Happy July 4th

The last several years I’ve spent July 4th driving up to San Francisco Boys Chorus camp in Healdsberg, California. I’d spend the day preparing for kids to arrive the next day and then proceed to see Healdsberg fireworks at night over at a friend’s grandmother’s house (they run an ambulence company with green ambulances…go figure). Healdsberg puts on quite a show and from the front lawn with a crowd of kids and sparklers, the gently warm breeze makes it quite an American event. And yet, I don’t feel any emotional attachment to the fireworks, the smell of hotdogs, or the sound of the brass orchestra playing on TV. Surely, I enjoyed those July 4ths of yore, but as an American abroad July 4th is nothing more than another day. In fact, most holidays while I’ve been out of the country cease to exist in my reality. Over last Thanksgiving, the celebration was marked by a rehearsal and a night out with the foreign teachers to eat Shantou’s Hotel Meritas buffet. Autumn Moon Festival, on the other hand, meant far more with lanterns lining the streets through the night. Should I be celebrating my American-ness today?

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