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The 4th of July on the other side of the Earth

July 4, 2010

Holidays away from family can be hard.  I am thankful for what we have, and I am happy to be in France.  This is allowing me to do many things that probably would have been impossible to in the United States, including staying at home with my baby (yes, I seem to have once again, found something that will work.  I am crossing my fingers at any rate!).  I have traveled extensively, and I get to live with the man that I love.  I am even considering asking for French nationality.  I am becoming that comfortable with where I am in my life at the moment.

But.

Some things really stink when you are far from ‘home’.  Like being 5,000 miles from traditions you know are happening even if you are not there to see them.  I grew up in a small mountain town in coastal California.  The 4th of July parade in my town of 6,000 inhabitants is something of an institution.  From the Jazzercise group, the Camp Krem kids playing their kazoos, the second grade class with other instruments, Girl and Boy scouts, I think pretty much everyone has been apart of the parade at some point in their lives.  I know I was several times.  I can even clearly remember my 90 year old neighbor riding on the back of my Dad’s Harley one year, because she told him she wanted to (picture a man with a long, dark beard and classic Ray Bans driving the motorcycle).

Thinking of my hometown makes me a little sad on days like this.  And at the same time it makes me happy.  Because even though I am not there, things continue as they should.  And I love my hometown.  And going home to these traditions.  When MissL is a little bigger, hopefully we will try to make it ‘home’ over the 4th of July celebrations so that I can share that with my baby.  And feel oh so at home.

I don’t know that I would change the way things have turned out for me.  This ex-pat thing isn’t easy to manage, but I am happy.  I have a beautiful family of my own that will hopefully grow quite a bit over the next few years.  I will always have a foot in each country I think, straddeling the Atlantic Ocean.  But that is ok.  I think it just means that my heart is bigger, certain challenges will be bigger, but hopefully I will end up a better person because of it.

So today, in my small po-dunk village, east of Paris, I had some friends over for a BBQ.  It wasn’t really 4th of July festive,  but I did have special red, white and blue napkins, and we did BBQ chicken, that we ate with pasta salad, and a green salad.  It wasn’t anything extraordinary, but it was fun, and it was a way to mark the day.  It just wasn’t the same as being home though.

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