944 Valentine's Around the World

Mel and Doron discuss various Valentine experiences


Mel: So, Doron, what did you do last Valentine's Day?

Doron: Last Valentine's day I got disappointed I think, cause I teach at university, and I'd heard that Japanese students always give their teachers loads and loads of chocolate, and even though it was my fifth year, and every other year I only got like two or three, I was still really excited cause I'm at university now and I got two chocolate bars.

Mel: Oh, really?

Doron: How, about you? Are you looking forward to it this year?

Mel: I'm planning on going to Korea with my co-workers to escape the Valentine's Day.

Doron: To escape?

Mel: Atmosphere, yes.

Doron: You're not a fan then?

Mel: I like Valentine's Day, but I don't plan on celebrating it this year. Is Valentine's Day big in England?

Doron: I haven't lived in England for awhile now, about ten years. When I was a kid it was big in school, like in junior school, and we used to have a little Valentine's post box in your class where you could write little messages to your classmates and then you put it in the box and it'd get delivered.

Mel: Oh, in a box?

Doron: Yeah, in a little Valentine's post box.

Mel: Oh, cool.

Doron: The teacher would deliver them.

Mel: Did you only get notes or did you get candy as well?

Doron: No, it was just notes. In England we don't really give candy and chocolate and presents to people. We just give letters, unless it's like a boyfriend or a girlfriend or something. But when you are seven, you don't really bother.

Mel: Well, the thing I liked about Valentine's Day as a kid was that you'd get Valentine's Day cards from everyone, but I was always curious to see what the boy I liked wrote to me.

Doron: Did you know who wrote what to you?

Mel: Yeah, they would sign their name on the card.

Doron: What? They sign names?

Mel: Yeah, it'd be like. Happy Valentine's Day Adam.

Doron: Oh, in England I don't think you don't put your name. Even if you know who it's from. You know it's from your girlfriend, or your best friend, or your grandma, or something, I think you just put a big question mark.

Mel: Really?

Doron: It's half the fun. You have to figure it out.

Mel: But my favorite Valentine's Day gift is always from my mom.

Doron: She gives you a gift every year.

Mel: She'll send me gifts in the mail, and when I was in elementary school, she would hide chocolates and stuff in my desk. It was awesome.

Doron: That's brilliant.

Mel: Yeah.

Doron: I don't remember getting any really really cool Valentine's presents. I remember giving a couple. I was dating a girl who lived in Norway when I was at university in England and so for Valentine's Day is the same ... I think her birthday was February the 11th or something.

Mel: Oh, yeah.

Doron: So, I just flew over. I e-mailed like her best friend who I knew quite well as well and he picked me up at the airport I and flew over to Norway.

Mel: Yeah.

Doron: And in Norway, it's a very safe country, so they don't really lock their doors a bit like Japan, and he just drove me down to the house and I walked in at like nine in the morning, and she just came down stairs and she nearly died. She thought I was a ghost.

Mel: Yeah. That would be scary but fun.

Doron: Scary but fun. That's what she said when she could talk.

Mel: Yeah, so it was a double birthday, Valentine's Day gift.

Doron: Exactly.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

loads and loads

Students always give their teachers loads and loads of chocolate.

'Loads and loads' means a very large amount or number of something.  Note the following:

  1. I have loads and loads of laundry to do.
  2. We ate loads and loads of food at the party.


I went to Korea to escape Valentine's Day.

Here, 'escape' means to avoid something.  Note the following:

  1. I plan to escape to the countryside this weekend.
  2. We escaped the holiday crowds by staying home.

big in

When I was a kid, Valentine's Day was big in school.

We use the phrase 'big in' to talk about someone or something that is or was very popular in a place or time.  Note the following:

  1. Jazz music is big in Japan.
  2. Tight blue jeans were big in my high school days.

half the fun

Guessing who sent the card is half the fun.

We enjoy certain activiies for many reasons.  The phrase 'Half the fun' means one of the big reasons.   Note the following:

  1. Seeing people's faces as they open gifts is half the fun.
  2. Being able to relax in the kitchen is half the fun of cooking.

figure out

You have to figure it out.

When we figure something out that means after careful thinking,  we solve a problem .  Note the following:

  1. I can't figure out how to use this remote control.
  2. I can't show you how to do everything. You just have to figure it out yourself.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
loads • escape • big
 half the fun • figure out
  1. She takes long showers to from her children.
  2. I can't how to open this  briefcase.
  3. Is country music really here?
  4. of going on vacation is buying presents for people.
  5. I have of homework to do tonight.