Valentine

In honour of Valentine’s Day I would like to feature here my favourite poem, Valentine, written by my favourite poet, Wendy Cope, whom I love for her writing style marked by simplicity, honesty and wit.

Valentine

My heart has made its mind up

And I’m afraid it’s you.

Whatever you’ve got lined up,

My heart has made its mind up.

And if you can’t be signed up

This year, next year will do.

My heart has made its mind up

And I’m afraid it’s you.

Wendy Cope, Two Cures for Love Selected Poems 1979-2006  (2008), faber and faber, page 20

So what was I, a 29 year single gal, up to on Valentine’s Day, the day of love?

Well as I learned, February 14th is also celebrated as Friendship Day in Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru and Nicaragua. I loved this new fact and decided spontaneously that this day should be dedicated to my friends whom I love very much!

I met MFC (My First Commander) for a decadent breakfast at the Mercure Grand Hotel Alfa Hotel in Luxembourg and we went a bit crazy on the buffet – there were continental and cooked breakfast options, but honestly why choose one when you can have both? So I did in fact have a boiled egg, beans, bacon, mushrooms, toast, pain au chocolate, a roll with jam and butter, fruit salad, coffee and grapefruit and orange juice. It was absolutely amazing!!!!  It felt great starting the day in a cosy and quirky atmosphere (the restaurant at the Alfa is decorated in the Art Deco style) and talking to MFC about God and the world (well not literally, conversation topics ranged from travel plans, work projects to the things that I worry about at the moment). MFC was an absolutely wonderful breakfast partner in crime, the same as she is an amazing after-work-bar-hopping buddy. Luxembourg, watch out!

For lunch I then met my dad and told him that today was my turn to pay as I obviously love him very much (random note on the side: Dad, YES I am sorry for having had an argument with you yesterday!!!! Love you!) On the menu that day: chicken leg, potatoes and green beans, followed by tiramisu. Right, I hope you have all figured out by now, that I am a real foodie – I love eating it, I love talking about and I definitely love taking pictures of it as well.

For the evening, I was then off to an after work event organised by the Luxembourg expat (and repat) Meetup Group in Bosso Bar, in the Grund of Luxembourg City. There were about 50 people who turned, which is such a great turn out for a day like Valentine’s Day and it was nice reconnecting with “old” acquaintances, whom I had not seen in ages! All in all a lovely evening, with a lovely glass of red wine, in wonderful company in a warm and unique setting.

Conclusion: Valentine’s Day 2013 was really good and I definitely made the most of it!

The beauty, pain and hope of falling in love

I never used to be a great believer in love – well technically speaking that is not completely true. I know love exists, I have seen it among and in other people, but after having been single for 9 years – I just felt that romantic love maybe was not meant for me. That there just was not anyone out there for me. I mean I had fallen in love quite a few times over those past 9 years, but that love was never reciprocated – which left me heartbroken more than once. The latest heart break in May 2012 literally left me in pieces; I felt that my heart was completely broken, shattered in so many different parts  and there was no way anyone or me for that matter could really put the pieces back together and make my heart whole again.  I remember sitting in my car and screaming,  letting the tears flow, letting the pain out. I hit rock bottom for good, and I was convinced that should I have to go through the whole process girl meets boy, boy meets girl, girl falls for boy, boy rejects her, that I would be done for good, broken for good. I didn’t think I wanted to fall in love again, because there was no way I would survive that much pain again.

In November I broke down again in tears when the topic of love and relationships  came up when chatting to my mum and a friend of the family. I just told them that when it came to the “love” department I had lost hope, that I did not believe in finding it or it finding me. It was not related to the anxiety that I might not have children one day, that was not something I was as concerned about. What I really wanted, what I really craved was having a partner, someone next to whom I could wake up every morning, having breakfast with (even in complete silence each of us reading the newspaper), someone to come home to and tell how him how my day has been, someone to take me in his arms and just tell me “I love you”.  I mean I had been difficult enough to find someone to date over the last 9 years, but how was this going to be any easier now with me having cancer. Who could possible fall for someone who is bold, has a massive 15 cm scar on her left breast, who regularly has to go into hospital? Was I not completely doomed now, I kept wondering.

But then something completely unexpected happened as if fate decided to send me a little sign of hope – someone walked into my life. Someone I had met on Facebook, a friend of a friend. He made me laugh, literally made me crack up with laughter (here an example – he told me that this year my birthday had been changed to January 4th (instead of January 3rd) in order to honor his “promise” that we would meet on my birthday – the date was made to fit the circumstances.  Needless to say that I fell of my chair and kept rolling on the floor laughing with tears in my eyes).  I do not wish to reveal too much of our conversations, because they are something special. However there is one particular thing I want to share – he  said something to me that I had not heard in years. He told me I was beautiful (and yes that was after he had seen a picture of me with my shaved head). That was a really big thing – especially for someone whose cancer had given her self-esteem, self consciousnesses and body image a massive knock-down.

He made me feel like someone really special, showered me with compliments and just made me very happy. Talking to him was so refreshing, so different. For once my illness was not the focus of the conversation, but I, as a person, was.

Our first attempt at meeting face to face up failed for various reasons I do not wish to go into detail here. However I really hope though that there will be a second attempt 🙂

I just realized that when talking about him I have used the past tense. I have been doing this as he has become really silent lately, over the last couple of weeks most of my FB messages or texts remained unanswered. This would usually lead me to over-analyse the situation, worry myself silly, become upset, anxious and angry. But surprisingly not this time.  I mean I am not particularly thrilled about this situation, and I guess no girl would be.

Completely unexpected again though I had a message from him on Wednesday and today explaining briefly why he is so silent. I do not wish to paraphrase this here as I would like to protect his privacy as well.  I am just really glad he got in touch, it put a smile back on my face.

Roux (that is the name I have given him for this blog) has achieved something, which I did not think anyone even in my wildest dreams, would have been able to achieve. Roux planted a seed of hope in my heart again, he gave me hope that yes love is possible, even for me. I am incredibly grateful to him for that – he has boosted my self-confidence and he has made me feel like a woman again. He reminded me that with love you have to take a risk. I mean it is like how do you expect to win the lottery if you never every buy and fill out a lottery ticket?  Thanks to Roux I started believing again. It came to my mind that having a crush on someone and that some person having a crush on you is worth so much more than the fear and pain of possibly being rejected. And that is why I will buy that the love lottery ticket over and over again, because how else will I really have a shot at love?

And if the heart break happens again – I know I have a friend out there, Miss Goldielocks., who will offer me a bed for the weekend, cook me the most amazing pasta dinner, have a bottle of red ready waiting for me when I arrive, provide me with loads of tissues and a cigar to smoke on the terrace. And  having a friend like that is just priceless as well.