I’ve always felt a little icked out by Valentine’s Day. I’ve spent more Valentine’s Days protesting patriarchy at performances of the Vagina Monologues than out for candlelight dinners. I’m not a romantic, and my snobbish chocolate standards are too exacting to be satisfied by the contents of a heart-shaped box. (Which is not to say I don’t adore presents and surprises in any form and at any time.) But this year, the onset of Valentine’s Day did not paint the shops red and pink. I only saw a few teddy bears hugging hearts on display. The Germans have not yet “embraced” this commercial day of love. So, perversely, I realized I absolutely had to observe Valentine’s Day this year.
I’m a consumeristic American in Berlin, I’m homesick, and I’m in love. Clearly there’s nothing for it but a mushy Valentine’s celebration. So, early last week I stopped in at a café that serves a Sunday brunch so popular you need a reservation to get a seat. Many a Sunday, Aaron and I have walked by and wondered how amazing that buffet must be to be so well attended. I scored a reservation to surprise Aaron, but then couldn’t help myself from hinting at the festivities I had arranged. On tiny hint, and Aaron had it all figured out. Next time, I’ll marry someone less clever. I gathered a few other little presents and even turned on the creativity to wrap them.
This morning, I booted Aaron out of bed in time to stroll to our 11 a.m. brunch appointment. He opened his presents: a new hat to replace the most recent one he’s lost (Together we’ve lost three hats so far this winter.) and a bar of Schwarze Herren Schokolade – pour messieurs. (“Black Gentlemen’s Chocolate – for gentlemen).
Now I’m off to a special session of Tae Kwon Do – the pre-test for the official test coming up at the end of the month. Then, I’ll make Aaron watch the Olympics with me auf Deutsch. And finally, our friend Claudia will take us to the gym, thus cancelling out all the loverly chocolate we’re eating.