Three days ago, I glanced down at my phone and realized it was July 1st. I have no real context for time here, days smear together, one sunny morning and rainy afternoon after another. The rhythm here is consistent, seemingly unhurried days that have flown by.
You know what comes soon after July 1st? July 4th. Growing up, July 4th was like a bonus holiday, a fun time to picnic and watch fireworks but we didn't have a set plan and it was not a huge deal. In Jon's family, July 4th is a BIG, multiple day deal and since we have been married, we both look forward to July 4th in Michigan, laughing, eating, spending time together with family we don't often see and swimming in Lake Michigan. Rich in tradition, July 4th with the G's rivals most family Christmases.
So, it's here. Our first holiday overseas. We already missed a cousin's wedding (ironically, enough, at a beach we go to with Jon's family in Michigan for the 4th). I didn't let myself think about it much.
My initial plan was to let the 4th pass, unmentioned and then stay off Facebook a few days so I can't see you enjoying watermelon and little kids enchanted by sparklers. I can't buy anything red, white and blue here and it would just make us unnecessarily nostalgic even if I could scrounge up an American flag (which I can't, by the way). It is cool and rainy here, so even the weather doesn't point to the hot, humid days of July. My thoughts changed after reading this article yesterday.
After reading, I realized my mission field mindset on holidays was actually a bit like my "let's just sneak out in the night" goodbyes. Potentially very unhealthy.
So, we celebrated.
Not in a way that stirs up sorrow, but in a way that celebrates where we come from and can appreciate the fact that our lives are enriched through two cultures events and holidays.
The Littles made a new friend as they spent hour digging a hole together.
And then they just sat and chilled with him, like old African men. The Little boy is scared of me. :)
We made cookies. Which is a big deal here. Sugar and butter can't be bought here in Injibara and I am sort of a food hoarder about precious resources. Whereas Jon's theory is, "we have it, let's enjoy it now!" Mine is, "Oh, but you don't know what kind of day we will have done the road, when we REALLY WANT it." I got through that and we even crushed up some chocolate brought from the USA. Not just any chocolate, cadbury eggs.
When I told The Littles we were going to make cookies in honor of 4th of July, Little J responded, "Oh, I LOVE Ethiopia."
We celebrated as we told The LIttles about American independence, explaining that we are excited to learn more about Ethiopian Independence Day. We looked through pictures of July 4th's of the past and celebrated our families while we talked about how incredibly rich our lives are here.
A few faves that put smiles on our faces and made our hearts squeeze.
And it was good. We made a new tradition of colored rice (glad food coloring made it in the suitcase). Although blue rice is hard to eat.
The sun has gone down here, the rain set in and there are no fireworks but we are peaceful, thankful and joyfilled.
Now all of you go and eat something grilled for me and have your kiddos light an extra sparkler for The Littles. :)