Tuesday, July 06, 2010

the aftermath of a 4th of July

photo: Stephanie McCabe via Unsplash

I have not been American Citizen for long, yet the 4th of July is a very special day for me, captivating the spirit of independence, the uniting of a nation, and the warm friendliness the festivities come with. Friends and families gather to fire a BBQ and have some good time, crowds fill the stadiums for rock concerts including inevitably a 'The Star-Spangled Banner' performance, fireworks light the evening sky for a glorious ending of Independence Day. I had a very different 4th of July this year...partly because I chose so, and partly because it happened so...and like always, life's surprises push my mind to wander and discover... I live in the Netherlands now, 3 months already. I like it a lot! Well, I like it so far... ;) Moving to a new country engages all these forgotten survival skills, that go lethargic after you've lived long enough in the same place. It forces you to look at life from a new perspective, to open up for new experiences. That makes me feel young in spirit, alive! I was lucky to meet quite a lot of people in the very first weeks, and make a few good friends right away. So, when 4th of July approached it was a no-brainer that a party was in order! Let the fun begin! I've always been social and when flamboyant mood strikes me, a party for 20 or more is not unusual, I like to bring people together, I like to mix various personalities, with the one goal - let's have a good time and enjoy life! Space has never been a problem, spending money on drinks and food either, so...you get the idea. Very surprisingly, this year I felt strongly that a big party is not going to work well... Something had changed. Somehow a shift has happened, and for the first time I didn't need to invite many, I didn't crave the crowd. There was the urge to change the scale of events. I wanted only the people I care about, only the people I have meaningful relationships with. I realized I was exhausted from spreading thin in terms of people. It's funny! As a child I always wanted to have many many friends...and now I do, but I don't have the time for them...Life always finds a way to frustrate us  The party was small - six people in total. But not short of anything - mai-tai drinks with real orchid flowers, chicken, steak and fish on the BBQ, corn and potatoes, fresh guacamole and chips, plenty of wine, music, dancing, singing ... we even had a Birthday Boy, what else could you ask for! I thought of Terry Pratchet's book 'The Carpet people' - 'All you need to be happy is soft toilet paper, warm soup, and a few kind words'. Well...I think we had it all. I loved the simplicity of the evening, the sincerity and the intimacy. It felt like never before, and it made me feel complete...

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