Fourth Fourth

Today is my fourth Fourth of July in France. For my first Fourth, I got on a soapbox. For my second Fourth, I waxed sentimental about who was eating my apple pie. For my third Fourth, I tried to make you laugh. So … what’s on the agenda for my fourth Fourth?

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As American as Apple Pie

Captain America © 2011 Samuel Michael Bell

Yesterday was my second Fourth of July here in France. Expatriates around the world know the feeling: you’re in a place that’s become your home, but on a day like the Fourth, the separation from your homeland feels wider and the differences seem more pronounced. You seek out a way to feel as “American” as you can, no matter how far from America you are. And we all have our ways of doing that …

For example →

Last year, I decided to seek out an historic American bar here in Paris and toast America’s birthday with the drink special of the day: The General Washington. Unfortunately, it didn’t go exactly as I’d planned, and it almost ruined my day. This year, Michel and I decided instead to celebrate by having a picnic on the banks of the Seine with a group of our friends. We asked everyone to bring something quintessentially American or, in the alternative, to come dressed as an “American.” Knowing this particular group of friends and their penchant for dramatic flare, I was sure to have material for my next blogpost. Continue reading As American as Apple Pie

Happy Bastille Day?

What does one say on Bastille Day to a French person? Having been here long enough to know that the French don’t call July 14 “Bastille Day” the way we Anglophones do, I was in a quandary as to how to wish a happy national holiday to my French family and friends. I asked Michel and he said, “We don’t do that. We celebrate, but we don’t have a sentence like that, like you do in America. It might seem strange, but we don’t.”

Hmm.

Continue reading Happy Bastille Day?

Feeling insulted, bad burgers, and good ice cream: a Parisian Fourth of July

You might have been wondering what became of me after my first Fourth of July in Paris since 1989, since I didn’t post anything the next day. I promise I wasn’t hungover, but I was sick. Somehow I came down with some sort of flu that had me completely debilitated yesterday. Thankfully, I’m over it now, just in time for a little weekend jaunt to London tomorrow night.

So, how did I spend my Fourth? Truthfully, it was a little disappointing … aside from the company, of course.

Continue reading Feeling insulted, bad burgers, and good ice cream: a Parisian Fourth of July