Before I share all my experiences in Galilee, I figure I should try to keep things in order as best I can and cover the Fourth of July.
I consider myself an extremely patriotic person and have always LOVED the Fourth of July! Other than Christmas, it is definitely my favorite holiday. I decided a few years ago that if I had to pick one day of the year to repeat itself over and over again groundhog day style, I would probably choose July 4th.
The funny thing about living in Jerusalem for the summer though is that they don't exactly celebrate the Fourth of July....shocking right?
I was not about to let that stop me from recognizing Independence Day though!
So a group of us decided to celebrate the best way we knew how, and in true American fashion, went to the beach!
Our day at the beach in Tel Aviv was perfect. Melissa and I walked around singing "I'm proud to be an American" at the top of our lungs (luckily Tel Aviv is inhabited by Israelis so no one was offended and I was not in any danger of being shot for this).
We spent our time at the beach building sandcastles, burying each other in the sand, and playing in the waves-until we realized it is jellyfish season after everyone got stung-except for me :) We had a great time and felt like we were back in America for a minute!
one of the devil jellyfish
Our drive back to the center was also surprisingly American. We were lucky enough to get the taxi driver who is my absolute favorite in Jerusalem. I think I may have mentioned him before, but we have ridden with him a few times before and he knows that Melissa and I love Celine Dion. The second we get in the van he turns on his Celine mix without saying a word. As if putting up with our ridiculous car dance moves and singing very loudly and slightly off key is not enough-he also purposefully picks out our favorite songs and skips the ones we don't know quite as well. Like I said, he is fantastic.
Getting to unashamedly jam out to music in English while driving down the freeway was another perfect way to celebrate being an American!
After getting back to Jerusalem, we all put on our best red, white, and blue and the center had its own 4th of July celebration!
It was complete with
a bbq (unfortunately the hamburgers were still kosher) and patriotic service
Bobbing for apple competitions
To get revenge for sticking ice down Stacey's back Neal threw a huge barrel of water at me and Melissa while we were getting our picture taken. Luckily I got out of the way in time....Lissa was not so lucky haha
and most importantly-sparklers!
It definitely was not quite the same as being in Provo for the 4th, and I really missed going to the parade, patriotic service, hot air balloon launch, stadium of fire, bbq, etc. with my family. However, I think we did a pretty great job celebrating our country's independence from 8,000 miles away! Besides, it is not everyday you get to sing the national anthem with the Dome of the Rock as a backdrop :)