Friday, July 09, 2004

The Fourth and The Things One Misses Away From Home

I read Corrie's recent post and wanted to comment a little bit about the experience of being back in Indianapolis on the Fourth. It's been two years since I have celebrated Independence Day in America--last year Corrie and I spent the 7th with a big vat of potato salad, a whole watermelon, and the phone--calling people at the last minute to invite them to our makeshift party. Three Albanians and one Spanish ballerina showed up, and our 4th of July became an international holiday all of the sudden.

My last stateside 4th was in Washington DC on a muggy cloudy horrible day that ended up being wonderful--we watched fireworks behind the Washington Memorial. What's more patriotic than that? And at the same time, my head was halfway in Italy already (I was to leave for Italy in August), and I knew that this was an important Independence Day. I soaked it in.

But four days ago, on the 4th of July, I spent an afternoon picnicking downtown in my hometown--Indianapolis. Everything was familiar, the picnic tables, the passersby, the way the trees formed shadows around us. I thought to myself, "This day is special. I can't do this in Italy. This in an American day."

So I watched the fireworks with a little more eagerness, a little sadness as well. My life is changing--my holidays are shifting from one day to another, their names adjusting to fit my new Italian home, filling themselves with accents and lucid language. The fireworks--with their familiar glow in the night sky, sparklers held by children, laughing, in parking lots and on picnic benches--will be something I miss like when you hold your breath, something you never thought of losing.

I soaked it all in, as much as I could.



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