Happy 4th of July! As an expat family traveling abroad, we gratefully commemorate the 239th year of the founding of the United States.
We are not, however, ethnocentric, zealously patriotic Americans. We celebrate our privileges and freedoms of being US citizens. At the same time, we maintain a global perspective that values people from every nation and ethnicity.
As Christians, we desire to live peacefully wherever we travel. We are committed to following the teaching of Jesus and his apostles in the New Testament.
Love your enemies…do not resist evil…repay no man evil for evil
honor to whom it is due…pray for those in authority…submit to the governing authorities
As US citizens living overseas, there are only so many things we can take on. We avoid time-consuming and divisive involvement in political issues. We do pray for our national leaders and live as law-abiding citizens in whatever country we find ourselves.
Our family holds Philippine passports and a Mexican passport for our youngest. We all have US passports, a gift we do not take lightly. No matter where we are in the world, we pause on the 4th of July to thank the Lord for the freedoms behind that little blue book. Not all people have the privilege to travel as Americans do.
As parents living as expatriates, we want our children to have a global perspective that does not elevate one nation above another. We try to understand and teach what behaviors alienate global citizens from one another.
That said, our family is always ready for three things, an impromptu adventure, a family-fun celebration and seizing any educational opportunity.
We talk about American history and use this day to remind our children of their American heritage. Most of our children have spent more time traveling outside the US than they have living within. That makes this remembrance all the more important to us. We have an all-American barbeque, do whatever it takes to spark some fireworks, hunt for a beach or a fantastic picnic spot and do what Americans ought to do–give thanks and enjoy the day as a family.
The children eagerly anticipated our family’s celebration. We found red, white and blue plates and napkins and all the extras needed for a 4th of July bash.
We were gifted with an amazing six-weeks of living in a Mexican mansion right on the sea. The home belongs to a precious lady who used to work in Hollywood and now serves as a Christian throughout the world. Two weeks before our infant’s heart surgery and four weeks following, we were given this absolute dream house.
The mansion overlooks the Pacific. The garden was full of mangoes and exotic flowers. Jeremiah and Hadassah busied themselves by riding their little bikes around the water fountain in the center of the yard. On the expansive back porch, I spent my time nursing and rocking baby, listening to the children laugh, feeling the breeze soothe my soul and enjoying the majestic sea view.
In all of our travels, I’ve never so fully enjoyed a house and yard. We spent six weeks of near perfection there. Baby’s heart repair was healing well; he did not need oxygen supplement at sea level. The private pool was just steps from the porch. The ocean and large stretch of empty beach offered breathtaking views and an unlimited playground.
I felt like I had stepped into a scene of “the Waltons go to Mexico”. I’ll let these photos tell the rest of the story. To our friends from the USA, we wish you a safe and happy 4th of July wherever you are celebrating.