hedland you have my heart.

i am definitely one of those people who has a weird attachment to hallmark holidays like valentine’s day. blame it on too many romantic comedies in my most formative years or the remnants of being the product of divorced parents, but it’s something i know and accept about myself. give me any excuse to send someone a card in the mail, and i’ll take it. christmas, birthdays, valentine’s day. who knows, maybe someone will even get lucky enough for me to resort to sending president’s day cards this year.

i don’t know what it is about the days of the year with special titles, but they hold a dear place in my heart. i understand the common argument that we should be celebrating the things we celebrate on those days every day of the year. i also don’t see why it’s such a big deal that we give things a little extra celebration.

especially love.

love deserves it’s own day.

now, do i believe that love equates to overly priced red roses and expensive jewelry? of course not. (although if your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, then you are probably on the right path by celebrating love that way.)

good old saint valentine of rome did something that would make all sentimentals swoon. marrying soldiers forbidden to marry and ministering to persecuted christians. it’s exactly the kind of martyr that all good romantic tales need. i’m sure there’s a hollywood hit waiting to happen here folks. a modern twist on an old roman legend.

however, valentine’s day is not always filled with love. in fact the emphasis on love often sends people running in the opposite direction.

case in point: my 2010, 2011, and 2012 valentine’s days all happened right around a break up.

for us eternal optimists, we douse ourselves in self-love and go see blue valentine with two other love misfits and feel your heart sink when michelle williams tap dances to ryan gosling’s musical magic.

we cry over the beautiful handmade valentine cards our friends deliver to our doors. we convince ourselves that we are ready to embrace our new found freedom to experience love alone.

and then you are alone.

and your relationship with love evolves.

last year, i spent valentine’s day in india. we were on an airplane traveling from delhi to mumbai most of the day, but as our taxi drove us to our hotel along marine drive, you could feel the love in the air. it was thicker than the hot indian air. the entire city coast of the arabian sea was lined with couples sitting in the dark soaking in the bright lights of the endless skyline.

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some people find this an absolutely horrible place to spend valentine’s day in mumbai. but for me, it was beautiful. no was alone. it is impossible to be alone in a country so filled with people. so filled with love.

i felt that stupid grin come over my face and stay there motionless as i flattened my nose against the taxi window, staring out into the faceless sea of people celebrating the forbidden love of centuries ago.

today is valentine’s day (in my timezone), and i have again found myself in a foreign land. only this year, it doesn’t seem like such a big day for me. every moment of this year has overflowed with romance. by romance, i mean this definition: “the colorful world, life, or conditions depicted in romantic tales.” or maybe it’s this one: “a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention.”

sometimes i can hardly tell the difference.

every day in this small remote town has felt filled with love. a love for the person waking up next to me, a love for the new experiences, and an immense love for the landscape surrounding us.

so in gratitude to this, here is my goodbye valentine to port hedland: a sea of storms, sunrises, and sunsets transforming every day into valentine’s day.

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