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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Why I love America

Happy Fourth of July!
It has been over a month since I have returned from my European trip. I have wanted to write about my experiences that I had in London and Paris, I felt that I needed more time to reflect before I could adequately write about my trip to Europe.

First off, if you knew me for the last decade you would’ve known that it was my dream to travel to Europe. I have been talking about going since I was in college. I wanted to live there few months and study and compose in Europe. After college I was going to go, I had a good problem, I kept getting jobs. So I put it on the backburner until I had more time and money.

A major event, an epiphany if you will, happen late last year. I knew that I had to go and seek out my dreams and find a way to accomplish them. So it was Manifest Destiny for me to go to Europe. And I had to go on my own. No one could be there for what I had to do.

Before I went, it seemed like world was against it. Everything was falling apart right before my eyes and there was little I could do to solve those problems. I won’t go into all the details or the reasons, I came within twelve hours of canceling my European trip. Fate was temping me to take the easy way out. Not going and playing it safe or following your dream. As all of you know the type of man that I am, it wasn’t going to be that easy to stop me finishing my dream.

Even at the airport, fate was testing me. I got offered a $500 voucher to stay another day in Texas since the plane was over booked. Money didn’t matter, I had to get to Europe. Fate wasn’t going to win over me. It was now or never! My destiny was to go to London.

After a long plane ride I landed in London. The countryside that I saw on the train was beautiful. Then it hit me. I was on my own without anyone to back me up. If this trip was going to work, I had to do it myself.

My whole life, I have always been on my own for all of the big decisions. Of course I have had my family and a few close friends that I could count on if I needed them, in the end I always was the strongest and smartest one and have made the decisions that shaped my life. I had to count on myself because no one else was going to solve my problems. If I made bad choices, it was all on me. I learned from them and moved on. It is great to know that you can trust in yourself to accomplish anything once you set your mind to a task. All those years of relying on myself helped me face this new adventure.

When I got checked into the hotel I knew that I could finish my mission. I had two weeks in Europe, if I wanted to have a great adventure and finish my mission, it was all on me to make it so.

It was my dream to go to London and I had hyped it up for so long that when I got there, it was a bit of a let down. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad to be there after the sacrifice that I had gone through to get there, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

What was I expecting? The Beatles rocking out on the rooftop? Culture to run into me? The queen asking me to song my nerd song? Have the British go crazy because the Herbert Midgley was there?

I don’t know. This is where my ancestors came from. My surname is from England. Midgley is the name of two hamlets in England. I could’ve been British if my ancestors didn’t leave Manchester all those years ago.

And here I was. Breathing the same air as many famous British people have. Seeing the buildings and the streets. Eating the same food and water as them too.

There was something missing. What am I doing in a country eight hours away Texas? Why was I drawn to Europe? And now that I was there, why wasn’t I digging it? It was bit of a shock to not know the answers to these questions.

I had been told by people that had traveled to Europe before, not to talk to people like I do in East Texas. In East Texas you can tell people hello and ask them questions, and it is normal. They all told me not to mention that I was an American. And I f did, don’t tell them I was from Texas. I was even given the advice to tell them I was from Canada.

Forget that! I’m proud of my country and Texas! I’m a Texan, that’s who I am and I wasn’t going to let anyone get me down if they hated the good old USA. I’m East Texas all the way!

So I told everyone that I talked to that I was from the USA and that I was a Texas. And you know what happened? Everybody was cool with it. I didn’t have any problems. Of all the people that I met in Europe, there were three people that didn’t like America and two of those didn’t like Texas because of the current president. And one of those that didn’t like Texas was from America! He must’ve been a Yankee. I couldn’t believe that the rest of Europe was cool with me being from Texas and some Yankee America didn’t like it. Oh well. I guess I lost his vote.

Both in London and Paris the people were kind to me. When I needed help with directions, I had people in both countries go out of their way to help me. Everyone told me that the French hated Americans and that I should tell them I was from Canada. There was no need to lie to them. The French were friendly even with my limited knowledge of French and didn’t care that I was a Texan.

Most of the people that I met in Europe were curious about America and Texas. It was amazing how many people I had met from around the world in only two major cities. I met people from Spain, Germany, Australia, Italy, Canada, New Zealand, Africa, Turkey, Russia, China, Japan and of course American. I could always pick out the Americans from everyone else. We look and act like Americans. Not cocky, confident is a better word for us. It was nice to have a quick chat with an American before I moved on to the next cultural site on my agenda.

The culture and art was great in Europe. I saw more famous art in the span of three days that most people would see in a lifetime in East Texas.

