La mulți ani, America!
I’ve had the good fortune of being able to celebrate the 4th of July in four different countries. (That’s counting the good ol’ US of A.) Moreover, I’ve been able to celebrate them in relatively grand style at our embassies abroad. I’m certain that I’ve never been to as nice a 4th of July party in the States as those that I’ve been privileged to attend overseas. This year was no exception.
As opposed to the other embassies I’ve worked at, Embassy Bucharest has made it a point to *not* hold their 4th of July party on the date itself (if at all possible/practical) in order to allow us to have an actual three-day weekend. I suppose that’s kind of nice. So our party this year fell on Friday, 1 July. It was a big deal, with over five thousand people receiving invitations.
The embassy’s 4th of July party is usually one of the marquis events in the city each year. Of course, the Romanians have some pretty remarkable events, but among the embassies, you’d expect that the US has one of the larger National Day parties. And I don’t think we disappoint. Among the companies sponsoring the event were McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Starbucks, KFC, Jack Daniel’s…jeez, there were more, but I’m forgetting them. All these are available throughout Romania, so it was not really a surprise to find them at the party, but it certainly made for welcoming surroundings–and food–for the night.
Also different from other embassy 4ths I’ve been to, this event had a theme: Preserving National Parks. Not just American national parks, but encouraging similar conservation amongst the Romanians, as well. As such, the embassy was decorated with gigantic murals of the different national parks, with smaller homages/information areas dotting the grounds. They even had one for Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes (!) thought I can’t find a picture of it. (Of note, the Ambassador, Hans Klemm, claims Michigan as at least one of his homes. He spent some of his youth in the Commerce Twp / Milford area. Anyone remember graduating with any Klemms?) He was happy to point out that display to me as we crossed paths early in the evening.
There were some Romanian A-listers there, chief among them being their actual chief: the Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis. As the guest of honor, he made some remarks about our cooperation and all that nice diplomatic stuff, which I was able to get a snapshot of:
A previous winner of the X Factor Romania, Florin Răduță, sang both the US and Romanian national anthems.
Of course there are lot more pictures–and better ones, I might add–which were taken by professionals and available at the Embassy’s flickr page should you have any interest. Regrettably, I’m not in any of them 🙁
All in all, it was a great time. The weather held out for us, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Hope everyone back home enjoyed their version of the 4th!