July 4th is quite unlike other holidays since year after year I find myself doing completely different things, if anything at all, to mark the day. This is quite unlike other holidays such as Christmas, where my memories over the years run together because there is little variety to the celebrations; I am almost always at home with my family celebrating the day following the same family traditions year after year.
When I was a kid we’d go to watch the fireworks over at the University of Maryland campus. Once or twice we went downtown, but that certainly wasn’t the norm. Don’t you remember how larger than life fireworks seemed when you were a child?
It was on a certain July 4th that I had my first make-out session and my first experience with booze (coincidence that both took place on the same day? I think not). The boy was Evan and the booze was Bartles and Jaymes. I was 16 and leaving for my year long Italian exchange student adventure just a few weeks later. In fact, the following morning I recall I had to go to the Italian Embassy to pick up my visa and thought I would puke in their waiting room. So that means TODAY officially marks the 15th anniversary of my first hangover (yay! Let’s party to THAT!).
As American expats living in Amsterdam we still tried to hold true to tradition and used to throw July 4 parties. The sun this time of year doesn’t go down in Amsterdam unitl very late at night, nearly midnight if my memory serves correctly. One year we got a bunch of hot dogs, sparklers and red white and blue paraphenia and threw a huge party for all our European friends. I remember standing in a corner with some Swede trying to explain my understanding of the difference between patriotism and nationalism (and not doing a very good job at it).
My first July 4th back on US soil after many years abroad was strange. I felt like a foreigner in my own country and couldn’t seem to buy in to all the rah rah hoopla. I walked down Storrow Drive (closed to traffic) by myself as the fireworks boomed overhead. All I wanted was to be back with my friends in Amsterdam. I was very angry.
Last year I was with C. He lives right by the Esplanade so we just quickly walked down to a clearing on the baseball field and watched them together. I had just purchased a new digital camera a few days before and I took a ton of pictures of the fireworks, him, and us together. We were already talking about moving in together when my leased ended in September. Less than 4 weeks later, the relationship was over.
I am looking back at the entry and one thing comes to mind, “what is the point, and who cares?”. Good question. I am not sure about either answer. But there you go. That’s all I’ve got for today. Tomorrow Interravision will be back to it’s regularly scheduled programming of fun fun fun and pictures.