When I am the U.S. I am not usually a big fan of 4th of July. I never feel like I am doing the “right” thing and don’t like the hype surrounding the holiday. For some reason when I am abroad though it is as if the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. It has been especially hard the past two times I have been abroad because I have been in the Southern Hemisphere where it is winter. I long for my favorite summer activities like hanging out at beaches and barbecues. I even wore, red, white, and blue to the office.
I have been feeling kind of blue the past few days, but have tried not to read into it too much. My mom thinks that I get “middle of the trip” blues. When the novelty of the new adventure wears off and I am adjusting. I know that is true and that I am so lucky to be here so I never want to complain, but isn’t it okay to admit that sometimes adventures are challenging?
Well this evening in the back of the cab I didn’t hold back my feelings about that. I was starving and couldn’t get a snack anywhere before my ride home. The traffic was not moving and I just felt so frustrated and helpless. I turned on my ipod and let the tears come. I realized I had not cried once since coming here. As someone who cries in comedy tv shows (Modern Family has been known to make me shed a tear) and even an occasional emotional commercial, this had been a long time for me without shedding a tear. I am not sure if David glanced in his rearview mirror and saw the tears streaming down my face, but he just let me be. Perhaps I am not the first tourist who has had a mini meltdown in the back of his van. I knew how ridiculous I was and that I was just hungry and tired, but maybe I just needed to let myself feel and break down. Despite all of my bold proclamations on this blog sometimes it is okay to fall apart and not worry about growth, mindfulness, or any sort of self-improvement.
After I came home I ate every snack in our apartment and tried to feel positive about the 4th of July party J and I were going to. We got there and everybody went all out. Almost everyone was in red, white, and blue, and there were red, white, and blue streamers, cups, and plates. I could not believe the spread people brought. Jamie and I were embarrassed by the cake and cookies we picked up at the bakery when we saw the red, white, and blue cake (frosting and center) that someone baked as well as the American flag mini jello shots. Of course I write about the dessert first, but there was also hot dogs, hamburgers, mac and cheese, cole slaaw, and potato salad. I knew I would see lots of people from my grad school, but I was delighted to see someone wearing a jersey from my college.
I haven’t eaten like this since I have been in Kenya (it was the truly American thing to do). Coming home I felt like I had left my blue phase behind me. I am not sure if it was the amount of sugar I consumed or the good cry I had on the car ride home, but I feel refreshed and ready to embrace the rest of my adventure (at least until I get hangry again).