In America it was 4th of July. In Windy City, Afghanistan, it was Thursday. The weekends here are Thursday and Friday, so really, it was like a Saturday. Confused yet? Good, me too.
Honestly, I gave no thought at all to the date, only that it was a day off and we were going to do our best to have an exploratory adventure in the city. The kids and I were starting to feel a bit cooped up in these walled compounds, so a plan was made to make Thursday mornings some sort of outing.
We headed for the dusty hills just outside the city, where a large park, full of pine trees and picnic areas promised some kid-friendly fun.
The park turned out to be, well, not super functional in terms of actually being able to swing or slide. It was, however, an excellent lesson in “look before you climb” that Violet and Dash hopefully took to heart.
We meandered around the picnic areas and Mr Incredible was stopped several times by young men, most of whom looked to be university students because they all had books or papers they were studying, to compliment him on his family and try out their English. Almost to a person they said, “you are very welcome here.”
We weren’t going to stop, hoping to find a good place to let the kids play, but the cool of the pine trees and the allure of snacks was too good to pass up, so we settled down on a raised platform with a carpet and cushions and had a proper Afghan-style picnic. The kids then took off down the road, running with abandon, so happy to have open spaces to explore.
It wasn’t till we got home and I checked Facebook that I realized it was the 4th of July. By then I was so hot and tired I couldn’t muster the energy to create any sort of celebration. Mr. Incredible came through with popsicles from the corner store and we finished the day watching the movie “Amazing Grace” together. It’s maybe not the most obvious choice for an Independence Day movie, but it turned out perfect. Most of it was over their heads, but we tried to emphasize how even though there was lots of talking about freedoms, there wasn’t freedom for everyone and that William Wilberforce did what was brave and right because he knew how God wanted all peoples on earth to be treated. If you haven’t seen that movie in a while, I recommend it. It was very moving. Also, it has Benedict Cumberbatch in it. Bet you didn’t know that.
It turned out to be a really good day, even though I did miss the tradition of camping and fireworks. And our British neighbor Lucy wished us a very happy Independence day — and a happy British Thanksgiving. Perfect.