We celebrated the 4th of July a little differently this year.
Last year, we were hanging out on our rooftop in Brooklyn surrounded by friends, BBQ and a lot of cold beer, splashing in kiddie pools and watching fireworks over the Hudson River. Our dear friends/neighbors hosted the party partly as our farewell celebration because we were soon departing for our new FS life. It was spectacular. Yesterday, that same neighbor posted photos on Facebook of this year's party. I saw lots of the same faces I saw last year, and for the first time since coming to Turkey, I got a little homesick.
That's not to say we didn't have fun on the 4th this year. We did. We had a great time. It was just different. This year we celebrated not on the 4th, but on the day the Consulate hosted their party, which happened to be June 26th. Cuz nothing says Happy 4th of July like Happy June 26th, right? But since the Ambassador had three parties to attend (Istanbul, Ankara and Adana) each city had to schedule around each other. And because no one really wants to host an extravagant party (i.e. work) on their day off, (i.e. July 4th) they did it on June 26th.
The night was a lot of fun, but it wasn't what I was used to, by any means. I ditched my shorts and flip-flops for a cocktail dress and heels. I exchanged the cold beer for a cool glass of white wine, and instead of grilling hot dogs and burgers, we were eating Turkish food. The hotel tried their best to grill up good burgers and even attempted jambalaya, but, you know. It wasn't the same.
But the mood was grand, the people were a lot of fun and despite the heat, everyone was having a good time. The military guys came out to carry the flags and both national anthems were sung. Speeches were made, drinks were toasted, and a whole lotta hand shaking took place. Toward the end of the night the easy-listening piano music was replaced by a mix of American and Turkish pop, and everyone took to the dance floor in style. And yes, I did kick off my shoes to join in the dancing. And no, I wasn't the only one barefoot. The night ended with S giving me the "I am so tired I will curl up right here on the ground and go to sleep if we don't leave right now" look, so we bid our farewells and headed home. All-in-all the night was a success thanks to S's stellar party planning and management skills and the rest of the amazing Consulate staff.
So, now we have two equally different, yet equally fun and enjoyable Independence Day experiences to look back on with fondness. Celebrating the awesomeness of this country and sharing it with different cultures is what this holiday and lifestyle is all about. Next time, however, I will choose a more comfortable pair of heels.
|Before the people arrived...red carpet in the background|
|River view...waiting for the call to prayer so festivities/speeches can start|
|Blurry pic of the Principal Officer, Ambassador and his wife|
|Fake cake. Notice what's wrong with it??|
|The happy couple. Yes, my feet were killing me.|