First day of snow…

… yesterday!

It was such a cold, gloomy, and wet day full of rain and snow.

This morning, however, I woke up to a calm sky and a thin blanket of snow covering the streets. Even the colourful leaves have not all fallen yet! Winter is coming too fast! Slow down please! We still need to paint the exterior of our shed, which we can’t do if the weather keeps crying! 😦

Panspermia…

… the “hypothesis that life exists throughout the universe, distributed by meteoroids, asteroids, and planetoids.”

That life on Earth was seeded here from another planet… “that a meteorite splashed into the primordial soup bringing the first seeds of microbial life to earth.” Panspermia. What I learned last night from reading Dan Brown’s Deception Point.

I’ve picked up my old habit of devouring books recently and my latest read has been a thrill. I would definitely recommend Deception Point, a fast-paced work of art released in between Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, lovely balance of politics, science, and conspiracy. With content much different than the novel that shot him to fame a few years ago, this is my favourite Brown read thus far.

I’m always learning random tidbits as I read, above is one example. A few others I acknowledge to Deception Point are:

  • The Law of Parsimony (aka Ockham’s Razor): “When competing hypotheses are equal in other respects, the principle recommends selection of the hypothesis that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities while still sufficiently answering the question.”
  • The Greek word for polar bears, Arktos, gave the Artic its name. On the other hand, Antarctica has no polar bears, earning it the name Anti-arktos.
  • Byelaya smert (meaning White Death in Russian), a murder technique invented by the Russian mafia that leaves behind no visible traces. Typically involves packing snow tightly into the victim’s throat, preventing air from entering the lungs, and ultimately suffocating the person. Upon death, the body’s heat is sufficient to melt the snow, leaving no physical evidence behind.

Random eh? But perhaps now you’ve learned something too! 😛

I visited the Greenboro District Library for the first time this week for a tutoring session  and discovered they have an AMAZING and HUGE selection of used books for sale. Paperbacks are $1 and hardcovers are $2. In addition to borrowing from the library, this is now my source of reading delights. They also have a sale on the first Saturday of every month where everything is 50% (CDs and DVDs are available too)! Heart books!

Excited to announce…

… the launch of my new blog page: FAMILY PHOTOS!

It took much, much longer than I thought, but it’s finally complete! With the initial goal of being able to easily share our pictures with family and friends, this will also serve as a bank of very fond memories for many.

Please take a minute and visit the page, especially if you are a family member! You’ll see many familiar faces 🙂

Note: In case you are wondering, this page contains mainly only pictures we’ve taken. Aside from a selected few albums, I have not taken pictures from other sources.

CLICK HERE (or above tab) TO VISIT FAMILY PHOTOS

Have you ever experienced a moment…

… where a person you are thinking of is also thinking of you? At that exact moment?

Does that not warm your heart and make you smile? Especially when it’s a good friend or family member?

This has occurred to me many times with my mommy… in a different sense. I would be out during the day, craving a particular dish, and coming home to see that she had prepared that exact dish! ❤ ❤ Like they say, a mother knows her child best!

I was on the bus earlier today, heading to see my tutoree when I passed by Elvin’s street, reminding me that his tests were finally over and that we should catch up. I took out my cell phone and contemplated giving him a call, but decided not to since I was minutes away from my destination, where I would immediately have to meet my student and start working. Reaching to put my phone back into my pocket, it starts vibrating, showing “Unknown Caller” I’m scrimping, so decided to forgo CallerID ever since I had it deactivated for the duration of my Vietnam trip.

Can you guess who called? Such a simple act but pretty much made my day.

A late autumn visit…

… to see my dad on October 24, 2010.

It was so very cold and gloomy, luckily we took the bus. Most of the leaves had already fallen, but I was able to capture some of the pretty fall colours!

Everything looked the same as it did a few weeks ago, my dad has no new neighbours, heh. We also stopped to say a few prayers for our great grandparents.

Hover for captions, click for larger!

Taking baby steps…

…towards a greater goal.

Difficult? Sometimes. Easy? Never. Achievable? Definitely.

Đi bằng những con bước nhỏ nhôi… để hướng tới một mục tiêu lớn hơn.
Khó khăn? Đôi khi. Dễ dàng? Không bao giờ. Đạt được? Chắc chắn.

Autumn is upon us…

… and my, is it beautiful!

[WARNING: PICTURE HEAVY! :D]

Mùa thu ở Canada là lá cây đổi màu và rụng đầy đường, nhìn rất là đẹp! Hôm nay mình đi vòng vòng để chụp hình những màu tươi đẹp của cảnh mùa thu ở Ottawa cho mọi người xem!

I was out and about today trying to capture some of the amazing fall colours! My photography skills do not do nature justice, it’s a shame. But I tried! Most of the time I looked like a fool standing in one place shooting the same thing over and over again until I finally got the settings to my liking. But that’s alright, because when am I not considered crazy?

Click for larger!

These first few pictures were taken around Walkley Road before I went to meet my mom after her shift
(Những hình này mình chụp vòng vòng Đường Walkey, trước khi đón Mẹ mình đì làm v
):


Later in the day I met up with Julia (finally) to take these ones on the University of Ottawa campus (after we had a hot dog)
(Tới chiều có hẹn gặp một đứa bạn, Julia, và đã chụp những ảnh này tại trường củ của mình, Đại Học Ottawa)
:

We then walked down to Confederation Park for these last few shots (ended the day with some Cinnabon, yum)
(Sau đó 2 đứa mình đã đi bộ xuống Công Viên Confederation):


So, new theme…

… for my blog, what do you think?!

I’ve been wanting to change my blog theme for quite a while now and finally did it! My previous theme (called INove) was very… boring… with black, white and gray hues. Super one dimensional and not at all personal due to the lack of customization.

This new theme is called Ocean Mist, with a set blue background but a customizable header! Of course, I will be changing it as often as I can 😀 The current picture is one I took of Nha Trang Bay (Vietnam) during sunrise.

I’m liking this change, it’s refreshing! I’m also happy that this theme allowed me to keep all my sidebar features. Yay for some colour, finally!

Bye bye old theme:


A very low key…

… celebration for my grandma’s 75th birthday!

Her birthday is on October 17, 2010, however, the family got together today for dinner. Everyone was present except for my cousin, Janet, who was at work. The night ended early as many people, as usual, were busy with other schedules.

A few pictures from tonight, happy birthday once again grandma!

Hover for captions, click for larger!



Check out my 2nd…

… spam queue!

1st one here.

Once in a while I empty out my spam queue. I should’ve saved all my previous ones, but these are my latest!


I don’t really get it… why are there always spammers? Clearly whatever they’re doing isn’t effective… meh. Although yes, yes I do like nice car rims. And no, you can’t has a cheeseburger. And I see what you did there too!

Did you ever have…

… jello parfait as a child (or even now)?

As a kid, I used to love these creamy rings of yumminess filled with jello cubes. Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Click here for a picture!

The other day, I attempted to recreate one of my favourite childhood desserts.
The result? Niiice.

This was something I put together off the top of my head. I actually have no idea how a real jello parfait is made and what goes into it.

For my parfait, I picked 2 jello flavours: grape (for the cubes) and orange for the cream. Super easy to make! I used yogurt because of personal preference but I’m sure the jello parfaits my mom used to buy at the grocery store were NOT made with yogurt, probably something like whip cream.

Below is my recipe, but you could probably adjust it any way you want and still get something tasty.

Ingredients:
– 2 packs of jello powder
– 400 g (4 small containers) of yogurt
– 3 cups of water

Preparation:

(Day 1)
– Choose the jello flavour you want for your cubes and prepare as indicated on the packaging (using 2 cups of water).
– Pour into a container and refrigerate over night.

(Day 2)
– Put 1 cup of water on the stove to boil.
– As the water is heating up, take out your jello from the previous night.
– Run the bottom of the container under hot water for 5 seconds. You should now be able to easily invert the jello onto a plate.
– Cut into desired sized cubes and place back in the fridge until ready to use.
– Empty your yogurt into a small bowl and using an electric mixer, blend until the yogurt is smooth and runny.
– By now your water should be boiling, dissolve the contents of your 2nd jello flavour.
– Once dissolved, pour the jello into your yogurt and blend well.
– Take out the jello cubes and put them in your choice of serving container (round glass, ring, etc).
– Pour the yogurt/jello mixture over the cubes and gently stir, making sure the jello cubes are evenly distributed.
– Refrigerate overnight.

To serve:
– Run the container under hot water for 5 seconds. Invert the jello onto a plate for nicer presentation. Cut and serve.

With the recipe above, I thought the parfait was slightly soft due to too much yogurt (best if refrigerated overnight!). Today I reattempted using only 300g of yogurt. The parfait was firmer, but it was noticeably less creamier. Next time, I will go back to 400g of yogurt and maybe cut down to 3/4 cup of water.

Attempt #2
Strawberry kiwi cubes in a creamy strawberry mixture

The Beginning…

… of something awesome I hope!

[This post is dedicated to BEA, my only partner in crime when it comes to anything DBSK related <3]

Despite legal disputes with their entertainment agency, most recently with SM Entertainment filing an injunction against the sale of JYJ‘s The Beginning… (all English) album, it has been digitally released on time!

