Living abroad has a lot of upsides. You get to grow familiar with a new culture, learn a new language, see the world. It’s an amazing experience, and if you have the opportunity, definitely go for it.
That being said, it can also be very isolating, and while social media has done a lot to shrink the world and make it easier to stay in touch with loved ones oceans away, it can also make things harder by barraging you every day of images of what you’re missing.
When I lived in the States, the 4th of July was always one of my favorite holidays. Barbecue, music, dancing, fireworks, and an amazing sense of community–what’s not to like? It’s also, obviously, a distinctly American holiday. It just isn’t celebrated anywhere else.
That’s why I was so happy this year to be invited to America for a 4th of July celebration. The U.S. Consulate in Naha, Okinawa, had a huge garden party, and because of my volunteer work, I was lucky enough to get an invitation!
A marine band kicked off the event, followed by the posting of the colors. Then the fun started, with a jazz trio, dancing, barbecue, dunking booth, and lawn games. It felt just like home, and was everything that my expat heart could have hoped for. Happy Birthday America!