Orientation Week

January 12-16, 2015

Looking back, our one week orientation in preparation for our new job as medical interns went by in a blur. Was it useful? I sure thought so at the time. But when you have so much information being thrown at you with the expectation that you will remember everything – sometimes it feels like pouring water over a duck’s head… nothing sticks.

Important aspects I remember:

  • A chance to meet our colleagues, the other new interns – at social events as well as part of orientation. It’s nice to start a new job as (at least) acquaintances rather than strangers. Also a good idea to socialise when you’ve just relocated to a new city ;)
  • Meeting the staff of the Medical Education Unit (MEU) – they look after us and make sure we are alive and well… and still do!
  • Cultural Practice Program – an introduction to the culture and practices of those who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander. Amazingly, I have never received such a talk through out medical school. Even simple knowledge like how their family hierarchy works can make a difference in the care of those patients.
  • Listening to a panel of 2014 interns sharing their tips – interesting at the time… but honestly can’t remember everything everyone said.
  • Skills rotation – refreshing our suturing, cannulation skills, etc.
  • Spending time with the previous interns on the ward we are rostered to. Good to get handover and tips. Would’ve been even better to spend more time with them getting hands on experience prior to starting our first shift.

Everything else… can’t say I remember much of it now. Not to say I didn’t find it useful at the time, but we really had to learn most aspects of our jobs on the go. Listening about how to do paperwork or order tests is never the same as going through the process of doing it yourself.

Then it was pretty much ‘hit the ground running’ on our first shift. Exhausting because you are so unfamiliar with everyone and everything. But by the end of first week, everyone gets the hang of things.

Do we become smarter? Knowledge-wise? …Maybe. Administratively? Most definitely!

People joke that medical interns are ‘pens with legs’ … sometimes, I don’t disagree! :P

Joking aside, my first few months working as a doctor has been great. Impossible to sum it up in a single blog post but I hope to share stories in the future!

Flour – Our new favourite cafe

It was a pleasure that one of the first cafes we dined at upon moving to Rockhampton, Flour, has become our favourite :) Thank you for the recommendation Amanda!

Yes, it is a 25 minute drive away in Yeppoon, but definitely worth it! And considering we used to take public transport in Brisbane for longer periods of time when going out to eat, how could we possibly complain?

Immediate sign of a good cafe – it’s always buzzing! Which can sometimes concern you, “Am I going to have to wait forever for a table?” But the wait has never been too long for us. And they take reservations, which is even better.

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The second good sign – familiarity between customers and staff. Frequent diners! People don’t keep returning if they’re not happy right?

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The furniture and decor are mismatched and cute, giving off a fun, relaxed vibe.

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Sit down and look at the menu, but certainly don’t forget to check out the baked goods at the counter and in the fridges! Don’t be like me during my first visit and not leave room for cakes and pastries. For breakfast? Of course!

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I don’t drink coffee, but if Mike’s happy with his, then you’d be too!

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The menu is small but tantalizing and Michael, of course, must always try the Eggs Benedict. It sets the ‘food standard’ bar for him.

Eggs Benedict on ciabatta bread with smoked salmon, baby spinach, and hollandaise sauce ($17.50). Eggs beautifully poached, sauce delicious, with loads of salmon – worth it.

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I have a weakness for pumpkin (and haloumi cheese) when it comes to a breakfast menu… or any menu for that matter. So my choice was obvious: Spicy pumpkin fritters topped with baby spinach, poached eggs and bacon served with house made hollandaise ($17.50). Can you say a generous serving? I was stuffed! Not to mention it was delicious and definitely the kind of dish I would spend extra time trying to duplicate at home for a special weekend breakfast.

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And because you can’t see the pumpkin fritters from the above angle. I have had fritters at other restaurants where they have been soggy and/or dripping oil – not in this case!

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We have now visited a number of times and service has always been impeccable – friendly and efficient. Could not fault their food nor their service.

And yes, we most certainly have tried some of their cakes! Fresh, decadent, and delicious – there is definitely enough variety available on a daily basis to suit all sorts of sweet teeth!

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So far, our favourite ‘getaway’ cafe for breakfast or even just a drink and snack. Would definitely recommend Flour to everyone who’s stopping in Yeppoon! Don’t forget to share your experience :)

Flour on Urbanspoon

Exploring Yeppoon

January 9, 2015

With a rental car and a weekend before starting work, we decided to explore the area… and drove out to Yeppoon.

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Adventure time!

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A peaceful and scenic 25 minute drive from Rockhampton, Yeppoon is a lovely, quaint coastal town. Not to mention home to our new favourite cafe for breakfast – Flour Cafe – but I’ll tell you all that in a different post!

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After a delicious breakfast, we stopped by the beach. Unfortunately, it was quit stirred up by recent high winds and rains.

