The Joy of the Unexpected

Valentine's Day is one of those "take it or leave it" kind of occasions for me. I don't mind having a reason to celebrate by giving notes, exchanging presents, and/or sharing a nice meal and drink with the people I love.

It's commercial, yes. But, it's one of those things that I'm happy to enjoy, if there's an opportunity to do so, but no major pressure. At least, that's the stand the husband and I started to take after being married for a few years now...

Yes, with hubby and myself, we find that if we're either too busy, too cash-strapped, or just too disinterested in celebrating, it's no big deal if we give it a miss. Some years, if all we can manage is a handmade card and some chocolates, then that would do.

But, since we always have chocolates all the time anyway, it's not really too out of the ordinary. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, today was one of those little to no expectations kind of Valentine's day. There was nothing pre-arranged, nothing booked, no heavy hinting...

When I gave the husband and the kids their personalised V-Day cards, with accompanying choccies this morning, and I got a funny card from my hubby, that was it.

Valentine's Day 2012 Over.

Or at least, that's what I thought.

An Unexpected Gift at an Unexpected Time from an Unexpected Source

After a quick offsite work meeting, I went back to the office with something unexpected on my desk: a mysterious looking red envelope and a small brown bag. The envelope was marked with ChocoMe #ValentineSurprise.

Opened the envelope and the package and found a very unique chocolate bar from ChocoMe, with a nice, personalised card.

Cool #ValentineSurprise from @ChocoMe_Au . Most interesting artisan chocolate bar. Can't wait to try! :)

Very nice. So yes, thanks ERCMedia and ChocoMe. I definitely appreciated my #ValentineSurprise. I hope the other recipients were just as pleased. Can't wait to try this artisan chocolate bar.

Anyway, I felt that my day was just a bit extra special because of this unexpected gift.

But then, I realised later on that...

Flowers Never Fail to Bring an Extra Zing

My husband won me over with flowers once, when he gave me an incredible bouquet of lilies, daisies, and chrysanthemums to celebrate our meeting.

He won me over with flowers, when he sent me a dozen long-stemmed red roses to Manila, all the way from Singapore.

There had been many other times when the husband melted my heart with flowers over the years - specially delivered white lilies, a bouquet of roses from the streets of Paris, and yes, even those "on sale" ones from the local supermarket or the petrol station can do it for me.

I can't help it. I love flowers.

But, admittedly, the flowers don't come as often as they used to. Of course, I tease him with the song "You don't bring me flowers" whenever I feel like it because of that. Not that teasing really works all that well, of course. But hey, a girl can only try, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today, however, the husband came through and delivered flowers when he picked me up from work. Roses and stargazer lilies. Two of my favourites.

Valentine's Day bouquet from the hubby... <3

I was ready to call it a Valentine's Day miracle and success.

But apparently, it wasn't quite done yet.

Where We Finally Try The River Cafe

Without a babysitter, and with our busy afternoon and evening ahead of us during a week night, the thought of having a Valentine's Day dinner just didn't appeal to either the husband or myself. I needed to get work and studies done, while he needed to do PhD work and then coaching for our boy's local soccer club. Then, of course, the usual evening routines.

So, we figured, we'll just meet for lunch. A simple but yummy V-Day lunch before we went about with the rest of our day.

Truthfully, I was ready to have lunch at the markets or at any of the other Asian restaurants we go to. So, when the husband took an unexpected detour from King William Street and on towards the river, I was surprised.

Apparently, the husband made a last minute booking at The River Cafe. We've never been to this place before and we've been meaning to try it out.

We both ordered from the Daily Specials Menu (0214). I had the Brodo di Mare and hubby ordered Pasta del Giorno, as well as some Crispy Potatoes as a side from the regular menu. Then, we ordered the cheesecake for dessert, even though we were completely full by the end of our meals (heartbreaking to see some of my seafood go untouched!).

Another #valentinesurprise for me. Lovely lunch with the hubby. <3

Anyway, my main meal was pretty much a huge serving of the most amazing king prawns, as well as an assortment of Moreton bay bugs, fish, mussels, and squid in a spicy broth, served with a piece of grilled bread. I was in seafood heaven.

I had a quick taste of the husband's pasta and was also very impressed. And, even though the cheesecake came in an unconventional way (looked more like one of those deconstructed ones)... It was nevertheless scrumptious. The pistachio ice cream, the biscotti, the cheesecake "scoops", the fresh strawberries, the edible flowers... They all worked really well together.

How awesome is this cheesecake?!

So, we came to the conclusion that River Cafe food was top notch. And, match that with an excellent view, and it was easy to say that that was one of the best meals we've had in Adelaide.

By the end of lunch, I was definitely more than happy to call it a Perfect Valentine's Day. But, I had a couple more unexpected surprises.

And, to think, I woke up this morning thinking all I had to look forward to was exchanged smiles and shared chocolates in our family.

Sometimes, it really is best not to set any big plans or huge expectations. It leaves the world, and the people around us, a lot more room to surprise and delight us.

About the Author Shai Coggins (MTeach, MSoc Sci App Psych)

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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