Thanks for having me. I'm having a great time, and your hospitality is sincerely appreciated.
Thanks for all the cheeseburgers. No, I really mean that, and not in a lame-ass LOLcat way. Your cheeseburgers really are the best, especially the ones at Margaritaville. And for the pho, the pulled pork, the cuban sandwiches, the awesome breakfasts that would feed ten people, the pies, the tapas bars, the beer (yes, the beer!), the gumbo, the chili, the gator, the burritos... you get the idea. OK, you still have a lot to learn about cheese. And please, stop trying to do fish and chips. But otherwise, you lay on a darn good spread.
Thanks for the sunshine too. You have no idea how happy that makes me. And the palm trees, the dragonflies, the lakes, the wide open spaces, the beaches, the eagles, and the cranes. Frankly, I'd prefer it if you toned down the poisonous spiders and the roaches, but hey, I can live with that. The sunshine makes it all worthwhile.
Oh, and thanks for letting me wear loud Hawaiian shirts without feeling out of place. It may not mean much to you, but it makes me smile.
Thanks for the opportunities you've thrown my way. 2009 was a year of change. 2010 has been all about settling in and working out where to go. 2011 promises to bring all sorts of new things. I finally feel like I've got the chance to really stretch myself and do some of the things I really want to do.
Thanks for all the incredible people. In forty-four years in England, I made maybe six really good friends. I've done the same thing in about one year over here. Not only that, but I seem to have accumulated a huge tribe of talented, creative, supportive, caring people. I am constantly amazed by their generosity, their warm-heartedness, and their openness. The Jungle House is more than just a place. It's a family, and it's a state of mind.
And looking further afield, there are all the people I bump into on a daily basis who are kind, friendly, helpful, and, well, the way people ought to be. People in shops and restaurants, the casual acquaintances I see at art shows, the passers-by in parks, the neighbours who are always ready to help out, and so on. I don't know them, but it's good to be surrounded by them.
And thanks, most of all, for my beautiful Anna. Since finding her, I've been happier than I could ever have imagined. I know it's a cliche, but she makes every day precious, and she makes me feel like I'm finally in the right place. I'm not sure I have the words for this, so let's just settle for one of those man-to-man deep nods, a firm handshake, and one of those silent looks that acknowledges I owe you big time.
So, yeah, thanks for everything, America. You've been more good to me than I could ever have imagined.