We can’t get away from the fact that it’s Valentine’s Day, so brace yourself for the obligatory Valentine’s post.
Mr. R. and I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day. I’d prefer to get flowers every now and then (a fact mostly forgotten by my undoubtedly wonderful husband) and not just on February 14th when they cost a fortune anyway… The happiest people of all that day are anyway the flower vendors and Hallmark shop owners. I can’t help but notice the big smiles on their faces (probably they are just calculating how many more roses / cards they have to sell until they can buy themselves a new Mercedes). However, I do remember one Valentine, I believe it was our first, when Mr. R. sent me the most amazing bouquet to the hotel where I was working at that time. I felt like a real princess! Maybe I even felt a little happier than the flower guy that day.When I came to think of that moment, I also started thinking about how we began dating. To be honest, the whole time we were on our first date, I had no idea it even was a date. (I never said I was the smartest girl on the planet.) But first things first.
Mr. R. and I met 16 years ago at hotel management school, and apart from Hello and Good-bye, we didn’t really talk much in the beginning. I knew that he had a girlfriend and was living in one of the suburbs, while I was being a single city girl. And as I mentioned before, people from my hometown are a bit peculiar when it comes to neighbourhoods: Only people from certain neighbourhoods tend to mingle, and people from the suburbs are mostly frowned upon. Yes, we are
a snobby bunch special.
But then a new seating order was put into place according to which Mr. R. and I all of a sudden faced each other from the opposite sides of the classroom, and while he for the first time realized that I had a face, I became aware of his quiet irony that reminded me of my brother’s – a fact that scored him extra bonus points. And as of that day, even the dreariest of lessons became so much more interesting. However, since I knew about his girlfriend, I didn’t even think he might be interested in me other than platonically. And as I have always had more male friends than girlfriends, that seemed pretty normal to me. (Also I pictured him as the kind of guy who is more into the barbie kind of girl, and having just had my hair cut to half an inch length, I clearly looked more like a monchhichi doll. No joking.)
And so one day when he stopped me on the street to ask for my mobile number, I still was a completely clueless chick. Well, in my defence, he did ask in kind of a long-winded way for instead of asking for my number, he asked me whether I had a contract with provider X which I denied. “Could you still write down your number for me?” he asked, and I said Yes and forgot about it – after all, I couldn’t help him with the problems he apparently had with his cellphone provider, could I?
The following Sunday I was just having a nice cup of tea in front of my parents’ fireplace, when my phone rang: Mr. R., who wanted to ask me out that night. Nothing unusual, I thought, he needed someone to keep him company and share a glass of wine with, and we agreed to meet at a cozy wine tavern where Mr. R. gallantly shared a bottle of red wine with me – although he didn’t even like red wine at that time! But that I should not know until much later. We talked and talked, it was a very pleasant evening, and only in the end did I ask him what his girlfriend might be doing that night. He replied that they had split up quite some time ago, and suddenly, it dawned on me that we actually were on a date! Maybe it was a good thing that I hadn’t known before, for I am not sure how well the red wine would have sat with me and thousands of butterflies in my monchhichi stomach.
Never would I have believed back then that one day, we would be travelling the world together as expats! Life is full of surprises!
Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! And whether you celebrate this day or not, I hope it may hold only pleasant surprises for you!