We then drove over to Keppel Bay Marina

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It was lovely and I imagine the water is quite beautiful when not stirred up

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We then drove over to Emu Park, a small town just 21km from Yeppoon.

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Completely deserted, definitely a place you can sit and think :P

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The Emu Park land area was first discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770 and is home to the Singing Ship Monument. Slightly creepy to hear the monument sing, no really, it does!

The Singing Ship commemorates Captain Cook`s Bicentenary in 1970 and marks his discovery of the bay in May, 1770. The memorial represents the billowing sail, mast and rigging of his ship Endeavour. Concealed organ pipes use the sea breezes to create eerie music.

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View from the monument, it’s too bad the water wasn’t very pretty!

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Just a short day trip driving around and taking in the nearby sites, definitely worth it! What’s even better? The cheap tropical fruits you can get in smaller towns compared to what I’m used to in Brisbane! Love it when my favourite fruits are in season… too bad it’s over!

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Not a bad first weekend in Rocky, wish there was more time to relax before starting work though!

Hello Rockhampton!

January 6-7, 2015

Landed in Rockhampton!

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First thought: What a small airport.

Second thought: God it’s even hotter here.

Third thought: Wow, we’re really here.

Luckily for us, the hospital provides us with temporary accommodation for up to one month while we look for a place of our own. That meant our first stop in Rockhampton was… the hospital to pick up keys!

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Yes, we did rent a car for our first few days. We had to. Rocky is a small city of over 70 000 people and I don’t think there’s public transportation. I mean, since moving here, we have seen buses – but where do they stop and how often do they run? Nobody seems to know for sure.

As we are a couple, they were kind to put us in the same 2 bedroom apartment. Clean, modest, with all the basics we needed – including air conditioners that were so ancient, they sounded like trucks parked by your headboard :P. All jokes aside, the place was nice and we were very grateful that our accommodation was provided.

Here are a few photos!

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I joked to Michael that they would provide hospital towels, as our stay was provided by the hospital – I was right!

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Although the temporary accommodation was comfortable and available to us for a month, Michael and I really wanted to find our own place and move in before starting work on January 12, 2015. That left us with 5 days.

Luckily for us, we had been searching online for weeks prior to coming to Rockhampton and had called in advance to set up appointments for the 3-5 places we really liked.

The next morning, we drove around to check out 4 places. Our top choice was our first inspection and the only application we submitted. 2 days later, it was accepted and we received our keys. Gave a call to the removalists and our stuff was delivered on Sunday. Things worked out perfectly.

We continued to stay at the temporary accommodation over the next week or so while working on unpacking and setting up our new place.

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Newly built, 3 bedroom (each with a huge walk in closet), 2.5 bathroom duplex house with a tandem garage and backyard patio. Quiet neighbourhood and located a convenient 10-15 minute walk to hospital and grocery stores – perfect for us as we haven’t bought a car. Place feels like home already!

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And that is the story of how we settled in Rockhampton :)

Packing up 4 years of our lives

December 28, 2014 – January 06, 2015

As soon as our parents went back to Canada, we kicked our butts into gear.

Time to get ready for the next step in our lives – working in the real world… as doctors!

You might remember THIS POST and the happiness and excitement it entailed. Both Michael and I being simultaneously offered jobs during the first round… and in our first preference city. As international medical students, that was a feat we had only dared to hope.

And so, here we were, finding ourselves preparing for the move to Rockhampton!

Our flights were booked for January 6, 2015. Which meant we had just over a week to do the following:

  • Pack. Pack everything.
  • Find a relocation/moving company that will come to pick our stuff up the day before we leave and store our belongings until we found a place to live in Rocky… for a reasonable price.
  • But pack smartly. With all our essentials staying with us, because who knows how long it would take to find a place to rent once we got to Rocky?
  • Clean. Clean everything. Because we certainly weren’t going to spend hundreds of dollars on a bond cleaning.
  • Hire a company to clean our carpets
  • Coordinate the following schedule: Movers to pick up our stuff the morning of Jan 5th. Carpet cleaners to come that afternoon. Final inspection and return of keys to real estate agent the following morning and fly up to Rockhampton that afternoon.
  • Cross fingers and hope our plans don’t fail.
  • And in between all of that, of course, to hang out with friends and enjoy our last days in Brisbane.

Easy? Totally. *sarcasm*

The HEAT. So hot that every aspect of packing was agonizing. But somehow, we eventually did it. We packed everything up into boxes – boxes that we didn’t have to pay for, yay. Tip: Ring Coles in the evening and ask them to save cardboard boxes for you. They throw them out every evening but will save them for you if requested.

Luckily, we were each allowed $2500 in relocation expenses. Pay first, claim later. That meant our flights to Rockhampton and cost of moving/storing our belongings could be covered. We came under budget, which meant not having to pay out-of-pocket – sigh of relief.

