|The Loft store in Siam Discovery mall, Bangkok, near Valentine's Day.|
"Valentine's Day" has meant many different things to me over my lifetime. My guess is that it has for most of you, too. As school kids in the U.S. we exchanged simple single-sided cards with the others in our class, even before we had a glimmer of an idea what romantic love meant.
The onset of adolescence gave the entire concept of capital-L Love a whole new dynamic, one often fueled by raging hormones, and the holiday for some became merely a retail-driven means to an end.
If your first love was a lasting one, my hat's off to you. You're in a very distinct minority. For most of us there were a series of relationships that moved us along as we sailed our boats through the Tunnel of Love; some filled with happy memories we still cherish, but sometimes a few where the boat tipped wildly or capsized entirely, leaving us choking and sputtering in the water alone.
Over the years I've heard tales from excited friends in Thailand about new girlfriends, boyfriends and assorted beings in-between, and I've had my shoulder dampened with tears by friends there who were learning about the more trying lessons of love, too. It's another classic example of "same same, but different"... just not really all that different.
Love is love is love, I suppose. Everywhere I've visited on this planet so far I've observed people in love, and it never fails to give me at least a moment's pause to stop, smile and remember what it was like to be in that same sappy situation.
You don't need to know a word of the language and you don't need to know anything of the country's culture to appreciate it when you see it... all you need to know in your own heart is that love is, and acknowledge the proof of it right in front of your eyes.
Whether you already have it, inspire it, seek it or simply long for it today - I wish you love. Happy Valentine's day.
|Repeating one of my favorite images in Thailand: young love on the beach|