Monday, July 5, 2010

Back on American Soil (Sort of)

While Lindsay is touring the Midwest this week, I did the next best thing; attend the American Community Support Association's (ACSA) fourth of July celebration on the grounds of the American embassy. As a patriotic American, I felt it my duty to attend. I went with Kristin, the other expat from work, but was unable to extend the offer to my German friend Ben. While he lives in Cincinnati and is married to an American (which was one of the conditions listed for attendance), she is currently in Germany ("foreigners" could only attend if with their American citizen direct family member). He wondered if his Ohio driver's license would work; I told him probably not.

Upon arrival at the gate, my first thought was, "you know, there's a bunch of people who are obviously Americans waiting outside a gate at the American embassy on the fourth of July, this has the unfortunate potential to show up on CNN as a 'breaking news' headline." We were obviously Americans as we were forming a proper line to wait for our passports to be checked. The women in front of me heard the comment, turned around and said, "yeeeeeah" while slowly nodding her head. Obviously, I was not alone in my thoughts.

Safely inside and past security checks that seemed slightly more serious than the half-ass metal detectors I walk through on a daily basis to go into malls, hotels, or the office, you could have just as easily been at any celebration back in the states. There was an inordinate number of people that made the decision to wear shorts, kids running around with reckless abandon, and any number of staple cookout items (yes, including actual burgers made of beef). They even had watermelon and pie eating contests. I abstained, though I'm pretty sure I could have gone for the double and won both.

There was a free raffle with three or four winners for round-trip tickets to the states on Continental, which seemed generous. You had to be present to win (a couple people were not so they kept drawing names). Lindsay called right before so I had stepped into the indoor section so that I could hear. I thought about calling her back afterward and telling her my name had been called but I wasn't "present" and that her call had cost us a free ticket. But that would be mean.

Shortly after the fireworks display, it started to sprinkle, which was actually a nice respite from the humidity. A few minutes later, the sprinkle turned into the torrential downpour more closely associated with the monsoon season. We made it inside before the worst hit, waited out until it let up a bit, and decided to call the driver for a pick-up before too many other people made the same decision.

All in all and even with the visit from the monsoon, it was about as American a fourth of July as one can expect when half way around the world.

If you're an American living in Delhi or the NCR, the ACSA is basically a social club for government employees but they also have membership types for non-government U.S. citizens.

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