Saturday, July 2, 2011

Living in Brazil Means No 4th of July!

Enjoying the Coronado parade during our visit 2 years ago

I am missing 4th of July this year. For some reason I am feeling the desire to be with my fellow Americans sitting in lawn chairs, drinking mildly cold beer, eating bbq, and watching fireworks. 

It comes as a bit of a shock because I've had years when I totally forgot that it was the 4th. It's not that I don't like the holiday. I just don't live in the US and I accept that. When you don't live there, you don't really get to celebrate all the same holidays. Of course, I do get to dress up in costumes, drink in the street, and dance the samba. 

This year though, I find myself thinking about San Diego, CA, more specifically Coronado,CA. That is where the 4th of July comes to life. 

And as I read status updates from Nado people on Facebook, I feel an inner 'if only' sigh. You see, everyone from Coronado returns for the 4th. It is one big reunion and it rocks! The 3rd of July is party night. People roam the island on their beach cruisers, going from one bar to another meeting everyone on their way. 

On the 4th, way too early, people line up on the median for the parade. It's a lame one, per any small town 4th of July parade, but we are all there anyway. I think it's the joining of community that brings everyone there so early after such a long night. Of course the bloody marys help. Oh yes, all those people you see with the plastic cups have stopped by Danny's on Orange. Best freaking bloody mary in the world and it will burn the hangover right out from under you. I do believe they start serving at 6am on the 4th, though I could be wrong. 

Anyway, the town buzzes with an excitement as high as a child's. Get-togethers are happening everywhere and new guests are always welcome to pop by. 

This year I wish I could be there. My boys are at a great age to take part in all the festivities. 

But if I had to pick one thing to take them to, it'd be the fireworks in the gulf course. I know Rio de Janeiro's New Years fireworks are amazing and kicks Nado's ass. No one is doubting that. 

It's just that there's something to sitting together on a blanket with your parents on the golf course grass. The air would be cool in the evening and I would have brought along blankets. Mr. Rant and I would have had a beer while the kids had some juice and snacks. Our friends and family would have been sitting next to us on their own blankets. 

And then the show would start. The kids would giggle and follow along with the chants of ooohhhhs and ahhhhhs. The radio playing patriotic songs going along with the beat of the fireworks. It's enough to make any expat feel down right proud to be an American. 

It just makes me kind of sad that my boys are going to look at the 4th as some celebration they sometimes go to when they are visiting my side of the family. Or, at the very least, just another day. 

While it's a rare happening, I sometimes get these pangs of sadness over not being able to share my traditions with the boys to their true extent. Then again, the 4th of July I remember included a HUGE bag of illegal fireworks like black cats and those tanks that shot sparkly stuff out and then sometimes caught on fire. I think those good old days are lost to everyone! 


  1. I would have to agree with you here. Fourth of July is one holiday I love and makes a sense of American pride wash over me for some reason.

    Especially when I think of all of the service men who are dying every day overseas, it brings a special tear to my eye and I'm not overly dramatic and prideful about this but the fourth kind of brings it out of me.

    We go downtown every year and camp out with a picnic and watch the fireworks. This year we are even bringing Scrabble along to play while we wait. Me and the kids are hooked on it. Kentucky fried chicken, Scrabble, kids playing in the river and fireworks...perfect night. Now only if Leon were here to share it with. I'd really love to share this holiday with him. Freaking U.S. embassy! grrrr

  2. This is my first 4th of July away! I am missing the Oregon Blues Festival, just the good old traditional American barbeque, fireworks from WA. My husband and I were discussing any expat 4th of July events going on in Belo. I have looked online, so far no luck. He wants to hang our American flag on the 4th...we'll see:)

  3. We purposely asked my employer to get our tickets to Brazil for AFTER the 4th so we could celebrate it here. It's my husband's first as a citizen so it'll mean more for him this year.

  4. Having spent a considerable part of my life in the United States, including most of my school years (Elementary and High School), I love and still cherish certain things from that lovely part of the world. I specially like things that compliment each other and are enlightening like learning the pledge of allegiance and the anthem , PLUS that property tax is what finances the school where all this takes place.
    The same mindset is in action when the total amount of a purchase increases at the cash register so you know just how much sales tax you are paying and, if you are a kid who collected bottles from neighbors (yes fellow middle class Brazilians THERE IS NO SHAME IN THAT) and paid for your candy with the refund money you made from said bottles, then knowing you are being taxed and what that encompasses is an education in and of itself. If it happens when you are 8 all the better.
    These may seem like mundane things but they are not and to me are building blocks to so many of the good stuff that you experience later.
    So, at risk of being labelled as someone who "conspired with the empire" I say Feliz 4 de Julho para todos e que Deus abençõe, entre tantas outras coisas merecedoras, os Estados Unidos da America.
    Since a 4th of July party is out of my reach in Brazil I think I will celebrate via literature: enjoy some writings pertaining to the constitution and finish it off revisiting my old Encyclopedia Brown collection.
    Have a happy and safe 4th of July wherever you are.

  5. find a good festa junina this weekend and enjoy it :)

  6. I went to one this evening and it was great! The kids LOVED it. And there were some random fireworks lit by kids and beer. Pretty damn close ;)

  7. Holidays are always hard on us expats and the 4th is no exception. For a good 6 years now I have thrown a 4th of July party/bbq where I serve "typical" US food (homemade mac and cheese, chili, hamburgers and bbq chicken, coleslaw, chocolate chip cookies). Best part is how enthusiastic my Brazilian friends are about the party. No fireworks, but a great way I have found to celebrate the 4th.

  8. Sigh...since we're gonna be here for the long-term, we should start planning for next year. Let's DO somethin' big! We have a whole year to plan. = )

  9. I didn't miss the 4th this year until I talked to my mom this morning, and found out that she, both my sibs and all their kids went out boating and playing by the river, grilled out steaks and then watched fireworks together. I feel so left out. :(

    I didn't get to do it this year, but next year I plan on throwing a 4th of July cookout for the expats here in Lima - I've got a nice backyard and a pretty big house, all I'm missing is a grill!

  10. Really feeling it! Dying to be home for the 4th...... So great to have someone to relate to <3

  11. Holidays can be tough for an expat...

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