Foooo…

…oooood!!

I’ve been cooking!

It’s amazing… I’ve cooked more this week than the last few months combined, and it tastes okay! I got approval from my housemates! Haha *proud*

Check out our dishes:

Meal A) Mike’s herb and garlic cream cheese stuffed mushrooms

Meal A) My turkey stuffed capsicums!

Meal B) My stir fried brocoli with oyster sauce

Meal B) Mike’s ginger chicken with rice and pineapple

Meal C) My stir fried choy sum with garlic

Meal C) My egg fried rice!

My other roomie, Yoni, eats very simply and doesn’t participate in our food adventures. He tries what we make, but usually ends up eating his pasta with meat sauce… 🙂

We’ve also been eating out a lot because it’s quite cheap and very good. I had Japanese food (big bowl of miso chicken rice) for lunch the other day for $6.50. Before the flood we had amazing Indian curry with rice, roti bread and a chicken wing (big enough to be 2 meals) for only $10. Unfortunately, that restaurant was one of the few on the corner of our street that got flooded and they still have not reopened. 😦 And today we had all you can eat sushi for $15! The restaurant was very neat. Decorated like a lounge, you first visit the bar to pay for your meal (you get a bracelet) and grab a drink if you want. Then you can sit yourself in any of the sofas and stools they have arranged around coffee tables. Once you’re seated, an attendant brings you a menu and food is served super promptly… it was a good, laid back experience!

Yes, I will be photo-documenting all my cooking adventures. And when I’m not too lazy, I will bring my camera with me around the city to take pictures and show you what it’s like over here! But to give you a quick overview… it’s sunny, 30+ degrees, clear blue sky, nice breeze… you get the picture. 😛

First day…

… of school!

Well, kind of.

The day started at 8am for me with the following schedule:

Orientation program for year 1 MBBS students

I have to say it was a long day, but enjoyable. The first 2 hours were spent just going over introductions and the basics.

We then moved on to our first PBL tutorial, which was quite interesting. For those that have never heard of PBL – they are problem based learning experiences. You are presented with a medical situation and go through a series of triggers (presentation, assessment, management, patient history, etc) together with your PBL group, discussing the case, potential hypotheses and focus questions.

PBL groups are run by tutors who come from a variety of different backgrounds. My first tutor for the next few months is a lovely elderly nurse. She is slightly old fashioned and reminds me a lot of Sylvia Weinstock!

There are only 8 of us in our PBL group, including myself. This is a very good number as we are a class of nearly 500. We are further split into 2 groups of 4 for our clinical coaching skills learning.

Tomorrow will be the first day of lectures, yay…? Haha, I have to admit, I am excited to start studying. Lazying around for the past 8 months has almost turned my brain into mush… I am ready to be stimulated. And ready to feel really really dumb… all the time.

I’m still bumming at Mike and Yoni’s apartment but Tapraya and I have started house hunting! We inspected 3 houses on Tuesday, all of which were really filthy and overall bad. Yesterday was much better! Again, we inspected 3 places, 2 of which were nice (one was VERY nice) enough to submit an application. Tap did some more inspections (on her own) today since I was in school and let me know she put in another application because there was an even nicer and more conveniently located house! Hopefully we will hear back by Friday and can rest easy! Most likely I will be staying at Mike and Yoni’s until beginning of February, thanks boys for your hospitality! Haha. Initially, I was supposed to be staying at Tap’s place until her lease was up and we moved into our new home in February, but her building was flooded! She was just able to get back into her home this week 🙂

Staying with the boys has been pretty good… yesterday Mike made mango curry chicken with yellow capsicums (look, I’m using Australian vocabulary already!) on rice and naan bread… it was delicious. Our first real home cooked meal… I’ve been pretty spoiled 🙂

The worst of the flood is over…

… thank goodness and my heart goes out to all affected.

[Note: I apologize for not posting earlier, I know friends and family have been anxious to hear from me. Unfortunately we were trapped without power so there was no way to post!]

I have been staying with 2 Canadians I met at St. Leo’s, the college on campus I was initially staying at. It was a good idea because the area all around the college became flooded and campus is now closed until at least next Thursday. On Wednesday, the power in their neightbourhood was cut and everyone waited with bated as Thursday, the projected flood peak, came and went. Fortunately, the water levels did not rise high enough to reach their home and we were safe. One block away, however, the water had risen to levels above my head.

The flood has been devastating for numerous neighbourhoods, leaving many families with destroyed homes and immeasurable damages and losses.

The water quickly receded after Thursday and the city is mostly dry as of today. Buses have begun to run and stores have slowly been reopening as everyone works to battle the aftereffects of the flood. As I took a bus into Toowong (a nearby suburb), we drove through streets that had been completely submerged under water. It was heartbreaking. The flood left behind foul sludge over everything it touched and the amount of damaged belongings was unbelievable. I watched in disbelief as people hauled out years of memories from their homes and threw them on the curb to be taken to a landfill. How do you accept and deal with such a disaster? How will you be able to rebuild your lives after you’ve lost everything? How long will it take to have your house clean and in livable conditions? How can people cope so well while facing so much?

What was amazing to see, was the collective hearts of Brisbaners. Tons of people came out to help neighbours, friends, family, even complete strangers, with the filthy task of cleaning up after the flood. Many got down and dirty to help clean up, others provided food, still others provided their services (ie. occupational therapy).

