Friday, February 13, 2009

A Bouquet of Broccoli

Finding love and keeping love in a big city like New York is not easy. With a population of over eight million people of locals and transients, there are many choices. There is a never-ending way to meet people: social parties for all type of interests, online dating, speed dating, industry networking meetups, matchmaking by family, friends, co-workers, etc. Many choices, many options, and as a result, many reasons for people to have an excuse to move on, one person after the next. Is it possible to find genuine, lasting love in a city like New York?

A year ago I met up for brunch with a group of girlfriends, in our late 20’s to mid 30’s. Of the various subjects we talked about, one was about relationships. Having moved back to New York just recently, I was not aware of the difficult dating scene. I, being the ever optimist believe that it is possible to find true love naturally. One girlfriend warned me that love just doesn’t happen that way. She gave a scenario of a supermarket, how a girl reaches out for a broccoli just as the guy reaches out for one and a great rapport strikes up between the two. Such scenario, my girlfriend says – I must erase it out of my mind because it will never happen in real life. The reality is that there are so many false starts, so many lost opportunities, so many disappointments, so many rejections, so many broken hearts – is it a surprise that so many people have become so jaded and so cynical?

But still, I remember the broccoli.

What intrigued me about my girlfriend’s example was not so much the supermarket, or that the guy and the girl reach for a broccoli (though I do love vegetables and broccoli is indeed one of my favorite) - What intrigued me was the possibility that things can happen on its own, the serendipity - that two people can meet and really find a connection, that things can work out. Finding someone to fall in love with is a miracle. Staying in love takes a lot of work from both sides, and sometimes it really is beyond one’s control. But I believe finding that special someone to love and to be loved is really worth the while. It makes a normal walk in Central Park that was once so habitual a whole new experience. It makes a cup of milk tea taste so much sweeter. It makes plain written words so much more multi-dimensional. It makes just merely being held in each other’s hand so full of emotions and love.

My favorite writer during college was Dostoevsky. In Brothers Karamazov, the character, Grushenka comments that she has done so many bad deeds but she is redeemed, because she gave an onion to a beggar. "Just know one thing, Rakitka, I may be wicked, but still I gave an onion." (Book VII, Chapter 3). In this big metropolis of New York City, where life and experiences may have caused cynicism and hopelessness about love - maybe we can have faith again in broccoli?