It’s Tuesday the 21st and the roses the Brit surprised me with are still in beautiful bloom and filling our downstairs with their sweet scent. This year, although we didn’t go wild on gifts and a fancy meal out, it was the perfect Valentine’s Day in my eyes. In fact, it was fairly similar to other weeknights when we just don’t feel like cooking in — sushi out (using my student discount at YO! Sushi) and two delicious cupcakes shared as we lounged on the couch in front of the telly.
What made this year’s celebration so special to me was that we were together…on a Tuesday night. Something that was not even an option last year at this time. I won’t lie that on the 14th I felt a tinge of jealousy toward the people getting off the elevator at Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor (the same floor where YO! Sushi is in Leeds) as they were greeted with a glass of champagne. However, as I look back on it this morning, I wouldn’t trade our date in for the world.
Sometimes, I feel there is an assumption that when you move abroad your life will immediately be more glamorous and full of adventure. I admit that is an easy trap to fall into; wishing that every day I had some incredibly amazing story to tell. And yes, sometimes my life here is more glamorous than my life in the US (and I love those times too!), but it’s the every day that has become so meaningful to me. The mundane to me is the perfect.
Perhaps, being in a long-distance relationship has that effect on people. A trip to the grocery store is not something to complain about. Instead, it’s something I enjoy because we never had the luxury of the every day until about 6 months ago. As I’m writing this now, I realize we always go to Tesco together and we have our own little routine when it comes to our shopping trips. I love that. I hope that feeling that the ordinary should be cherished doesn’t go away for us.
It’s funny for me to admit that even walking down the sidewalk in Leeds can be an adventure, but not necessarily one that people want to hear or read about. I’m only now figuring out that when you are walking towards someone and you are both about to collide that you should step to the left instead of the right, as I’m accustomed to in the US. I joke that the sidewalks (or footpaths as they say here) are like an obstacle course for me full of moments of what appear to be an awkward set of dance steps as we try to avoid one another.
When a classmate at uni asks me how my weekend was, I’m not ashamed to say, “Not too exciting, rather dull actually.” But, by saying ‘rather dull’, it’s more to save them from having to hear the normal every day things that we did that the Brit and I enjoyed together — like a drive to the mall just to pick up something my mom requested, hanging out around the kitchen table at the Brit’s parents’ house, or making enchiladas together for the first time.
Although it has taken me a week to fully realize it, this Valentine’s Day taught me that the simple can sometimes be the best part of our lives and that it’s okay to admit that the most adventurous part of our day is sometimes just walking down the sidewalk.