7/4/2011 – Independence Day on an island outside of Seattle with friends Emily and Tiffany. Recently returned from my 10 month stint in China, I am amazed to discover that the natural world indeed has color. I am also amazed to discover that large and dangerous looking fireworks are apparently legal in Washington State.

7/4/2010 – Independence Day on a lake in Macon GA. After graduating from college, but before leaving Georgia forever on a one-way train to Wyoming, and also before skipping out on the country all together, I have one last American hurrah with friends from college.

7/4/2009 – Independence Day in a national park in Alaska. I get to be in a Fourth of July parade! Victorian style. Later there is a salmon grill.

7/4/2008 – 1989 – Independence Day spent wherever my parents spent it. Sometimes in Washington D.C. but mostly wherever we lived. I don’t really remember them individually.


You may notice a pattern….

This is my first Fourth of July spent out of the country! I was surprised.

This may have been the least celebratory Fourth I have ever encountered. Most of the other volunteers (read: American friends that I have) are off on vacation in other cities, so I’m all by my lonesome here in Cartagena. I did manage to leave the house though. Quite a feat considering I’ve pretty much locked myself in my room to read and sew during my vacation from school so far. I managed to see two other Americans that I know on the streets of the old city, and wished them a happy, if hasty, Fourth. They were in the city on business type missions.

I too had a mission: to mail two letters. Not too hard. It was a partial success, in that I managed to locate and buy envelopes, but actually a super failure as I did not, in fact, mail the letters. I did, however, go to the post office, which was locked, even though it was during business hours and the front set of doors were open and the lights were on. I actually went twice and it was locked both times.

Then, I skulked around the plaza, drew, and ate some doritos. America style.

Then I went to Zumba and then went out for pizza with some friends and made them wish me a happy Fourth of July by asking leading questions.


Oh oh! Chistes! Jokes:

Yesterday I was sitting at the table listening to the radio with my host mom as we do and we heard on the radio that it was America’s Independence Day.

– Oh! It’s your Independence Day!

– Yes it is! That’s why I’m wearing red shoes, white shirt, and blue pants. (earlier my host mom asked me where I was going. She does this any time I’m wearing clothes, or shoes. This is actually fairly often.)

– Congratulations!

– Thanks! I didn’t really do anything, but thanks.


red, white and blue!


I’m eating pizza with the friends and asking the leading questions:

-Today is a holiday, you know.

– What, a holiday? No the holiday was Monday.

-Nope, today is a holiday. I’m wearing red, white and blue.

– …

– It’s the fourth….. of July….

– Aha! Independence day for you guys. Congratulations!

– Thanks. I have, in fact, declared my Independence. I am an Independent woman now!


I feel like we don’t tell people congratulations for Fourth of July in the States. What is the proper response to “Happy Fourth of July!” for us? I can’t seem to remember what’s normal anymore. Only that “congratulations” doesn’t strike me as correct.

Anyways, it was a good day. But it was a good day in the way that Wednesdays are often a good day. I spent it with friends at Zumba, and then we went to eat.

Happy Fourth of July everybody! I’m hoping for more of a to-do and possibly fireworks and other trappings for Colombian Independence Day, July 20th. I’ll let you guys know.


3 responses »

  1. auntlianne says:

    Sounds like you are feeling ex-pat this week. Hope things start looking up. “Thanks. You too! What are your plans?” this is our usual responses to “Happy fourth of July!” Love you Peace Corp Girl.

  2. auntlianne says:

    Hmm can’t tell if my previous long comment posted. Love you

  3. Brian Young says:

    Good job Abby. Happy 5th of July. And may I add, congratulations!

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