How I See It – 25 days

From time to time I post observations relating to our move back to the US after 12 years in Ireland. From the culture to ourselves, many many things seem different. This is my take on it. Views and observations are my own and only my own. They are simply observations and musings, not facts or absolutes to any one place or environment.

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So many ways to say the same thing. It gets confusing sometimes.

  1. I’m seriously considering carrying a flask with me. A flask of milk. A flask of milk for my tea.
  2. When I ask for “tea” here they assume it’s iced tea unless specified, “Hot Tea.”
  3. It’s possible we stand too close to people in lines.
  4. People seem to need a lot more personal space to pass each other in aisles. I’ll be standing there and someone will be waiting for me to move so they can get by while I’m thinking that two additional people could get by with all that space there.
  5. While in a car waiting to pick up kids from school, people leave loads more space between cars here. I have to stay calm and not get stressed about all that wasted space. We were always in need of more space in Ireland. Always. But not here. There is a lot of space. I still can’t help myself from saying, “Stop wasting all that space!” It’s a good thing my car windows are rolled up or they would be like, “Who’s that weird lady yelling about space over there?” But thankfully, they probably wouldn’t hear me because of all the space between our cars. 
  6. I must remember to smile back when random people smile at me. 
  7. People seem so outwardly friendly. I’m not used to that outgoing nature. 
  8. There are so many different words here that sometimes I can’t talk and people look at me funny. Whoever said, “It’s so good you get to speak English in Ireland” like it’s the same thing, needs to know, it’s not the same English. No joke. *
  9. Where we are located,  it doesn’t seem like people are used to dealing with people who are unfamiliar with how to do things in America. Please be patient with me.
  10. I heard a foreign accent the other day and immediately felt at home and wanted to be friends with them. 
  11. I am tired. Learning a new place and relearning my birth culture (if you can call moving to a new, and very different, region 12 years later relearning. Not so sure about that.) is exhausting. Time for some sleep.
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Nothin’ like a proper cuppa.

 

*The Irish predominantly speak a dialect of English known as Hiberno English.

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Observations on America (from an invisible foreigner)

Early 2012 212That rare gift of being able to see your own culture objectively… I can already feel it waning. But I’m thankful for this time where I can see my birth culture through the eyes of an outsider. And I never want to forget. For me, I am an invisible foreigner. I look and (basically) sound American. But after living 12 years in Ireland, I feel foreign. I keep thinking of the millions of those who have come to this country over the decades and feel compassion for how confusing and tiring it must have been or still is for them.

So, for now, this is what I see. It’s still all very surreal.

This first list is from after being in the US for six days after we arrived on January 9, 2016 to Central PA.

After 6 days in the US:
1) I have rarely been cold indoors. In Ireland I was rarely NOT cold indoors in the winter time (okay, sometimes in the summer time too).
2) Changing cultures is VERY tiring. (Even when it’s your home country (but still a different culture within that country)).
3) People don’t stare at us when they hear us talking, only when they hear us talking about living in Ireland and how it’s different in the US.
4) Even though we are familiar with the US we are totally UNfamiliar with the US. This feels surreal.
5) Lots of food. Lots. We keep ordering more than we can eat.
6) We are starting to adjust to everyone having an American accent. But we still do double takes when we hear American accents, but then realize it’s just how most people talk around 
 here.
7) I am slow at counting out American money.
8) I still call it American money.
9) People will not wait very long for you if you are late.
10) I’m proud of how my boys are doing so far.

** All these observations are only my own experience from my own point of view, yours may be entirely different, mine may even be different a few months down the road. That’s okay. They are observations as a learner and student of culture, not judgments or finality in thinking.