Lisa's week

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Lisa's week: Sweet Valentine

Sweet Valentine

Next week (14th February) is St Valentine’s Day and I have to admit that I kind of miss the big deal that’s made of this day back in the UK. It’s a day full of love and romance, chocolates and roses, messages of affection and a bucket full of emotions!

But not so much here in Germany. In fact, many of my students feel that this special day of romance is just an excuse for the flower shops to triple their prices. They certainly have a point but I try to explain to them that there’s a lot more to it than that.

When I was much younger, St Valentine’s Day was really exciting as you might receive a card through the post, sent to you by a secret (or not so secret) admirer. The card would be examined for clues about the sender – the handwriting expertly analysed or the postmark carefully noted to see where it was posted in the hope that the secret admirer could be identified and then, who knew where that might lead.

As I got older, the Valentine’s cards were a bit more expected if there was a partner in my life, and a secret admirer might even have caused a bit of a problem – not that I ever had one! But then the red roses that were a “must” on that day would be delivered and you knew that your loved one was thinking of you and romance was in the air, even if you were far apart or it was just a regular work day with the ordinary routines.

And today? Today I still try to mark the day with heart shaped pancakes or a present or maybe some heart shaped chocolates. And expect my German husband to also “surprise” me with some small token of love – flowers, a card, chocolates or a small gift. It doesn’t need to be costly but it should show some thought. It’s less of a must and more of a reminder of a love-filled life. It doesn’t have to be about the expensive, commercial side of the Valentine’s Day business but more about a splash of romance in the everyday. Who can’t enjoy a bit of that?

Did you know that St Valentine’s Day is, in fact, originally European?

It is thought to have originated in ancient Rome where 14th February was a day to honour the Queen of Roman Gods and Goddesses, Juno, who was also known as the Goddess of Women and Marriage. The following day was the Feast of Lupercalia where the custom of name drawing took place. On the eve of the festival, the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar who would be his partner for the duration of the festival. Sometimes the pairing lasted the year or they might even fall in love and marry. After Emperor Claudius II banned engagements and marriages in order to encourage men to go to war, a Christian priest, St Valentine continued to carry out marriages and support Christianity. He was arrested and martyred on 14th February 269 AD. He left a note for the jailor’s daughter with whom he had become friends and signed it “From Your Valentine”.

Well, I’m still hoping for red roses. How about you?


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?