You know how the older we grow, the more things that used to have so much meaning and importance seem to slowly not mean so much anymore and become just...another thing, another day?
Birthdays used to be like, wow. I'm turning 15 tomorrow. I'm older now!!! And when I opened my eyes on my birthday morning, I used to feel this dramatic feeling overwhelming me. Like, wow. I AM 15! Form 3 now!! Like suddenly I felt like I moved to another stage of life. And I felt special for the entire day like there's this glow on my face and bounce in my steps.
And now it's like, yeah I'm turning 25 tomorrow. Don't really feel any older nor wiser, but yeah let's go for spa and have some good food to celebrate with my loved ones. All I think about now is just to rest, eat, and hoping that fine lines and wrinkles don't appear so soon. Don't want surprises or anything dramatic. I just want to have a peaceful rest day where I can relax and eat.
Same goes for Valentine's Day.
I used to judge older couples who never made any effort to plan on how to celebrate Valentine's Day. They'll say stuff like, "Aiya no need celebrate wan la. Everything so expensive, everywhere so many people. Celebrate another day lo. Everyday also Valentine's Day ma." And when I heard that I would feel very sad for the girlfriend or wife. I mean, every girl wants to feel romanced and appreciated. And Valentine's Day is another day to shower love and make someone you love feel special, so why not! Why so killjoy!
I used to feel very strongly about celebrating Valentine's Day, and get annoyed when people say V-day is overrated and commercialised, and only fools in love get sucked into the system. Used to think that it's a really sweet and romantic feeling when you know that you're celebrating love together with the rest of the world, and pride myself in being one of the many fools in love. #jiwang
I never expected to one day say this, but yeah, things seem to have changed! Here's how.
Valentine' Day, 10 years ago:
I would have started planning for Valentine's Day at least 2 weeks before Feb 14. Back then we were both students and had limited budget, so instead of buying presents, I made cards for Boon. I would go to bookstore to source for the best and most unique craft papers of all textures and colors (I was a big craft fan last time...til I got too busy for leisure sobs*), and started designing, planning, making, modifying, and changing designs again and again until I felt satisfied with it, until I felt it was good enough for Boon. It was a BIG project for me. Along with our monthsary and birthday and Christmas hahaha!! It was never-ending planning of giving gifts back then, and I was fun and exciting!
There was also limited access to the Internet back then, so the sneaky me would go to bookstores/gift shops like Memory Lane and look at Valentine's cards to steal inspirations. Whenever I see any good Valentine's quotes or poems, I would copy them into my phone. Back then there was no smartphone with camera, and not even digital camera pls! No apps in my phone to jot down notes. So I opened my 'Write Message' box on the legendary Nokia 3210, typed down the quotes and poems into several messages (cos one message only can contain 140 characters haha!!), and saved them into drafts. Go home, write them all down onto my notebook and start planning and see which ones suit my card the most.
That's not all! I would get a nice craft envelope to place my card too. The card was sacred and represented all my love and affection to my Valentine, and it was utmost importance to let him know that he meant a lot to me.
When I was 15, my pocket money was literally non-existent. And I remember that year, CNY was before V-day, so each angpow meant that I was one step closer to getting Boon a good gift! When I collected all my angpows and after giving back to my parents to give to other kids (sobs* such is life ain't it), I specially requested from my dad to allow me to keep some for myself. In the end I bought a RM129 G2000 black shirt for Boon. The most expensive item the 15 year old ever bought in her life! It felt painful to part with so much cash, but excited at the thought of him receiving the gift!
That's not all! I went to Memory Lane (again), brought along the shirt, folded nicely and placed it into a nice, rectangular silver box (that Boon is still keeping now, where he stores all the cards I gave him last time), and have the sales assistant tie a nice blue-colored bow over it. Kept the box in my closet for weeks until I could meet him and pass to him. The wait was torturous cos I was too excited!
That was me 10 years ago, and that was Valentine's Day to me back then.
Valentine's Day, 2015:
This year for Valentine's Day, we briefly asked each other what we wanted to do today, and we casually said, "Hey why don't we cook at home? Buy like steak all then have candle lit dinner?", and the talk stopped there. And I forgot about it. I really thought it was just an idea that we casually suggested for fun.
Few days before Valentine's Day, I asked Boon, "Eh dear what's our plan for Valentine's again ah". He said, "I thought we said we wanted to cook at home?"
