What Independence Day Means An International Student

What Independence Day Means An International Student

Independence Day has as much impact on me as it does on all Americans
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Not long ago, I celebrated the 241st birthday of America. I dressed in tri color, held the Stars Spangled Banner, went to parades, and saw fireworks. I seemed as patriotic as everyone else, except that I felt a little guilty for my patriotism.

I am not American. I use different slangs, speak with a different accent, and hold a different color passport. I am a foreigner and should not be mingling with the natives. However, Independence Day has as much impact on me as it does on all Americans

It is a celebration of unity.

Independence Day not only celebrates America's independence from Great Britain but also marks the beginning of the development of American values: democracy, freedom, equality, acceptance, respect, and the list goes on.

I have talked to strangers on every Independence Day since the year I arrived in America, and every year after hearing my story, they would look into my eyes and smile, "Welcome to America." To me, that means a lot more than just being polite. For centuries, this land has had her arms open to everyone, men and women, white and black, Christian and Muslim, liberal and conservative. Years ago, she welcomed me. In America, I harvested friendship, knowledge, skills, and mindset. On Independence Day, I express my gratitude with pride. On Independence Day, I am just as American as the others.

It is an opportunity to learn the history of the country I live in.

The US is not the only country I have lived in besides my home country. My family moved around the world and settled in various countries to ensure that I would have the richest cultural experience possible. Wherever I go, I hold the belief that it would be pointless to live somewhere if I didn't know its history. Independence Day provides me the opportunity to listen to the stories of those came before me. My heart sinks with those who sacrificed for this land, twisted with those who labeled one people superior than the other, and leaped with those who fought and won the battle for freedom and equality. Independence Day made me experience America deeper.

It is recognizing the differences between my home country and the States and reflecting on what America means to me.

I did not arrive in this country on a steamboat. Nor did I go through a series of Elis Island checkups under Lady Liberty's gaze. However, just like generations ago when the ancestors of today's Americans stepped on this land, my family and I came here with dreams and hopes for the future.

A lot of people have told me that no matter how many American pop songs I listen to or how minimal my accent is, I am and will always be a foreigner in the country. The first fourteen years of my life was spent elsewhere, and this gap, they say, would never be filled with any effort to fit in. I dare say there is no American culture – American culture itself is a mixture of various traditions. To me, it is about respecting, accepting, and understanding other cultures. I am honored to be part of it while holding the values that run in my family.

While I paraded down the streets with the Star-Spangled Banner over my shoulder, I felt out of place. That feeling was soon dissolved into the realization that everyone in this immigrant country has once been in my shoe as a foreigner. Independence Day reminds me my role in this country – I may hold a different passport, but I can do as well, dream as high, and love the land as much – as the others around me.

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52 Instagram Captions Perfect For Your Next Beach Vacation

Perfect for those beach daze.
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Summer is officially in full swing. We are all looking forward to the adventures that await us. A lot of us have been dreaming about the day when we finally get to kick our feet up and relax by the ocean. If you find yourself getting ready for a trip to the beach then read these quotes to help get your in the mood for your vacation. Whether you are looking for an Instagram caption or are just trying to settle a bad case of wanderlust, here are 52 quotes on summer:

1. "Hello summer."

2. "I'm happiest when I'm floating in the ocean."

3. "May you always have a shell in your pocket, and sand in your toes."

4. "Life is better with palm trees."

5. "Sandy toes. Sun-kissed nose."

6. "Balmy nights, pink sunsets, and salty air."

7. "Talk to the sand."

8. "Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink the wild air." -Emerson

9. "Everyone should believe in something. I believe I should go to the beach."

10. "Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure."

11. "The ocean is calling and I must go."

12. "Here comes the sun."

13. "If it requires a bikini, my answer is yes."

14. "I'm just a beachy kinda girl."

15. "As free as the ocean..."

16. "As endless as the ocean, as timeless as the tides..."

17. "Life's a beach. Enjoy the waves."

18. "A pineapple a day keeps the worries away."

19. "Let the currents guide your heart."

20. "Happiness comes in waves."

21. "Let's go somewhere where the stars kiss the ocean."

22. "My favorite color is sunset."

23. "I lost my heart to the sea."

24. "Sun, sand, and surf."

25. "Salt in the air. Sand in my hair."

26. "Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly." -Van Morrison

27. "High tides and good vibes."

28. "Mermaid kisses and starfish wishes."

29. "Stop and smell the ocean."

30. "I'm happy anywhere I can see the ocean."

31. "Tropical state of mind."

32. "Forever chasing the sun."

33. "Girls just wanna have sun."

34. "Some of the best memories are made in flip flops." -Kellie Elmore

35. "Good times and tan lines."

36. "Palm trees, ocean breeze, salty air, sun-kissed hair, endless summer, take me there."

37. "The ocean is calling."

38. "Love you to the beach and back."

39. "Paradise found."

40. "Seas the day."

41. "Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air..." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

42. "Eat. Beach. Sleep. Repeat."

43. "I never met a sunset I didn't like."

44. "Beach daze always."

45. "Catch me by the sea."

46. "Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair." -Zac Brown Band

47. "Stay salty."

48. "Done adulating- let's be mermaids."

49. "Find me under the palm trees."

50. "Sea you soon."

51. "Hello sunshine."

52. "Don't mind me... I'm just chasing the sun."

Cover Image Credit: Jakob Owens // Unsplash

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We Need to Forget About Advertising And Bring Back Small-Town-Style Parades

What makes small-town parades special

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Today it seems most parades are extended commercials; each business uses their own float as an advertisement but it seems the foundation of a modern parade should be more than just a consumer's buffet. The Chatham Fourth of July Parade in Cape Cod, MA is considered one of the last small-town American parades.

What makes the small-town American parade special is its emphasis on community. I've had the luxury of walking in the Chatham Fourth of July Parade for three years now and every year there is a theme that somehow relates to their town, it is town pride.

What's special about this small-town parade is the passion its participants have. It's not a hundred professionals, strangers to each other working to put up the big inflatable snoopy or the muppets float like the Thanksgiving day parade. The focus of the parade is not one big celebrity people could only dream of having a conversation with. The small-town parade is average people with average jobs coming together to create something not even close to average.

All of the locals in town work on their own float for what they are representing, like a small business or theatre troupe or ice cream shop. It's a small-town, most of the people in the parade know each other and lend each other materials or ideas. Technically the Chatham parade is a competition, each float competing for a plaque and some publicity but that's not why all of these people come out to participate.

It's not to win, or to show-off their businesses or events show how fancy their float is. It's to have fun and to make the spectators have fun. It is a time to forget the troubles back home and enjoy the people you are watching the parade with. It is an opportunity to live in the moment.

As I walked the parade route, I saw all of the people watching smiling or talking or singing along to each float's music. The kids were all sandwiched in the front row with little bags or frisbees eagerly awaiting the goodies traditionally handed out. It's like Christmas in July for the kids. The parade route is hot, with close to no shade, even just sitting watching is enough to dehydrate for the day and yet nobody seems to care.

Everyone is still smiling. The point of a parade is not to advertise or show-off, the point of a parade is, as the Chatham, Cape Cod parade proves, to bring a community together under a common theme. It doesn't matter if the theme is pride or holidays or any other hundred themes, all that matters is the people of a community are together, supporting each other and having fun.

Cover Image Credit:

Anna Favetta

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