Love in little places

I love all of the love I can find around me.

Emma Foster

“I love all of the love I can find around me.”

Love is feeling perfectly content. With a place, with someone else, and with oneself.

Now, disclaimer, this is not to say that love can’t be arduous or difficult. In fact, a lot of the most profound relationships with people and things alike require work and effort.

I experience love often, and in many different ways. Some you may even consider unconventional. But to me, all love is equally important and necessary to be happy. Loving people, life, and things is an essential part of appreciating what’s around you. When I began to recognize love in the smallest places, the meaning of living became even more invaluable.

I love places.

I love taking the train to San Francisco with Jesse. I love riding the Muni buses to Japantown and Golden Gate Park. I love watching Jesse’s face light up as we encounter crepes of every flavor. I love walking through Nob Hill and capturing photos of the Honeybear Street Art. I love carrying squished mooncakes in my bag and savoring them in a quiet moment. I love sprinting to the Caltrain station with bags and bags in hand, so as to not miss our ride. I love looking out the window and watching the city swirl by: both filled with happiness and wishing I never had to leave. I love glancing at Jesse, knowing she feels exactly the same about our beautiful home. I love that the time just stops. I love taking my Brooklyn-local cousin to the city. I love meeting families of French tourists. I love taking polaroids in front of the Chinatown zodiac mural. I love the art in Jack Kerouac Alley and the City Lights Bookstore with the basement full of my favorite books. I love taking Jesse on a tour from the north-most part of the city (Fisherman’s Wharf) through the Piers, Northbeach, Chinatown, and eventually down to Union Square. I love going to the Richmond District at 1:00 am to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show live with my friends. I love seeing everyone dressed up in bawdy costumes and eccentric makeup. (Myself included.) I love hearing speakers at the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter protests. I love the pride parades in the June warmth. I love CorgiCon on Ocean Beach. Where corgis, come dressed up in outfits and sunglasses, play and race each other until the sunset turns into a light dusk. I love feeling like a summer in the city is a lifetime in my favorite place on earth.

I love people.

I love Dennis, the blind piano player at the underground bar in New York. I love that he played “Piano Man” by Billy Joel at my request devoid of sheet music and preparation and vision. I love that the music was within him. I love Ms. Jane Rose Kasmir, who I met when studying the Vietnam War for National History Day. I love our deep conversations about history and I love that she tried to set my married dad up with her daughter. I love people who I’ve never met. I love people who don’t remember me. I love my elementary school friends who I often see, but who no longer recognize me. I love my teachers who probably get annoyed when I’m unfocused but who will laugh with me anyway. I love my dance teachers and musical director who all have given me the opportunity to do what I love with the utmost support. I love my dance teammates who won’t let a class go by without distracting our teachers or lobbying to skip warmup and form a massage train. I love my Casti classmates who I’ve known for seven years but I could swear it’s been a lifetime. I love my best friends who sometimes don’t understand my sarcasm but laugh at my jokes anyway. I love my girlfriend who lights up my world and makes me feel seen and understood and loved. I love that she will dance with me in her living room and I love that she loves bad rom-coms. I love my family with their big Jewish holidays and shabbat bagels and Sunday night Chinese food. I love my parents who I can sing in the car with and not worry about sounding bad. (Mostly because they, too, sound bad.) I love my brother who will get upset if he loses Go-Fish but who will also offer to bring me food every time he goes to the kitchen or will teach me how to play soccer so I can audition for the school play. I love my sister who is scared of driving me despite being the best driver in my family and who is crocheting me a halter top and a beanie just because I mentioned I liked hers. I love so many people.

I love myself too.

This one’s a work in progress. It probably is for everyone. But in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I will list some of the reasons why I am my own best friend. I love that I am hilarious. My friends know I am a self proclaimed comedic genius. (I got it from my dad.) I love that I have no shame in embarrassing myself for the enjoyment of others. (Also my dad.) I love that I can scream funny things across campus or insert myself into strangers’ conversations. I love that my body is strong enough to allow me to dance. I love that I have a cool sense of fashion. I love that I work really hard in everything I do. I love that I commit myself to too much, but do it all with happiness and excitement. I love that I have so many friends in different grades, schools, and even continents. I love that I have the best taste in music. (Seriously nothing beats 70s rock.) I love that I know how to make my friends smile. I love that I give good hugs. I love that I am working to love myself more.

Love is a vital part of enjoying life. Sometimes love feels distant, obsolete, and even nonexistent. But that’s not true. Love is not enigmatic or mysterious. Sure, sometimes love can be confusing or painful. However, love encapsulates so much beauty and joy all at once. Love is feeling excited and alive. Love is the blooming flower outside your house. Love is the squirrel climbing up the tree. Love is breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide. Love is everywhere, and it doesn’t take a lot to find it. I encourage everyone to take Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to recognize your love and the love others have for you. It may be cheesy or feel silly, but it makes life that much more meaningful.

I love all of the love I can find around me.

I love love in all the little places.