VALENTINE’S DAY AFTERMATH

The consequences of celebrating Valentine’s Day:

1. Traffic chaos: Even though most Valentine’s Days are on weekdays, people go out as if it were a Saturday night. This is why you see lots of couples and groups of friends going out to dinner, to have some drinks, or to dance. As a result, there are long lines of cars and buses and it takes you twice as much time to go to your long-awaited destination. Furthermore, cab drivers take advantage of the situation and charges you more because they know you are desperate to arrive on time wherever you are planning to go.

2. Boom for florists: No one can deny that most people like to buy flowers on Valentine’s Day. We can buy flower arrangements, flower bouquets, boxes of roses, etc. Good for florists and their businesses. But, what if it’s your mom’s birthday and you’d like to surprise her with a lovely colorful arrangement, you will risk of paying a lot more than you would on an ordinary day. Besides, there’s also the possibility that all the shops will have sold everything by the time you make the call to place your order.

3. Only hearts, hearts and more hearts:  If you want to buy a cute, meaningful and original birthday card, I’ll wish you the best of luck since 98% of the cards will be filled with I LOVE YOU, YOU ARE SPECIAL, MADLY IN LOVE, etc. Birthday, congratulations and thank you cards are scarce and most of them are ugly and dull. However, the Valentine’s virus goes beyond cards. Imagine it’s your father-in-law’s birthday and you are in charge of getting the cake. So, you go to the bakery and to your surprise all you can see are heart-shaped cakes.  Even if you loved your father –in-law greatly as if he were your own dad, it’d be a rather awkward present.

4. The odyssey of eating out:  You have to be very brave and adventurous to go to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day. If you haven’t made a reservation, you’ll probably have to wait for at least an hour to get a decent table. But the waiting doesn’t stop there. You’ll have to wait long for your orders and later to get the check. Will the food and service be worth the waiting? Not most of the time.  On Valentine’s Day all the restaurant staff are running like crazy hurrying things up neglecting the high quality they are used to offering on a regular day. And if you’re planning on ordering food, stock yourself with plenty of snacks because your food will be at your door at dawn.

I don’t intend to discourage you from celebrating Valentine’s Day. I’m quite positive that despite these few negative aspects of this holiday, people who really enjoy this day always manage to have a wonderful Valentine’s celebration with their beloved ones, and I’m really happy for them.  As for me, I’ll continue to celebrate my mom’s birthday every February 14th.

VOCABULARY LIST

1. aftermath (n) : the consequences or the situation that exists as a result of an important (and usually unpleasant) event, especially a war, an accident, etc  Ex: We were looking at some devastating photos of the aftermath of Japan’s earthquake.

2. weekday (n) : any day of the week except Saturday and Sunday  Ex: On weekdays I get up at 6 am.

3. long-awaited : expected for a long time   Ex: Oliver Stone’s long-awaited film didn’t meet his fans expectations.

4. boom (n) : a period of sudden economic growth, especially one that results in a lot of money being made  Ex: Lately there has been a boom in iPad sales.

5. arrangement (n) : a group of things that have been put in a particular order or position  Ex:  Patty had a beautiful arrangement of dried flowers in her kitchen.

6. madly (adv) : extremely, very   Ex: She’s madly in love with Tom.

7. scarce (adj) : not easy to find or get, insufficient to meet the demand  Ex: After the earthquake food and clean water were scarce.

8. dull (adj) : not interesting, boring  Ex: I didn’t finish reading her last book because it was pretty dull.

9. awkward (adj) : making you feel embarrassed, uncomfortable   Ex:  She felt awkward  meeting his husband’s ex-wife.

10. odyssey (n) : long journey with a lot of adventures or difficulties   Ex:  Exploring the Amazon jungle on foot was a real odyssey.

11: check (n): a list that you are given in a restaurant showing what you have eaten and how much you must pay, bill   Ex: Can I have the check, please?

12. neglect (v) : to give not enough care or attention to people or things that are your responsibility   Ex: She has neglected her studies since she started working.

13 dawn (n): the time at the beginning of the day when light first appears   Ex: I get up  just before dawn because I go  jogging before I go to work.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s day? What do you usually do? Are there things that you don’t like about Valentine’s Day? Do you celebrate something else on February 14th?

