Our foreign Fourth of July
The Fourth of July, in our opinion, might just be the best day of the year. What could be better than a day off in the height of summer to do whatever you please?
This year, despite being on a faraway continent full of people oblivious to the holiday, we were determined to carry out our duties as Americans on our nation’s birthday. Namely: grill meats and get drunk next to a body of water.
We happened to be in Babinda, in northern Queensland, on the morning of the Fourth of July. Babinda is a beautiful town, but also happens to share the dubious and unfortunate title of the rainiest town in Australia. Low, grey clouds unleashed rain with varying degrees of enthusiasm all day.
Undeterred, we took over a covered picnic table and proceeded to make ample quantities of some classic and unhealthy American summer foods— hot dogs, pasta salad, fruit salad, watermelon, baked beans, potato chips, orange soda. At the highly acceptable hour of 1:30 p.m., we added Dark and Stormies to the mix.
We didn’t have any flags or fireworks, but we tried our best to be patriotic:
It just wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without swimming, so despite the weather, we peeled off our rain jackets and dove in. Briefly.
This also seems an appropriate time to pass along some of the things we love about America. Being so far away from home for so long has also made us realize what we take for granted.
Beer. The beer here is an improvement over anything found in Asia, but we would have to commit all sorts of nefarious deeds in order to regularly afford $20 for a six-pack of 3.5 percent pilsner. Americans live in the promised land when it comes to beer. Oh, how we miss our hoppy and affordable IPAs!
S’mores. Imagine a place where the mention of s’mores receives a blank and questioning look. Imagine a continent devoid of graham crackers, where marshmallows are pink and taste like cherry cough syrup. Well, my friends, this land is Australia. With such an outdoorsy population, you would think Australians would have caught on to the wonder that is the s’more. But no. They have never heard of them. It’s a travesty.
Not being foreign. Though it’s not as obvious as when we where in Asia, we are still readily identified as foreigners here in Australia as soon as we open our mouths and talk. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just nice to walk down the sidewalk and know that the people who pass share your citizenship and the things that come with it. It’s like you’re on the same team. Even if they’re assholes.
The price of everything. Most things in the States are cheap, but in this context, everything means the essentials: beer (which we’ve already discussed), gas (it costs $5.10 to $7.50 a gallon here), ice cream cones, and McDonalds cheeseburgers (each about double the price). Why do we care so much about McDonald’s prices? Well…
Internet. Fast, free wifi is nearly nonexistent here. The one and only reliable source of wireless is, oddly enough, McDonalds. We’re in one right now. It’s a bit depressing.
Baseball. Sunshine, warm weather, and tropical beaches aside, it just doesn’t feel like summer without baseball. Not to mention our beloved wiffle ball field.
Our friends and family. Not that we don’t like each other, but it would be nice to hang out with someone else for a change. There’s something about a holiday, especially this one, that makes you miss home.