Being an American born on the 4th of July comes with lots of benefits … so long as you happen to live in the United States. It’s a national holiday there, and unless you work in retail or media, you’re pretty much guaranteed the day off from work. There are always parades and fireworks, and pretty much everyone you ever mention it to *always* remembers that it’s your birthday.
But being born on the 4th of July means absolutely nothing if you live in Sweden. And initially, I thought this would be a nice change because I would no longer have to share my birthday celebration with an entire country. Today marks the 4th birthday I have spent overseas, and I think I’m ready to share again!
First off, in what I suppose was payback for screwing up her 30th birthday last week, Dr. Darling elected to stay up in Halmstad on Sunday and Monday night (we had been there for various joint birthday activities over the weekend) to look after her nephew while her brother battles with contractors working on a big home improvement project. (Guess the honeymoon truly IS over.)
Then, I had to work all day for the first time since my summer job at a local amusement park during college. My Swedish co-workers really did come through, however. My department took me out for a wonderful lunch at an outdoor cafe in a nearby nature reserve, and then later in the afternoon everyone from my division (who was not on vacation) piled into my office with ice cream instead of the usual afternoon coffee and cake and sang the Swedish birthday song to me. It was fun and festive but I was still at work.
My friend Nicole (another American ex-pat from Indiana) was kind enough to invite me over for dinner so I didn’t have to spend the evening alone. After I got home from her and Simon’s place I fielded several phone calls from family and friends, including one from Dr. Darling who seemed to be regretting her decision to babysit after being overwhelmed by a poopy diaper. Nice to know my company is preferable that.
I am giving some serious thought to giving myself a really expensive present next year … a plane ticket so that I can be in the U.S. for the 4th of July!