Happy 4th of July, everyone! This is the third time I'm in the USA for their Independence Day celebrations, and to be honest, I'm a bit underwhelmed this year. In fact, there's no parade on TV, all stores are open - holding sales, in fact - and let's face it: nothing screams public holiday like closed stores and having to fight for the last packet of hot-dog buns.

Granted, it's Sunday, but I've seen more activity on the streets when the local football or basketball teams have been playing well! Or maybe I'm just looking in the wrong direction? Are YOU having a great time celebrating today with friends, family, or at a parade? Tell me about it!

In any case, what I'm trying to say is that it feels just like any other day. And that's what it's probably like for all those US Americans abroad right now, who want to celebrate their big day, and nobody else around them gives a hoot.

When relocating, it's important to embrace local customs and learn about new holidays. Being open to different festivals and celebrations will help you feel integrated into the foreign society, and there are few faster ways than through happy parties. So, if you're new to the States - google your town's fireworks locations for tonight, some might even have some on tomorrow. Because that's the beauty about this country: if a holiday falls on a weekend, you (well, many) get an extra day off. Great concept.

If you're US American and abroad, I hope you've brought confetti and decorations with you. Why not invite your neighbors over for a barbecue? If they seem interested and ask questions, tell them about your customs! As expats, you are ambassadors of your country after all, and that gives you the unique opportunity to do your piece to further international understanding.

Here are some awesome awkward 4th of July photos to help spur the discussion about US American tradition and stereotypes. Disclaimer: this might not depict the way your family celebrates! Still, why not try embrace the awkward for today and laugh about it?

Cheers WebWeaver for the free pic, have a good one!

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