It felt a little strange this year to spend Valentine’s Day not hanging out with students. Last year, when I was in China, I told my students all about Valentine’s Day and we made little valentines with red and pink construction paper in class. Even before that, when I taught high school in Florida and Georgia, I always handed out Valentines (with each student’s name individually printed! All 100 or so of them!) with candy in all of my classes. I do it partly because it’s just fun, and partly because I feel bad for the students in high school who go home without any flowers or candy grams, when the “popular” kids get giant bouquets of roses and helium balloons and life-sized teddy bears and practically need a golf cart to haul their load around the hallways of the school.
But this year I worked at Victoria’s Secret instead.
So I missed seeing my students getting all excited and mushy over Valentine’s Day, but I also kind of enjoyed seeing a bunch of grown men wandering around the lingerie shop, panicked about what to buy their ladies (especially since they waited until the last minute). One guy asked me for help because he couldn’t remember what bra size his wife wore. “I think it’s a 36 D….but it might be a 36 DD. I’m thinking maybe it is a double D because her boobs are just massive. I mean, they’re HUGE!” he says, cupping his hands in front of his chest to demonstrate, and looking at me expectantly.
Umm….what am I supposed to say to that? “We’d better get you a gift receipt, just in case!” 😉
I had class in the evening, so Justin was going to pick me up from school so that we could go to dinner straightaway instead of waiting for me to catch the bus home. We knew that every place would be packed, and arriving early wasn’t an option because of my late class, so we decided to try a Korean restaurant downtown. It was one of those places that kept catching our eye every time we drove past it, and we kept saying, “We need to go there sometime!” We were hoping that most couples wouldn’t choose Korean food for Valentine’s Day, and we were right! There were several people (and some couples) in the restaurant, but not so many that we couldn’t be seated immediately.
The menu took us right back to China (and Korea!), and it was hard to decide what to get. Everyone around us was ordering sushi (a waiter carrying a giant sushi BOAT rushed past us at one point), but we wanted something more like Korean barbecue. We ended up ordering beef bulgogi, and it was delicious! They basically brought a little burner with a pan on top, and brought out a plate of raw beef and onions, and cooked it at our table. They brought us giant leaves of lettuce and some peanut paste so that we could put little pieces of beef inside of the lettuce, smear it with some paste, and wrap it up like a burrito. They also brought us a lot of little side dishes, like little bowls of white rice, kimchi of course, bean sprouts, eggplant, etc. We’ll definitely be going back there again!
After dinner, we went to the movie theater. We decided (or rather, I decided) that we should see the movie Warm Bodies. Justin and I have a hard time agreeing on movies. There is rarely a movie in the theater that we’re both dying to see because we just have such different tastes. I thought this one was a perfect compromise because it had romance (for me) and zombies (for him). I ended up really liking it! It was surprisingly cute, for a romance between a human and a corpse. Justin just thought it was “okay,” as the writers of the film apparently broke many of the known rules of zombie lore. According to him, World War Z is the real must-see zombie film coming out later this year (which I, of course, have zero interest in seeing). But at least I didn’t drag him to see Safe Haven! Am I right? (Though I really DO want to see that one at some point!)
And this is the part of my post where I really feel the need to brag, because I got Justin some EXCELLENT Valentine’s gifts this year. Usually Valentine’s Day is more of a day for me (don’t the ladies always get the better gifts on V-Day?), and I usually don’t get Justin very much (maybe some candy and some underwear or something), but this time, I really put some effort into it. I told Justin to please not get me anything because he already spent so much money on me for Christmas, and since then, for my college tuition (yikes! Don’t even get me started), and thankfully, he complied. He did get me a bag of Reese’s, which are my favorite, and a card with a long, mushy, handwritten letter inside. And that was really perfect. 🙂
But guess what I got him?
I gave him all REDNECK Valentine’s gifts this year! Lately Justin has been watching King of the Hill on Netflix quite a bit, and he keeps talking about missing living in the south (which is really surprising, considering I’m the true-born southern one of the two of us, and I have fully embraced Pittsburgh as my new home). He randomly mentioned awhile back how he wished he could have a hat like Dale Gribble on King of the Hill, and he searched for one online, but he wasn’t able to find one. As soon as he put the computer down and left the room, I got on and searched, thinking that this would be the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day. I found out that he was right…Dale wears a Mack Truck hat that is kind of vintage and hasn’t been sold in stores for years. But I found a guy on eBay who bought an orange hat and already had the vintage patch, and he sewed it on so it looked just like Dale’s hat! As I was searching, I also found out about a soda that Mountain Dew test marketed a few months ago called Johnson City Gold. It’s basically non-alcoholic, malt-flavored Mountain Dew! It sounds disgusting (and it tastes disgusting…I tried it), but since Justin is the ultimate Mountain Dew connoisseur, I knew that I had to get some for him. That was another eBay purchase, because they didn’t test market Johnson City Gold anywhere near where we (or any family members) live. I ordered two cans from a guy in Tennessee, and they arrived just before the expiration date on the bottom of the can was up. Yay!
Justin was really surprised! Even with his finely tuned Mountain Dew radar, he hadn’t heard anything about Johnson City Gold (Yes! Nailed it!). And he was also surprised that I’d found him a hat just like Dale’s. And that I made him a heart-shaped Valentine made out of camouflage paper that said something like “Congratulations on six years of quality service” (if you watch King of the Hill, then you know just how romantic a sentiment that is. And this is our sixth Valentine’s Day together).
An unusual Valentine’s Day…but it was just right.