The album includes 8 tracks, each one unique compared to the next. I AM IMPRESSED. When I first heard they would be releasing an all English album, all I could think was, “Oh God, no way… their Engrish!!” I have been proven wrong! Although their English is not perfect, it is at least on par with BoA and the Wonder Girls.

The fact that Kanye West was one of the producers for this album also made me super skeptical. I was half expecting a full-autotune-album similar to 2NE1’s recently released ‘To Anyone’ album. I would’ve lost a lot of respect for the boys if they had consented to the release of such material, I’m glad that didn’t happen.

Out of 8 tracks, my least favourite is Ayyy Girl composed by and featuring Kanye West. The song could’ve done without his feature (can he not hold a note?) and sorry, not feeling the song. The dance is hot though 😉

My favourites have to Empty, Still in Love, I Love you (ft. Flowsik), and I Can Soar, composed by Rodney Jerkins, Jaejoong, Micky, and Junsu, respectively. The boys have demonstrated their composing and lyrical abilities in previously released Korean and Japanese albums, I’m glad to see they are continuing to do.

I think with this English album, they will be able to fulfill their initial intentions… to reach and communicate with fans worldwide. Although they are not trying to break into the American music industry, I think they may have a chance with a lot of hard work. Especially since their music is of much better quality (I’m sorry but Nobody by WG is a terrible, terrible song) than other artists (ie. BoA, Wonder Girls, Rain) who have attempted to do so. And no, this is not my DBSK-bias speaking.

GIVE THE ALBUM A LISTEN!

1. Intro (Composed by Brian Kim, BJD)

2. Ayyy Girl_Feat. Kanye West / M. Yusef (Composed by Kanye West, K. Hamler, P. Phenom, M. Yusef, Jae Chong / Lyrics by K. Hamler, P. Phenom, M. Yusef)

3. Empty (Composed by Rodney Jerkins / Lyrics by Kyoko Hamler, L. Daniels, T. Parker)

4. Be My Girl (Composed by Rodney Jerkins / Lyrics by Kyoko Hamler, L. Daniels, T. Parker)

5. Still in Love (Composed by Hero Jae-joong / Lyrics by Kyoko Hamler)

6. I Can Soar (Composed by Xiah Jun-su / Lyrics by Kyoko Hamler)

7. I Love You_Feat. Flowsik (Composed by Micky Yu-cheon / Lyrics by Kyoko Hamler)

8. Be The One (Composed by Jae Chong / Lyrics by Jae Chong, Terry Shorter, Kyoko Hamler)

For years…

… Love in the Ice has been one of my favourite songs.

As the group is divided and continues on with their respective activities, I find myself re-watching old performances and loving them all over again.

JYJ‘s album, The Beginning…, produced by Kanye West and Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins is being released within the next few days. As I preview the videos/audios that are being uploaded of their worldwide showcases starting yesterday, I am apprehensive because we may not hear a song of the same caliber like Love in the Ice anytime in the near future. I miss the raw emotions, the  harmony of voices, and the amazing live singing that sounds better than the studio/CD version. Still, I’m hoping for a pleasant surprise when I hear JYJ’s new album, which better not be any autotune! *crosses fingers*

In the meantime my favourite live performances of Love in the Ice

Korean

Japanese

 

We don’t have to cook…

… for the rest of this week!

Thank you Thanksgiving weekend for the amazing leftovers it provides! 😀 I’m going to predict a 5lb increase in my weight within the next 2 weeks… heh.

We had a lovely duo turkey dinner at my grandparents with our entire family Sunday evening. Similar to previous years, my grandpa roasted 2 turkeys (enough to feed the family with leftovers to take home) and the families provided the side dishes. This year, we saw dishes that always make a presence, such as pasta, mashed potatoes and salad.  There was also a great pumpkin soup courtesy of my 3rd uncle and a couscous dish from my mom. Our 4th uncle brought (interesting) mini cakes for dessert, my 2nd aunt made banh bo and I made a carrot loaf with cream cheese icing. The night ended young and I think everyone went home with their tummies satisfied.

Of course, Thanksgiving weekend would not be complete without a turkey lunch/dinner of our own at home which is exactly what we did today! Anthony joined us for lunch where we feasted on a stuffed turkey, scalloped potatoes, perogies, rolls, couscous, beets/carrots, etc. Needless to say, I’m still full, but I’m already looking forward to eating leftovers. LOL.

Some pictures from the family dinner yesterday:

And this was our turkey today! Mmmm… deliciousness.

A wonderful…

… lunch at Navarra with Amin today!

