BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Valentine's Day gifts usually consist of flowers, candies, and the occasional giant teddy bear. But, one Biloxi woman used the power of social media to spread her love far beyond the borders of Mississippi.
Marianne Shaffer met her future fiancé, Emanuel Fenech, in a coast casino in 2011. Shaffer said after a persistent pursuit, they started dating. They have been together ever since.
Shaffer started working on a project weeks ago to show her love on this Valentine's Day. That project connected her with people and places from all over the world.
"The whole point of this was to see how far my love for him can be heard," said Shaffer.
She started the project by joining a Facebook group called "My love for you is so big it has reached." The purpose of the group is to share messages of love with people all over the world.
Shaffer, a social work graduate student as USM, said the replies started pouring in. In just a few weeks, she has received interactions from people in places like South Africa, Egypt, Iceland, and Australia. She said she even made sure to get a note from Fenech's home town of Tampa, FL.
"Many people don't even know where Mississippi is," said Shaffer. "I'd send them a picture of our beach, and they would say, 'Mississippi is beautiful.' It's interesting to interact with people in Iceland and have them send you pictures of mountains."
Shaffer said her personal favorite was a picture taken right in front of the Eiffel Tower.
To top off a wonderful Valentine's Day, Shaffer said she plans to join her fiancé for a hibachi dinner.