Today is one of those days that can be bittersweet as an expat. At home, it’s Independence Day. Time for my social feeds to fill with BBQs, pool or beach time and last, but not least, FIREWORKS. Here in Bangkok, it’s Wednesday and a fairly ordinary one at that. It really got me wondering about what actually makes otherwise normal days of the year feel like a holiday. Why does the 4th feel so festive at home, but not even close in Bangkok? Seriously what makes a holiday, a holiday?

If I’d had any forethought about it before the last 48 hours, I might have had some adorable red, white and blue ensemble prepared for my kids to wear to school today. However, I’m not that parent, and I can’t rely on the swift convenience of Amazon Prime in Bangkok. That bit is a rant for another time.

That isn’t to say that the 4th will go unobserved. In fact, there are events planned here through the weekend to celebrate America’s 242nd birthday. The American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand (AMCHAM) will have a family-friendly fête this weekend extolling all things Americana.

Bars and restaurants are also having parties of all kinds tonight. On Facebook, I’ve seen promotions of parties featuring assortments of grilled and smoked meats, Budweiser, beer pong and corn hole tournaments (I wish I were joking about that one). I even found a hot chili eating contest (a la the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest) at one place that has by far the best promotional image on its Facebook page.

I’m looking forward to seeing the various ways that American-ness will be interpreted in Asia. I, for one, have started with the Hamilton soundtrack in the earbuds. I’m sure that journey will lead me to blast “This is America” by Childish Gambino because like many minorities born in the U.S. my relationship status is “it’s complicated.”

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