I’ve never been very enthusiastic about Valentine’s Day. When I was little, it was that day you got free candy and my parents put heart-shaped sandwiches in my lunch. It maybe meant a Valentine’s Day dance and a pink sweater, or candles and flowers. When it comes to flowers, though, I’m much more a fan of spontaneously delivered calla lilies than pink or red roses. Don’t get me wrong, I still mark the occasion. In high school, I’d go out with friends. Since Austin and I have been dating, we do something each year, ranging from last year’s typical Valentine’s Day with dinner reservations and homemade cupcakes to monster truck rallies and scary movies with takeout Chinese.
So this year, as I’m already spending my time on a different continent, it didn’t feel like Valentine’s Day was going to be a really big deal. It just so happens, however, that I know some adorable people.
I woke up to an e-mail from Austin linking to a playlist he’d made me (the modern version of a mixtape.) Internationally, that’s about the best gift anyone can give without paying tons for shipping, and it was heartfelt and sweet and right in keeping with our Valentine’s theme – none of the songs was overly sappy.
After I listened and got to Skype with him, Joanna and Christina came over to make dinner and watch a movie. We made vegetable stew with organic veggies from a local store, had bread, drank wine, ate too many cookies, and watched Persuasion. Joanna even brought valentines she’d made!
Culturally, Valentine’s Day in Italy was an interesting experience. Though Italians celebrate it, and there were chocolates and teddy bears for sale in the stores, it didn’t seem like a big deal in the same way that it is in the States. I liked it.