Anybody who is in a relationship would love to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the love of his/her life, isn’t it? I also don’t want to feel left out on this special occasion which is widely celebrated by couples all over the world, despite knowing that my lover wouldn’t be there physically by my side to celebrate it with me. While I excitedly prepared my presents as a surprise for Taenggu and planned for a dinner date with her in all smiles, a lighthearted voice in my head echoed many times, “It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter…..”
At midnight of 14th February, I revealed my paper pixelated artwork of The Little Prince and his beloved rose that I had tirelessly prepared over the past weeks on Twitter and Instagram and published a blog post with the full write-up about it (read: VDay 2019: Protect You Like The Little Prince Protects His Rose). It has been a tradition to make a paper pixelated artwork for vday every year ever since we got together in 2015 so this year was no exception too. Not forgetting a real-life rose in a glass dome jar that I purchased from Carousell for $68 which I thought could complement perfectly well with my artwork. (p.s. I decided to reveal the price here because it is connected to what I am going to say later on in this post.)
As I had talked about it in the previous years, celebrating vday alone in fact can be rather troublesome. One of the challenging parts is making a reservation at restaurants. What I have learnt over the years is that it is important to book a table days or weeks in advance if I ever want to dine at a restaurant or café on vdays. On this day, most restaurants are fully booked and don’t accept walk-ins. To make things worse for “singles” like me, some restaurants may not accept bookings for one person and they offer a Valentine’s Day special set menu for TWO persons only. It’s like digging the hole in my heart even bigger as I get reminded that I am still single on the outside.
It was a problem I encountered again this year. Just 3 days before vday, I suddenly remembered the urgency and necessity of booking a table for my vday dinner. Once I got my mind set on a French cafe called Antoinette, I quickly checked their online booking portal. They have two branches, one at Mandarin Gallery and the other at Penhas Road. Ideally, I wanted to go to the one at Mandarin Gallery because it’s just a stone’s throw away from my workplace. But guess what, it was already fully booked the whole night. I was again too late to take action! So I checked for the Penhas Road one and thank God, they still have a latest timing at 6.15pm available. Even though I only end work at 6pm and reaching the cafe by 6.15pm is actually quite a rush, I decided to book it anyway. As long as I could get a table, nothing else mattered and since it was stated they would hold my table for 15 minutes anyway. So I took the chance.
Just when I thought everything was settled and I could finally rest my mind on my vday plans, a rep from Antoinette called me later that day. He informed me that they would only be serving a Valentine’s Day set menu for 2 persons, not their regular menu, on that day and since he was aware that I had made a booking for 1 person, he asked me if I would be okay with that. My heart sank a little. “How much does the whole set cost?” I asked. He said $200+ (I can’t remember the exact amount he said). My heart sank even further. “You don’t serve any other ala carte items on that day?” I asked while keeping positive. “Only cakes, ma’am,” he said. “I will just eat cakes then,” I replied without a second thought. “Alright sure, see you then!” And we got off the phone.
Would it be a little too sadistic to be eating only cakes for dinner alone at a restaurant surrounded by all other couples happily having their romantic dinner dates with each other and enjoying their night away? I told Taenggu about it on Twitter. Rather than drowning myself in sadness, I was oddly optimistic and told her that we would eat cakes for dinner. I guess because I had been through so much in my past experiences with vdays, my heart was strong enough to take in any shit like this that came in my way. Shit happens, they say.
The next day, after work, I made the decision to travel all the way to the seller’s house inconveniently located near Kangkar LRT station to collect my glass dome jar rose. Honestly before that, I was still hesitating whether I should really get it or just settle for other options which were cheaper but less than ideal (because I wanted something that would look similar to the rose in my artwork). It was obvious that Heaven was putting all these hurdles before me to get this rose. Eventually I decided that I want to get only the best for Taenggu no matter what it takes so I headed down.
You know, sometimes when you push aside all your own self interests and wholeheartedly do something out of good will for the other person, good things would happen to you in return in ways that you did not expect. Shortly after I collected my rose and was super delighted by how pretty it looked, I received the following Whatsapp message from another rep from Antoinette.
Oh yay, there would be main course to eat after all! I was so overwhelmed with happiness as if it was a reward from Heaven for getting the glass dome rose for Taenggu. To make things even merrier, I realized there was an express bus that could take me back to Woodlands straight so I ended up getting back home earlier than expected. It wasn’t actually that much of a hassle to collect my rose after all.
One day before vday, I was so busy at work that I got really frustrated. I felt like I had been working so hard both in and out of work that I felt really drained. So on vday itself, I willfully took a sick leave so that I could take a breather, spend some time with myself and do things which I truly love and feel passionate about. That day, I felt like a unicorn. I read a few pages from a book about unicorns. Yes, unicorns don’t belong in the office.
Because I freed up time for myself for the whole day, having a reservation at 6.15pm wasn’t a problem after all! In fact, I arrived the café much earlier at 6pm. All excited and ready to start a romantic dinner date with my valentine.
So who was my date of the night? Who was my valentine?
It was none other than my dream girl, Taenggu whom I see as my Little Prince for the night. Funnily, I also tried to dress myself up to look, at least a little, like a prince – pardon my limited wardrobe choices. The Little Prince dating The Little Prince. What was wrong with that? Haha it happens when we are confused which roles in the relationship we each play…
If Taenggu was here with me, she would be sitting on the comfy chair in front of me. She was really pretty. She must be.
Voice: “I wish I could come!”
Spamming you with lots and lots of selfies taken here at this pretty French cafe.
