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(Seoul)—Today for Valentine’s Day, I made origami hearts for all the local people here, mostly from my taekwondo class. I love the quiet meditation that origami brings and sometimes use it in my work. But for this, my goal was to give the locals something they probably haven’t received before. From what I’ve seen, some Koreans give each other flowers and chocolates on February 14th, but I haven’t seen paper valentines. Or at least these kinds of valentines:

fancy origami hearts by yours truly!

Fancy origami hearts by yours truly

I was tempted to write, “You’re waegukin (foreigner) loves you!” but I decided against it. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

Kidding aside, I made these because aside from the fact that I like them, the people I’ve met here have been so lovely and generous despite the apocalyptic language barrier. I just wanted to let them know I’m trying, too! Kamsahamnida!

Are you getting enough hugs a day? According to American psychologist and educator Virginia Satir, we need four hugs a day for survival, eight a day for maintenance, and twelve a day for growth.

Hugging triggers the release of oxytocin, which is important in human social behavior, bonding, and sexual response, among others. It promotes the feeling of contentment, calm and security, and also reduces anxiety. It is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone.” The inability to secrete oxytocin is linked to sociopathy, narcissism, and manipulativeness.

In 1983, Kathleen Keating published the book, Hug Therapy, which sent the message about the healing power of touch. She argued that hugging was important for both our physical and emotional well-being.

Watch this lovely video from Italy showing people giving free hugs:

Go hug your loved ones. It’s Valentine’s Day, after all.