Once upon a time, there lived a princess named Shondarella in a far away kingdom called Brighton. Valentine’s Day was rolling around and the princess was looking for a worthy suitor fit to be her perfect Valentine. Suddenly, a knight in shining armour came knocking at her window at her residence hall, climbed up the vine at the side of the building and declared his love for her. The princess jumped out of her window and rode away into the night with her suitor and was never to be seen again. The two are assumed to be happily married with jobs in corporate America, two kids and a white picket fence with a Labrador Retriever. The end. 🙂
Okay, that may not have been exactly how my Valentine’s Day went. It was actually a lot better…
Happy Galentine’s Day?
My Valentine’s Day started on the Saturday before which I learned is called Galentine’s Day. I bet you’re thinking, “what in tar-nations is a Galentine?”. Well, I’m glad you asked. A Galentine is a Valentine that’s you’re friends and not a significant other. You know, kind of like the whole “sisters before misters” and “bros before hoes” thing. My friends and I all decided to do a Secret Valentine gift exchange because we didn’t have our boos, significant others and crushes here with us in Brighton. We chose names at random from a hat with our likes and dislikes on the back of the sheet of paper. The catch was that we could only spend five pounds on each others’ gifts and not a single pence more. I chose my friend Sara who wrote that she likes crunchy, milk chocolate type candy, so I bought her a 20-pack of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. She seemed quite pleased. My friend Bonnie chose me and she bought me a chocolate rose and a plush snail. And, it sings! I love it so much! If you’re reading this, Bonnie, thanks again! I love it so much!
After our gift exchange in the York House common room, we ventured out for afternoon tea at the Stanmer House. It was a dainty mansion-like building with a sort of aristocratic feel once you stepped on the inside. It reminded me of something out of Belle starring
Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Very eighteenth century and very beautiful. We were all dressed up in a wide range of Valentine’s Day colours from maroon and white to red and black to all-black attire. Beautiful ladies to compliment the beautiful decor. Sounds like a perfect scenario. Did I mention this place had a lot of dogs? I don’t mean like a puppy here and there. I mean like All Dogs Go To Heaven status. There were even a few dog bowls by the entrance. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs, but it would suck for a person who is (a) afraid of dogs, or (b) allergic to dogs to miss out on an opportunity to dine here.
My friends and I ordered the Afternoon Tea, which consisted of scones, finger sandwiches and an assortment of pastries. I can have tea any time, so I ordered a hot chocolate. This hot chocolate was orgasmic and by far the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had in my life. This was actual melted chocolate and it was creamy and thick and happiness in a glass. As Natalie said, we were in “chocolate nirvana”. I was completely and utterly captivated by the chocolatey goodness and chocolate wasted. Anyone else wanna get chocolate wasted?
Now, on Valentine’s Day, the plan was to do homework all morning until it was time for us to go Buddy Bouldering with our school. The thought was nice, but that didn’t happen. We all had a sweet tooth, so we set out to town to find a place to get some milkshakes, ice cream and other sweet things. On our way to town, we saw none other than Deadpool. Not the movie, the actual superhero. Okay, so he may not have been the actual superhero, but it was a man with a Santa Claus belly dressed as Deadpool. I guess he was out to save the world from bad Valentines, cheap dates and regretful makeup sex. When we got off of the 25 bus, we kind of stalked him. Personally, I got tired of chasing after a grown man in a superhero suit so I called him out. “Deadpool!,” I screamed. He turned around, snapped his fingers, pointed in our direction and kept it pushing. What a quack!
We walked deeper into town and came across this shoppe called Lush. It smelled beautiful in there with the wide range of soaps, facial masks, lotions, shampoos, but most importantly, makeup! While I’m not going to be caught dead throwing out fifteen pounds for liquid eyeshadow, I was more than welcome to try on some makeup for free!
After leaving Lush, we set out to find some sweets to satisfy our craving. After walking up and down the streets and coasting along the Brighton Pier, we discovered this small place called The Creperie. My friends love crepes and I had never had one, so I was more than willing to go in. I thought about trying a crepe, but I didn’t want to try it, not like it, and be upset that I wasted my money on it, so I stuck to what I knew. I bought a scoop of mint
chocolate chip gelato and a kettle of peppermint tea. This was probably the freshest gelato I’ve had since I went to Little Italy in Boston when I was seventeen with my dad and his now ex-girlfriend. My stomach and taste buds were doing a happy dance by the end of the afternoon.
Later that evening, my friends and I went bouldering, which is another way of saying less
extreme rock climbing. I’m deathly afraid of heights, but I got pretty high up there for a person with no harness. For the most part, I sat on the sidelines and acted as a cheerleader for my braver friends. One thing that I definitely did engage in was the food. Now, we thought we would be getting free pizza with this lovely field trip of ours. Turns out the bouldering venue didn’t even know we were bouldering for free and had five pound cafe vouchers. Yay for us, but it must have blown for the employees who had no idea what the hell was going on. Giving college students free bouldering shoes and cups of tea while they waited. If I were an employee, I would have thought this was absolutely ludicrous. On the bright side, I got a brownie and discovered a new favourite snack: Millionaire’s Shortbread. It’s a small brick of shortbread with caramel on top followed by a layer of hardened chocolate topped off with powered pure cocoa. So good!
I ended my night perfectly after bouldering with two things: pizza and a date. Because we weren’t blessed with free pizza upon arrival to the bouldering venue, my friends and I decided to order Papa Johns when we got back to campus. After wolfing down four slices of cheese pizza and eleven barbecue chicken poppers, I called my best friend/Valentine and we had a virtual FaceTime date. Nothing major like a candlelight dinner or dressing up. Just FaceTiming one another and telling each other how we feel. What we love about each other, what we miss about each other, what each other should work on and everything else in between. It had gotten off on an awkward foot because of the word “date”, but we were each others’ Valentine so it was only right. Even though we had a few bumps in the road in the middle of my date because people kept calling me off and on throughout our FaceTime session, it all worked out and it made me realize how much I really do miss him. My headache, my Superman, Corbin. Eventually, the NBA All-Star Game came on and it was as though I never existed. That’s one reason why I hate basketball. Corbin actually assisted me in the conception of my hatred for basketball. We could be having the time of our lives, cackling and giggling, but the minute basketball comes on, I can’t compete. It’s either me or the television. I don’t even bother to ask. And when Kobe is on….(scoffs) forget about it. It’s like I’m not even in the room.
This wasn’t a traditional Valentine’s Day experience because I didn’t go on an actual date with chocolates and flowers and the whole nine. However, this was a humbling experience. I’m used to being spoiled by whatever boyfriend I have at the time, but I realized that friends, tea, and FaceTime is really all I need. Simplicity is key.