Friday, July 4, 2014

Fourth of July - a look back

As  small child, my celebrations of Independence Day looked like that of any typical Midwest American child, filled with parades, patriotic outfits, cookouts, swimming, and fireworks and sparklers at night.  Since 2009, however, my 4th of July celebrations have been anything but normal, so I decided to dedicate this post to taking a look back.

2009 - My first 4th of July abroad.  I was living with a host family in Kazan, Russia for the summer and studying Russian with a small group of American high school students.  Since the holiday fell on a Saturday, the program arranged an excursion for us in the morning, followed by a large picnic with host siblings and a few students who had recently completed a year abroad in the US.  It was a fun day of sharing this most American holiday with my Russian family. I taught my host sister how to make tacos that evening and after dark they took me to see the city by night!
A little bit of a gloomy 4th of July

Hanging out with the three bears on 4th of July
Proud of our tacos :)
Little host brother wanted to help too!

A terribly dark picture of me, my host sister,and the mosque

Russian host family love!

2010 - This summer I spent traveling around the country, playing mellophone for Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps.  Around this time in the season, however, I was suffering from a newly acquired injury - fractured pelvis! So while it was a day of parades for my fellow corps members, I was ordered to rest up. I think we got to see some fireworks in the evening though.

One of the hardest, craziest, most rewarding summers of my life - FCO!

2011 - Another 4th of July abroad! When the holiday came around this year I was a couple of weeks into my 2 month stay in Ukraine.  Looking back on my blog entries from that summer, this is what I had written about the day -

For the third year in a row, I didn't celebrate the 4th of July.  I'm starting to forget how it feels to actually celebrate the holiday with cookouts and family and fireworks.  It was even more strange here because while people had heard of Independence Day in America, no one really knew it was Monday until I mentioned it.  We did have some nice weather for 4th of July though and my friends and I ate "kiosk food" in the park for lunch and enjoyed some nice weather.  I treated myself to coffee and a very yummy piece of cake at the cafe where Russian Speaking Club is held and that was the extent of my fourth of July celebration

Fourth of July lunch in the park

2012 - The 4th of July fell on a Wednesday this year. I was au pairing in Munich, Germany and hadn't really made many American friends.  I'm pretty sure that I didn't do anything at all to celebrate except take a walk in the city, talk to my family back home, and bake cookies with the kiddos.

Many a cookie was baked in summer 2012

2013 - This summer I was teaching English in Russia at a summer camp.  As the only American in the camp, I was all about sharing this American holiday with my students and friends.  I snuck over to my classroom early in the morning to decorate and then watched as my students reacted upon entering the classroom. Some of them truly had no idea about this American holiday, while others could recall some facts from their English or History classes at school.  The lessons were spent learning the story of the American Revolution and making paper stars.  In the afternoon my English groups got to go to the lake with me. It was a fun day!

Happy Birthday America!
And now here I am, back in Germany for yet another 4th of July spent abroad.  There are big plans to bake an American flag cake and hang out with my girls in the city tonight! I'll be sure to post pictures this weekend! Happy Fourth of July!

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