To All the Places I’ve Loved Before…
It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day and I don’t get along. We started off ok back in elementary school when all the kids would decorate shoeboxes as mailboxes and then hand out cards to everyone in the class before we gorged ourselves on red and pink cupcakes and chocolate. But then along came junior high and high school and typical tween/teen issues. I was tall and skinny with glasses, braces, and good grades. Let’s just leave it at that.
In university, I made one last chance to reconcile by being goofy and buying kids’ Valentine cards and slipping them under the dorm room doors of friends and crushes alike only to watch door after door blossom with taped up paper cut-outs of cartoon characters and cheesy lines. All but mine. Enough was enough.
All in all, I’ve been single for every Valentine’s Day, save one, and we’ve learned to just exist separately. Honestly, I don’t tend to give much thought to the holiday lately. But this year I thought that I would treat the world as my Valentine and write a few love letters to places I’ve known and loved.
So to all the places I’ve loved before…
Ours is a new love but I think it’s going to be one for the ages. I tried to keep my expectations low for our first meeting. I’d heard so many stories of others who expected to love you at first site but were disappointed. They thought you were a bit grimy and your people were rude. Sure, your buildings may need a pressure washer but they’re beautiful and just so Paris. Every new sightline demands to be photographed. Your wine is delicious and cheap. Your people are impeccably dressed and the art…oh the art! I wouldn’t have enough days in three lifetimes to see it all. So while we only got to spend one glorious week together I hope it’s the first of many.
Dear New York,
You’re brash and bold and full of energy. You make me feel like anything is possible. There’s always something new with you so I can never get bored. You’re all high heels, power suits, and lattes to go during the day and black leather jackets, red lipstick, and local beer at night. Though you’re packed with people I’ve been able to carve out little rituals that make you feel like my own when I come visit you. Dinner at that one little Indian place. My favourite funky, budget hotel. Riding the subway like a local. We haven’t seen each other in awhile but I know that on our next meeting our love will rekindle itself as the great ones always do.
See you soon,
Dear Costa Rica,
You were my first solo trip abroad. You showed me a strong, self-reliant side of myself I wasn’t sure existed and you gave me confidence. I know love is more than skin deep but, wow, you’re gorgeous. Waterfalls, volcanoes, jungles, beaches, cool wildlife…you have it all. You gave me the gift of sloths! I loved pushing my limits on your white water rivers, zip lines, and surfboards. You showed me that my love doesn’t have to be limited to big cities. Some of the best moments we had were quiet ones without anyone else around. I’m not sure when we’ll see each other again but, until then, I’ll look at the photos and smile.