Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On National Holidays and Traditions When You Aren’t Geographically Present

Listening to: Suraj Ki Baahon Mein - Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara 
Mood: Reminiscent
It is smack dab in the middle of the summer in the USA. In fact, it’s July 4th day (on my side of the world anyhow). For the first time in, oh, ever, I am not in the US for the 4th. There will be no barbecues, no fireworks, and no excessive alcohol intake with friends. In fact, the only extraordinary thing happening today is that I am launching piano lessons. With an actual student.  There’s a huge part of me that wonders what this girl’s parents were thinking agreeing to let me teach their daughter. After all, I’m the one your mother warned you about, even if I am qualified to teach piano lessons. I’m pretty thankful to that girl’s parents for giving me the chance to pass on my passion to someone else though. I’m terrified and thrilled at the same time. But hey, the take a chance and move around the world thing worked out well, so why not give this a go too? Wish me luck people. Better yet, wish that student luck.

I am so far off topic here I probably couldn’t find my way back with a compass.  Not that I know how to use one anyhow. Speaking of which: Camping. I have been seeing lots and lots o posts about camping, and I must say that I am green with envy. Our current geographical location doesn’t really cater to camping. Seriously, there is no such thing as campers in India that I’ve seen. The bigger problem with our family is that Daddy G is categorically opposed to anything that doesn’t involve actual beds and wifi. When I was little, my parents (bless their nomadic hearts) loved camping. We lived out in L.A. and had a tiny trailer hookup camper that my dad towed behind their silver Subaru. No, I’m not quite sure how the physics of that work out either – so don’t ask.  We made good use of the Arizona/New Mexico mountains. My favorite destination of all time was Ghost Town AZ. Seriously amazing place It was cramped and not always comfortable, but people, I’m about to break out into song here about the memories. It was glorious.

It looked like this:
I seriously don't know the physics of shoving 4 people in this camper.

When I got a bit older, my folks moved to IL and we bought a bigger RV camper and stowed it at a campground in Morris IL. If you’re from Morris, you’ll know that there’s absolutely nothing out there. Or there didn’t use to be. I haven’t been out there in at least 20 years. Again, some very magical times. I’m not sure how we didn’t out right die from catching snakes, making forts, throwing milk-weed pods, throwing things in campfires, and generally roaming the entire campground by ourselves.  So enjoy your camping people. I’m still campaigning over here to get Daddy G to even try it.

Holidays are a bit funny when you’re off somewhere else. I don’t think I really sat and thought too much about holidays abroad apart from Christmas. Aside from that one freakish year we moved to Key West and were there over Christmas, I wondered how different it would be. Obviously, no one celebrates the 4th of July here. They have absolutely no reason to. Indian Independence Day is at a completely different time. This is another instance of things that make me feel completely disconnected with life before we moved here. I’m not even quite sure what to do with this though. I think it’s a bit ridiculous to celebrate by myself. The kids don’t ask about it. I never thought about how easy it would be to absorb the local holidays/festivals – we are all over Diwali in our house – and be completely removed from events that actually mean more to me than I knew.  Actually, everything American just seems so far away, both from a physical and emotional distance point of view. This is most likely a defense mechanism on my part – after all, I can’t sit and mope around all the time missing things. It also shows you how your own reality takes over your brain space. I can’t live 2 places at once.  I guess I’m greedy. I want ALL the holidays. I wasn’t my past reality and my present reality to mesh seamlessly, which is absolutely, completely unrealistic.

I hope you all enjoy your summer vacations and your 4th of July holiday. To those of you who choose to indulge in the adult beverage of your choice, enjoy one for me and give an extra cheer for the fireworks for me. Have your kids jump in the pool one last time for me. I’m pretty sure my tenure in  India will end much sooner than I would like and I’ll find myself bemoaning the fact that I can’t find good byriani in the states.


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