Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

Joey CheekI woke up this morning to the news that a local lad (Greensboro, NC), Joey Cheek won a gold medal for the 500m speed skating at the Winter Olympics, wiping the floor with the competition. Not only that, but he's donated the winnings to Right to Play. Hats off to him, I say.

The realization that it was Valentine's Day came subsequently.

Every year Mark and I celebrate Valentines day, as do many couples around the world. We usually buy each other a present. It's usually something we both want, but need an excuse to justify the expense. We didn't quite get around to buying anything this year, but we thought we might get "each other" an iPod that we can share or something. We stopped buying each other cards after the first few of years or so of being married because each year we kept buying cards, then forgetting to give them to each other. We also usually have a nice meal together in the evening (another thing we haven't managed this year, although this is not cancelled, but postponed to the weekend).

Two hearts with flowers around themWe're not unromantic, just busy. We managed to have a nice lunch together. There's a nice chain of Irish-themed pubs, one of which is only about a half hour drive from where we live, called The Hibernian. It sells beers like Guinness, Newkie Brown (Newcastle Brown Ale) and Bass and is the only place we've found where we can sample the delights of Irish style sausages, black pudding and back bacon. The black pudding is like one would buy in a UK supermarket, not the good proper stuff that a butcher would sell, but it's better than nothing. The local supermarkets here don't sell anything resembling black pudding or UK sausages and one can only buy streaky bacon. So, although it was lunch time, we treated ourselves to as near as we could get to an English breakfast.

Valentines day here seems to be a higher profile event than it is in the UK. When I was at school, every year my older sister would be bombarded with mountains of Valentines from her many admirers. When I was a teenager, a few Valentines came trickling towards me, but nothing like the torrents that my sister received each year. The rule was simple -- if someone fancied someone, they'd give them a Valentine's card and/or present. That was that.

Two hearts with an arrow through themHere in the US, everyone seems to buy Valentines cards and presents for everyone. Lauren's class at school had a rule that any child who brought in Valentines had to bring them in for the whole class. It rather defeats the purpose of telling someone that they're special and you love them if you have to give them to everyone -- even those you may not even like.

By Valentines, I don't just mean cards, but sweets (candy) and presents too. Emily and Lauren came home from school with shed-loads of stuff. Many of the cards were home made. One of Lauren's friends told me that her mother had started her on the task of making 25+ cards back in early January. In addition, many households swap the US flag on the flagpole outside their house for a Valentines Day flag. Now that's dedication!


Ren said...

What is that line in "The Incredibles"... "When everyone is special, then no one is". Something like that. Well, your post reminded me that in the historic business district of Wake Forest there is a place called the Irish Republic (unless they have closed down, but I think they are still there). I've never been in there, so I'm not sure if it's a store or a place to eat, or both. There is also the Old English Tea Room, which I don't know if it resembles anything English, but I'd like to hear your perspective on it.

Viola said...

I'm going to make it a mission to seek them out. I'll let you know what I think once I do.