Motto: You’re not the only one
The 4th of July is for many expats a time when stripes and stars overlap in a confusing way… Imagine that?
Some expats in the USA simply uproot habits, traditions and holidays from back home and plant them into their new life. But for most expats, the 4th of July for example, takes on a totally different meaning the moment they move abroad. That’s mainly because anything that comes with the new-home culture is connected to adaptation and the opportunity to rebuild oneself on new grounds.
We’ve investigated some of the obvious effects that the 4th of July has on expats in the USA, no matter the country they came from. We dedicate the list to the expats that confront themselves with some of these strange side effects of the Independence Day, and comfort them with the motto: You are not the only one!
#1 Feel 30% true-blue American
The night before the 4th of July, you’ll go to sleep thinking that you’ll wake up on a day of cookouts and fireworks. It’s pretty strange to prepare for something that hasn’t been on your childhood list of fun. So, then what? Adaptation has been with you since day 1, and trying to adapt to the American dream means having fun in the American style and catching up with the American values. It sometimes interferes with your style, habits and fun-definition, yet it is a new perspective on collective joy around Independence Day.
To conclude, for an expat in the USA, the 4th of July is a good chance to feel what Americans feel, at least 30% of what the New World feels like.
#2 See independence with alien eyes, and that’s good…
What may be for Americans a default feature for happiness, is for you, as an expat a big deal: Independence. Mainly because most expats in the USA have a complicated historical background when it comes to independence of their own nation or group, from a state to an individual level.
So, it’s inevitable for you as an expat not to see more in the story behind fireworks and barbecues on the 4th of July.
Then there’s another aspect, the importance of independence for the American nation may be striking and a good food for thought for you as well. Think about how natural this drive for independence is for Americans, and try to breath in how human rights feel like!
#3 Start cooking USA. But cobbler doesn’t sound like a pie…
Let’s start with the American biscuits which do not resemble the British ones for example. Add add one more American dish for the season: the cobbler. This is a hard-crust fruit pie, very easy to make. Google and YouTube are full of tutorials, so pick your favorite!
For many Americans, family reunions are a must on the 4th of July. But what is there to do when your family is away? The controversy is most of the times solved by a phone call or a gift home.
Many of the expats we know, use the browsing time over their morning coffee on the 4th of July to send some airtime to their relatives back home. Not one, but several. Mainly because it takes seconds on MobileRecharge.com, and the whole process is transparent and honest. And since it’s online, it spares the relatives of going to the store or it helps them make some savings instead of paying for their own phone credit.
#5 Take over 4th of July jobs
As we found out lately, many of the expats saw the 4th of July as an opportunity. One expat family elaborates costumes for the 4th of July parades. An African couple into crafts dedicate a whole month before the Big Day to make steel drums. An Irish carpenter makes mocko jumbies especially for this time of the year. And the 22 year old Russian Marushka and her group of student fellows from Russia and China babysit.
So, we’re just wondering… What’s your 4th of July entrepreneurial skill? :)
#6 Wonder like no American does
What does the 4th of July stand for? That feels strange, right? Strange is normal for any expat in the USA, no worries. It’s a natural question many Americans don’t know how to answer, so from that perspective you’re one step ahead. :)
The Declaration of Independence for beginners
Picture this! On the 4th of July way back in 1776, the Continental Congress, a board of delegates from the 13 colonial states said “OK, guys, it’s official. From now on, all 13 American colonies are one new nation, apart from the British empire.” Breaking free as a unified group, that was the key.
#7 Split personality DAY OFF
First thing that comes to your mind is that, whatever the 4th of July may be about, you have a day off. Wow and great!
But then, thoughts travel fast into your mind: “They celebrate, I have a day off, so I must celebrate too? Because it’s my new home and friends called me over… But then, it doesn’t feel natural somehow, yet I have a day off, so there must be a responsibility included in the package.”
OK, so let’s say you made peace. “I’ll celebrate, of course, I’ll join the crowd, my new folks!” But then what to choose, what to do? There are so many opportunities. Fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions…
Remember, Americans have had more than 300 years to develop a tradition and pick their favorite ways to celebrate. Take your time!
In a nutshell
It’s no easy game to be an expat of the 4th of July. You experience controversial frames of minds, which is so natural. At the same time there are new lessons to learn, new perspectives to help you adapt faster. Take for example the need to go out and celebrate the 4th of July in the American style. That gives you a glimpse of what the American fun feels like. Also, it’s a good time to cook an American pie called cobbler. It’s also a good time to find out what the American Declaration of Independence is. You’ll be amazed to find out you may know more than the Americans do. This is also a good occasion to review your understanding of “independence” and see what value Americans give to that. The 4th of July is also a season job opportunity, and you can make use of some skills that you keep in the attic to bring your contribution: whether it’s juggling or costume making, cooking or entertaining kids, there is a door in.
If American families come together on the 4th of July, for most expats that is not the case. You can call or show your appreciation by sending your family members some mobile credit with MobileRecharge.com, mainly because it takes less than 1 minute. Of course, there are other gifts to show you care, but they are more time consuming and less cheap.