Proud to be American, Even in Spain

Proud to be American, Even in Spain

Independence is our proudest asset
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For Americans, the 4th of July is a big holiday to celebrate the pride and accomplishments of our great nation. There's often many barbecues, parties, and firework shows to go to, and even more family to see. (This could be because Americans look for any opportunity to celebrate, but that's besides the point). However, spending the 4th out of the country is a weird experience. I'm spending the holiday in Spain with a group of other American students, but it still feels weird to not be sharing it with my family and friends. While it is weird and I'm missing the opportunity to see friends and family, I don't feel like I'm being un-American by not having plans for the 4th. I don't feel like I'm losing my sense of patriotism just because I'm not celebrating. I actually feel like it expands my love for the country, and my appreciation for all I'm given in the life I live in the United States.

Spain is absolutely beautiful, and this is not about comparing Spain to America, but there are things I didn't even know I've taken for granted that I have in the US. Our country may not be perfect, and things may not always go the way we want them to, but that doesn’t make America bad. It makes me proud to know that we have the right to fight and speak out for what we need, want, and believe in so that we can improve the status and goals of our country as a whole. I feel proud to know that we can explore in areas near us, and go places far away to bring a mix of different influences, cultures, and experiences to combine into one great combination. I’m thankful for the people who fight, or have fought for our country to keep us safe, and find ways to keep us as safe as possible. Of course the world is scary, and we never know what can happen, but our America is a world that I try to look at with the mindset of progression and positivity. It can get pretty tough to live in an oppressive or derogatory country, but we are lucky to have the rights to make the changes we need in our country.

America has so many opportunities to offer, and so much to see. It’s a place where more people have the chance to make a life for themselves, and do what they want to do with their vision of the world. Being American is something that people joke about, but at the end of the day it really is something to be proud of. Our country has come a long way, and still has a long way to go, but we are making changes everyday to provide safety, opportunity, and pride to all of the people in the United States. Independence is our proudest asset, because we as individuals take pride in our individuality and ability to be different and still exist together. This is the thing I’m proudest of too, because we find pieces of ourselves in all the people we surround ourselves with, and allow them to influence us with their individuality too. Freedom isn’t always free, and for us it came at the cost of a lot of lives lost over the last 200+ years, but this is even more of a reason to understand that we are given something precious in this country, and we shouldn’t waste our opportunity for greatness. I’m proud to be an American, and I’m even more proud to represent the country as a student studying in Spain.

Cover Image Credit: Dave Navarro Jr

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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.
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The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.


Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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There Is So Much Beauty In The Fourth Of July Despite The Blazing Hot Temperatures

Because what other time could you be sweating from every pore in your body but still be having a good time?

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July fourth is arguably one of the hottest and most American holidays there is. Families and friends come together to celebrate the day of the United States' independence. The whole town comes out to the same place, at the same time, to sit in the burning hot sun and watch the commencement of the celebration parade.

Old cars drive through, fire trucks and police cars blare their sirens, pageant princesses and little misses wave from their glorious floats, high school bands play with the sunlight gleaming off their instruments, and horses prance through the street.

Even with so many amazing things going by, everyone's attention is always on something else. Retired veterans from every branch of the military drive or walk by, proudly wearing their hats and waving at everyone they pass. These are the people that you're going to want to pay attention to, out of respect if nothing else.

Just about every other car throws out candy and little kids scramble to get some before it disappears. It's a race to get the most and the best pieces. Clearly, this is the highlight of their morning and it keeps them quiet until siblings start fighting over who got what. Although by the end of the day, all you've got is hard bubble gum and partially unwrapped dum-dums.

Once the last sirens die out the majority of the crowd begins to trickle away. Some go to the pool or the beach and get a tan, and others take it easy all day, but most will be grilling out on this night. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and apple pie are served and the adults kick back with a beer to watch the children play and run around in their red, white, and blue outfits.

Chances are the local park will hold family-friendly festivities that evening, including face painting and sketchy amusement rides. People are posing for pictures at every turn and the sound of overlapping chatter and laughing never dies down.

As the temperature begins to drop a couple degrees kids and adults alike light up sparklers and draw pictures or words in the air, creating fairytale-like memories that will carry on anytime you think of the Fourth of July.

Finally, when dusk starts to settle in it is time for the long-awaited fireworks. The best spots in town fill up within in minutes to watch the show, but really it's pretty good from nearly anywhere you choose. Family pets are hurried inside to avoid any mishaps or runways and then the sky lights up with beautiful colors and designs.

The last fireworks are always the best because the town always makes sure to have a very grand finale. By the time they end, it's late at night and everyone is tired but in a good way. Some people might be sunburnt and some might be getting a tad grumpy, yet no one seems to really care that much. It ends up to be a great day had by all, and hopefully, nobody forgets the true meaning and importance of this summer holiday.

Cover Image Credit:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/4th-of-july-american-bright-candles-461917/

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