Top 4 July 4th Memories
(Santa Cruz Bolivia)
There are a lot of things I miss about the U.S. (like Ben and Jerrys ice cream and nice organized traffic) and the absolutely fantastic fireworks displays on July 4th. Maybe I find them more spectacular than a lot of people but it's probably because I actually haven't spent many July 4ths in the U.S. So in honor of July 4th I thought I'd share 4 of the memories I have of Independence Day in the U.S. (since I probably don't have enough to make this a top 10 list haha):
1. For the U.S. bicentennial in 1976 my grandfather built a detailed replica of the Minnie-H, a sort of famous Mississippi river boat with a huge paddle wheel. My brother and I were dressed up like kids from Little House in the Prairie and rode it in the city parade.
2. Minnesota has over 10,000 lakes and Minneapolis, which is built around dozens of lakes, is one of the most beautiful cities in America. It's also called the "Crystal City" because a city ordinance instructs that every tall building must be made of a certain (rather high) percentage of glass. Fireworks include floating displays on the lakes. All the colors of the fireworks reflect on the water surface and glass buildings throughout the city, and this is accompanied by orchestras and bands. I've lived in a lot of different U.S. cities but I still think there's none more beautiful and especially in summer!
3. Buffalo burgers. Beef, only bigger and better. With ranch fries which are French fries, only bigger and better. Definitely.
4. Watermelon sprinkled with SALT, of all things. This I learned from my grandfather who did a lot of other weird things with food - all of which were delicious. To this day I eat my watermelon with salt (just a little!) It brings out the cool, fresh, watermelony flavor in a way you can only appreciate when it's 90 degrees out and you're surrounded by lakes and mosquitoes - and fireworks.
I love my life in Bolivia but, as with almost any expat, holidays bring on a little pang of 'saudade' as they say in portuguese. I think this could be translated as melancholy as it's used when you really miss something.
For expats, writing down memories, keeping lots of photographs, sharing experiences, and celebrating our 'home country' holidays even when we aren't there can be especially important - it helps keep us connected. So Happy Birthday America from 7000 miles away!
What are some of your best July 4th memories? Go ahead and share: