I love fireworks. They are one of my all time favorite things. Love them. As a kid on the Fourth of July we would go out to the levy of the Trinity River in Fort Worth and watch them. I love being in Europe on New Year's because they do it up with pyrotechnics. My favorite way for Hardin-Simmons to waste my tuition dollars has been when they have done huge firework shows the last two springs. The roommates and I would climb on our roof behind campus and watch them.
My favorite kind of fireworks though, are the random kinds. A few years ago I was traveling with a friend in Prague in the middle of the summer. We had been wondering around lost for probably at least an hour and had been waiting probably half an hour more at a tram stop by the river, when out of nowhere, fireworks started going off. They sparkled off the river for who knows what reason, and then after a while just stopped. Prague is pretty charming as it is, but the fireworks won me over.
Last month we were in China at our hotel at the end of the day in Lijang where my brother Brian lives. I was sitting by the window trying to break through the Great Firewall of China (lamenting that there was only broadband with a tiny cable...because, yes I am lazy and like to surf the web in bed) when I heard sizzling outside. Over in behind the hotel, fireworks were going off, back-dropped by Leaping Dragon Ice...Frozen Jaguar Icicle? Mountain (OK, whatever I don't remember. There were too many random bits in the name and I don't feel like looking it up). For who knows what reason. It was lovely. I had already experienced the so called "Curse of Yunan" by then, but it helped bump Lijjang back up to charming.
And then this weekend, I was in Fort Worth reading at a coffee shop downtown and...fireworks started going off. I couldn't place them, but they were so nice. (I later figured out it was from Botanic Garden's Concerts in the Park...)
Anyway. I love fireworks. Today in class I was telling my students about the July 4th holiday coming up, that lots of people celebrate by wearing red, white and blue and some celebrate by having a cookout, but that everyone celebrates by watching fireworks. One of my students says, Teacher! (because...they all call me "teacher." Even though most of them are more than twice my age.) And she goes on to tell me that she doesn't like fireworks, not at all. WHY NOT?! I asked, even though I had a sinking feeling about it...
Because they remind her of, "How do you say it--Bullets?--in Africa."
She said she got here on June 28th two years ago, and there first week here she and her husband and had gone to bed and were woken up by what they thought were gun shots and explosions. Her husband jumped out of bed, and she said they thought they had traveled all the way from East Africa to Abilene and only to find that life in America was just the same. Then they finally looked outside and realized that it wasn't artillery...but rather fireworks.
Needless to say, that was not a great experience for her, and now I understand why no one was biting when I invited them to go watch the fireworks at HSU in the Spring. Anyway, I'm hoping they will eventually start to like them, or at least with some advanced warning they won't be tricked by them.
It was also a moment when you realize just how lucky you are to hear random explosions and get excited.