Richie and Grace are an Irish-Chinese couple living in Beijing. They met when in Spain, fell in love and returned to Grace's homeland to settle down. Bilingual Time caught up with them in a bar in the capital for a chat about Valentine's Day and cross-cultural love.
Bilingual Time: What, to you, is the ideal Valentine's Day?
Grace: To me, the ideal Valentine's Day would be the couple, me and my husband, spending the whole night together with a romantic dinner and presents for each other. Well, it doesn't really matter if we buy presents for each other. Spending the night together, chatting, talking about our dreams, our relationship is important. Being romantic is very important.
Bilingual Time: What about you Richie? What do you think?
Richie: In my opinion, I suppose, when you are in a relationship, you are with the person everyday, all the time, and Valentine's Day is the one day of the year that you can actually show your appreciation for that person and what they mean to you.
Bilingual Time: How would you show your appreciation?
Richie: Twelve red roses would have to be number one on the list. Twelve red roses symbolize love, in the West. I think so; I don't really know the story behind it. Twelve red roses, anyway, would be a must on Valentine's Day. Some people like to buy their lady chocolate on Valentine's Day but I don't go in for that because chocolate makes you fat.
Grace: You mean chocolate makes the wife fat.
Bilingual Time: What do you think are good Valentine's Day gifts?
Grace: I prefer to get something very practical for my husband. For example, a really nice jumper or a nice pair of gloves; something that can make the man feel warm. When he puts on the gloves he will remember that "my wife bought them for me". And also, I think a nice Valentine's Day present would be, like a gesture that you really love him and really appreciate what he has done for you. You have to show this, not necessarily with presents. You can tell him, maybe. Talk to him and thank him for whatever he has done.
Richie: Romantic dinners are also a very very big part of Valentine's Day, in my opinion. Last year, for example, we went to a restaurant. It was very nice. There were a few other couples there. There was one rich English gentleman in particular and he had a bottle of champagne on ice. I just bought a cheap bottle of Great Wall. (Laughs) It's the thought that counts.
Bilingual Time: What else did you do last year on Valentine's Day?
Grace: We can't tell you everything! (Laughs) Well…
Richie: I can't remember!
Grace: Not much…
Richie: Yeah, we had a nice dinner, then came home, chilled out, relaxed, and drank some more wine.
Grace: Wine is very important.
Richie: Exactly. It puts you in the mood.