When I heard it, it rang a bell and I was reminded of it. BUT, I'd been really busy and tired, and the thought of buying groceries and cooking just felt like it was too much work. So we decided to just go with the flow and see what happens (see the stark difference from 10 years ago?).
So Valentine's 2015 started with us going for brunch with some of my blogger friends and their plus ones at Underground Societe, Sunway.
Happy 11th Valentine's, honey!
Still the same pattern. Sometimes I feel like he never grows up, which I kinda like haha!
We stayed back with Karen and her bf, Wyman and chatted til 3-4pm. That's a 5-hour brunch, but it was fun. It felt nice to just sit and chill, not having to rush anywhere.
We went home to change and freshen up, and went to church! It was great to spend a part of our Valentine's Day in church, learning about love and being with the Valentine of our souls.
Went to the washroom, came out and saw silly boy holding a bouquet of flowers he got from our church florist while chatting with our friends. When I saw it I couldn't stop laughing. I thought it was a funny sight. Ok la, it was sweet but I still felt it was funny haha!
So yes, he asked me where I wanted to dine and do that evening. After being in serial hecticness, I really craved for a chill-out evening, just sit and listen to a good jazz or indie band with a drink in my hand. The last time we sat for 2 hours listening to a really good band was in Chinahouse, Penang, and it was memorable for the both of us.
So this time, I thought maybe we should do the same so I called up No Black Tie, and surprise surprise, it was fully booked!
Called up Alexis Ampang. They only had seats at the bar counter even for diners, and Valentine's menu cost RM150++ per person, without drinks. So plus drinks the whole night would come down to RM400 at least. Boon was open and wanted to give it a shot since that's what I really wanted, but when I think about RM400 in a night and how many good food I can eat with that amount of money, I said it's alright, we'll eat elsewhere and go home watch romantic comedy together.
Since we were nearby Bangsar, we deciced to go to La Bodega at BSC for dinner. They had a Valentine's menu at RM280++ per couple, but I really missed their mushroom tapas so we decided to just order our own.
Off-shoulder top- upcoming piece at www.chiqfliq.com
Boon's Gin and Tonic with my Cava.
The button mushroom tapas! Slurpppppsss.
Some Spanish chicken with BBQ sauce which was really tender!
Black squid paellas which were....okay. We had way better ones before so this felt mediocre. It was not bad, but not great. And we concluded that perhaps the problem was with us. Cos we had better ones and we couldn't help but compared so... :')
After dinner, we went home, showered and watched My Best Friend's Girl til way past midnight. Had to wake up early the day after for a CNY video shoot but it was all worth the lack of sleep :)
That sums up our Valentine's Day this year. Nothing super fancy, nothing super a lot of effort. We were just chill and going with the flow. As for our Valentine's gifts? Boon bought my perfume for me cos mine finished, and I told him that'll be my Valentine's gift then. He also bought me a pair of Nike Flyknit when we visited a streetwear bazaar that were supposed to be HIS shoe hunt. So that was my Vday gift too. As for his Vday gift? I'm still waiting for him to find his perfect pair of sneakers that he loves, and I'll buy for him. That shall be his Vday gift haha!
Nowadays, we're looking at the big picture. We want to help each other save money to build a family, to welcome babies into our home in the years to come. So we have become much more practical considering that we have got much more commitments now compared to 10 years ago. And we're perfectly fine at how things have become.
Is Valentine's Day still important to us as it was back then? Oh yes. But I guess now that we've grown and matured, we learn to take things easier and go with the flow. Though we didn't do anything extremely significant or big, and didn't spend the entire day dating alone, it was still a great day cos he was with me the whole time.
Do I feel sad that compared to 10 years ago, Valentine's Day seem to have been watered down by our lack of time and enthusiasm? Nope. I've accepted that as we grow, we change. I don't feel sad about how we're celebrating these days. We're equally happy, if not, more! And I've come to realise that it is not the deed itself, but the person you're with. How he/she makes you feel special everyday, including Valentine's Day. The little surprises, the meaningful conversations, the slow drive home. These are the things that make a date memorable.
Being the 11th year celebrating Valentine's Day together, we've seen how our methods of romancing each other changed over the years, how our expectations on ourselves and each other have changed, and how the meaning of a good celebration changed. And it's all good.
To the older couples that I used to silently judge in my heart, now I know better. We have become one of those couples that I used to judge, and now I understand that happiness isn't in the gifts or the deeds, but in the moments.
Now I know better.
To my Valentine, I love you.
Here's to another 11 years to come!