Melissa was supposed to join us as well, but something came up. It’s too bad because she definitely missed out on some good food during this leg of our tasting journey! 😉

We were the only customers at the time in this nice and tiny restaurant near the Byward Market. Each of us ordered a lunch torrada (served on sourdough bread), I got the BC smoked salmon and Amin got the grilled New York steak. 1 word: Delicious. I loved the mascarpone cheese and fresh herbs with salmon… oh my goodness, so yummy. Lunch was finished off with a shared dessert: vanilla bean creme brulee with passion fruit seeds and grilled pistachios. It was a very nice dish (I have been missing passion fruit so much since coming back from VN), and my first time having creme brulee. A tad too sweet for my tastes, so I will probably stick with other desserts from now on. Would love to come back and try out their dinner menu sometime in the future!

Finally got the chance to show Amin the ‘Whispering Wall’ (Baldwin and Lafontaine monument) on Parliament Hill which creeped him out a little! It’s a curved stone wall that allows 2 people, one at each end, to communicate to each other simply by whispering while facing the wall. Pretty awesome.

Fall has arrived! You can especially see it when looking over at Quebec. Can’t wait until Julia and I go on our autumn photography session! 🙂

2 pictures I took Downtown today:

Received…

… approval for my Australian student visa today. 🙂

Via email – oh the greatness of technology sometimes.

I filed my application online the evening of Sunday, Sept 19, 2010. Since I would be working in a health care environment during my stay in AUS, I was notified to undergo a health examination by one of the panel doctors designated by the Australian government. I checked off the only location I recognized – Dr. Max on Bank Street. Once my application was completed, I printed out the necessary forms I would need and made a mental note to call the doctor’s office to book an appointment.

The following morning, the buzzing of my cell phone woke me up. A receptionist by the name of Marie was calling to schedule an appointment for me with Dr. Max. Apparently the office had received notification of my visa application and that I had chosen their office to have my health exam done. I was slightly impressed at the promptness. An appointment was booked for that Thursday, September 23, 2010.

I arrived early and was not the least bit disappointed. The clinic had numerous suites (main floor and in the basement), each one with multiple doctors on staff. Had everything it needed, from x-ray machines to a blood lab. Dr Max’s suite was downstairs. The receptionists were wonderful ladies. I had to have my picture taken, give a urine sample, height weight measured, etc. Dr Max was great, professional yet personal. He did not rush and took time to talk about his experiences with medicine, what I have to look forward to in med, even how he liked his conversion from PC to Mac. Everything was filled out online and I was sent off for x-rays and blood work upstairs. I was told to expect to be at the clinic for at least 2 hours, but everything was done and I was out the door by 1.5 hours.

The results of my blood tests came back the following Wednesday,  September 29, 2010. And I was granted my visa exactly a week later – aujourd’hui!

One more thing done…

I shall be leaving Canada…

… on January 4th, 2010.

And now my sister will no longer feel the need to incessantly banter me with the question, “So when are you leaving?!”

As many of you know, I will be commencing medical school in Brisbane, Australia, at the University of Queensland this coming new year. I am scared and excitement still hasn’t sunken in… should I be worried?

My preparations are going well. I have pretty much completed all the necessary paper work except for my Blue Card which I need to apply for at a later date. Hopefully my Australian student visa will be approved in the next week or so, as well as my bank and government loans. Then I will be pretty much set.

I bought my plane ticket last week, a round trip for approximately $2200 (including taxes and one free change of return date :)). I’ll be traveling with Air Canada for most of the trip, then with Qantas Airways for my domestic flight from Sydney to Brisbane.

I’m sacrificing comfort for cheapness 😦 I really don’t like Air Canada, I mean… look at their food options! Come on! During my one hour flight (with Cathay Pacific) from Hong Kong to Vietnam (and back), we were served a full meal! Oh well! *Makes mental note to bring lots of snacks, some chocolate too obviously*

If anyone is interested, I bought my ticket from SUNNYVIEW HOLIDAYS (my travel agent is Anna). They are located in Chinatown at 708G Somerset St W (on the second floor, across from Koreana). I believe all the staff speak primarily in Mandarin, but it is not difficult to converse in English.

Never seen before…

… graduation pictures! Hahaha

Since I never buy extra prints to give away to family and friends (do people still do that?), and many haven’t seen my grad photos… here you are!

Side note: I liked the Faculty of Science picture much more, I’m not even going to talk about the Faculty of Health Science robes…

Spring 2009 – Bachelor of Science with Major in Biochemistry


Spring 2010 – Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences

(It was a rainy day, so… my hair went POOF!)

Casual pictures were included in the photo shoot, I ended up buying these 2 as well: