha… She’s not a fan of pokemon. Rather, I did it because of the slogan.

Nope… It’s not “Gotta catch them all!” It’s the other slogan – I CHOOSE YOU!!!!! =D

Haha… I tested this idea with several friends to see their reaction in the days prior to Valentine’s Day. Many of them thought that it was soooooooo sweet. A few just thought it was just plain cheesy. But the overall positive reaction and over-enthusiasm from many (female friends) who thought it was super sweet was enough to convince me that this gift would be most awesome indeed!

So, on Valentine’s Day, I handed my gift to her and – as hoped – The Girlfriend was overjoyed and gushing over how sweet it was. AWESOME!

In exchange, The Girlfriend gave me her very own hand-made gift! She told me that she had made something special for me, but she didn’t say what it was.

Initially, I was a little worried about how I would react to it because I usually don’t like receiving gifts (they take up space and I don’t usually have a use for them).

But The Girlfriend and her gift were truly awesome! The moment she unveiled the gift, I was in awe! My jaw-dropped, and I was just gushing over how sweet and professionally made it was! This has to be the most awesome gift that I’ve ever received. I don’t remember being super excited about receiving a surprised gift before. It’s so amazing!

She made this box! Look how amazing it is!

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It even has a tassel as a handle! Amazing! I’m amazed at how she was able to wrap the cloth around the entire box just like those Chinese gift boxes. And it’s so professionally done too!

There’s even a very touching card written inside as well! Words cannot adequately describe how moved I was.

This box and the contents in it are so precious to me, I’ve kept it next to my bed so that everyday, I can look at it before sleeping. I’ve also used the box to store things related to our awesome experiences together, such as movie/concert tickets, and other little things we’ve written for each other (and more).

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Anyway, it was very nice of her to write the words “緣份 (yuan-fen)” on it. Loosely translated, it means – destined to be together. More accurately, it means that our threads of fate were meant to cross paths at some point in time, and that we’re destined to bond so closely with each other that these, our threads of destiny, would become closely intertwined with each other, that the two threads become a single twine. But that’s not all! 份 (fen) means that fate will not separate us forever, but instead keep us always together as that single twine.

Here’s another very sweet thought… In the Chinese tradition, it was believed that a couple was destined to be together because, in their previous lives, they were so in love with each other, that both vowed to be together again in the next life. And so, both will eventually meet once again, fall in love, and, once again live together happily as husband and wife.

I like that idea. It’s very sweet!

The Girlfriend also gave me a peach (no photo because I accidentally deleted it. >_< ).

Why a peach? Well, from her hometown, there’s a tradition whereby single girls would toss an orange into the river. (Just one orange each) It was believed that the guy who picked up that orange would eventually become her husband. She wanted to give me an orange, but I’m allergic to oranges, so she gave me a peach instead. In fact, it reminded both of us about a poem from the ancient Book of Poetry (詩經 Shih-Ching):

投我以木桃、報之以瓊瑤。
匪報也、永以為好也。

She threw a peach to me;
I requited her with a jadestone.
No, not just as requital,
But as a pledge of eternal love.

One philosopher in particular wrote a beautiful commentary about this poem:

What a beautiful sentiment is here embodied! It is “simple in conception, abounding in sensible images, and informing them all with the spirit of the mind.” It fulfills the Chinese ideal of art: the impression should be as unfathomable as the ocean, while the expression should be as clear as crystal. In these few lines, the whole philosophy of love and friendship, which is the purest form of love, is shrined. For love does not count in terms of material gifts. Love is lavish. Love is generous. Love is the infinite, in the presence of which all mathematical and worldly distinctions melt and vanish into the air. Do you call it extravagant to return a greenstone for a peach? No, he says, it is not enough. She gives me a peach, because she loves me. I can only repay love with my love.

Commentary by John C. H. Wu (吳經熊), Beyond East and West (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1951), Chap. 5, p.44

“She gives me a peach, because she loves me. I can only repay love with my love.”

Indeed!

With that gift exchange, we began our two-day Valentine’s Day celebration (13 and 14 Feb). So, what did we do?

Well, first, we checked out the Raffles’ Museum of Bio-diversity. She was, after all, a lover of animals and had never been to that place before. We had lots of laughs joking about the exhibits while also admiring the amazing creatures that lurk around on this island.

But that wasn’t the highlight of the day yet!

We then made our way down to Sentosa to play! We walked around the resort area, checking out all the amazing and fun things around. After sharing a delicious gelato, we visited the Maritime Museum. There, we picked up the children’s activity booklet and had lots of fun. The children’s booklet was a passport. Basically, we were supposed to “travel” around the world, collecting passport stamps (we had to stamp the booklet ourselves). And that was precisely what we did! There was even a kids’ corner for us to build our own paper boats!

This was what we built!

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I love this picture of us holding the boat which we built together. I find it very very meaningful!

A relationship is like travelling on a boat together. There will be storms, typhoons, etc. – but there will also be beautiful sun rises, sun sets, clear starry nights, and all kinds of awesome sights and sounds along the way. The highest priority of travelling by boat? That everyone’s alright. After all, people who love sailing don’t sail just to get from one place to another. They sail for the sake of the journey itself! It’s the process of sailing that means a lot more to them than the final destination. That’s what a relationship is about – the process – for as long as we are alive, the relationship will always be an on-going process. There is no end-state where you can finally call it a day and go do something else, never to touch upon it again. No. We’ll both be sailing through life, making mistakes – maybe even wrecking parts of the ship – but we’ll also be maintaining and repairing it, while enjoying the beautiful scenery, and meeting amazing people along the way. That’s what – I think – a relation-ship is. (Pun intended. No apologies. =p )

After dinner, we enjoyed a slow romantic walk along the bridge linking Sentosa to the main island. And from there, we bought a bottle of wine and some ice, and made our way to this amazing bridge that’s more than 10 floors high so that we could lay back, enjoy a nice cool glass of wine, and the beautiful night scenery and the sky with the stars directly above us.

There, we did a countdown to Valentine’s Day. While waiting, we talked, we joked, we sang, we laughed. It was a night of music. The air was filled with love songs as we sang to each other.

And at midnight, it was – at last – Valentine’s Day! And with that, we marked the beginning of this beautiful day with a kiss before going back home.

The end of Day 1.

Day 2 was a simple celebration. We avoided the crowds knowing just how crazy it could get on such a day. It was just a nice stroll around Chinatown, going up to a little lesser known hill around the area to admire the brightly lit business district in the night. That beautiful sight was composed of tall skyscrapers adorned in multi-coloured lights. There’s something simply amazing about the way the various coloured buildings blend together to complement the darkness of the night. A while later, we went back to the very place where we held hands for the first time. And there we sat and chatted until it was late before sending her back home.

And that was how we celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together.

(If you’re a new reader here and you’re wondering why we’re sharing such stories, read “A Prologue to The Relationship” for the inside scoop!)