Both in the Louvre and the British Museum I walked by really famous artwork and wouldn’t know it until I walked back by it again. I’m sure there was a lot more artwork that I passed up that I had no idea what it was.

I stood ten feet away from the Mona Lisa. Five feet away from Venus de Milo. Inches away from Picasso’s artwork. I’m still amazed that I got to see all of this work.

After you look at that much art for four or five hours straight, your brain can’t really absorb anymore. That’s the time to leave and give your head a break. I’m still thinking back at all of the art that I seen during my trip and trying to take it all in.

Since Europe is so much older then the USA, the historic buildings and structures were amazing. Looking at Big Ben was so amazing, I wasn’t sure that is was actually Big Ben! The old churches were great and I got to go to church in two of them while in London.

Because of the Chunnel, I was in Notre Dame and Sacré-Coeur in Paris one day and the Westminster Abbey in London the next! The history of Notre Dame is amazing, and I was there and I got to touch the walls. Wow.

The one thing that I wasn’t prepared for was seeing the Eiffel Tower. I really never thought that I would see the Eiffel Tower with my own eyes and there I was in its shadow. I went to see the Eiffel Tower everyday after I saw it the first time. It may be silly that I was so drawn to it, I was. The music videos that I shot in front of the Eiffel Tower I will always remember. If I lived in Paris, I would rock out there all of the time.

And I have to talk about walking the same streets as the Beatles. After being in London for a few days, I felt that I knew the what the Beatles were writing about in their songs.

To understand my songs and my point of reference, you have to come to East Texas. Being in England, I could understand where the Beatles, Stones Zeppelin, and the Sex Pistols all were coming from.

I got to stand on the crosswalk that was on the Abbey Road cover. My CD was in the same area where the Beatles were, in front of Abbey Road Studios. I got to sing “I’m a Nerd” on Abbey Road, where the boys from Liverpool walked the streets. And I got to make some music videos there. You can’t put a price on that.

So I am glad that I went to Europe. To see the art, culture and history. I got to meet a lot of people from all over the world and show them that Americans aren’t what they see on their TV.

I feel that if more people from all over the world got to meet good people from the USA, they would understand us and not hate us. If you don’t like a government, I can understand. People are people. Don’t hate me for living in a country you know little or nothing about.

What was my mission that I told you I was on? To seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before?

Your education isn’t complete until you have traveled and seen the world. I can now say that I have. To be the complete person I had to make this trip no matter the cost and sacrifice. And I had to do it all on my own. No one can help you on a test, and this was my final exam.

After seeing Europe, I realized that there is so much of America that I haven’t seen. Before I go back to Europe I need to see more of the USA. This is an important lesson that I learned from this journey. I plan to go and see America now.

And I realize that I told everyone that I was from Texas and I didn’t have any boots or a hat. So I got me some Texas wear that I’ll put on from time to time. Maybe the next time I go, I’ll wear my hat. Wearing those clothes made me even feel more Texan.

After seeing the world, I can honesty say that East Texas is the best place on the planet. The people, the standard of living, the food and music are all better here in East Texas! You can’t get good catfish or chicken fried chicken anywhere else that is any good. There isn’t the rat race either. I can drive anywhere in East Texas and never be stuck in traffic. On the Tube and Metro I met people that spent two hours each way to work and back. I can drive to work in four minutes or on my bike get there in five.

I love America and Texas. This is the place that I want to be and I’m glad that I’m here. I hope that others love their countries as much as I love the USA.

My ancestors worked hard to get to this land of the free. They fought in wars to protect freedom. And their progeny will continue to defend America. To make America better. I’ll never forget their sacrifice.

I will admit that the USA isn’t perfect. It like me has made mistakes and it and I will continue to do so. Still, America is the land of the free. Living for two weeks in Paris and London, which are free societies, I really didn’t feel free. Freedom, the sacred word. Here in East Texas, I am. And so are you if you are an American.

This country ain’t perfect, I challenge you to tell me a country better to live in than the good old USA. Before you say anything bad about America, is everything in your country perfect? We are all people and I hope trying to improve ourselves and the places we live at. I love this country and will defend it when called upon. Not just in battle, also by working to help it improve by creating art, helping folks that need a helping hand and being a good person.

Happy Fourth of July!
I’m celebrating my independence!
I’m free and have freedom!
I hope you do too!

Here is treat for the Fourth of July.

I’m a Nerd (Star Trek TOS version)

I’m a Nerd (Star Trek TNG version)
I’m a Nerd (Star Trek FC version)

And here is a link to my poetry.

And here is a link to my compositions.

And read my plays too.

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