The Little Dumplings Celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Love (according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

noun\ ˈləv  \

Definition of love

 1 a (1): strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties maternal love for a child

(2): attraction based on sexual desire affection and tenderness felt by loversAfter all these years, they are still very much in love.

(3): affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests love for his old schoolmates

b: an assurance of affection

2: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion love of the sea

3 a: the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration baseball was his first love

b(1): a beloved person DARLING —often used as a term of endearment

4 a: unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.

This week was all about Valentine’s Day! We have been planning all week for the big Valentine’s Day Party at school (on Wednesday, February 14th). It was a total hit! I feel fortunate enough to have anywhere between 22-26 Valentine’s each day that I get to teach, to make laugh and who show me that they care by showering me with hugs and kisses (on a pretty regular basis). Most of my Valentine’s are Czech, but we have quite the mix of international students too, including: a Czech-Venezuelan student, an Indian student, Turkish students, Russian students, Czech-American students and American students.

I suppose I can be a bit sappy for most holidays, but particularly Valentine’s Day because it is about love. To me, it is not about huge and grand gestures or incredibly expensive gifts (although I’m sure that’s important to some people), but it’s the small, daily gestures that add up. Those daily gestures culminate in this day where you get to talk about why you love someone so much (romantically, but I’d also like to extend that to non-romantic love). While this year I am definitely and completely (totally) single, there are so many people that I love and care for. People who I adore and who I am so grateful for everything they do and for who they are. Friends and family that I deeply, truly and absolutely love.

On a larger scale, don’t we all need to show each other a little more love? I don’t just mean in the romantic sense (that is of course…beautiful and sacred and wonderful), but I mean love and kindness and compassion to our neighbors and our friends, family and people who aren’t remotely related. Extending an extra, “Hello! How are you?” to the bus driver, postal worker, grocery store attendant, the people who help us accomplish our day. For me, Valentine’s Day serves as a reminder that I/you/we can extend that kindness and be conduits for deep compassion.

But, back to my little Valentine Dumplings. On Valentine’s Day, everyone wore red. We made Valentine’s for “Spin the Cupid”, and hearts for parents and friends. We played “Spin the Cupid”! I invented the game, to play it goes as follows: Everyone sits in a circle, one at a time a “Cupid” takes a turn to dress up (halo, wings, cupid-like loin cloth) and then begins to spin 2-5 times *as much as the individual wants to until they begin to laugh*, when they stop spinning they pick a seated person and hand them a Valentine and ask, “Can I give you a hug or high five?”. The seated person chooses what makes them feel most comfortable, receives their Valentine and then they take a turn as “Cupid”. The game is played until everyone has had a turn.

Valentine’s Day 2019 (all photos), © Lucia Saldarriaga Photos

I made the halo, bow and arrow and wings from pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, string and cardboard (the materials that we had around the school). But if you have different materials, I suppose you could use anything you have around the house or school.

My little students gave me Valentine’s and one of my students (I’ll call her “S.”) made me a purple Valentine Heart necklace (in the photo) that I wore all day. S. drew my cat and a dog and her name and wrote, “I love you” on the piece of jewelry. It’s perfect. I have since hung it up in my apartment, it makes me smile every time that I look at it.

We had special Valentine’s Day snack time and lunch. My little students made Heart Trees by either tracing or painting their hands on paper and drawing the little hearts. We also danced a little salsa this week too. What a week of love.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day with the one or ones you love?

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! As always, be kind~

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