The title is an actual quote from a conversation I had with an Israeli cousin, when I told him today was a holiday for me- "oh? The Independence Day for America?" So, yes! Happy 4th everyone! I really wanted to get this post out about my first July 4th as an Israeli (and really my first time celebrating any American holiday abroad) before July 4th was a distant, hazy memory (YAY BEER!)
I think a misconception for a lot of people is that those who move to Israel from America dislike America and want to leave it. I can't speak for everyone, but for myself and many friends, this is just silly-talk (excuse my language). I love America! I think it is the second greatest country in the world! I just decided that I should live the the greatest country in world, so that's why I moved. But America is fabulous- the food (hot dogs, apple pie #nomnomnom), the sports (baseball, football), the people (Southerners, West Coast chillers, New Yawkers, et al #notboston jkjkjk!) and mostly the free and open way of life. Politics aside, I love what America stands for, the easy access to education, the strong and brave military. And obviously the outlet shopping centers- I'm sorry! You know I hadda say it. I think America is really the bees knees. That said, I moved here to Israel, just 3 days before the 4th, so I tried my darnedest to appropriately mark the day.
Even before arriving, I prepped my outfit by purchasing sparkly, some might say tacky, red-white-and-blue accessories from none other than that bastion of American consumerism, Walmart! And not just any Walmart- the Walmart in the Catskill Mountains! If you're gonna do a Walmart run- do it right! So earrings and headband purchased and packed, I knew I would be ready to take on the 4th.
But first, the 3rd. Since the 4th is a Friday this year, celebrations began the night before, in deference to Shabbat (#Jewishcountry!) I was invited to a BBQ in a park by a friend from the old country who moved her a while back and does this every year. This year, I got to go! And meet a million new people who were all friends with each other! (gulp) Now as you know, I am a sociable person, but I was feeling overwhelmed to say the least. I decided to go with my friend Gabby who lives nearby and she's so great. The only problem is that for as bad as my sense of direction is, hers is worse. We were the proverbial blind leading the blind, or rather the Waze app leading the GoogleMaps app. And still lost. And because my mother doesn't allow me to go places empty-handed, I was carrying a 6-pack of Goldstar (BudLite is hard to come by 'round these parts) and it was legit as heavy as a 6 month old baby after a while.
When we finally found the "hidden park" as we shall henceforth refer to it, the party was happening and the food was ready. I could eat a cow, I was so hungry and luckily, the cow was ready! The one problem I had was that there were no buns. There were pitas, and no buns. Now, I know I'm a total noob here in Israel, but I wanted buns. Womp! There was a lot of hummus though and a lovely selection of beer and wine, so I made it work.
Another funny aspect of the party was that a majority of attendees were not even American. You had your Israelis and your Brits, your Aussies and South Africans. And then your patriotic Americans, taunting the Brits among us for winning the Revolutionary War. They seemed cool with the whole thing, which leads me to believe that the school system in England isn't quite giving that war the attention it deserves in history class.
Anyway, when it was over, the buses weren't running as regularly so I begged for a ride from a sweet guy I had met not 20 minutes earlier. And wouldn't ya know- he said okay! The people in this country are just dolls. The next day, (today) I woke up late and had to rush to another park (Israel and their parks, am I right?) where Nefesh B'Nefesh (my aliyah organization) threw a BBQ for expats like me. It was super cute (more burgers in pitas) and I met more Israel-Americans (dolls, one and all) so I was pretty satisfied. Walking back, I passed the shuk (market) and saw all the Birthright groups prepping for shabbat (I got a strong, strong jealous twinge for a sec) and so I wished them all a shabbat shalom and a happy 4th! They looked at my outfit (jealous?) and wished me the same! Oh, here's my outfit:
So that's basically it! My first July 4th as an Israeli- I think I nailed it, but who knows? Catch you guys in a hot sec- Shabbat shalom from Israel!