Returning to the United States has been a bit of a culture shock – which shouldn’t be shocking, considering Food and I opted to return right before the most American of days. Not only was it Independence Day – when all true ‘muricans sing the song of our people by cawing like an eagle (the most majestic of creatures) three times then screaming “FREEDOM!” loud enough that Honest Abe rises from his grave – but we were plunged head-first into a family reunion at Ocean Isle Beach, NC.
My dad’s the youngest of 8 children, and each of those kids has 3+ children all the way up to my mom who has seven children (yes, we’re responsible for overpopulation, yada yada – get over it). There were 56 people at our family reunion and a good half of the extended family was not in attendance. Now, take 56 people, Food & I being jet lagged, and add in fireworks, a bunch of beer, and lots of sunshine. I was ready for a nap by 10 AM, and the island-wide parade was just beginning.
Alright, so some rules for the Fourth of July. No, not rules – suggestions. We give everyone the freedom to celebrate their freedom as they wish. Or as someone a couple hundred years ago put it “something something unalienable rights – that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness*.”
*Except when it encroaches upon another person’s religious beliefs. Namely, Native Americans’ tribal ones, because, as we know they were here first, so they should get the respect owed them… right?
1. Be overtly American. Wear as many American flags on your body as possible. Either that or solely wear red, white, and blue. If possible, rent a bald eagle and shoot off guns (responsibly – we’re not psychos).
2. Light stuff on fire (maybe we are a little bit psychotic… despotic, quixotic). Continue doing so at unexplained intervals for the next five days. The number of fireworks you shoot off (illegally in North Carolina) is positively correlated with the amount of freedom you are feeling at any given moment.
3. Be around some sort of body of water. This one has never been explained to me, but evidently being at the beach or lake is mandatory. Probably has something to do with the blistering summers we have down here. North Carolina is approximately 15 degrees hotter than Barcelona and I can feel the difference in every cell of my body. Like accidentally putting Carolina Reapers on your sandwich instead of bell peppers.
4. Beer. So much beer. If you drink wine on the fourth of July, you’ll get kicked out with the rest of the immigrants (which is virtually everyone in this nation of moved-here-three-generations-ago).
5. Be proud. Regardless of how recently your family came to this country, or whether you introduce yourself as “I’m from America but my great-great-grandmother twice removed was from Ireland and my mom’s mom is Czech. So I’m Czech-Irish. Oh, and Native American.” You’re still here, you’re still American, and that’s something to be excited about.
Hold up… we just passed a fireworks store on the way to Chicago. Pitstop for continued celebrations (it’s now July 14th, and I have no intention of discontinuing this party until Christmas).
Food and I are now back home in the USA, but I also have no intention of not writing (it keeps me sane). So for now, relive our highlights here and wait for a bunch of posts on how we miss Europe/are eating ALL the peanut butter. XoXx Fernweh & Food