I, very romantically, spent Valentine’s evening teaching my advanced English class. Although Valentine’s Day is not celebrated as widely or enthusiastically as in the UK it is, I’ve been told, catching on more and more. There were lots of chocolates floating round the language school on this night. And although German isn’t typically considered to be the language of love, both me and the hubs got each other German cards and wrote our messages in German. Ich liebe dich (I love you) caused us much hilarity, as it does to all English speakers who joke about loving ‘dich’ (pronounced ‘dick’).
We celebrated Valentines the next evening with a very good and authentic Japanese meal at Tennmaya just off Kaernter Strasse, near the opera. It was the evening of the Opern Ball, the most famous of the ball season. Roads were closed and public transport diverted to allow access to this special event. All around the opera was swarming with police and the hubs got himself royally told off by a policeman because he started to cross the road while the red man was still on. It’s a taboo to do such a thing here. At first it didn’t make sense to me to wait when it was obviously safe to cross and so I used to take the initiative and nip across the road, but the public shaming got too much to handle. I was stared at, tutted at, and had heads shaken at the recklessness of my behaviour and it made me a bit timid. I could feel social scorn following me. So now I wait, like all other Viennese, wait for several eternities at empty junctions and deserted roads until the green man (the little dictator that he is) grants his permission. That’s why the hubs got told off and I didn’t, because I refused to cross with him when he wanted to, preferring to wait in the snow and sub-zero temperatures like a good citizen at the traffic lights. We have no idea what the content of his telling off was; the German the policeman spoke was rather fast though clearly inflected with lots of sarcasm. The hubs just nodded stoically as if all was understood and dutifully took his place and waited besides me for the green man, and then we started to giggle.
Link to some pictures from this year’s Opern Ball: