I've been living in Israel for nearly eight years now and each year I still find myself missing the fourth of July celebrations that I used to enjoy, particularly the elaborate firework displays.
I remember how in Atlanta all the cars would pull over to the side of the highway and drivers would climb on to the hoods of their cars to watch the fireworks. And when we lived in Milwaukee, each year my family would stake out a particular spot where we were able to view three different firework displays at the same time. While we do have some fireworks here for the Israeli Independence Day the displays are not nearly as grand as the ones I used to see in America and each fourth of July I find myself thinking back nostalgically to fourth of Julys of the past.
But even though I no longer live in America doesn't mean I can't still celebrate the holiday and today my children and I went into Jerusalem for the annual AACI (Americans and Canadians in Israel) Fourth of July fair which includes a flea market, games for children and musicians playing popular American songs.
My kids didn't quite get what it was all about and kept asking me why everyone was speaking English, but they had a fantastic time. They ate "American style" ice cream, had American flags painted on their faces and participated in the games and races with the other kids. They also each got a bit of money with which to purchase something in the flea market and they had a great time choosing something for themselves (sadly, when we got home my daughter discovered that she had lost the little change purse that she had bought for herself and she spent the night crying brokenheartedly about it).
My favorite part was definitely the flea market. I used to be a flea market junkie when I lived in America and I have yet to find any experience that matches the thrill of shopping at a flea market. While I didn't end up buying too much I did pick up a couple of books that I have been wanting to read for a while, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, so that was exciting. And for my ten- year old I picked up The Skull of Truth by Bruce Coville, because he has been on a Coville kick lately, and this book looked like fun.
So while this Fourth of July was firework-free my children and I still enoyed celebrating it together, here in Israel, with American games, music, treats and friends.
Hope you have a great Fourth of July!