Ryan and I have been together for just over 10 and a half years now. We met in July 2000 and have been together since. I'm sitting here trying to remember back to each year and how we spent Valentine's Day and it's tough without photo evidence.
2001. Our first Valentine's date and I went to meet up with him after school in Burwood. We would have been 16/17 (Year 10/11) at the time. He gave me a box of Cadbury chocolates and a stuffed toy dog.
2002. Ryan attempted to cook for me this year. This guy was in high school (year 11) and was already wanting to cook to impress his girlfriend. He tried cooking some whole blue swimmer crabs for me but had absolutely no idea of how to even break them open to eat. I had to go in with both hands and show him how it was done.
2003 - 2005. This is where it was the end of Valentine's for me. Ryan was in year 12 but I was a year above him so had already left high school. I eventually decided I was going to study floristry at TAFE and that also involved working part time at a florist. I found a job about 1 week before Valentine's and discovered my love hate relationship for red roses and their thorns. It also meant that I was going to spend Valentine's every year working flat out. After leaving high school Ryan got a job at Outback Steakhouse Strathfield, eventually moving to Cafe Bello Burwood waiting to get himself through uni. He also spent majority of his Valentine's days working flat chat too. Working behind the scenes meant we were pretty much over all the hype and couldn't give a toss about the day.
2006. We were both still working the floristry and hospitality industry but I was meant to be finishing work earlier that day so Ryan had gone all out to cook a Japanese feast for me for a late lunch catch up. I got held up at work and Ryan couldn't wait any longer and had to head off to work too. I ended up coming over the next day and ate the food a day old. I remember he made a cold soba noodle salad and some salmon onigiri for me. He was so very proud of himself. I can't say that it was his best work and he's improved so much and come such a long way with his cooking knowledge but it was such a sweet gesture.
2007. This was the very first time ever that we were both able to go out on Valentine's day. I had left the industry temporarily for a year to stay home and help mum and I can't even remember how Ryan had gotten out of working that night but he took me out for a suprise dinner date to Costa Esmerelda at Parramatta (photo above). This was our first ever fancy dinner out - Lobster! The food was good, though service was a little hectic where they left us sitting there waiting for our mains for a very long time. Complimentary garlic bread to make up for it.
2008. Ryan was yet again working that night. Cafe Rendevouz at Burwood on a Thursday night. Even though I had a long exhausting day at work (florist) I went to Burwood to meet up with him once he finished work. We ended up at Georges cafe work a quick casual meal after all the hustle and bustle of the night had died down. He suprised me with a few small corny gifts =).
2009. Ryan was finally out of the hospitality industry and I had moved to a different part of the floristry industry. Even though work for me was flat chat I still had my evenings. Ryan took me out on a suprise dinner date again this year. Location was Times on the Park at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel. Was a lovely 3 course meal but yet again, let down by poor service. Is it really worth going out and spending all that money for this one day of the year?
2010. Last year Ryan and I decided to go away for the weekend coming back the day before Valentine's. We went up to the Gold Coast for 3 days and 2 nights going out to dinner at the very fine favourite of ours Vanita on the first night and then stayed in on the second night where Ryan cooked a scrumptious meal for us. We had the freshest of fresh cooked prawns we picked up at the local fisherman's co-op and some pan seared Harvey Bay scallops.
We were hoping for some Morten Bay bugs but unfortunatly they were so popular and in limited supply that we missed out so settled for some lamb racks instead which Ryan cooked with a warm pear and fennel salad.
We ended the night going up the Q-Deck of the Q1 tower and had some cocktails. The actual Valentine's day was spent recovering from the 2 days away and gearing up for work the next day.
2011. Well, this year has not started off well for us with both our families suffering losses of some magnitude. This weekend was spent doing funeral preperations and saying good bye to Ryan's grandmother. Valentine's Day this year is not so important anymore. To be honest though, if you really do love your partnet/soul mate in life, every day should be Valentine's Day. I know that it sounds so cliche but it's true, why should one day of the year dictate how you should treat that person you truly love. It's funny how the true meaning of the day has become blurred with commercialism throughout the years, just like every other religious holiday...