Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Country, Tis of thee...

The Fourth of July is a special day for America, and like any good American would do in my circumstances, I was sure to make as big of a deal as possible out of it this holiday. As a true patriot, I felt it was necessary to start the celebrations a week in advance, and gradually rev up the in-yo-face factor throughout the week, culminating in a big party for all of my colleagues on July 5th... why the 5th? Because we don't get the day off on July 4th in NZ.  Despite my best efforts, July 4 is not a Federal Holiday in New Zealand. The plan for the party? American food, American decorations, American music, American trivia, Asian fireworks. and oh yea, everyone had to wear red, white, and blue.

As you've already seen on the blog, decorations started out subtly, but they also grew in intensity throughout the week.

I also had small flags in mine and Aaron's clinic room windows, This did receive an act of retaliation from a patient of mine who delivered me a very large All Blacks (NZ rugby team) flag to be displayed in my room. It's up, and it's staying. The American flags, however, ended up transferring to my house for the party because I just didn't think my place looked American enough without the two extra flags. See what you think:

I realized that my cabinets just needed some extra freedom.

Turns out my house already has quite a bit of red, white, and blue at baseline. I just had to spice it up with some streamers and Americana findings.

See? those two flags in the middle really tied the whole thing together. Would've been too boring without them!

 My wardrobe became more and more patriotic throughout the week as well. I started with just that American Flag beanie, then added the American flag scarf (both of which I bought here about 2 weeks ago!). Remember, it is winter here (don't let the green grass fool you), and has been pretty chilly lately, so my typical 4th of July tanktops and flipflops were replaced with beanies and scarves!
I also only wore red, white, and blue combinations for work Wednesday-Friday that week. and maybe a pin that had both an American and NZ flag on it... I'm not sure all of the patients or people at the grocery store quite knew the reason I was wearing so much American stuff... All they know is that I must really LOVE America. and I do.

With my house bursting with American Pride, it was time to get the party started. Guests started rolling in sporting their all-out Red/White/Blue get-ups. I have to say I was pretty impressed with their efforts!

Doug and Dulcie arrived in style.

Kerry and Curly also looked great.

Margaret wasn't sure what to wear, so she just MADE that shirt!

Me? Oh I just threw on this star-spangled fleece ONESIE I found in town!
side note, these things are incredibly warm. too warm...

The Whitings went for a more reserved approach, but let's take a closer look at that hat:

maybe it's not such a reserved look after all...

Natalie and Poss represented as well. I wish a had another picture of Natalie's outfit. Those sleeves were huge, and her pants were silky bell-bottoms. It was pretty amazing. 

Simon and Anita came decked out too. I was loving this level of participation.

Pippy and Sid showing off their American pride. Pretty impressive for a pair of Kiwis!

Food Time!!!
You can't talk about American food without mentioning Apple Pie. The snickerdoodles were a bonus. I was tempted to tell everyone they were called yankee doodles for the party, but held back. Most people who know me understand that restraint is definitely one of my strengths...  and I obviously didn't want the party to be too cliche or over-the-top.  That's just not my style...     : )

I love a good carry-in dinner.

The menu included Sloppy Joes (a first for the Kiwis), hotdogs, potato salad, deviled eggs, baked beans, corn on the cob, little smokies, and apple pie for the American components. We ended up with a lot more stuff too, like a chicken and vegetable pie, chicken drumsticks, veggie tray, cheesecake, meringues, and so much more. these people bring a lot of food to carry-ins! I think we only ate about 10% of the food. I know I gave it my best effort though.
(for future reference, I highly recommend onesies for Thanksgiving dinners because you don't even have to think about stretchy pants!!!)

Once the dinner was done, it was time to get down to the entertainment.
These three had a little dance party in the living room. 

And the cat was sure to come entertain as many people as possible.

But we were after more. 
We wanted FIRE!!!

Little did I know prior to this party planning was that you can only buy fireworks on one day of the year in New Zealand. That day is in November for Guy Fawkes Day - there was a post on it a while back. Luckily, Debbie  the receptionist out at the Nightcaps clinic came to our rescue, as did Simon and Anita. They all provided some awesome fireworks to make this an official 4th of July party. It wouldn't have been the same without the fireworks. 

Debbie wasn't even actually able to make it to the party, but sent some great fireworks for us, so that was really sweet.
This is what it's all about!


Some party-goers came outside to watch the festivities.

and some watched from the windows!

And some apparently also watched from the squash club across town where someone was having some kind of party! We could hear a few cheers, and I got a facebook message about it later!
We were just glad the fire marshal wasn't also watching.
We shot these off right in my backyard, and it was so great not having to feel like everything was going to catch on fire any second. Usually it is so hot and dry back home that we sometimes couldn't even shoot our fireworks for fear of the field catching on fire. Here, it has been raining everyday, including most of the day before the party, so the fire risk was about 0%.

Back inside, the party continued:

Dulcie went all out. I now feel like Americans need to pick up their game at the whole July 4th attire.
See? All. Out.
the Fellas.

And then it was quiz time!
 I put together 4 quizzes to be taken at the party, and the person getting the most right answers on each quiz would win an American--themed prize. People could fill them out at their leisure, then I graded them and we had our prize-giving.

This may have been the hardest one. 

but Pip came away with it with her lucky guess as to the location of the Grand Canyon. It was in exactly the right place. So her single correct answer was the highest score of the whole group! She won that patriotic scarf combo!

This one was all about naming 10 famous American cultural icons, past and present. They all did really well with this one, but the knowledge of Amelia Earhart is what gave Sid the big win. (of note, everyone thought Mark Twain was Albert Einstein, which is pretty understandable now that I think about it)
He won some red/white/blue socks!

Quiz #3: identify this list of 10 states. 
and again, Pippy got the high score with 1 out of 10! Luckily she knew where Missouri is! I would have been offended if NO ONE knew. There is a US map at the clinic with marks of where all their doctors have come from!
Pip won the movie "Independence Day" for this victory.
The Egerton's really cleaned house!

But they didn't get quiz 4. This one went to Curly! but I'll share a lot of their answers because I think you'll find it ...interesting... (entertaining!) what comes to mind for non-Americans when they are asked questions about American History. Things that we learn from first grade all the way through school are never taught here (which is fair... but it was fun to see people guessing at what feel like some of the most basic facts about America. I would be as bad or worse if it were a NZ quiz given back to me, just to be clear.)
The Quiz

The responses:

And here's the champ with his new copy of the film "Born on the 4th of July", which happens to be in a 2-movie combo with 'A Few Good Men". 

All in all, it was a 4th of July party for the ages. Definitely one I won't forget. Thanks to everybody who helped me go all out.


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