For the last two summers, I was studying abroad over the 4th of July in Korea ’12 and China ’13. One of the things that fascinated me was the different ways we found to celebrate the 4th of July.
In Korea, we all met up for good old American food that was being served in a local Irish pub (good old hot dogs and curly fries!), and then wandered around the foreign district of Seoul enjoying the rockets and sparklers being waved around. That night, we traveled around various pubs owned by expats and celebrated with fellow traveling Americans and expats. Everyone was wearing their most patriotic shirt (occasionally that meant a football jersey), and we ended up singing the Star Spangled banner with everyone in the bar joining in. Koreans, Americans, Irish, German ~ we all got into it!
The following year, we ended up visiting Beijing for the 4th itself as part of our tour. Since we were gone over the weekend, we celebrated a day early on the 3rd. We took the opportunity to meet in an old expat’s American pub in Tianjin. He has owned that building for years and years, a place like home for all the foreigners visiting the country. There he serves delicious fashioned steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, fries, and even Root Beer. It was soooo awesome! I loved dim sum and hot pot, but on the 4th of July, you just need a good American meal. Afterwards, we wandered around shopping and generally enjoying each other’s company for the afternoon, all wearing our matching red, white, and blue outfits 🙂 That night we visited our favorite Red Light Cafe (owned by a local Chinese couple, but home to all the foreigners in the city). Singing to the Beejees and Michael Jackson, while playing darts and table hockey, we stayed up late. I was happy to find that my bedroom window (which overlooked much of the city) was the perfect place that night to sit up watching fireworks across the city.
The 4th of July has always been an important holiday in my family, so it meant a lot to me to find that I still got to celebrate the day abroad. It was fun meeting people from all over the States, joining together in far away lands to celebrate our memories of home. And China has AWESOME fireworks FYI!
So if you are traveling abroad, how did you celebrate the 4th? Tell us in the comments!