Happy Fourth of July!

by Liz Caskey on July 4, 2011

To all fellow Americans out there, I want to wish you all a very Happy Fourth of July. Honestly it didn’t really occur to me until this weekend that it was Independence Day on Monday. Even after more than a decade here, I still forget as the winter weather throws me off. This morning the mercury hit a whooping low of 28F, really cold for even Santiago de Chile. Thus, the Independence Day that I knew growing up feels very, very far away right now. I have a similar scenario with Thanksgiving since in November, Chile moves into full-on summer.

Besides the temperature outside, it’s Monday, another day as usual. Unless you move in expat circles (which I don’t), I am not planning on going to the US Embassy’s flag raising ceremony. I don’t have an outdoor grill to barbeque up some hot dogs, burgers, or even ribs and will probably stick to my high protein and green veggie diet today instead of the high cal cole slaw and potato salads that are the usual suspects. Barbeques and the food that accompany it always taste better on a holiday spent in good company and, preferably, in balmy conditions. Maybe I should have had my mother send me some stars & stripes napkins to be patriotic, somehow. I suppose I can watch fireworks on You Tube later tonight.

On cold days like this when all my family and friends stateside are celebrating, I go on a mental trip back to my hometown of Lititz, Pennsylvania where we used to go to the Lititz Springs Park to watch thousands upon thousands of candles be lit. We’d wander among school friends, eating up fries covered in salt and malt vinegar from Fink’s, and then snuggle down onto an army blanket to watch the fireworks over the baseball field. It was almost the start of sweet corn season. Independence Day was always a time to join together to celebrate being American and our progress together as a nation. Certainly living abroad, I have come to appreciate all the positive things that make me American from our entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, melting pot communities and recent “lights” like the state of New York´s approval of gay marriage. So while I am 5,000 miles away, I suppose I don’t have to be there physically to participate. I can be there in mind and soul with you all. And yes, I certainly can pretend it’s mid-summer and pop open a bottle of Torrontes and day dream about hanging at a poolside barbeque with our friends in Napa, our last 4th of July in the US.

Have a great holiday!

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