"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


happy to be with you on the 4th of July

Holidays in a foreign country can make you homesick if you're not careful. I'm having so much fun in Congo this summer that I wasn't really feeling sad about missing the Fourth of July, but when E and I hit upon the idea of making tacos and having some people over for dinner, we knew it was a perfect way to celebrate. C and E became American citizens this year, so this was their first Fourth.

I've learned never to travel without chili powder and taco seasoning, so we started cooking in the early afternoon. The cooks were a little confused at what we were going for, but Papa Jean-Pierre (the main cook) was game when I explained how to roll out the tortillas. (It helped when E explained that they're thin like crepes but taste more like chapati.) We spent two hours making tortilla after tortilla after tortilla. It was so worth it! They turned out perfectly, as did the chips that G, an American friend, made from them.
E made salsa, and I showed Mama O how to make guacamole (3 avocados for $.80. And that's the price they gave the mzungu.), and Papa Augustin chopped up peppers and onions and tomatoes and lettuce. Did I mention that the tortillas actually worked?
C and N decorated the house. They had an American flag and a patriotic tablecloth! We also had a couple of rather obnoxious mixes of patriotic/American music on our ipods, and C set up CNN International on the television so we could watch the reports on the hot dog eating contest. Awesome.
What else can I say about the evening? We taught N and Mama O and a couple of South African pilots how to make tacos and that yes, it's acceptable to eat them with your hands. The tacos were excellent (if I do say so myself! :) and the conversation was full of laughter. C made us all stand up for the national anthem, but stopped it because the song is so long, and, well, we were all laughing too much.

This is the Fourth of July when you're far away from home. There were no fireworks over the lake, or patriotic music specials on PBS. No one wore red, white, and blue, and aside from proving that the preamble to the Constitution can be said at a rate of 100 words per minute, there wasn't a whole lot about our celebration that was truly American. But while this year was so different from the Fourths of July I've known at home - it didn't involve bbq or watching anyone nearly set a Northwest Austin park on fire - I'll remember this as one of my favorite 4th's ever. Tacos and all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have found myself more patriotic on the 4th when outside the U.S. than when inside it. :-)

Thursday, July 05, 2007 4:07:00 PM


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