Sole Sister: SITI
Environmentalist/ Blogger

The Story of MY Clarks
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

After accepting an offer (with several promises) to become the nanny of an autistic twins in Dublin back in July 2006, suddenly I found myself jobless and homeless after just 2 weeks. The family decided that it's too much hassle to apply for a 'Live-In help' visa for me and asked me to leave because they don't want to be responsible if my tourist visa expires.

I was so shocked and angry because I've just left London to be with this family because the mother begged me on the phone saying that it was really hard for her to find a Muslim nanny for her kids.

I've just left London after canceling my visa extension application and suddenly this family did this to me? I can't go back to UK. How can this family be so inconsiderate and unfair to me? I was stuck in Dublin and I didn't know anybody. They gave me my 2 weeks salary and the mother dropped me at the bus station, and she was crying. I was stone-faced.

I went to the nearest cafe and started to read my Lonely Planet-Dublin to see how much trouble I had got myself into. Then I checked-in into a backpacker's hostel. I took out my planner and started to re-think about my whole situation. How much money I had ,how long could I survive with it, how much would a ticket cost me to go anywhere, etc. I thought long and hard. Then I thought, maybe God wants me to go home after being away for almost 4 years. And I knew at that time that I was being told to go home. Maybe mom was praying everyday for me to come home and stop being a nomad. Suddenly I missed everybody in Malaysia so much and I really wanted go home.

So, I went downstairs to the reception to use their internet connection to search for tickets to go home. I got the cheapest ticket for 630 Euros for July 9th 2006, 6 AM flight, route Dublin-London-Bahrain-Oman-Kuala Lumpur. I went out and walked all the way to the ticketing office and I noticed that Dublin was so beautiful. The people were so friendly! And there was a super nice Turkish kebab shop near to my hostel. Yayyyy!!!

I got my ticket but it was still 3 more days before I would leave for home. I went sight-seeing and shopping. I bought a lot of stuff for my family and friends. I even managed to help out at the charity shop on day 1 when I saw that they were cleaning the shop from all the junk. They were really nice to me and were really grateful that a young person came over and helped. They gave me a blue retro shirt from their shop. I totally love it and they hugged and kissed me at the end of the day. I gave them my hiking boots and some travel books.


On day 2, I went out for a night stroll at Grafton Street and I noticed that one of the shoe shops was closing for the day and was having a sale. I had not bought any shoes in two years. I was a traveler. I couldn't carry 10 pairs of shoes with me. I never owned any nice shoes during my 4 years away from home and I didn't actually have any reason to buy any. It just didn't suit my job and lifestyle. But I went into the shop anyway to take a quick look at beautiful shoes that fit beautiful ladies (totally not me).

On one of the racks, I saw this nice pair of medium brown suede walking shoes. It was the only pair left and it was in my size. Just 25 Euros. Clarks shoes are expensive back home. I went out from the shop and suddenly the nice middle-age lady that was working there said to me in her nice Irish accent “ Are you sure you don't want the shoes? I can see it in your eyes.”. I looked at her, she smiled at me and I thought, “It's just 25 Euros”. So I bought the shoes.

I went back to my room, looked at the shoes and tried them on. The Polish girl that bunked next to my bed looked at the shoes as well. I tried them on. She tried them on. They' were so comfortable and the soles were just so soft. No wonder they're expensive in my country; imported AND comfortable. That was the one and only thing that I bought for myself in Dublin, and I didn't have any idea when I would wear them. I packed the shoes in my bag and went to bed. I needed to get up early to catch my flight.


The journey home was smooth, I was extremely happy and super nice to everybody (I shared my chocolate with the Australian chap next to me and gave him one of my mp3 players so that he could listen to music during his travel). I reached Kuala Lumpur International Airport, said my bye-bye to the Australian chap and I actually cried when I passed the immigration checkpoint (I was the only Malaysian on that particular flight and I only have to go through the express lane and scanned my passport. How nice it is to be in  ones own land). The Immigration lady said to me “You've been away almost 4 years? Welcome home”, and I hugged her (can you believe it?!). We both laughed really hard. It was so nice to hear familiar Manglish (Malaysian English).

I went to the musolla to pray and somebody took my hiking sandals. I was not angry at all. I simply took out my Clarks shoes and put them on my feet. I was so quiet all the way home, just looking at everything and smiling to everybody. I reached home the following day (I slept and my grandparents house that night because I was extremely jet lagged) in my Clarks and I felt like a brand new person when my whole family were roaring to see me at the door. 

They hugged me tightly and my younger sister said to me “ NICE SHOES!”. I said “Yeah, I know.” and smiled a meaningful smile. My Mom said “Happy 27th Birthday, *Angah”. I reached home in my new pair of shoes on my 27th birthday, July 11th 2006. Allah works wonders :).

*Angah = 2nd child in Malay language.

~ 6 Beautiful footprints: ~

Dream It Up Cookies says:
at: Sunday, March 21, 2010 said...

Loved this! So amazing how shoes can have such a story attached to them.

Nurul says:
at: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 said...

it's really weird reading about my own shoes. hehehe... thanks salma. i feel like a celebrity already! :)

Salma says:
at: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 said...

Thanks dear Nurul(Siti) for sharing this story with us. I was amazed that you traveled so far to be let down by that family.

In the end I'm glad you got your Clarks and returned home on your 27th b-day.

at: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 said...

Wow, that is a really beautiful story. I especially appreciate all the small acts of grace and the fact that you were not upset at having your sandals stolen.

Elspeth says:
at: Friday, March 26, 2010 said...

Amazing story. I enjoyed reading it. I like how you saw the good and allowed life to unfold. The family did you a favour by letting you go. Your shoes have a personality. Not surprised they're your favourite.

Khedegah says:
at: Friday, April 02, 2010 said...


Who would of guessed an Irish women in Libya would be reading a blog about shoes bought in Dublin by a Malaysian woman.

Nurul, I am so sorry what happened to you. Reading it I was thinking why did you not try Clonskeagh Mosque....ah well. I am happy that you found Irish people are friendly.

I miss home......

Thanks Nurul, and Salam for this post
Ma Salaoma
Khedegah xxxx

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