February is a special month for many reasons. It is the shortest month of the year. We all know that February is also a very romantic month. February 14th is known worldwide as Valentines Day.

It is also the only month of the year which adds an extra day every four years. Every four years is a leap year which means that February has 29 days rather that it’s usual 28 days.

February 2016 is a leap year which means that this February there are 29 days. February also takes on an extra special meaning in Ireland during a leap year. On the 29th of February in Ireland women get down on one knee and ask someone to marry them according to an old Irish tradition.

This tradition is known as ‘Ladies Privilege’ and the tradition in Ireland has its origins in the legends of Ireland’s saints: St Patrick and St Bridget. According to legend, St Bridget convinced St Patrick that women should have the right to propose. Patrick refused but later agreed that women could propose every seven years. St. Bridget convinced him to change this number to every four years and the tradition was established.

As there is so much love in the air this month we decided to tell you a love story. This story is a special story as it is a Central School of English love story. We hope that you enjoy it and learn a lot of new vocabulary, idioms and phrasal verbs as you read.

Wishing you all a very happy and romantic St. Valentines Day and if any of the ladies dare to pop the question on the 29th of February please let us know. We love a good love story at the Central School of English!

A Central School of English love story

Marco came to Ireland to study English in Dublin in October 2013. He left his job in Rome and travelled to Dublin without any friends or family. At first, Marco didn’t know anybody in Dublin. Things in Dublin were very different to Rome (the people, the food, the weather!) and in the beginning Marco felt like a fish out of water.

For the first few weeks Marco felt very lonely. He didn’t speak a lot of English and he found it difficult to understand people and to communicate with people. He really missed his family and friends and started to feel very down in Dublin.

He decided to look for an English language school in the centre of Dublin so that he could study English and practice his English grammar, vocabulary and speaking.

He arranged to have a free trial class at the Central School of English on Talbot Street.

On the day of his class he felt very nervous. The Central School of English used a method called the Callan Method of English. Marco went to his class and really enjoyed the free two hour trial English class.

There were a lot of students from many different countries and the atmosphere in the Central school was really friendly and relaxed.

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However, this was not the only reason that Marco enjoyed his free trial class at Central School. This was also where he met the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.

Her name was Laura. She was an English language student from Berlin and Marco fell for Laura on the spot.

Over the next few months Marco really started to enjoy his time living and studying in Dublin. He made a lot of new friends at the Central School of English.

He had a great time visiting museums and travelling to different parts of Ireland with the school at the weekends and of course he started to learn a lot of new English grammar and vocabulary with the Callan Method of English!

Marco spent a lot of time getting to know Laura and six months later he had gone from having a crush on Laura to being completely head over heels in love.

One weekend Marco’s friends decided to set him up on a blind date with a girl who was visiting Dublin. They went out to a restaurant but Marco found it impossible to chat the girl up.

He kept thinking about Laura all evening. That is when he decided that he had to ask Laura out.

The next week when school started Marco felt really nervous but he had decided that he was going to ask Laura out that day.

After class he left the school with Laura and he asked her if she would be interested in going to a restaurant with him during the week. She said yes.

Marco was over the moon. They arranged to go to a small Italian restaurant in the city centre and Marco couldn’t wait!

The night they went out they had an amazing time. While they were eating out Laura confessed that she had had the hots for Marco for months and that she was really pleased when he asked her out.

Love was definitely in the air in the restaurant that evening!

The end of our Central School of English love story is a happy one. Two years later Marco and Laura tied the knot in Dublin. They are happily married today and always say that the Central School of English is what brought them together!

Idioms

To get down on one knee: To ask someone to marry you / to propose to someone

Example: David got down on one knee in the restaurant and asked Susan to marry him.

To pop the question: To propose marriage to someone / to ask a person to marry you.

Example: David popped the question in a restaurant in the city centre. Susan said yes immediately. I think they are getting married in July.

To be like a fish out of water: To feel awkward because you are not familiar with a situation / everything around you feels strange / to feel very different from the people around you

Example: When Alice started to study using the Callan Method of English she felt like a fish out of water for the first two classes. The method was really different to anything she had experienced before.

To feel down: To feel sad/ depressed

Example: Sometimes Alan misses his friends and family at home in Brazil and he starts to feel down. When this happens he skypes his family and he always feels better.

On the spot: Immediately

Example: The police caught the criminal breaking into the shop and they arrested him on the spot

Have a crush on someone: To like someone romantically before knowing the person well

Example: When Paul was a teenager he had a crush on a famous singer for three years. He went to all of her concerts and dreamt that he would marry her some day!

Head over heels in love: To be deeply in love with someone

Example: Romeo and Juliet were definitely head over heels in love with each other!

Over the moon: Extremely pleased and happy

Example: Finding a place to live in Dublin is not easy so when students find accommodation they usually feel over the moon.

To have the hots for someone: To be strongly attracted to someone

Example: Susan has had the hots for John ever since she met him last year.

A blind date: An arranged date where two participants have never met before

Example: Mark went on a blind date with a friend of his colleague at work. Although he had never met his date before they went out they had a really good time and are meeting again next week.

To tie the knot: To get married

Example: The actress Elizabeth Taylor tied the knot eight times. She even tied the knot to the same man (Richard Burton) twice. Film director Martin Scorsese has tied the knot five times. American TV presenter Larry King has tied the knot eight times.

Love is in the air: The atmosphere is romantic

Example: It is Valentines Day. Everywhere you look in Dublin there are roses, chocolates and hearts. Love is definitely in the air today.

To fall for: To become attracted to someone

Example: Susan fell for Paul when they were in college.

To set someone up (on a date): To arrange a date for someone

Example: Mary knew that her friend Patricia would be perfect for Paul. They like they same music, films, books and had the same sense of humour. Mary set them up on a date last year and they have been together ever since then.

To ask out: To ask a person to go on a date

Example: John was really nervous when he asked Lucy out on a date.

To chat up: To speak with a person in a flirtatious way to show you are attracted to them

Example: Kevin spent all night chatting up girls at the party.

To eat out: To eat away from home, for example: in a restaurant

Example: Most people don’t usually eat out very often because it is expensive.

Test yourself

Complete the following sentences to practice the idioms and phrasal verbs from the blog

  1. When James was in school he ___________________on a girl who sat next to him in Maths class. He never asked her out but he still remembers that girl today.
  2. Paula was __________________when she passed her First Certificate in English exam! She studied at the Central School of English for six months and took the test last June and got really high marks in the speaking, reading, writing and listening papers.
  3. When John moved to China he felt like ________________________for the first few months. Everything about Chinese culture was so different from Irish culture.
  4. Joe and Sylvia are getting married in June. Joe ___________________ and popped the question while they were on holidays last year.
  5. February 14th is definitely a time of year when ____________________.
  6. Joan’s friends set ________________________last month. It was a complete disaster and she said that she will never let her friends do this again!
  7. Rebecca loves __________________. She never cooks at home and knows every good restaurant in the city.
  8. Some people say that the weather has a strong influence over them. They say that they feel happy in good weather but that they ________________in bad weather.
  9. If you apply for a new passport in Ireland you cannot get it __________________.
  10. You have to wait for at least ten days for your application to be processed and receive your new passport.
  11. It is a tradition for women in many western countries to wear a white dress on the day they are ____________________.
Central School of English Students at a Valentine's Day Speed Dating event

Above and Top: Central School of English Students at a Valentine’s Day Speed Dating event