I remember my 1st Valentine’s Day in Poland more than 10 years ago. I was surprised to find out that St. Valentine’s Day was new to Poland at that time especially considering that it is a saint’s day and Poland being Catholic and all. Of course, the modern Valentine’s day tradition doesn’t have much to do with saints or religion or anything like that. It has more to do with romance and commercialism, but so what? A little romance and commercialism never hurt anyone.
On my very first Valentine’s day in Poland, I noticed that a few students exchanged cards and some kids even asked what we do in America for Valentine’s Day. If I had thought about it beforehand, I could have made a Valentine’s Day lesson out of it, but I hadn’t. I was very pleased that I received a Valentine’s card from Misiu. Misiu had received quite a few cards, from students, the female kind. One girl was even so brave as to inscribe her card with the sentiment “Damn, I wish I was your lover”. Whatever happened to the innocent “Be mine”?
Now in Poland, Valentine’s Day is pretty much a standard like it is in America. People buy each other cards, chocolates, flowers and go out to the movies or the theater or to dinner. I remember the last Valentine’s Day that we went out, and I mean out-out, not Carrefour-out. We went to the movies to see a Polish romantic comedy. It was before our children were born and before I was even pregnant (pregnant women can have trouble sitting out a 2-hour movie without using the bathroom), so we could relax and do whatever we wanted.
We decided to go to an early matinee. On the up side, it meant we probably wouldn’t have to reserve our seats. (In Poland the seats in the movies are numbered like on an airplane, and you are able not only to buy your tickets in advance but also to reserve the exact seats that you want.) On the downside, it meant that we were surrounded by the teen couples who were too young to go out on “a date” later in the evening. The movie, Nigdy w życiu!, an adaptation of the popular book written by Katarzyna Grochola, was pleasant enough. I was happy that I could understand what was going on. I haven’t read the book (not that I haven’t tried, but it is too difficult for me), but the film follows a pretty predictable romantic comedy storyline. Ok, not as predicable as Lejdis (when I saw the first scene I knew pretty much what the last scene would be and wondered what papież was doing there anyhow), but still following the expected formula.
How romantic, sitting with my Misiu in a dark theater watching a romantic comedy on Valentine’s Day. As the storyline unfolded and the main love interests got closer and closer, I noticed a lot of teenage boys and girls snuggle up to one another. I snuggled up to my Misiu and as the kissing couple on the screen rolled from the sofa to the floor, my Misiu commented, “Fajna podłoga”. Yes, he did. He commented on how nice the floor was, loud enough that the couple in front of us gave a chuckle. To be fair, we were in the middle of choosing flooring for our house, but still. It was an aberration though because he really is a romantic guy. Really.
For this Valentine’s Day, we already made a card for our neighbor and put it in her mailbox.
Here’s our inspiration - I mean the place from where we shamelessly copied the idea.
Our girls received Winnie the Poo Valentine’s cards from the neighbor in our mailbox box, too. We are also taking French pastries to Pre-school tomorrow.
We made enough for ourselves, too.
If you think that is good, you should see what I have in store for my husband for later :)
Happy Valentine’s Day!