How I Fell in Love on Valentine’s Day

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Valentines Day is less than a month away, and like me, you’re probably single AF. We all know that single people who claim to be alone yet happy on V-day are lying. But instead of destroying heart-shaped piñatas at an anti-V-day party like Jennifer Garner in the movie Valentines Day, try to embrace the day and actually find love.

Just remember that love comes in many different ways, shapes and forms.

Love was flying through my life last Valentine’s day–literally and figuratively. I spent my spring semester studying abroad in Rome, Italy. I traveled to eight countries in my 102 days abroad. On the weekend of Valentines Day, I traveled with a group of girls from my school and other study abroad students from Italy to Interlaken, Switzerland.

The trip was led by a company called Bus2Alps, a group of young people eager to show students the best spots in the best European cities. Bus2Alps lives up to its name: a 12-hour bus ride from Rome to the scenic Swiss Alps. We were so excited to get there that 12 hours on a cramped bus seemed like a non-issue.

By now I know what you’re all probably thinking: “She found her dreamy Swiss mountain man and it was love at first sight! They still love each other, but the distance was too much for the young couple and they simply can’t be together. How heart-wrenchingly romantic.”

While I did spend V-day with a sexy Swiss mountain man, this love story is not about two star-crossed lovers. My day was spent paragliding above the Alps with a view so incredible I could see the top of the highest mountain in Europe. A big thank you to Christian, my sexy mountain man/paragliding guide who spoke zero English yet made sure I didn’t die.

So Christian and I didn’t fall in love, but I fell in love with something more important and memorable.

Alaina Anderson

Alaina Anderson

When the weekend was over, I wrote in my travel blog a detailed explanation of how it felt to fly above the Alps while it was still fresh in my mind. “With my arms pumping, I ran down the mountain until my arms spread out wide and I was flying. The journey down the mountain was so smooth, I was sitting on a little seat floating through the sky. Being above the mountains, trees and lakes of Interlaken not only felt physically exhilarating, but I felt pure joy. At one point, Christian let me grab the handles and fly by myself. I pulled the ropes to turn us and enjoyed the feeling of having control, but also having no control at all. I knew I was guiding us but the elements were truly in control. Freedom and fearlessness with the wind doing the work and carrying me through the sky.” It was in that moment when I started to fall in love.

On my last Interlaken early morning, I took a walk along the quiet riverfront to Lake Brienz for the second time that weekend. The water was a bright blue and I could see the bottom perfectly. Across the river there was a little town piled with the cutest log houses, stacked one on top of the other upon the mountain. The water was so still that I could see the reflection of the whole town in the river.

When I approached the lake, the world ahead opened up endlessly. The sky, water and mountains shone all different shades of blues and whites that perfectly blended together. The mountains looked like they went on forever until they could no longer touch the sky. It was a painting that came to life and blew me away. I stood there in my own personal snow globe and reflected on the weekend’s adventures.

Alaina Anderson

Alaina Anderson

I fell in love in Switzerland, with Switzerland. I made lasting friendships, experienced the freedom of flying, ate my body weight in Swiss chocolate, traveled to Zurich, danced the nights away and most importantly: I fell in love with myself again. Living in a huge city like Rome was so exciting and busy, but Interlaken was a tiny, peaceful town that brought me back to my center.

The truth is, Valentine’s Day should be a loving and happy day, whether you’re single or not. While I don’t have paragliding above the Alps to look forward to this Valentine’s Day, I’m still going to try to find love.

Last year, I discovered a new love I have for myself, my freedom, fearlessness and change. This year, I challenge myself and all the other singles out there to find something new to love. Make February 14 a day of positivity, not negativity. See love in your life from a new perspective.

I know that when Valentines Day comes, my mind will be flying above the clouds.

Alaina is a junior at Saint Mary's College studying English Writing and Communication Studies. From the warm and exotic state of Wisconsin, she is a professional shower singer, an ambassador for The Elephant Pants, and enjoys playing her ukulele.

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