10 things I learned in Ireland

(You can also read this article at http://www.sophiavoon.com)

1) Ditch the weather app

FYI there are 4 seasons in a day, anyday, in Ireland. Yes, you read it right. 4 seasons in ONE day. Whatever the forecast tell you, you will have your sunglasses and umbrella with you at all times. Yea, the sun might be just out for 5 minutes, but c’mon guys, ya’ll need your sunny on! And then we gonna talk ALL day about how beautiful was the 5 minutes sunshine! Amen!

Also some money. Because you will never know when you need the taxi ride home before the Irish wind sweep you off your feet (literally) and glamorously beach-waved your hair.

Thank you Irish weather. That was fun!! 😤

2) 15C or more = Heat wave

Yes, we are still under the topic of weather but I decided that this needs the heading of its own. There are few things that still amused me despite being here for almost 13 years. For example, its cold during late autumn and they decided that ‘it’s stoffy’ in the hospital and made a one-sided decision to open the window. Are you kiddin me? Its freakin’ 5C!! And I’m wearing my ugly sweater! 

Sometimes, in early spring, we would have 15C at odd days and people were like… 

Like, really? Seriously guys?

Wearing sunglasses in Ireland doesn’t mean it’s sunny. It just means… you’re not sleeping 😳

3) Know your MATCH time

Most people have a planner to keep you organise and productive. In Ireland, you can achieve those by using a unique technique -knowing when the rugby match is on.

When the match is on, you need to stock your fridge. You would hate to run out of milk on that day and have to make way to town to squeeze with the crowd and the never-ending traffic. Bars, restaurants and cafes are normally packed with humans that its not possible for enjoy simple pleasure of a normal  shopping. So try to avoid those.

But you could choose to book movies or theatre because they are normally quiet and you could really enjoy your time. Also, swap to work on days when the match is on because the day will be so quiet that you could selfie all day 😂

Aftermath (me): ‘You coughed up blood for one week and couldn’t come earlier because the match was on? Aww, that’s thoughtful..’ 😓

4) The DRINK

So how much do you drink (alcohol)? How much do you (really) drink?

You don’t drink on weekdays? How about Thursday? Oh, only few pints at your regular pub? And a short glass of whisky at night? A cup of wine on bad days as well? Few cans of beer over the weekends? And more if there’s match on? 

Ohhhh… Can I move on from the social history already?! 

You know you’re in trouble when you asked the patient: How much do you drink? She/he replied: …WATER?? 😭😭😭


5) The greetings

When I first came to Ireland, I would be walking around the City centre, people would smile and were really friendly. I like that about Ireland, always been.

What I don’t like is; people keep asking me: How are ya? I smiled back, flustered. But before I could answer, he just turned and walked away. Yea, maybe he was in hurry. And another stranger passed by, smiled and said: How are ya? Now, I am determined to answer straight away…. but, with a blink of an eye, she disappeared.

I soon learned, the hard way, that it is just a greeting but not really a question. And the appropriate reply would be saying back the same greetings:  How are ya? You are never expect  to answer them but just say your greetings, turn your head away and soldier on with the day. 

6) Buy MORE save MORE!

They are on sale, 3 for 2. Buy all of these and guess what, get these shopping coupons that you’ll never use for FREE! If you buy today, you’ll get 4 points instead of 2 points. If you buy shampoo for her, you get half price shampoo for him, cute. It’s Halloween sale today, it’s Christmas sale tomorrow and Valentine’s after that.

So you’re saying…… they put the same chocolates in front of the shop -for any occasions, all year round?? NO WAYY!!! 

7) A M&Sarian

Some can be meatarian, vegetarian, pascatarian, vegan but here in Ireland, most of people are M&Sarian. When I worked as an intern, I smirked when I overheard my colleague spent half of her salary on M&S food. Fool girl, I thought. 

Ehem, that fool girl is me now. Totally converted. If you haven’t try M&S food, don’t judge us. I’m disgusted you never tried, shame on you!!😝

8) Daily Gaelic

I learned Gaelic everyday. It is officially the hardest language to conquer. First Irish name I was struggling with was Siobhan. I thought medical school was hard enough..

And then come along Grainne, Caoimhe, Tadgh, Niamh, Saoirse. Those are Irish first names. Ok, maybe I will just address their surname: O’Toole, Ni Bhriain. 

Hmm I think we will just stick to their ID number. Yea, number is good. 

9) Be On Time

Never be on the way. Be there. On time. 

I learned this the hard way. All the buses, trains leave on time. No excuse. 

Speaking about being on time, I remembered being late meeting an Irish friend for a school project. She said we should meet at 10 to 2. I gave her a funny look and said: so what time exactly we should meet up? 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm or 2pm? Seriously, she can’t just give me a RANGE of time when she feels like turning up!! Ijiot! 

P/s: 10 to 2 means 10 mins to 2pm ie. 13:50pm *roll eyes emoji*

10) Say IDK like a boss

It is here in Ireland that I was able to say IDK (I don’t know) confidently. A professor once said: I don’t know is a second best answer and that is so true. 

I used to feel embarrased to say I don’t know if somebody ask me anything. It made me feel so minuscule. I would rather lie or making things up just for the sake of having an answer. 

After being in Ireland, it cultivates me to only have the best honest answer and if I don’t, I can always choose to say IDK and that’s okay too. 


Ok guys, that’s all I can think of for now. Living in Ireland has been a great privilege for me. Hope to make more fun, exciting and good memories while we are here. Nite folks! 

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