The last two Fourth of July’s have been, unknowingly, kind of like bookends in the huge amount of changes I’ve made in the last year.
This time last year, I was hunting for meaningful work. I’d just started a meaningless, menial job that I despised going to in order to make ends meet after what was supposed to be a summer-long temp job fell through. But I still had friends to cheer me up, and convince me something good was just around the bend. I was kind of planning our wedding, but hadn’t really set a firm date yet. I also had just started looking into moving abroad again.
This time last year, I was drinking way too much sangria and eating a boat load of chips and salsa. I was watching fireworks on the mall. I was wearily trying to make it out of the tourist jam and back on the bus home before the people clogging the metro realized that, in fact, the bus is cheaper and less crowded and goes to the same place in the end.
This year, I worked on the Fourth of July. Not because I’m stuck in a meaningless, menial job that doesn’t respect federal holidays (although if we’d stayed in DC, this could have been the case), but because I’ve exchanged it for a new set of holidays (Songkran! Loy Krathong!). I got to teach my students about Independence Day with the most simplified, accurate description I could come up with, and the I watched Liberty’s Kids First Fourth of July three times. After work I had a glass of wine, got a cheeseburger and fries with friends from a roadside stand near our apartment (which, for the record, has a pretty damn delicious cheeseburger, complete with grilled mushrooms and onions and bacon), and went to watch fireworks from the Bus Bar by the river. Fortunately, Thais are always down to celebrate a holiday, whether it’s theirs to claim or not.
And then I went back to work today. And I get to go to work tomorrow, even though it’s Saturday, for FEP camp. (Which will be fun, but I totally did not sign up to spend this many Saturdays at school. But that’s a separate rant.)
When I look back, it’s amazing to think of how much I’ve accomplished this year. It’s pretty damn impressive, to me anyway. And even though watching all of my friends from home celebrate in their usual ways made me incredibly homesick, it was also a good reminder of how good of a life I have and how happy I am with how everything’s turned out.