As I read so many posts about Valentines Day, I decided to share my most memorable Valentines Day with you folks. It's not the one where I was spoilt with the classic dozen long-stemmed red roses, although that had a bit of wow factor. It's one which was much more about starting friendships than romantic love.
When I was in primary school my family moved to Pensylvania for a year. And my first day of school was February 14th. My older brother and I hopped on the big yellow school bus that stopped a block from our house, and headed off to our first day. Only ten minutes into the ride, the bus became stuck in snow, where we sat for an hour and a half. (This was of course quite a novelty. Our only experience with snow until that point had been pristine Victorian Alps cross country skiing. Which may explain why I didn't think it weird to pick up a handful of the first snow I saw when we got to the States and cram it in my mouth. Too bad this was on the airport runway and it was full of fuel. Whoops.)
When we finally reached the school I was so stressed out about things not going to plan that I forgot all the directions I'd been given on our tour the day before. By the time a teacher found me and took me to class, I was bawling my eyes out. Of course because I'd got lost I was even later and had to walk in on my own, and the teacher made me stand up in front of the class to introduce myself. As soon as three words were out of my mouth the entire class, including my teacher, fell about laughing, literally rolling on the floor, because of my Australian accent. (It was a small town.)
But once they'd got over the hilarity of it all, they sat me down and presented me with a little letterbox. And in it was a valentine from every kid in the class. We then (in what turned out to be a pretty common event at the school, repeated on St Patricks Day, Presidents Day, Thanksgiving Day, Everyone Gets a Trophy Day, etc) had a party that revolved entirely around consuming large amounts of sugar. Such large amounts that we had a bag of 'candy' to take home with us. Which probably confirmed all of my healthy mother's worst fears about moving to America. But I did feel like I'd been welcomed, and as though it all wasn't going to be too terrible after all.