The 4th of July will always hold a special place in my heart.
Americans celebrate this holiday to re-establish their independence from the British Empire. Well over 200 years ago, we adopted the Declaration of Independence and told the Brits to go fuck themselves. We were rebels. We were immigrants. We wanted a new government. We wanted to start a crazy country of our own, and we did it.
We raped, pillaged and murdered enough Native Americans that we felt the need to make it official. Their land was our land. We successfully colonised the Americas (or at least the East Coast) We referred to the Native Americans that survived the genocide as “Indians” and stabbed a stake into the ground to declare that the thirteen American colonies were now a new nation; the United States of America,
Most Americans celebrate this holiday by grilling processed hot dogs and hamburgers on a barbecue alongside cheap canned beer. We also ignite fireworks and spend the day getting sun burned in patriotic clothing. Today alone, I’ve seen a few people sporting American flag tee shirts and spotted a woman dancing in a red white and blue band-aid dress last night.
I love this holiday. I love it because it marks the day of my independence from America.
It’s the day that I arrived in London after a tumultuous journey from my home country. I decided to go back to where we came from in the first place. I arrived in London on the 4th of July.
After taking a cold bath and sipping a chilled negroni in the bathtub of my ex’s flat in Hackney Central, we went to London Fields for a picnic and a few ciders. Drunk British people were parading around in patriotic American colours and hung flags about in the park. They were BBQing and drinking Britain’s equivalent to cheap beer. I laughed, because of the irony. I bowed, and pretended that these people in the park were welcoming me after an arduous journey that exceeded 24 hours.
In the spirit of being a proud immigrant to England, I flew into Dublin’s airport and took a late night ferry into Blackpool. From the ferry port, I took a cheap Megabus to Central London. Then I took a double decker bus into Hackney.
It was the hottest day I’ve ever experienced in Europe to this day. People were laughing at me since I was wearing my rain boots and a large coat since there wasn’t space in my luggage for it.
This was the day I schlepped my life across the world for fresh business opportunities and an attempt to better my life. I think that most immigrants hold the day they arrived in their new country quite fondly in their memory. So do I. This is why I now love Independence Day.