Independence Day in London has traditionally (well, the one previous time I’ve celebrated it here) been a strange combination of British and American elements coming together to create a unique multi-national celebration unlike anything I’ve ever known. Last year, I visited the British Museum for a tour of their British artist’s exhibition, to look at their stunning collection of British artifacts and to take part in their American independence day celebration which was marked with, of all things, Krispy Kreme donuts, quilt-making and American football demonstrations. To cap it off, I was spending the day with my British flatmate and a friend from high school in California.
This year seemed as if it would be a bit of a wash in the American department as I had already spent the day watching Wimbledon while eating strawberries. In an effort to regain some sense of the homeland I dressed myself up in red, white and blue, made southern-style chili and thought superior and revolutionary thoughts at all the British people I passed.
The evening of the fourth, however, another American friend here in London encouraged me to join the multi-national group that was celebrating our independence not too far from where I live. Without needing much more encouragement, I made my way to a New York style pizza joint decorated with red, white and blue balloons to spend the evening with my American friend, a El Salvadorian who had spend over a decade in the States, his Irish wife and our British friend. It’s unlikely there was a more mixed group anywhere celebrating independence day but of course, that’s what America is all about.
Happy 4th of July!