Love Idioms and Expressions

fall for (someone) : to begin to feel love for someone                                                           Ex: Mary always falls for the wrong guy.

go dutch : to go on a date where each person pays half of the expenses                         Ex: Young couples often go dutch when they go on a date.

go steady : to date one person regularly  Ex: Tom and I have been going steady for one year now.

have a crush (on someone) : to have strong feelings of love for someone, usually for a short time .  Ex: When I was at kid I had a crush on my neighbor.

head over heels in love with (someone) : to be very much in love with someone         Ex: Mike is head over heels in love with his fiancée.

pop the question :to ask someone to marry you                                                              Ex: After dating Mary for more than two years, Jeff dared to pop the question.

puppy love : feelings of love between young people that adults don’t  think is very serious Ex: Jane and Bill thought that their love was the greatest in the world, but their parents knew it was only puppy love.

tie the knot : to get married                                                                                                Ex: Mary and Jeff  are planning to tie the knot next year.

Your life in a song

How many times have you been next to the radio singing along that song that makes you remember all your past memories? How many times have you sung in the shower? Well, you are not the only one who has done it.  And it is just because music has been part of our lives since we were born or even before that. It can’t be denied that when listening to a song, we tend to relate it to some past experiences or to our lives today. That’s how we have music for broken hearts, music for optimistic people, and catchy music for dancing people.

For those who can play any musical instrument, the situation is even better. The reason is that not only can they sing, but also they can play their favorite music. There is a great number of people who became musicians with the objective to be like their music heroes. The question is why do we have that penchant for music? The answer is a simple but uncertain “I don’t know”. It’s a mystery why music has been considered as the expression of our souls.

Not many people seem to realize the influence that music has on us. Consciously or unconsciously, we feel identified with the lyrics of a song. Maybe it is in our genes. What is really curious is the reaction a song can trigger. I can assume from my humble opinion that everybody has cried, smiled or laughed at least once with a song.

Another interesting thing about music is all the music bands that appeared and were able to instill a way of thinking in multiple generations. Many of these thoughts have remained unalterable through the years. That can explain why we can still hear songs that were made 40 or 50 years ago. Why is this special? To answer this question, it is enough to see the impressive number of people who listen to these songs now but hadn’t been born when these songs were released.

We don’t know for sure what else can be done with music, but what we really know is that as long as people never lose their feelings, music will be there for us, the melancholic, the passionate, the dreamers who enjoy a good song.

Vocabulary

Assume (v): To accept an idea based on suppositions. Ex: Wow! You studied all night long. I assume you will have a good score in you exam.

Catchy (adj): Very nice and easy to remember.  Ex: All new singers prefer to write catchy lyrics to have more fans.

Instill (v): To make somebody think or behave in a particular way. Ex: Gandhi wanted to instill the idea of peace among his pupils.

Melancholic (adj): Sad. Ex: I feel melancholic when I remember my grandpa. He died many years ago.

Penchant (n): A preference. Ex: My brother has a penchant for fish. He thinks it is delicious.

Release (v): To Publish, to show. Ex: The new movie will be released next year.

Sing along (v): To sing a song while this song is being played on the radio or a person is singing it. Ex: Every time I hear that song, I can’t help singing along.

Trigger (v): To cause, to provoke. Ex: Smoking can trigger lung cancer.

Unalterable (adj): That can’t be changed, immutable. Ex: The rules of the game are unalterable regardless of who is playing. No one can change them.

Uncertain (adj): Unclear. Ex: It’s really uncertain how she could get a promotion especially when she was always late.

What song makes you feel melancholic? happy? Do you sing along when you hear your song on the radio?

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As we can see music is everywhere, even in the expressions we use in our daily conversations. Here are a few examples:

 And all that jazz:  And other similar things,  and things like that.  Ex: I need paper, scissors, color pens and all that jazz to make the cards.

Call the tune (shot):  To be the person who controls a situation.  Ex:Tom was running the business, but his father was still calling the tunes.

Face the music:  To accept the negative consequences of something you have done wrong. Ex: After failing his English exam,  Jason went home and had to face the music.

For a song: Very cheaply, at a low price.  Ex:She bought that house for a song because it was very old.

It takes two to tango: If two people are involved in a bad situation, both must be responsible. Ex: Linda blames Becky for stealing her husband, but well, it takes two to tango.

Strike a chord (with sb): To cause someone to remember something; to be familiar or to show some connection with their lives.  Ex: The boy in the old photograph struck a chord with me. Later I realized it was my father.