So, my mom and I booked a trip to Chicago! On July the 2nd, we'll board an overnight train, relax and enjoy the scenery from our window, read some books, and arrive July the 3rd. It'll be a whirlwind couple of days, seeing the main sights of Downtown - The Art Institute, some Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, eating pizza and hotdogs, hopefully go to a blues club, and I'll check and see if my friends up there will be performing any improv. We'll be there on the 4th of July, so perhaps there will be a big parade or celebration and fireworks and fanfare. We'll leave the afternoon of July the 5th, and return home on the 6th. It'll be a leisurely, yet quick trip, but I'm sure it'll be memorable. I was born on the outskirts of Chicago, and haven't returned home since I was 9. I think I'll enjoy the city much more these days :)
I'm also really excited about being such an awesome city on July the 4th. It's probably my least favorite holiday, not that I'm unpatriotic, but most of my 4th of Julys have either been bad or just uneventful. I'm sure I had some better ones in my childhood - I remember Laura being in town once and us going to watch fireworks all together. The best 4th of July by far was celebrated two years ago in Mexico. Yes, I know, they don't celebrate on that day, but we were a bunch of American kids studying abroad so we had an "American" party/birthday party for our professor. So, until we planned this trip, I was hoping to work on July the 4th and get time and a half pay, but someone said we get time and a half for Memorial Day this Monday - hurrah!
All of this got me thinking - where, what, and when are the events/holidays that I dream about celebrating? Here's my list, in approximate chronilogical order -
1. Kite Flying Festival in India. Modi told me about this once, though I'm not sure which city he attended this. Everyone flies kites from their rooftops, and the sky is filled with color. But, these are fighting kites - their lines are made with glass and sharp for cutting down other kites. Sign me up! I'd also love to go to an Indian wedding here or there. Modi tells me that it's traditional (at least in his family) for all of the guests to smash food and cake into each other's faces and always ends with a big food fight :)
2. Chinese New Year in (duh) China. The Chinese invented fireworks, and that's reason enough. I've seen pictures of Chinese New Year's parades and they look incredible. Maybe if I don't make it to China, I can settle for celebrating New Year's in Chinatown in San Francisco.
3. St. Patrick's Day in Chicago. I'm sure that whatever Chicagans do on the 4th of July doesn't even compare to how they celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I want to see the river dyed green (which my mom says is naturally slightly green already), watch the big parade, and drink some green beer with friends and strangers.
4. Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Crowds of drunken revelers partying and exposing themselves has never appealed to me, so I'm surprised this makes my list. Having survived and enjoyed Bourbon street a month ago during Jazz Fest weekend, I'm feeling brave enough to tackle this city during its craziest. The floats will be spectacular and I'm sure this will be a memorable event to experience once - if never again.
5. Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Mexico. I witnessed one religious procession while in Mexico two years ago, and would love to be a part of another, bigger one. I want to go to mass and pray with everyone, witness the processions, see a passion play, and crack confetti eggs over the heads of my friends :)
6. The Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain, aka The Running of the Bulls. I think almost every Spanish class I've taken has mentioned this festival. While I would not be running, I'd love to witness this event and take part in the dangerous excitement. I'll bring some Hemingway to read on the plane.
7. Austin City Limits. The lineup is always incredible. There are almost always at least a few performers that I've been wanting to see in concert by themselves, and then several more that I know I would enjoy immensely, making a list of at least 10 performances. This year was no different, and a couple of friends and I started talking about going. Unfortunately, another close friend scheduled her wedding for that weekend - which isn't terribly unfortunate, as I'm excited for her and eager to be a part of their special weekend :) But someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, I neeeeeeeeeed to make it to ACL or a similar music festival.
8. New Year's Eve Down Under. Heather's been telling me what she's heard about the kickass New Year's Eve party that occurs in New Zealand. Forget Time Square, Australians and Kiwis are among some of the first to reach the new year and they go all out to celebrate. I'm not entirely sure what goes on, but it's BIG.
I left out some significant holidays. To be honest, I have no idea where to spend the Fourth of July - Washington, DC? Or Halloween - Mexico? New Orleans? But for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I'm sure there are many enchanting places (New York City comes to mind), but Dorothy was right, there's really no place like home.