Monday, July 5, 2010

An Expat 4th of July

One of the funny things about celebrating US holidays like Thanksgiving or The 4th of July as an expat is that we go all out and get EXTRA American to make up for the fact that we are not actually in the US with our friends and family. In the days coming up to the holiday, we become overly friendly. Any American that we meet, be it on the street or at a bar is instantly given the invite "Hey! Come to my (insert American holiday here) party!"
This 4th of July was no different. We had a huge party at my friend Fanie's house, complete with everything American we could find. We bought Budweiser beer, grilled disgusting amounts of meat, ate macaroni salad and potato salad, apple pie, and even found some Cheetos (though they weren't real cheetos and the quality was suspect). We played lots of American songs, like Born in the USA, America the Beautiful, and the National Anthem. It was impressive to see how many people from other countries know the words to the American National Anthem. We set up a beer-pong tournament (we recently taught our Colombian friends beer pong and they've been really into it). For the extra-special grand finale, we set off some fireworks at the end of the night!!!
As I stood on the terrace of Fanie's house, watching the fireworks come down, I thought about how bizarre my life is. Here I was, standing on a roof in Buenos Aires, in a mixed crowd of American, British, French, German, Italian, Argentine, and mostly Colombian kids, celebrating the 4th of July, watching some smuggled Paraguayan fireworks go off as America the Beautiful played in the background. It was a surreal moment, that was quickly broken when I got hit in the leg by some falling firework shrapnel. Guess those Paraguayan fire works are not top quality either. All in all, it was a great party and probably most typically (well, stereotypically) American 4th of July I've had in many years.