Tuesday, 14 February 2012

An Overseas Valentine

Whether you call it Valentine’s Day, Single’s Awareness Day, or just Tuesday, the day has arrived and —just like any other college— Harlaxton is celebrating. Our SGA (Student Government Association) has organized a Karaoke Night, which will be tonight at 8:15pm in the Bistro. It’s sure to be filled with sappy ballads and plenty of spirits. Also, our RAs have been selling Candy Grams, which are essential little bags of candy with an optional message attached. The events at Harlaxton, however, pale in comparison to how the rest of the United Kingdom plans for the romantic holiday.
For example, I spent the last weekend in Dublin, Ireland, and my friends and I were wandering the city streets in search for some inexpensive dinner. Finally, after almost a half an hour of walking, we realized all the restaurants were too expensive (most displayed specials beginning at €20, which is about $27) and all the pubs were severely overcrowded. Desperate, we stopped and asked an Irish woman what affordable restaurant she would recommend— and she stared at us, confused, and kindly suggested, “McDonalds?”

She proceeded to explain that no restaurants would be inexpensive or without table reservations so close to “Saint Valentine’s” (as she called it). Afterwards, I began noticing the lavish pink and red color schemes, the sparkling streamers, and the heart-shaped decorations that adorned every restaurant. Though we certainly celebrate Valentine’s Day in the US, I'm not accustomed to celebrating to this elaborate extent. Still, we eventually found a local deli within our price range and had some delicious Irish food— but, I certainly learned that if I’m ever here again around Valentine’s Day, I’ll be making my own dinner.

This is La Cave restaurant, which is famous in Dublin for its fine selection of wines. The “Table D’Hote Menu” includes an impressive arrangement of entrees— and begins its pricing at €28 ($37).

As far as my own plans for Valentine’s Day this year, I’m attending a Gavin DeGraw concert in London! My two closest girl friends and I are going and having a girls’ night, complete with music, chocolate, and plenty of bonding time. All our boyfriends are overseas, and today can serve as an unwelcome reminder of the almost 5,000 miles between us. But, we’re staying busy and trying to remember that this truly is a once in a lifetime experience, and no one back home wants us to spend this semester unhappy.

Armed with that reassurance, and with the guarantee that London will be an exciting place to spend the holiday, I’m looking forward to starting my day. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Or, as the Irish would say: Happy Saint Valentine’s!

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