Wednesday, July 10, 2013

4th of July in England: Missing You Since 1776

Last week was the 4th of July: that glorious holiday that celebrates America's independence from Britain with fireworks, cook outs, and some good ol' red, white, and blue. I love the 4th of July - hanging out with friends and family, basking in the freedom the patriots secured for all future generations after Thomas Jefferson penned the greatest break up letter in history, effectively telling Britain in no uncertain terms that we are never, ever, ever getting back together. Except this year I was in England for the 4th.


Look, I'm no blind fanatic - I know there are lots of things wrong with America. Just take a look at any of the ongoing legislative battles currently brewing for women's rights, marriage equality, the health care debate...America has some work to do. That being said, I am fond of my country and look back upon it with glorified memories when I'm feeling particularly homesick or I find England in some way lacking (why is nothing open 24/7? why is the food so bland? no, you don't need to put mayo on everything!). And I am beyond guilty of making America jokes at the expense of my non-American friends. I have jokingly told my English friends to "shut up or I'll throw your tea in the harbor" too many times to count. All in good fun!

But the 4th of July rolled around and I found myself homesick for southern weather and fireworks and classic Americana, none of were readily available to me in dear little Oxford. So, in the words of the iconic Tim Gunn, I made it work.

Lindsay and I, the only Americans in our little group, decided we needed a cook out. We made Juicy Lucy's - a Minnesotan staple where cheese is placed inside of the hamburger patty and cooked to gooey, cheesy perfection. Oh sweet lord, that is the American dream.

Our materials.
Constructing the Juicy Lucy's (good form, ol chap)
My favorite Minnesotan. 

The rest of our offerings were pretty standard - fries/chips, salad, fruit. We managed to procure an apple pie (bye, bye, miss american pie / drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry...), but the Englishman was left in charge of alcohol and Nick bought Pimms instead of whatever American beer they had at Tesco. sigh. This is why we left y'all in the first place - you don't listen to us! (another American joke, take no offense).

Lindsay and I also decided that our dear friends (mostly Nick) needed to be educated about the Revolution and American history in general. It was actually pretty fun to recall history lessons and recite famous quotes/speeches we learned as kids.

"The Louisiana Purchase wasn't just for the state of Louisiana?"
"Oh my god, no. No. It doubled the size of our country!"

They. Were. Delicious.

It wasn't a typical 4th of July by any means - not a single firework in sight - yet it was fun nonetheless. An entire day of allowing myself to reach a level of patriotism usually only reserved for the Olympics. You don't even want to see me during the Olympics. It's bad, really bad. But I was with friends and happy, and that's really what matters. Even if I couldn't throw any tea into the harbor.

Jane xx

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