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.

IMG_0156 (2)

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.
IMG_0447 (2)

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.

IMG_0347 (1)

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.


I’m having a big sale over at today.

If you want some beautiful pieces of art in time for Christmas I’m having a big sale over at my etsy shop, StaceyCoArt, starting today.

20% off Everything plus FREE Shipping!


All you have to do to avail of these sales is enter the coupon codes at checkout.

Click: StaceyCoArt

Thanks and have fun!


I’m on the Bigscreen!…or…How You Are A Part Of All This

Ok, well, not the “Big Screen” exactly…

I haven’t shown my face around here all that much….until now.

Well, now is your chance. And not only that, but it’s a video so you can see me in “person” too!

I’ll admit, it takes some getting used to seeing yourself on the big screen.😉

But it’s worth it because I believe in this so much I can’t not talk about it.

It’s A Conversation

Art isn’t just something you look at.

It’s multi-sensory; participatory.

It’s a conversation.

The first conversation happened between me and words, then between those words and the artists; now it’s between you and the art. Even if you can’t be at the opening, you can still be a part of this conversation and make it an ongoing one. One it is meant to be!

Conversations|Reconstructed @ indiegogo:

I’m not going to do this often. But today I am asking if you will join in with us on this project! By donating. By sharing this and asking others to join in the conversation by donating. And if you are close by; come to the exhibition! And definitely say hello!

If you watched the video from here please do click the LINK HERE or above and go have a look at the indiegogo site.

There are loads of really fun rewards you get for donating and being a part of this conversation! Things like: The art book from the show (which itself can be reconstructed!), postcard prints, print sets, even original art or your own custom reconstructed poem! Do have a look!

Thanks guys!


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!

Weekly Photo Challenge – UP

It’s so fun the Weekly Photo Challenge this week is UP.

In Ireland it’s easy to spend a lot of time looking down. Protecting ourselves from the elements is vital. Shielding our eyes from the rain and blasting wind is paramount, especially when it’s too windy for an umbrella (which is more often than not!).

So on those days where the rain and wind are quiet and the sun peeks through we all look UP. We look up and soak in that precious shine, and heat, and vitamin D. And it’s good!

We look UP, soak in the light, and everything feels a bit brighter.

April Sun

Weekly Photo Challenge – Lost In The Details

I love The Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week. Concepts and room for interpretation of meaning are things I get excited about. We are being challenged to get low with this week’s theme. At the same time I have found myself again and again looking up. The macro and the micro of getting lost in the details have great effect from totally different vantage points. Both so powerful, so beautiful.

Lost in the Details: Macro

Lost in the Details: Macro

While each branch and leaf tell a story themselves, looked at in the whole, this scene dances with detail and delight (and alliteration)😉

Getting low tells a whole new kind of story. The minute speaking quiet volume.

The Burren Flower - Micro

The Burren Flower – Micro

The Flowery Burren - Micro

The Flowery Burren – Micro

I like how these the focus of these two photos emphasise different elements of the same story.

In looking through my photos this week I have realised that I:

1. Like to look up. This doesn’t surprise me as I am a big picture sort of person. It’s pretty obvious all the way down to my preference for macro economics over micro if I had to pick one. (Although economics is not what I want to pick at all really!)

2. Even when I do get low in taking photographs I could still go lower. I wonder what this photo could have been like had a gotten even closer…

If I had gotten below the flowers to look up, or even gotten within them instead of looking at them, I wonder how it’s perspective would’ve changed and what we would have heard and seen differently from it.

I’m taking this as a challenge to get lower down in my photographs and see just how big things can become. I want to appreciate more of the “micro” things in life.

Did any of you find a similar challenge with The Weekly Photo Challenge? I’m so interested to hear if you did!

On a side note: if you have a chance today head over to The Improvised Life and have a look at the Irish surfing video. It’s pretty spectacular. So is The Improvised Life.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Delicate

I like this weeks Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate.

I love it when we’re given a theme that leaves room for interpretation.

For our own eyes to translate, word to picture.

Much of Ireland’s landscape is quite rugged. There is an abundance of stone. For example, The island of Inis Mór (Inishmore), one of the Aran Islands, is barely 12 square miles, yet it has around 900 miles of stone walls covering it! Stone is everywhere.

People tend to think of green when they think of Ireland. It’s true, it is a green place. It’s a good thing too because of all the grey, rugged rock. Green and grey offset each other.

There is a place here called The Burren. On your way to the Burren you pass green fields and beautiful landscape. Once you enter the Burren it becomes another world. Limestone fissures consume the landscape. Soil is scarce. Green is scarce. The Burren is about as rugged as you can get.

But then you look down and you start to see the most delicate of things. It’s quite a sight. Rugged and delicate. Sharing their space…

Delicate Persistence

Delicate Persistence

Burren Flower

Against The Odds

Against The Odds


Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

I almost recused myself when I saw the Weekly Photo Challenge this week.

Green is pretty much what comes to mind when you think of Ireland. It envelops everything. You can practically breathe it in. It’s everywhere.

These are a few of so many more.

Enjoy your senses. Breathe it in.

All photos are natural and have not been enhanced.