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.


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:

I Need A Name – The Drafts

The DraftsI’ll be honest. I’ve been having a hard time lately. It seems when there are certain challenges going on in my life I find other things that normally are very enjoyable to me, overwhelming. This is where I’ve been at with posting lately.

But by no means are things here, or YOU, forgotten!

So, back to The Drafts.

On a very happy note, I’ve submitted a short story to two journals. Now I will wait the 11-12 weeks to hear a reply. Since it’s the first I’ve done this I’m holding things very loosely. Mostly I needed to do it to have the experience of submitting a creation of mine for unknown eyes to read (and evaluate). That’s worth a lot to me no matter what the outcome!

Today I’m going to share the opening of a short story I’m working on. It’s very new and it’s already been causing me a lot of tension. I’m hoping that’s because it’s going to be important. Again, time and putting in the effort will tell. 

It still needs a name. Leave a comment giving your suggestions! It will be a challenge with just this little peek but that will make it all the more fun!

Also, tell me what you see when you read it. What do you imagine the main character to be like? What does the apartment look like? Where do you think the story is headed?


He didn’t need anyone to lay next to him most nights. His heart was full. It didn’t matter if she was near or far. It didn’t even matter that she didn’t know this. He loved her. And each day of doing that was enough to fill him for the next. Sarah was the most beautiful creature. She was strong and virulent. She felt things greatly and inside out she was wonderful. There was nothing about her Luck didn’t love. Each day with her made him a better person; more whole, more complete. He would never forget the day he met her. She’s been walking down the road. He’d been walking down the road at the same time and came upon her since he’d been walking faster than her. They both turned to go into the coffee shop to their left. She’d gotten to the door first and was attempting to open it. He’d been able to reach out and hold the door for her.

“Well, aren’t you the Renaissance man. It’s not like I need you to do that for me or anything,” she’d said. He had smiled and she walked right through the open door.

That day had changed everything for him. Was it love at first sight? He wasn’t sure. But he was sure he was now different now. It was at that moment that he’d felt himself start to become more himself. His true self, there all along, but had lain stagnant since the times he’d had to set it aside to survive. Sarah was fire. Or better put, she was the heat source.

Stretching Luck got out of bed, pushed the curtains open and opened every window in the apartment. He loved morning air. It was the first air, the freshest air. Humming along as he went, he showered, dressed.

“What the hell Luck!”, His roommate said coming into the kitchen, “It’s freezing in here! Close some of those damn windows!”

“Don’t you just love the first air in the morning?”

Ooooh No!” We are NOT having this conversation again! Close the damn windows before we all freeze to death!” James said as the door to the bathroom closed behind him.

Making some toast for himself he took in the sun streaming in the windows. It wasn’t sunny everyday but when it was the apartment lit up inside. It was sunny the day he’d viewed the apartment and was probably the main reason he’d bought it. He finished his toast and then for James’ sake, he closed the windows. All but the one right outside the bathroom door.


Talk to me in the comments!

See you there!

Ode to Regular People Who Endure Construction

We have new neighbours. For months, the house we share one wall with has sat empty as it was going through the selling process. For months we enjoyed knowing that we could be as loud as we wanted and no one would hear a thing. As of last week…that’s changed.

They haven’t moved in yet but in the last few days there has been a whole lot of demolition going on. Walls have been taken down. There’s been hammering, sawing and a LOT of banging. All the wonderful things you can do when you have your own new house.

This has all been a new side of things for me. You see, for 17 years, I lived in a construction zone. It’s how I grew up. I’m used to having the sledge-hammer, or even just a regular hammer, in my hand.

1992 – I think that’s actually a pick axe but you get the point.

All my life the sounds of saw blades on wood, hammering, and heavy machinery equipment were soothing sounds, and tunes of adventure.

1987 – another, yes this is not the first, home addition. Room and second basement room below. This was also one month before my baby sister was born. It was never boring!

Today, I’m on the other side of the wall, a very thin wall. I’ve never been on this side before, so close yet having nothing to do with it. It’s not so fun either.

It’s giving me new perspective for all those people I’ve listened to over the years as they’ve told me how stressful their remodel was on them. All the while I was thinking that it could not possibly be that bad since my own house currently had only a timber frame for it’s front wall and anyone could walk through it into my house. Or that it just isn’t the same as watching rain pour down through the light fixtures, into your living room, because that day a crane had come and used it’s claw to demolish our roof, and despite the tarps we put down, (my dad still had to put up the new trusses, so we could even build a new roof) rain is pouring onto and through what yesterday was the second level, and we’re putting buckets all over the place trying to save the flooring in the middle of the night. It couldn’t be as bad as that, could it?

My family didn’t have a lot of sympathy for those people. We tried to listen but all my parent’s energies were taken up surviving their whole crazy thing while working and raising a family in the midst of it.

Nov 1986 – a digger we hired to aid in the building and finishing of a 12 foot retaining wall my dad built.

It sure is another story being on the other side. The whole house is rattled as someone next door was knocking down a wall. It rattles you. It even rattled our wine glasses high up in a cupboard two rooms over. It gave us headaches and the kids were cranky. It was very draining!

It’s a lot of hard work even when someone else is doing that work!  In fact, I’d say it’s more difficult to endure if you are NOT the one doing the hammering, demolition, or construction. When you’re the one doing it the noises don’t seem to get to you. It’s like a driver in the car who doesn’t feel the bumps as much since she’s holding onto the wheel.

Living on the other side of the wall is giving me a new sympathy for the rest of the people out there who are fortunate enough to have others to do the heavy lifting to finish a project in a semi reasonable amount of time. And while it may not be a rebuild, or take years, it still takes a lot out of you. It is a legitimate life disruption while it’s happening. And it’s stressful!

So, I lift my hammer, in acknowledgement and solidarity, to all of us who get headaches when our neighbours do construction of any kind. May we soon hear pounding no more.


I believe in beginnings.

I believe in love,

I believe in hate,

I believe in satisfaction,

I believe in greed,

I believe in light,

I believe in darkness,

I believe in more,

I believe in less,

I believe in beauty,

I believe in ugliness,

I believe in hope,

I believe in destruction,

I believe in dreams,

I believe in failures,

I believe in rest,

I believe in turmoil,

I believe in life,

I believe in death,

I believe in truth,

I believe in lies,

I believe in fullness,

I believe in loss,

I believe in best effort,

I believe in deceit,

I believe in heat,

I believe in coldness,

I believe in more,

I believe in less,

I believe in endings.

-Stacey Covell

The string that pulls me up. The Marionette.

Writing to me feels like a string that pulls up from within the centre of me. Like lifting up the marionette and bringing it to life. And from that view the world seems a little bit brighter, the air a little bit fresher and life is just….more.