Love is in the air

It’s fun to celebrate Valentines Day in a foreign country. When you have stayed in a place for basically your whole life, things get boring. You see the same buildings everyday, the same people walking at the same pace wherever you go, and when you celebrate festivals, you go to the same places year after year. But when you are a foreign student, festivals, like Valentines Day, is the best excuse to experience the same place with different atmospheres.

Therefore, on Valentines Day, I woke up at 7am to cook the most cliche breakfast — pancakes, bacon and eggs — and then I fell asleep again. When I woke up at 11am again, I saw a gigantic white teddy bear carrying a “Love You” heart with a cup of Dunkin’ Doughnut dark roast coffee next to it.

Walgreen teddy bear

I would not boast about the Valentines Day gift that I have received that day, especially when I know what my suite mates were getting from their boyfriends — movie tickets, expensive clubs and dinners; while I only got a Walgreens teddy bear with a Dunkin’ Doughnut coffee. But to think of a boy who attends university on full scholarship and who eats 2 Bros pizza and boba for breakfast, lunch and dinner, what I received was more than he would have spend on himself one day.

Despite having tons of work to do this long weekend (for those who don’t know, we got Friday and Monday off too because of president’s day and founder’s day), we decided to put our workload aside one day and just spend quality time with each other. Sometimes, we were so used to having each other aside that we forgot how it actually feels to be in the moment and just enjoy each other’s company.

We did whatever we felt like doing — talking, cooking, going out to Times Square. Some may say that Valentine’s Day is just another day of the year, if you love each other, every day is your Valentine’s Day. But for university students, when life is busy and restless, those late nights of work and those tiresome days of dance practice, it’s a reminder for us. It tells us, “Hey! Guess what? You are in love and you should cherish your partner, because if you don’t, you may celebrate next Valentine’s Day alone next year!” And on this day, even the most mundane would seem special.

Times Square at night

Valentines Day in Times Square was not as chilly as I expected. Maybe it’s because of the people, or maybe it’s because someone I love was holding my hand, the cold seemed less unforgiving. Times Square was as vibrant as always, the neon lights, the big screens, the enormous crowds swarming from one place to another, but there was something more today. There were people selling roses at a corner, and if you look very closely to the picture, you would see a heart instrument like this:

Hearty instrument in the middle of Times Square
World’s biggest chocolate wall in an M&M store
Charlie and the Hershey factory

At last, we settled at a restaurant called Stardust diner. Again, nothing fancy, just a normal American diner with fish, chips and spaghetti. Yet there’s a twist to it…. all the waiters inside were Broadway performers. As explained by Tyler the MC, when Broadway performers were between shows, they need to gear themselves up for showcases. But where does this money come from? Stardust diner is a place where they can earn money by singing in the diner and serving customers food as they make their Broadway career. One of the songs that they performed that night was Frank Sinatra’s “New York”, and they sang:

If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere

That line sang the lyrics right into my heart. People who work there are people with talent and people with dreams, dreams that can never to broken even though the most they could do now is to wait tables. You can hear their determination to succeed in their voice when they sing, how they sang with fervour and with grace. And could I be the same as well? Would I be able to run my path and become what I want to be? Only time will tell.

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