Today is the first holiday that I wish I were home. Usually this time of year, I’d be sharing long car rides with my family on the I-75 interstate headed from Kentucky or Atlanta down to the pristine beaches of the Florida gulf coast. It’s only been recently that my family started to gather for holidays like the Fourth of July. My mom and aunt would start packing for a 2-day getaway at least three weeks in advance, and yet they would still forget something the day we hit the road. My dog, Peanut, would be unsettled knowing the leaders of the pack would be leaving to go somewhere. His face always reminding us “you better fucking take me with you.” He knew whenever we had packed bags outside our door, that he would either be left behind or going somewhere far. He made sure to eat all his food extra fast, occasionally dropping tiny kibbles here and there as he would run after us to make sure we wouldn’t forget him. My mom and aunt always stocked up on bread so the family would have enough banh mi (Vietnamese sub sandwiches) whenever hunger or a craving strikes during our ride. Suzan, my cousin, would be in a frantic mess trying to pack a beach bag for her baby Madelyn and herself. Banh mi, Peanut’s boiled chicken, Madelyn’s 2 piece bikinis, sunblock, sun hats, and another trillion more random items in a car packed to capacity with my crazy family. These are the things I remember about beach getaway trips and these are the things I miss the most on a day like today.
These are pictures from my last holiday family beach vacation more than 9 months ago, I miss everyone! Y’all better think of me as you’re eating banh mi and getting sunburnt on the beach this year!
Although I am thousands of miles away from America, I will celebrate her today around the camaraderie of other fellow countrymen who have made the leap abroad. I will lie like a beached whale by a sandy sea. I will lose myself in a book while the sun bronzes my palest parts. I’ll drink beer and eat barbecue until a food baby emerges. I will say “MURICA!” maybe about 50 times today and have no shame. Moving abroad has somehow made me even more patriotic. As an American expat, I now have the responsibility to represent my country well and to show other people around the world why America is so damn beautiful.
America! America! God shed his grace on thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood. From sea to shining sea!
From the East Sea to the Gulf Stream waters, Happy Birthday America!