An American in Ireland

Greetings  from County Wicklow in Ireland! I am now an American expat as they say. Or a ‘Yank’ as they call me here. Perhaps as the mood strikes me I will pass on not only stuff about the world of children’s books here, but also the experience of living as a stranger in a strange land. It has been a long, and at times, difficult trip to get here. Much more so than I would have ever imagined. Far more than anyone here can imagine! But that’s another story for another time.

I don’t know if anyone will be able to tell the difference between the books I have written or illustrated in the US and the ones I have done here. But I can’t imagine it NOT having some affect. I did not make the sort of quantum leap that moving to Afghanistan would have been, but I am surprised every day by all the little things that continue to remind me I’m not in Kansas anymore, or in this case, not in Boston anymore. You can never quite relax and say your on top of everything. I am learning and changing by the day. Perhaps five years from now I may blend in a bit more, but for now I am the outsider, the obvious yank on the room. I’m not a different race, or have blue hair or anything, but just being six foot four and opening my mouth is enough to place me in the ,”So, who’s the bloody Yank then?” category.

I’ll add one thing now that surprises me since moving here, as an American – It’s how often people sort of politely ask where I’m from, which I used to think was that they couldn’t place my accent (and it’s always amusing for the new immigrant to be reminded it’s YOU with the funny accent), And that was partly true, but it wasn’t that I was fooling anyone with my best effort at an Irish accent, it’s that they want to know if I’m Canadian or not. They can hear the “North American” accent immediately, but not the exact country… It’s typical of an American’s inward vision and lack of international sophistication to not even consider Canada as part of people’s North American consciousness. It never occurred to me that people would confuse me with a Canadian. It’s not an outlandish question by any means, it’s just that Americans generally, uh, don’t spend much time thinking about Canada… and I’m from Canadian stock too. It’s the little things…

Miss Brooks - April 21, 2010 - 5:23 pm

she was at # 8—fingers crossed for this coming week!

Miss Brooks - April 21, 2010 - 5:24 pm

she was at #8–past Sunday. cross fingers for this week.