Ijeoma and Jonathan Kola, sunset kiss photography, crescent island kenya

Our First Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day lovers and friends! I’m sure you’ve already been bombarded with a plethora of mushy love stories and self-love mantras today, so I’ll spare you all that. This morning Jonathan reminded me of our first Valentine’s Day, which was a complete struggle but definitely my favorite one ever!

Some quick context: Jonathan and I started dating in the fall of 2011, so by February 2012, we were official official. We’d attended a few Harvard house winter formals together. We’d spent a long weekend together in New Hampshire while visiting his friends at Dartmouth. We booked a trip to Jamaica for spring break together. Like there was no doubt in my mind that we were together, together, not sorta kinda, not really together. This context is important.

So when Valentine’s Day rolled around and we had ZERO PLANS WHATSOEVER, I was slightly confused. I mean, Ijeoma now would never have let February 10th pass without having a game plan for the 14th, but Ijeoma then was on some “let’s see if this man has the nerve to not do anything for Valentine’s Day so I have a good reason to break up with his ass.” At the time, I was still skeptical about the existence of good men, after my past collegiate relationships and situationships. I wasn’t planning on wasting a second more of my time with men who didn’t value me, and although Valentine’s Day is a capitalist construct with pagan origins that does not reflect the strength of a relationship, it was a really easy way for a dude to do the bare minimum to keep our relationship going, so I wasn’t planning on letting the day go by without a word.

So the day comes and slowly starts to go by. I went to all my classes, and my friends kept asking me what our big plans were for our first Valentine’s Day together. The only answer I had for them was I don’t know, ask Jonathan!

I don’t remember exactly, but sometime between 3 and 5pm, I received a Paperless post invitation in my email. It was from Jonathan, inviting me to his room for a Valentine’s Day dinner at 6pm. I can’t say for certain but I’m pretty sure by this point I had sent him a snarky text asking if he had Valentine’s Day plans, but he sent the email before I texted and then told me to check my email. When I arrived in his room, it was dimly lit by candlelight (which I later found out he borrowed from someone in his dorm – a mess!). Laid out on the dorm coffee table was Chinese food – specifically szechuan fried rice from my favorite Harvard Square restaurant Yenching (RIP). Jonathan handed me a glass of champagne, and in his room overlooking the Charles River, all was forgiven.

Our very first Valentine’s Day was very clearly thrown together last minute, and fraught with a lot of anxiety on my part (and I’m sure on Jonathan’s part too), but it was a really cute and fun moment for us. Since then, we usually avoid the hullabaloo of the holiday, but Jonathan usually buys me flowers, a card, or chocolate (that he eats by himself lol), and I usually make a fancier than usual dinner. Tonight I’m making a steak and potatoes dinner and will attempt to make this chocolate cake, and Jonathan had roses delivered but maybe he has more surprises up his sleeve!

What was your first Valentine’s Day with your significant other like? Was it lowkey or was it over the top?

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  1. Well, seeing as my husband bakes in Lagos, every Valentine we had there was typically non-existent, as he’d spend almost the entire week dealing with the Valentine rush. If you think traffic in Lagos is very bad, try Valentine’s Day Lagos traffic!!!

    I enjoyed reading your first valentine story! So cute.