Happy Fourth of July, Dear Reader. I hope you have a wonderful U.S. Independence Day holiday if you celebrate the event. I was home today. My wife, who works for a Korean firm, had to work. I spent the day with my son and took him to the swimming pool. He did a fabulous job learning to tread water, a skill I’m sure will come in handy throughout his life. I’ve found it to be a very useful skill!
My wife showed her national pride today by wearing a shirt with an American flag at work. She was in training all day, so I’m sure she didn’t raise the irk or inkling of her Korean peers. Last night I went to the official Fourth of July festivities at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence sporting my American flag necktie. The bottom of the tie features the 13 red and white stripes symbolizing the 13 original American colonies, and the upper portion features a blue blackground with at least 50 white stars. The necktie was quite a conversation piece. A few guests also wore patriotic American neckties, and we nodded with silent, mutual understanding that this is the one occasion when walking around wearing an America flag necktie is perfectly appropriate attire. No less than a dozen guests commented on the tie and peppered me with questions. "Is it silk?" some guests asked. Yep. "Did you buy it in Itaewon?" others asked, referring to the district in Seoul known for pirated knock-offs and kitschy souvenirs. No, I bought it at a gift shop near our home. "Was it made in America?" some inquired. Alas, no–it was made in Korea. "Was it expensive?" a few asked. Nah, it only cost about $10. It’s probably the best necktie investment I’ve ever made. I only plan wear it once a year on or before July 4th. I’ve gotten more mileage from this $10 necktie than any other business suit accessory. I’ll drag it out again next year in Paraguay. I’ll have to practice fielding the same questions in Spanish.