What Ireland meant to us + Why we left

When I was young, my dad always teased me about a mole on the dorsal aspect of my right foot during his evening cuddles. He used to say, ‘You will be a traveller. And you will leave my side for a very long time.’ Did I believe my dad? Hella NO. I was five. I lived in a village where I could run from one end to the other -that even when I threatened my mom that I would ‘run-away’ nobody ever takes me seriously. Life was tough, hokay? #rebellioussincebirth

Never did I know, a short decade later, I came to Ireland and will stay here for the next 15 years of my life. Here, I grew from pains, rains and through the Irish thunder storms -to who I am today.

Ireland is nothing like what I thought it would be. The Trinity College Prospectus they gave us -with students of all colors portraying their happiness on the green summer grass- only happened like 7 days out of 365! For remaining of the year, I was trying hard to ensure my umbrella sees another day. And oh, during the freshman week, they should have put emphasis on your realistic relationship expectations with your umbrella -that you WON’T be able to leave the house without her, that she will follow you wherever you go even when you want some space and if nothing else works out, she will always be there #BFF #relationshipgoals

Ireland was never love at first sight for me. Gloomy gray days rowing above countless homeless souls, abandoned buildings tucked silently beneath unsightly graffitis, shops flocked by groups of pregnant dainty girls who could be half of my age and the smells of alcohol as soon as the ‘licensed beverages’ hit the lit.

For the longest time, I loathe calling Ireland a home. I conviniently surrounded myself with Malaysian friends, clearing my social calendar solely for Malaysian events, speaks my native language with the hashtag #freedomofspeech and my ideal vacation was everything that Ireland is not -blue skies, crystal clear beach, seafood.

It took me literally almost 10 years to fully grasp the meaning of ‘life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.’ And of course, by that time, Ireland has taught me so many lessons I never knew I needed to learn. Ireland was where I spent all of my adulthood life -from earning my first salary to marrying my soulmate. It taught me to say ‘NO’ in the most elegant manner, to stand up for myself as truth is always worth fighting for, to never conform in what is fashionable (in literal sense or not), to always put honesty first especially in our line of field (medicine) and to work with compassion -not obligation.

Dancing I was -in the rain. And Ireland, was never the same again.

We walked the long green path of Silver River trail, chasing bees in Kinnitty Forest, hand-picking strawberries in Tipperary Farm, sleeping to the sounds of crickets in Roundwood Campsite, picking wild flowers in County Mayo, wielding medieval silverwares in Bunratty Castle, holding hands with sands between our toes on Portmarnock beach and giddied up to some treasure finds in Vintage Market.


Am I in love with Ireland, you asked? No. I’m obsessed. Ireland is no longer just a place where I grew up but a home where I found myself.

But why we left and why now?

Like anything else, good things DO NOT have to come to an end. But our move away from Ireland -perhaps, is more like an extension of our life experiences that we have learned to embrace. And yes, career progression plays a big part in it. Medicine constantly requires us to grow and seek experiences in other countries and faithfully moulding us into humans who not only save lives but celebrate it in its fullest form.

So on 31st July 2017, we officially moved to LONDON -for the next chapter of our lives!

I am hoping to bring you along with me as I go around London for our mini-weekend trips and I will be bringing more food adventures, so watch this space! Subscribe to our email lists if you haven’t already!


Sophie Voon @sophievoon



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