Although this day was not a day where I needed to choose between loyalties, the home team vs. the home of my birth, I did feel a bit like a heretic waving the Schwartz Rot Gold on the American holy day, the Fourth of July. It was also the day of the Viertefinale: Deutschland vs. France.
July 4th is the day our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence. This is the day when a little known group of landholders from various locales in the American Colonies listed their grievances in a letter telling the big boss, “We’re out. Enough!”
Americans celebrate this day in a variety of ways. They go to solemn ceremonies to remember those who have fallen to protect American soil. They watch parades, picnic at the beach, barbeque in the backyard, or go to a baseball game. The day is about getting family and friends together for a big eat fest. Then to cap the night off, Americans seek to do what German’s do on New Year’s Eve, blow stuff up.
Independence Day began here in Germany with the waking of my daughter for school. That’s right, school. Hessen is still in session until July 25. I sang her the American National Anthem to which she screamed “Mama! Stop It!” I then proceeded to lecture her about why Americans celebrate this day. Not sure if I was able to bring my typical Middle School lecture down to a 1st grader’s understanding. She thanked me for sharing my knowledge with eye rolls and heavy sighs. Then we ate breakfast, she put on her German Trikot, and off to school she went.
I spent the day doing various errands. All around me there was a buzz of excitement. People discussed various game strategies. Who would Löw put in the starting line up? Which players have the flu? Wouldn’t it be great to have Deutschland and Netherlands in the final?
By 4:00pm Edeka (a German supermarket chain) had very few cases beer left on the shelves. The chips and dip section was wiped out. The grill meats had been obliterated. The parking lot was a chaotic mess of brake lights, shopping carts, and impatient customers. All tasks needed to be completed by 6:00 pm when all goes quiet in Deutschland.
In the late afternoon, we went over to a friend’s for a 4th of July barbeque and World Cup Football viewing. The house was strewn with Red, White, and Blue intertwined with Schwartz, Rot, Gold. The children all donned their trikots and played their own mini-Wold Cup match in the garden. The table was decked out in a spread of dips, chips, and finger foods, not unlike what you would see at a typical Super Bowl Party.
We ate, we laughed, we screamed at the television. We screamed at the children to get out of the way and not stand in front of the television. We celebrated.
This is the bi-cultural life I lead. I have the best of both worlds. I feel so blessed to be from The Home of the Brave and to live in the Land of Die Mannschaft. Happy Fourth! Auf Gehts Jungs!
How did you spend your Fourth of July? Who would you like to see in the Final?