Yesterday on the Fourth of July in the United States we celebrated Independence Day from England back in 1776, when the colonies declared independence (then had to fight for seven years to make it so). There have been funny celebratory remarks on social media celebrating the day, such as “Happy Treason Day” or “The Original Brexit.” My personal astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson reminds us to “hug a chemist” and thank the ingredients that make up those amazing fireworks:
Any way you are celebrating–whether that’s a backyard BBQ, a gathering of family or friends, an Independence Day Parade, or an amazing fireworks show somewhere–if you are an American, we do love our Independence Day celebration. It is a time to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy. And also the time to sweat it out in the hot sun.
One of the most unexpected things about living away from your country, as I did when I lived in Spain as an exchange student between high school and college, is how much you appreciate it when you are gone. You might be having the time of your life and adjusting to the differences with aplomb or a miserable time, but when you are not home, you learn to appreciate home. It’s similar to when you grow up and move out, you appreciate your family more than you ever did when you lived there. Or when you become a parent, you finally recognize and are humbled by how challenging it is all the time to raise kids.
A few years ago, my cousin, his wife, and their two kids aged twelve and seven left their home in California for a year-long journey around the world. They planned and saved, put work on hold, home-schooled their kids, and embarked on an unforgettable experience around the globe. There were many things they knew they’d learn and experience, but one thing they didn’t expect as a result of this journey was that their children would come home bleeding red, white, and blue.
If you have the privilege of traveling to another land, I hope you appreciate and enjoy the culture for as long as you stay. I’m from the US, so this has been my experience. I imagine that this doesn’t go just for the good ol’ United States. I imagine you’d miss and love your home country–whatever it is–because it’s where you’re from. However, I’d love to hear you tell of a time you went to another country, only to find you loved it more.