For relocation, we went with Wide Bay Removals because they had fair quotes and really good online communication. On the day of pick up, they were fast, efficient, and careful with our belongings, which were going into storage (for up to a month) until we found a place to stay in Rocky. Unfortunately, the same care was not taken once our belongings were out of sight because on moving in, our fridge was dented and scratched and the back panel of one bookcase was broken. Not to mention many boxes that were crushed, although luckily, nothing inside was damaged. Would we hire them again? Not sure.

It’s hard to remember what else we did in those last days of heat stroke and stress.

But we did have a relaxing New Year’s Eve at Matt & Kristen’s!

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They made a delicious 5-spice salmon with smashed potatoes and veggies.

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We provided dessert – homemade berry cheesecake. My first attempt, and it wasn’t bad!

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We are getting old. I remember all of us being exhausted and calling it a night after the fireworks – woo hoo! However, it was absolutely lovely to spend the night with our favourite family! Especially since we would be leaving Brisbane so soon! Hope everyone has a really happy new year!

Thanks to photos, I can also tell you that later that week we had a delicious lunch at Bread & Meat Co! Definitely worth a visit, and if you haven’t been, you can read review HERE.

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Before we knew it, January 5th came. And guess what? Our intended schedule worked out perfectly!

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The movers worked much quicker than anticipated and soon the house was completely empty except for the luggage we would be taking with us. The carpet cleaner came shortly after that and soon there was no

As we had no home for our last night in Brisbane, we decided to rent a studio apartment at Essence Serviced Apartments. Why? Closer to the airport. Similar cost to hotel room in the city. Quiet. And had free parking – which we needed because we had rented a car. Definitely recommend!

(Photo from Essence Serviced Apartments website)

It was a perfect getaway for the night. Until we were woken up in the middle of the night by a VERY loud alarm. “Whoop, whoop, this is an emergency. Evacuate immediately. Whoop whoop”

No idea what was going on. Everyone stumbled down the stairs to wait outside. Eventually, the fire fighters came and cleared the building. I believe it was a tampered/false fire alarm. Back up stairs to bed!

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In the morning, we returned back to our house to meet our real estate agent. No issues with our final inspection and we received our full bond back, yay! So many memories in this house over the last 3 years. It was a perfect home for us and our visiting friends and family, in such a convenient location for public transportation as well – we will miss it!

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We then went to Chermside Mall to grab some breakfast and look who we ran into!

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So nice to randomly bump into Roger, we’ll miss you!

Later that day we headed to the airport, checked in, and boarded our flight to Rockhampton… exciting!

Saying farewell to our parents

December 27, 2014

Forever grateful for the time our parents spent in Australia with us…

Our time together can summed into a few words – family, fun, laughter, and delicious food.

Some more moments of our time together…

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One of my new favourite meals to prepare – grilled fish with tropical salad – delicious and healthy!

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It was a bittersweet farewell. But we were pretty excited. Excited to start preparing for our move to Rockhampton and beginning our careers as doctors in the new year. Sad to say good bye to our parents but we would be back in Canada in Feb-March for our holidays!

No time to diddle daddle, lots to do!

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2014

I’m chuckling because I’m writing about our Christmas in April – better late than never?

My mom and I decided to stay home and relax on Christmas, but Michael and his parents braved the hoards to experience Christmas on the beach :P Weather was good and they had a fun time!

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How many Canadians can say they spent Christmas in this kind of weather?

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I was adamant I would be cooking Christmas dinner – letting my mom relax. Unfortunately, it was one of my biggest cooking fails – a raw meat loaf – so upsetting! The other dishes were good, including corn, potato wedges, prawn toast and salad.

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Our first Christmas tree in Australia

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Beautiful, love our colour scheme!

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Family photo!

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In previous years, our cousins have always had a bit of fun at family get togethers, like colour coordinating our outfits, wearing ugly Christmas sweaters, custom made t-shirts, etc. Imagine my delight when Mike’s mom produced these funky Dollarama light necklaces – complete with 3 different modes and extra batteries!

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Had a glitch with one of them – ah, expected of Dollarama!

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Blueberry pie for dessert, thanks Caroline!

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Some more family photos before opening presents

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I look sort of like a monster here

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My love!

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Let me share some of the wonderful presents I received :)

Gorgeous ruby (my birthstone) and diamond earrings from Michael that nicely match a necklace he gave for Christmas in 2011

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A beautiful Ivanka Trump dress from my mom. I’ve received many compliments wearing it already!

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A nice leather Coach clutch from my sister and some delicious chocolate bars! Can’t find those in Australia!

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Presents from my brother…

A wine making kit. I haven’t used it yet, will have to soon!

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And an electronic measuring cup and ceramic knives – now staples in my kitchen :)

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From Michael’s parents, goodies from Canada!

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And a few items from his mom! The candle holders fit nicely in our new home in Rockhampton!

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Michael was very happy with my Christmas present to him – adding to his collection ;)

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It’s long passed, but I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday with your loved ones!