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.

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 
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. 

I Come From the Future…And the Past


I moved…

Across an Ocean…

But it feels like 17 oceans…

Like I am coming from the future…

Back to the past…

But also…

From the past into the future…


I agree!



Three months ago we moved to the US after living in Ireland 12 years. We not only left our adopted country and home, but we moved to a place where started out knowing only one person which we had only met once 15 years ago for two hours.  One. Single. Person.



So we moved to a new country, a new region in that country, a new home in that region, new schools, a new job. It’s all new. Nothing is the same. At first glance Ireland and the US do not seem that different but, they are. They really are. And considering the culture shock for me, imagine the shock for my 11 & 12 year old boys. Their whole lives they have been told they are American. Well, here in America, now they are Irish. It’s the plight of the TCK (Third Culture Kid). You are seen as being “more so” from the country in which you are NOT currently present in. Never fully one or the other.


Green in Ireland, White in USA

Sure, we took several short trips over the years. We even spent two, four month stints in the US when they were little kiddos.  But trips never cut it in terms of cultural awareness when you move to the place you’ve only ever visited. The didn’t come “home” to America. They are effectively foreigners. And mostly invisible ones. Even the language, though both English, is different enough (Hiberno English and American English are different dialects) that they struggle to understand at times. We all do actually. And the slang? Let’s put that on hold for a while can we?

All this to say,

I’m going to attempt to be writing about this for a while, still interspersing creativity and art and other beautiful things. But for now, adapting to a place that is simultaneously home and a foreign land, and all the observations and crazy stories and misunderstandings and funny happenings that come with it is going to be the hot topic around here for a while.

There is a small window of time after being away from your home country that you get to see things more objectively than we otherwise are able. I hope to capture these moments and note them here. Partly for me, so I can remember, because time passes quickly and it’s easy to forget. And partly, I hope, for you.

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A New View: Flat, Wide Open Countryside

So whether you are an outsider looking in (which we all are to some extent) or insider looking out, her we go. One particular perspective after living between two particular countries.  I find things like this particularly interesting. I hope you do too.


*All photos were taken by me. Copywrited. Do not use without permission.


1 Exhibition

1 Writer

7 Visual Artists

10 reconstructions

20 poems

1,048 words…x3

4 April-19 April 2014

The Culture Box, Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland

Dublin Ireland

For the next few weeks I’ll be talking more about this exhibition, its artists, the art, the words, the poetry, the places…It’s all very exciting!!! Hope you’ll join in the fun!


Isn’t it interesting how things can change when we look at them with a new perspective?!Perspectives

Each year brings with it new goals; some new dreams and desires. Each year that passes also gives us new perspectives. Some are of those are positive things, some are skeptical and some even negative. What I hope for this year for myself and for all of us is that we gain more perspective on who we TRULY are.

That we be ourselves…

Laugh uninhibited…

Cry freely when we are sad…

Forgive ourselves when we mess up, or fail at our goals… (because, yes, it’s gonna happen!)

Forgive others when they mess up and fail… (because, yes, that’s gonna happen too!)

And that we take more time to…

Spend more time with the people we love.

Doing the things we love.

What do you think?

(Image credit: Pencil Me In – Bloglovin:

Hand Sanitizer, A Child’s Sled, Succubus, Semaphore Flags…Say What?!

So what do all those things have in common? A story of course! This week I’m participating in The Iron Writer ChallengeThere are four of us in taking part in Challenge 22. I had 4 days, these 4 prompts and 500 words to make it happen. It’s been a fun experience already. 

Semaphore Flags

Go check it out! If you enjoy my story, The Event, please VOTE. And if you really like it, pass it along to some of your friends. Here’s a sneak peak:

The Event

The wind echoed in the darkness and ricocheted off the surrounding jagged peaks. It was the sixth month of the sixth year. The time had come. Ashal waited. 


In the days leading up to the Event those at The Refuge lived on as normal, though it was never far from their minds… 


CLICK HERE to read the rest of The Event. (The fourth story listed)

I’d also love to hear your thoughts so if you have anything to say drop me a comment here…or there…you know where to fine me. =)

Voting is open for the next few days. Thanks Everyone!

All Around The World

Here is a map. The countries highlighted in green are the places all of you have visited from in the past year.

Countries who have visited this site in the last year

The world is an amazing place! You are all amazing!

I hope that in the years to come I can visit more and more of these places. I dream of seeing it all, but in reality some places I will never get to. Seeing this map leaves me feeling like I’ve gotten to be a part of these places, even if just a little bit. Thank you! I’m better for all of you.

Let see how many more places we can touch in the coming year.

Weekly Photo Challenge – The Golden Hour

Living in Ireland,The Golden Hour can be hard to come by this time of year.On the longest day, 21 June, the sun rises at 4:57am and sets at 9:57 pm. The light around those times lasts…and lasts…After sunset, you can see light on the horizon into the early hours of the morning and soon enough, it starts all over again.

Last night I was at an arts event here in Dublin, Flight of Ideas, and caught this image as the sun was setting (before I knew of this week’s Photo Challenge). I love the criss-cross of hard and soft lines and in the same vein, the smoothness of light to darkness in the sky.

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour

I Had A Brother

I had a brother.
His name was Roger.
He was born on April 2, 1980.
I was 2 1/2 years old when he was born.
I don’t remember life without him around as a child.
He was my annoying little brother. We fought and endured sibling rivalry like many do.
I know we played too, although I would have never admitted it when we were young.        He liked to push my buttons like little brothers do.

For a significant portion of my teen years my brother was not around.                          Addiction introduced itself to Roger. They got involved, really involved.                        Things changed.                                                                                                                      It was hard.                                                                                                                              A couple of times it was scary.                                                                                               It was definitely messy.                                                                                                            I was 16 at the height of things. My baby sister was 6.                                                           It was hard – for everybody.

Eventually Roger found a sub-culture he seemed to fit in. For a few years he would visit from time to time when he passed through town.
He met my first son as a newborn and held him so gently and carefully, being aware he wasn’t the cleanest. It meant a lot to me that he came to meet my son and hold him.

Being himself, he would tell us wild stories of the adventures he had. They were never dull. At the same time you could see there were many more stories that went untold simply because they were painful and we became, whether real or perceived, too distanced to relate or even make the attempt.
For a majority of the time since they met, addiction stayed involved.                                  He tried hard, over and over but it’s grip was strong.

Eventually, his addictions caught up with him.

An overdose…revived at the scene…vegetative…1,177 miles from his birthplace…surname given…family contacted…days…decisions…waiting…

I had a brother.
His name was Roger.
He died on April 2, 2004.
I was 26 1/2 years old when he died.                                                                                        I will remember life without him now and wonder what may have been.                                He was my annoying little brother. He liked to push my buttons like little brothers do.

I miss him. Especially today.

Stacey & Roger

How To Say More With Less – An Interview With Robert Bruce

Brevity. It’s fun to say and challenging to achieve. For me brevity is that annoying voice in the corner that keeps telling me I can say more with less. To cut, tighten, and pare it down. It challenges me and I’m, no doubt, better for it.

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Robert Bruce.  He is the VP of Marketing at CopyBlogger by day, and a Master of brevity, writing very short stories at by night (or maybe also by day, I don’t really know, but that’s beside the point). The point is Robert is an artist. He manages to paint complex stories in a few vivid strokes. He doesn’t know it but Robert introduced me to Flash/Micro Fiction.

So in the true spirit of Brevity. Here are Robert’s thoughts…

Stacey: How did you become interested and start writing
very short stories?

Robert: I have a sickness for words, and I am a very impatient man.

Stacey:. Can you tell me about the process you go through
in creating one of your stories?

RobertIt usually starts with some kind of hook that I find interesting. If you can get your hands on one of those, you then hang it on a very basic plot. Of course, there’s not a lot of room to move around in these things, but I’m not going for a detailed literary inventory. When they work, the reader is left to fill in the gaps with her own imagination, which is much more powerful than anything I could ever write down for her.

Stacey: Which one of your stories continues to speak to you despite being done writing it?

Robert:  Soon as I write them, I forget them. I need to get the next one down, and then the one after that.

Stacey: Out of all your characters who would you most like to meet in real life?

Robert: None. I find al of these characters interesting in one way or another, but to meet any of them would instantly strip that away. Just like life, right? 


I think we all can learn a lot (and say a lot less!) from Robert’s points. Finding hooks and filling in just enough to entice the reader but not so much there’s nothing left to imagine is a challenge. When it’s done right it’s amazing. And whether you are writing a post on health and fitness or writing the next great novel, when well executed, brevity gives a power and punch to your work that make these stories hard to forget. Ironically, it creates more voice.

Thanks so much Robert, for sharing your thoughts on brevity and story! It’s been fun.

You can read Robert’s stories at

Or follow him on twitter at