It's always a little strange celebrating strictly American holidays in a foreign country. The post tried to have a 4th of July festival, but it fell a little short. There were carnival rides, but they were contracted out to Italians. It was jarring for little kids to be jumping on the bouncy slide while rap music containing incredibly foul language blared. I hope MWR remembers to screen the musical playlist of the carnies if they hire them again. As we walked by the bumper cars, we stopped in horror and asked each other, "Did I really just hear that?"
They also opened the post to the local Italian community. I didn't mind that so much, but I was startled at how many of them came. The Americans were outnumbered by about 3 to 1. By the end of the evening, it didn't feel much like an American celebration. Too bad DH isn't here right now or I'd get him to send me the photo he took of this one schlumpy Italian guy proudly wearing a t-shirt blinged out with the words "Rich and Cool". Likely he was neither.
The big excitement this year was the fireworks. For some reason (I've heard it was the construction being done on the now complete health center), the post hasn't had fireworks in years. They've tried to make do with a laser light show, but it's a poor substitute. This year, they planned to shoot off the fireworks from Mount Berico, a hill about 4 miles from post. Knowing the geography of post and Mount Berico ,and all the buildings in between them, I had some concerns as to how we were going to able to see the fireworks from the festival field.
Since the days are sooo long here - seriously, the stupid birds start chirping at 4:30 in the morning and it's broad daylight by 5:30 - we had to wait until 10:30 pm for the fireworks. Finally, we heard them. The crowd all stood and shuffled around, trying to see. There were flashes of light, for sure. Pretty much the best any of us could see was something like this:
I think just about anyone who was NOT on post probably had a better view of the fireworks. I know there were places in the US that had fireworks bans because of drought, so at least we got to see something. Still, it made the laser light show not seem quite as lame.
It occured to me on Monday that in my life, I've celebrated the 4th of July in four different countries. Jamaica, when I was in high school on a youth trip. Germany, 1992, when I was in the Army. Italy, 1993, 2009, and 2011. And of course, America for most of them, and let's hope, the rest of them.