Happy Fourth of July! An international student’s perspective

As an international student, I have never understood nor fully experienced all the enthusiasm that goes into planning and preparing for annual Fourth of July festivities.  I have watched fireworks for Chinese “Double Ten Day” or National Day (October 10th), Thai Coronation Day (May 5th), and Canada Day (July 1st), but have never known the excitement of an American Independence Day.

Today marked my first Fourth of July celebration ever!  It was spent with fellow Bruins at their family’s backyard poolside barbecue, and I had such a wonderful time.  We spent most of the day swimming in the relentless heat (it must’ve gotten up to a scorching 30ºC at least, aka 86ºF), playing timeless games like UNO and Taboo, and enjoying each other’s company as we set off and admired fireworks in the driveway.  As I had previously only played with “Morning Glory” sparklers and Chinese firecrackers, this was entirely new to me and incredibly fun!  Although our fireworks were small and remained closed to the ground, I felt safer and we still got a sneak peek of a neighbor’s flamboyantly high fireworks on the next street.

I am so thankful for the wonderful day and their hospitality, and am even more appreciative now of LA’s lovely summer weather.  We may groan under the heat, but compared to other areas of the country, LA’s summers are comparatively mild.  (This is something Geography majors learn in one of our first lower division courses, Physical Geography.)  I love jumping into a glittering blue pool of cool water and being able to air dry without the need to hide indoors from a cool breeze or mosquitoes.

Eleanor Fang