Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"You call it 'Independence Day'? Why?"

"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you," my supervisor cheerfully sang as she entered the room for the workshop I was leading today. I was handing out materials for the day's session and the ladies I was standing next to said, "It's your birthday!?"

"No, it's not my birthday today," I laughed.

"Then who is she singing to?"

"It's July 4th! It's America's birthday," I said with a little bounce and a smile.

"Oh," they replied, totally unexcited.

It should come as no surprise that the United States and its foreign policy is not very popular here. I've found that most of my colleagues have a perception of life in the States and there is not a whole heck of a lot I can do to refute their flawed logic. Even my students who have traveled to the States feel they are better versed at the ways of the West than I am.

"Americans think we're terrorists, teacher."
"No they don't."
"YES THEY DO! You don't understand!"

So I made an effort not to be the obnoxious American today. I haven't sung "God Bless America" or "The Star Spangled Banner" yet. I didn't wear any articles of clothing resembling the Stars and Stripes in pattern or color scheme (I did wear an old Tennessee State University t-shirt. Gotta rep my home turf somehow!) I didn't make a big deal about the fact that I've NEVER had to work or go to school on July 4, even when I was a waitress in high school and college. I didn't lament the fact that there will be no fireworks, no cookouts, no sparklers for me today. I haven't eaten a single hot dog or corn on the cob.

What I did do today was lead a workshop on pacing guides and how to use them. Then I went to a curriculum planning meeting for the social studies class I have been handed for next year. I came home after work and took a nap. Now I'm about to watch old "How I Met Your Mother" episodes online with my husband and try to scrounge up a decent dinner from the paltry pantry we've got.*

Most uneventful July 4 ever. It's very bizarre.

Save some fireworks for us.

Vicariously yours,

*summer vacation is on the near horizon. We're trying to avoid grocery shopping in an effort to use what we've got and minimize food waste. Translation: we're eating a lot of beans, pasta, and frozen shrimp.

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