I'm lucky for many reasons. I enjoy freedoms that allow me to travel. I was born into a middle class family that pushed me to get a good education, enabling me to get a fun job in which I could save enough money to travel. And I have a wonderful family to share the travels with.
So I recognize that our ability to travel is in many ways, well, lucky. And Independence Day is a great day to reflect on this.
We are in Thailand, a beautiful country. The food is savory and delicious and frequently spicy. I am the only one in the family who generally enjoys spice, but there are plenty of other options here as well.
But yesterday was Independence Day in the United States, 240 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And we decided to have as American a day as we could.
We set off on a long, exploratory walk. First, we had to find a hardware store to replace a doorstop that got broken. Oops. But that's okay. Even into the luckiest of lives a little doorstop must fall. Then we went to get burgers.
Yes, we decided that while we love Thai food, we were going to have a traditional American meal of hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes. We didn't go to a fast food restaurant, but to a Thai owned place that serves specifically American burgers. And they were good, not great, but good. Certainly I have enjoyed many a better burger in the States. And in other countries too. But these were certainly nothing to turn ones nose away from. The milkshakes were tasty and the fries were fries. A good lunch.
From there we visited the Muang Mai Market where there is tons of fresh produce. We even saw trucks delivering different types of lettuce, stacked high in their beds. I tried to get a picture of one truck, but on my first attempt, Carver walked right into the picture. On my second attempt a Thai passerby walked right in front of me. And on my third attempt, a motorbiker drove into my picture. After that, I decided maybe I wasn't meant to get that picture.
We bought a bag of mixed vegetables including carrots, what we think are yellow carrots, and various greens which I do not know the name of. We also got a bag of these long mushrooms which were slightly sour when they were cooked. We bought a red dragon fruit. All dragon fruit are red on the outside, but some have white flesh with black seeds inside and others have red flesh with black seeds inside. We also bought two mangoes. But the mangoes are not red and green on the outside like the ones at home. These are thinner, longer, and a light yellow in color.
I admit, that part wasn't particularly American.
We went swimming after we got home (and after we replaced the doorstop.) Here we met and played with two young girls from China. Again, that doesn't always happen in America either, but swimming on the fourth of July often does.
And we went to see an American movie, in English (with Thai subtitles.) But it did have its differences. First we saw previews of soon to come movies, same as in the States. Then we saw ads for cars and other things. The ads were in Thai, but that makes sense because we were in Thailand. Then there was one more coming attraction. And then, before the movie you have paid to see begins, the screen said in both Thai and English “Please rise for the King's Anthem.”
We stood up, and the King's Anthem played. On the screen they showed a variety of images, including several of patients and nurses in hospitals. But they also showed pictures of New Years cards featuring the King of Thailand from year after year, from him as a young man to him as an old man. There were words on the screen, but all in Thai, so I'm not sure what the linking theme was. But it was a fascinating experience.
After the movie, we ate Thai food for dinner. Yeah, not as American. But delicious.
Now you are probably thinking, aw, no fireworks. But wait!
This morning, or morning to us, July 5th, we got to see fireworks. Uncle Kevin (Alrica's brother) and one of his friends put on a fireworks show of their own each year. And Aunt Mandy (Uncle Kevin's wife) was filming it and live-streaming it. Our 8 AM on July 5 was 9 PM on July 4 for the East Coast. So we got to see Uncle Kevin's fireworks show live, though over a screen.
Even that tradition was met, albeit late from our point of view.
So as I said before, I am very lucky. I am getting every chance to exercise those rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. I'm alive, I'm at liberty, and watch out happiness, cause I am right on your tail.