Making Maki is the home of Maki B. It’s where all of life’s parts meet. Figuring out the work-life balance, managing finances, navigating relationships, finding the things that give us joy, appreciating life’s journey and caring for ourselves along the way. Making Maki isn’t about finding any particular thing; it’s about always searching for the best versions of ourselves and making the most of all of life’s lessons and opportunities.

I was recently asked about Fourth of July celebrations on the island and it caught me by surprise. While my phone has been reminding me of Independence Day for the last two days, I haven’t actually registered the holiday at all, because Fourth of July on St. Maarten is a day like any other. Like most days of the year, we’ll wake up; go to work or school; go about our day – and that’s that. Outside of our digital calendars and social media, we may not even notice the day – hence my initial internal confusion (apologies to the person who was on the receiving end of my confused face).

Then I remembered that Fourth of July is to many Americans what November 11 is to me. No matter where I am in the world, November 11 will always be one of the most important days of the year. It is the day I think the most about this place that I love with all my heart and soul. On November 11, I think about her past, present and future – yes, her. I think of St. Maarten as a strong, beautiful woman giving her all to those who live here. She is the place that has shaped my lens and how I look at the world. I think about how she has grown and changed over the years. I think of all the things I appreciate and the things I want to contribute to.

When I lived abroad, I used to watch the St. Maarten Day celebrations online whenever they were live-streamed. I would scroll through social media to see how others were commemorating the day. If they were on island, I wondered if they were out enjoying the celebrations around the island or if they were keeping it low-key with family and friends. If they were also abroad, I wondered about their celebrations in their tiny corners of the world. Regardless of how or where they were celebrating, I was just happy to know that they were thinking of home as I was. November 11 is a huge part of my identity, so why wouldn’t it be the same for those who celebrate Fourth of July or any other day that altered the course of history for the place they call home.

So with that said, I’m shouting Happy Fourth of July to those celebrating the past, present and future of the place they call home. While we may not have the huge fireworks or parades that come with the Fourth of July celebrations in the US, I’m pretty certain you’ll be able to find a few places to commemorate the day. Between the various hotels, bars and restaurants, I have no doubt you’ll be welcomed to celebrate in your best red, white and blue. I can’t promise a Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, but there will likely be hot dogs and burgers readily available.

Oh! And one additional thing! St. Maarten’s beautiful, rich history, which includes people moving to and from, means that many of us have multiple places we can call home. Thus, a very special Happy Fourth of July to my family and friends that have hearts large enough to celebrate both November 11 and July 4 with love, respect and appreciation for both. To be able to call multiple places home, and truly mean it, is a beautiful thing, so cheers to you! I’ll be coming by (hopefully, with my favourite Sam Adams and black bean burgers) to celebrate.