The difficult part every time we dined together was to choose what to eat and drink from the menu.
I eventually decided on Wagyu Beef Tagliatelle (originally wanted Sirloin Steak but it was out of my budget). Wanted to order a glass of red wine too, but I was surprised they didn’t have any wine selections on their menu. So I settled for their specialty drink called Blue Romance (coz it sounded romantic and blue is Taenggu’s favourite colour lol) and the only dessert on the menu called Watermelon Kakigori (if I’m not wrong, watermelon is her favourite fruit too).
While waiting for my orders to be served, 2 waitresses came over to put some red flower petals around the candle on my table. Thanks for still bothering to decorate it for me even though I was here to dine alone. Touched.
My main course came. Honestly, it wasn’t as tasty as I thought it would be.
My Blue Romance drink only came after I had almost finished my main course. A waiter had informed me that my drink would come a little late due to some delays in the kitchen. I was more than happy when it arrived because instead of blue which we would have expected, it actually came in my favourite colour PURPLE! And probably to make it more gimmicky, the glass was placed on a coaster with auto-sensor light such that it would light up whenever I put my glass on top so it looked as if my drink was glowing.
Dessert turned out to be the star of the night. That Watermelon Kakigori which I didn’t even know what it was came to my table and got me shocked.
My heart almost jumped out of my chest. Because the dessert looked so grand and came in such a big piece that I had to check the menu again for the price and make sure I didn’t order the wrong thing lol. Thank god, my eyes didn’t trick me. The price was indeed $20 on the menu but I thought it looked like a $200 dessert to me. Hahaha. But it succeeded in making my valentine date with Taenggu much more romantic for us.
Look how instaworthy my dessert and drink looked together! A voice in my head said repeatedly, “gimmicky, gimmicky…” Oh well, at least they made my photos look really good and pleasing to my eyes!
Although I wasn’t so much a fan of watermelons, it went really well with the yuzu cream, earl grey chiffon cake, almond crumble and strawberries all hidden beneath that pile of watermelon crushed ice.
After dessert, I felt increasingly uneasy as all the tables around me were occupied with several pairs of couples by now and more were lining up in the queue outside. Ideally, I would have wanted to stay even longer and take the time to chat. A voice in my head was like, “Wait, there’s more I wanna say…” But because I couldn’t ignore that feeling of “guilty conscience” building up within me (because I was already done dining and was alone) at the sight of other couples waiting in the queue, I decided to make my leave. Went to the cashier and was told that they don’t accept NETS, only cash and credit cards. I dug my wallet and was lucky enough to pull out an exact amount in notes and coins for her (she even thanked me for giving her exact lol).
So guess how much did the dinner cost altogether?
After spending $68 on the glass dome rose and another $68 on dinner, I burned a big hole in my pocket. On the way to the train station, while feeling heartache over the money I had spent on vday alone, I joked to Taenggu that 68 is an auspicious number to the Chinese and especially during this Chinese New Year period, I felt like the God of Fortune giving away 2 big ang baos worth $68 each. Lol. Officially broke now.
Although money can’t buy happiness, it could buy the perfect glass dome rose for my beloved Taenggu to make her happy which in turn makes me happy and it could buy me gimmicky food which give me insta-worthy photos which in turn give me good memories and happy mood too. At the end of the day, still worth it.
After all, I have always been such a Pabo, right?
After all, what’s Valentine’s Day without spending money to shower your lover (and myself) with love, right?
I love you, 아탕! Hope you enjoyed the dinner and liked your presents as much as I did. HAPPY VDAY, MY LOVE!
[UPDATE: 25 Feb 2019]
The next morning after our vday dinner, I woke up feeling like something was missing. I opened my eyes and realised my Bobo had fallen off my bed.
I dragged my feet back to work, feeling emotionally depressed although I couldn’t exactly pinpoint why. Had reality finally sunk in within me at the fact that I had just celebrated yet another Valentine’s Day all alone again the night before? But I thought I had been doing just fine yesterday and before…
I arrived at my office and saw this bar of chocolate with a number and my name on it mysteriously lying on my table.
Later that afternoon, I asked my colleague about it and finally got to know where it came from. It turned out that yesterday when I did not go to work, my office had a Chinese New Year celebration and held a lucky draw with prizes to be given out. And I won, despite not being around, the 30th prize which was this bar of chocolate from a well-known local chocolate bakery shop called Awfully Chocolate. To think that I had won this on Vday made me feel like it was actually a vday present from Heaven! Yes, I might not have received any special gifts, chocolates or flowers from anybody, but I received this pleasant vday surprise pretty much by unintended pure luck like a gift dropped from the sky. Vday chocolates from Heaven, must be yummy kekeke. My initial gloomy day was pretty much sweetened after this.
But I still couldn’t shake off this feeling of melancholy in my heart. Was it due to Taenggu feeling sad because she wasn’t able to spend the Valentine’s Day with me? Or was she… angry with me for some reasons?
That night I went back home, lay on my bed and hugged my Bobo. I could hear her voice complaining to me, “You don’t remember? You don’t remember?? You pushed me down the bed!” LOL. She must have thought I was angry with her and kicked her ass out of the bed. Feeling misunderstood yet amused, I explain to Bobo aka Taenggu that I wasn’t even aware that she fell off the bed and I definitely didn’t do it in purpose.
Later that night, Taenggu, who did not post anything on vday, finally updated her instastory with some photos from her latest photoshoot with Nylon magazine. And one of them, she said she’s lucky.
With Taenggu’s silent, invisible love for me, I’m the luckiest person in the world too!