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As you know, last weekend was Independence Day here in the States and a three-day weekend for everyone. For us, we packed up our car completely full–with things tied to the roof!–and made the long drive up to my parents’ home in Bozeman, Montana. We were selling our car there the next day, so we ended up hitting the road sooner than planned. We did arrive in time for some fireworks, but mostly we were too exhausted to celebrate much.
I normally don’t go all-out for the Fourth of July–I am much more an all-out-for-Christmas-girl, and in fact, it’s been awhile since I was able to go crazy for the Fourth.
Two years ago, Colorado was on fire, so there were no fireworks of any kind–not even sparklers!
For the Fourth of July last year, I was in China.
While it may have been easy to find fireworks if I had been in a larger city (or if I had tried…), I was busy with my internship for my graduate program, deep in rural Sichuan province.
The Sichuan province is in central China, famous for its natural beauty, pandas, and it’s close proximity to the wilds of Tibet (is well as its devastating earthquakes, which is why our internship was based there). After the smog of Beijing, I loved the fresh air and the green humidity of the Sichuan province, as well as the rural rice farms and friendly natives.
While we (me and my fellow classmates also completing their internship) didn’t celebrate traditionally, our Chinese teammates helped us buy the ingredients for an “American” meal (beef, potatoes for fries, corn, watermelon) as well as Pabst Blue Ribbon. I guess, in China, there is nothing more American than good old Pabst Blue Ribbon. (And maybe that’s true here in the States, as well…).
We were even given the day off to make our giant feast. It took a large part of the day to find the ingredients–especially the oil for the fries! We ended up using an oil I hadn’t seen before, but I’m thinking maybe it was saffron oil?
We also had to make all of this in two pots, one pan, and with one hot plate.
First of all, I had never made fries in oil before (oven-baked all the way!) so it took awhile to figure out when to add the potatoes to the oil, if it was hot enough, how much oil to add, etc.
We then formed the burgers by combining onions, beef we ground up with our hands, and as many spices we could find as possible. Mostly salt and pepper…beware of Sichuan pepper!
Everything was actually a delicious success–except the corn never cooked correctly–and that PBR never tasted as good.
Have you spent holidays unique to your country/culture abroad? Have you celebrated anyway?