Last night we went to the Scarlet Sails festival—fireworks, drunken football fans, the eternal flame on the Field of Mars. Even though we’re new to this celebration, we scream and cheer when the red ship sails by. “We saw it! We saw it!” when we didn’t know it existed a few hours ago.
Fireworks explode into flowers, tendrils, hands stretching down the sky. “Humans are so easy to please,” smiles Melody. What isn’t to love? Tens of thousands of us, gazing in wonder at our artificial, colorful stars.
I realize I’ll miss the Fourth of July this year, just like last year. But this is almost the same—the faces, the joy, the noise. I’m 10,000 miles away but celebrating in Russia like I do in America. I think of fireworks on a beach two years ago. Celebrations that mark the passage of time.
Note: because of the World Cup in Russia, there are more chances to use Spanish than I anticipated, since there are many Latin American fans here. I meet Venezuelans—who help me buy metro tickets—and Argentinians—who drip in the rain with me for an hour while we queue for tickets to the Hermitage Museum. My Spanish is atrocious; I’m happy when we find a Mandarin-speaking tourist instead.