For the past several years, the Fourth of July hasn't been one of my favorite holidays. I've had some good ones, but none of the good ones have been traditional at all. And some of them were just downright lame. Since being an adult, this year's Fourth of July was the first to celebrate with people my own age and nationality. Last year my mom and I went to Chicago (awesome, but not my age), the year before that we partied with our neighbors (again, not my age, more fun than I expected, but not where I would have liked to have been), 2005 I was in Mexico (pretty incredible party with hot dogs and tres leches cake and salsa dancing, but not my nationality, not even the right country), the year before that I was going through a breakup (lamest of them all), and before that, I honestly don't remember.
So finally, I made a point this year to celebrate the Fourth of July with American peers, by joining Cara out in Dallas. The night of the third, we saw Fleet Foxes in concert, and they were fenomenal! If you haven't already, you should definitely check out their tunes. They're even better live, mesmerizing, entertaining, magical.
The actual day of the fourth involved (deep breath), sleeping in on a temprapedic (sp?) mattress, driving around Oak Cliff trying to find donuts, settling on Sonic breakfast, conversing about life and relationships with a dear friend, a long shower in a nasty man's bathroom (the man isn't nasty, just men's bathrooms in general are icky), studying tests and measurements, sweating outside, wearing my turquoise bathing suit and floppy summer hat, finally putting away the books when people came over, sitting around, drinking margaritas and beer, being snobby about the beer I brought as opposed to the Corona offered by the host, being snobby about sharing my beer, being made fun of for being a beer snob, making fun of engineers, being made fun of by engineers for incorrectly using a chair, lounging in an inflatable shark pool, being crowded in an inflatable shark pool, eating burger dogs, eating bratwurst, eating chips and salsa, discussing poop, discussing a son's penis with young parents, discussing perginas with an OB/GYN resident, discussing church and the gospel, playing frisbee with my floppy hat, playing frisbee with an actual frisbee, being eaten by bugs, watching my bug spray being used as a torch, listening to the neighbors shoot off fireworks, listening to the ice cream truck drive by, whining about wanting ice cream, driving to an apartment to watch fireworks, stopping to get ice cream, sitting on the floor of an unfurnished apartment, eating ice cream, searching for the apartment rooftop, finding the rooftop, watching several firework shows from far away, climbing on the actual roof for a better view, skinning my knee, being afraid of heights, playing with a stranger's dog, listening to music, looking at yearbooks, riding in a scion.
I feel like this had all the necessary ingredients of a typical American Fourth of July in some degree or another (friends, hot dogs, alcohol, a pool, being outside, sports, fireworks). I know that this wasn't the ideal Fourth of July for everyone involved, but it was all that I wanted and more. Honestly, I just loved how chill the entire day was. No need to hurry, no responsibilities (though I did do a little studying), no need delay gratification, no need to impress anyone. Just being, and being with others who though most of them I don't know super-well, I feel pretty comfortable around. Maybe it helped that I was there with one of my closest friends, but it kinda amazes me just how relaxed I feel around this group of people. It's probably in part due to their welcoming and inclusiveness and the things we have in common, but it could also be due to the fact that with them, I have no real need to impress. Here's a group that I don't interact with on a regular basis, I'm not trying to "fit in" or become one of them, and this role as a friend of a friend or blog friend or visitor, frees me to really be myself. To state opinions and poke fun and be weird and be snobby and not worrying about how I'm representing myself. At the end of the day, I found myself wondering, why don't I do this more back in College Station? In College Station, I want to be liked, I want to make friends, I want to be respected, I don't want to offend. But on the Fourth of July, I felt like I was a more likable person because those things weren't on the forefront of my mind. I'm not sure how this will work out, but I'd really like to bring the Fourth of July me back to College Station with me tomorrow.
Did I mention that we crowded 6 people into a kiddie-sized shark pool? If you need proof of this impossible feat: