My Valentine’s gift!
__On Valentine’s Day, it seems only fitting that this post is about love in Timor-Leste. It’s an adaptation of a diary entry I wrote a year ago on the topic.

Timorese are obsessed with love and romance! As I’m writing this, I’m also downloading the lyrics to ‘Stuck on You’ by Lionel Richie for a guy at work to learn, it’s his favourite song.

_Stuck on you
I’ve got this feeling down
Deep in my soul
That I just can’t lose
Guess, I’m on my way
_It’s a big concern for my Timorese friends that I don’t have a boyfriend, they tell me:
_“You need a boyfriend so on the weekends you can have picnics together and discuss ideas. Valentines Day is coming up”
_Yes, they celebrate today, Valentine’s Day in Timor too. Tacky ornaments, fake flowers and now even real roses can be purchased on the street for your love. But if you are looking for something more upmarket, check out the brand new offerings at Timor Plaza.But what if you don’t have a lover?

It’s important to note, that as a woman if you’re not married by 25 you are practically considered an old maid. One 28 year old woman I work with, Mary, is yet to be married. In my first week, a lady from accounts warned me about her:

_“She’s a bit crazy in the head because she isn’t married”
I was surprised to hear this because Mary is striking and the most intelligent and hard working woman at our workplace. She’s fiery, sassy and assertive. She was the first out of all the girls to get her hair chemically straightened. She wears cowboy shirts and trendy jeans. She is a total catch but no one else seems to think so. But don’t feel sorry for Mary, she doesn’t care, that’s the best thing about her.So to avoid an unhappy and incomplete existence without a man like Mary and I,  my colleagues told me how I should go about finding the man of my dreams, this is their advice:

  • As soon as I get back to Australia I must tell all of my neighbours that I am looking for a husband. They in turn will spread the word to the community.
  • Whatever I do, I must not look for a husband, it’s a mans role to look for a woman
  • Places where I could meet him include church, parties, work, through friends and at the beach

Potential problems they foresee:

  • Australia is a very big place with lots of people unlike East Timor. This is going to make meeting a man very difficult
  • Lack of time, I’m almost 25
So if you find yourself alone this Valentine’s Day- fear not- heed the above advice and by this time next week you could find yourself in heated negotiations with a potential suitor’s family over your union….. The most important question remains, how many Oxen will you be worth?!And before this ends, some important FAQ’s:

Can one find love in East Timor?
Yes, it has been known to happen. There is a lively expat scene with ample opportunities e.g. parties and events to become acquainted with potential partners.

Can foreigners date locals?
Sure. Check with your work, if you are working, some workplaces don’t allow it.

Are there brothels in East Timor?
Yes, see above.

Can I buy condoms in East Timor?
Why of course.