Wednesday, July 13, 2011

European Chronicles July 4, 2011


My family is probably laying out bronzing on the beach right now, and looking forward to a BBQ in a bit and fireworks tonight. I love me some 4th of July! However, my experience was quite different this year. It was definitely a 4th of July to remember... 

The day started out a bit lazily... we didn't need to get up for any purpose, so we slept in a bit. We planned on decorating for the party in the afternoon, but we hung our flag out front in the morning. Nathan and Nicole's landlord was working in the yard this morning and when we walked out he said, "I don't remember anywhere in the lease allowing you to fly foreign flags here!" We died laughing! We assured him it was only for today. :) 

Then it was time to go to the library make a "booking" to use the internet and printer (if you don't have a booking, you will get security called on you--just ask Nicole). We checked in for our flight to Ireland tomorrow and printed our boarding passes (because if we didn't have them in advance, we'd get charged a TON--ridiculous). Then we went on our way to say hi to Nathan at school and see where he spends most of his waking hours. We posed for a few pictures, saw the library and chapel, and went on our way. 

We came back to the house for a few minutes before heading over to Crook Hall right next door--a beautiful old building with amazing gardens. Nicole sent Sam and me into a giant bush maze to see who could get to the middle first. I was not a big fan of this. I was a fail (as Forest's mom would say). Sam won. I'm just glad I was able to find my way out. Thanks Nicole!

Then it was back on home for some for tea and scones (or water and scones in my case). We purchased a few scones from the kitchen at Crook Hall and had a lovely afternoon snack. Delicious! Then it was on to planning our 4th of July party! Nicole and I made a playlist of patriotic songs and firework shows on YouTube, we decorated the house with all the cutouts that we brought, packed for Ireland (THREE DAYS IN A BACKPACK THANK YOU VERY MUCH!), and relaxed a bit before the party began. 

Our guests started arriving around half seven (7:30 in American), and the first one was dressed in a full on REDCOAT uniform. The white sashes on the uniform were made out of LOO ROLL (toilet paper in American). Simply amazing.

 All of the other guests that arrived (none of which were actually American--we had one Irish girl, a Canadian dude, and some English people) were wearing red, white, and blue. I felt so honored. We began the party with some patriotic songs (including some karyoke sing alongs which only Nicole and I really sang to). We then made S'more nachos (graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows all roasted in the oven due to the lack of a fire), and played the "s'more of what" clip from The Sandlot. Epic. We had to show our guests how s'mores were really made, of course. 

We also shared some American candy--hot tamales, peach rings, and Dewars chews--which they quite enjoyed--followed by Disneyland's 4th of July World of Color show from YouTube (quite amazing, really). The rest of the evening we just visited and hung out. I learned about some of the differences between schools in England and America, we discussed the fashion trends among teenagers (scary), and a mish-mosh of other topics. We made sure to take everyone's picture in front of our special picture wall before they departed, and we bid farewell. 

After the guests left, we finished off the night by cleaning up and me polishing off the bottle of Elderflower juice (straight out of the bottle). That stuff really is amazing--remember me talking about it back in one of my Hungary notes? I wonder if we can get that in the states...anyone? anyone? Bueller? 

Although I miss my family a lot (especially today), I did have quite an eventful and memorable 4th of July. I hope y'all are having a great one as well. Family, take pictures at the beach! Friends, be safe and have an awesome time celebrating. 

I'm not sure about the status of the internet in Ireland, so I'm not quite certain I'll be able to update. If I can, I'll be all over it (Sam is a superwoman packer and was able to fit her little laptop in her backpack). If not, I'll be sure to fill you in on as much as I can when we return. 

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