Happy Belated Birthday, America!
Though I couldn’t be in America proper on the big day, Postmate Kate and I did our darndest to recreate a Little America within the walls of her apartment.
Some substitutions were necessary, like incense for sparklers, or fettucini alfredo with tomatoes for something a little more festive and seasonally appropriate (still red and white– some bases got covered). We managed a small parade, thanks to an iPod and any song I could find mentioning ‘America’ in the title. Njamma makes for a poor parade conductor.
Nothing makes a day celebrating America more special than not being in America. While America is still not perfect in my eyes, plenty has changed in the last ten months to make me realize that gosh, it’s pretty nice there.
America, the land of constant electricity. America, with its seas of produce and aisles of snacks. America, the place of driving my own car wherever I want, whenever I want to. America, the promise-land of wifi, hamburgers, and movie theaters. And milkshakes, oh god, the milkshakes.
Really, I’m describing a run of the mill first world country, but since I know no other than the ol’ US of A, it’s my idol for the things I miss about being in a highly developed nation.
For everything I miss about home that is physical and tangible, there is another thing that I miss that is seemingly invisible and only felt. The way it feels to walk down a street unnoticed, the ability to pay for a friend’s meal and not be considered their new sponsor, the almost unanimous opinion that mermaids are not real, and that nobody sends ghosts to spy on people while there sleeping. Ya know, the little stuff.
So, America, I hope you had as good a day as I did. (Though my weather was undoubtedly better– a cool 80 and overcast. I didn’t sweat once and wore a sweatshirt to bed.) There were no fireworks, or hotdogs, but the gist was the same. As I send this from a dying computer (power went out—again), hungry because I didn’t feel like eating any of the bland stuff in my kitchen, and uncomfortable because I sleep on a foam pad with a giant dip in the middle that I can’t get rid of, I’m reminded of what someone once told me about Peace Corps.
“Peace Corps is a secret mission to turn all the tree-hugging hippies into patriots”
While I never considered myself unpatriotic before, I was more Dixie Chicks than Toby Keith, I feel borderline jingoistic now. Mission accomplished, Land of the Free, mission accomplished.