On the corner of my friends’ street (about a block away from their home), there is an Asian-owned convenience/grocery store that carried everything you could possibly need. A few hours before the flood reached, I had stopped by to buy a phonecard. They were still dutifully servicing customers while restaurants across the street had already closed due to the impending flood. The flood did not spare them any mercy, and flooded everything in the store. Once the water receded, tons of people came to help them clean out their store. Happily talking through the filthy mud and nasty stench while working away from morning until night. And this happened all over the city, it was a sight to behold. This was my first time experiencing a natural disaster and to be able to see people from all backgrounds come together to help one another get through this grief was very inspiring.

I loved this city almost immediately after I arrived, and now I like it even more. Like many have said, it can only go uphill from here… 🙂

My classes were supposed to start this past Friday, but are now postponed until next Friday at the earliest.

A few pictures relating to the flood. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera around town today so I don’t have pictures to show what afflicted neighbourhoods look like. I will try and get some pictures tomorrow.

Note: There are captions at the bottom of some of the pictures, please read them!

CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES

I’m alive and well…

… thank you guys for checking in and worrying about me!

Our street is flooded and the water level is about 1/2 a block away from our house. We’re told to expect the worst around 4-5am tomorrow morning where the water is supposed to rise over 5m. For now, we are pretty much trapped at home… with food, thank goodness 🙂

When I am less lazy, I will go out to take pictures of our surroundings to show you. There’s nothing much to say except it’s getting more serious with every news report. Last night, the news reported approximately 6000 homes will be flooded, this morning that number reached 20 000. We’ll stay safe! Don’t worry!

Will keep you updated ❤

The flood…

… has finally arrived…

I don’t know if any of you have seen the news… but the huge flood that has been affecting the state of Queensland has now reached the city I’m staying in, Brisbane. The flood has been devastating and heartbreaking, I really hope everyone will be okay and that the death toll doesn’t continue to rise. Water has already covered certain lower parts of Brisbane and things are expected to get worse Wednesday and Thursday. Evacuation centres have been set up and certain suburbs have been advised to evacuate. So yes, it’s quite serious and people are obviously very worried.

The place I’m currently staying at is on higher grounds, so we have high hopes that the waters will not by rising that high. I’m living with friends, so for that I’m very glad. With news about the flood, we went to the grocery store to pick up a few items… I couldn’t believe it. The grocery store was packed as huge lines of people rushed to stock up on staples and anything they thought they needed in preparation for the flood. By the time we had left, the store’s entire stock of bread was nearly gone.

It’s still raining constantly, you know me – I hate rain. In addition to the news about the flood… I’ve been pretty depressed, I detest sad weather!

In other news, I finally rode the ferry (CityCat) last night when a few friends and I went into the city to watch a movie – Unstoppable. Great theatre, great price ($6.50)… terrrrrrible movie! I cannot believe how bad that movie was…

Today was our International Orientation – with a chance to meet all the other international students in our program. Shuttle buses picked us up at 9:00am from the St. Lucia campus and drove us to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Campus where we listened to speeches from a plethora of people including the Dean of Medicine/Head of UQ. Unfortunately, due to the imminent flood, the afternoon activities including a trip up Mt. Coot-tha was cancelled and our BBQ was cut short as we left early to make sure we got back home before roads closed.

That’s all for now, will keep you updated!

My cell number is: 01161 4 7801 5800. Call me if you can! 🙂 I miss you guys! Love!

Don’t I feel loved…

… I can see my blog stats, and you guys have been checking in on me 3x as often! 😛

Yesterday was fun, I got the chance to visit Toowong and check out their shopping mall and a few stores nearby. Learned a bit, including the fact that stores close REALLY early here… Also went to Tan’s place to hang out and met his roommate, Leo. Later that night, I met up with them again to visit Queen St (kind of like our Byward Market) in the city, and to check out South Bank. The city is beautiful and I wish I had brought my camera to show you!

I’ve been super blog lazy for a few reasons:

1) I have capped internet access on campus (1GB a month… it’s ridiculous!)
2) Because of the cap, I don’t want to upload photos because it eats a lot of bandwidth
3) Even if I wanted to, I haven’t been able to take many pictures because it’s been raiiiiiining.

Today, however, was much nicer – the sun even came out! So I went and took pictures to share with you!

Hover for captions, click for larger!

St Leo’s college, the place I’m temporarily staying at on campus:

There’s a pond on campus, right outside St Leo’s

In the afternoon, the guys and I met Tan at Toowong, where he took us to Fortitude Valley by train to visit Chinatown and have dinner. It was really nice to have good food after days of having airplane and St Leo’s food.

We went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner and it was quite alright – definitely made me miss home food 😦 Then it started raining so I gave up on taking pictures. Tan took us on a walk down to Queen St for a browse and then we headed back – so sleepy…

[Update] I found…

… a breadfruit (trai sa ke) tree!

It is… isn’t it?! The fruit is just young!
Update: Okay… so it’s not a breadfruit tree. There are tons of tamarind (trai me – both kinds!) trees and plumeria flower (hoa su) trees though!

Tan came by the college I’m staying at last night to hang out and we took a walk through campus, where I found the tree above.

It was pretty dark so I only took a few pictures:

And my room!

Apparently the girls’ rooms are much than the guys’. My room doesn’t smell like BO AND it has wifi, which is much better than what the guys have… hahaha!

It’s almost 9am here, and we’re stuck in the college because it’s raining … and raining… and raining. Day to relax? Perhaps! I’ve met a bunch of Canadians and they’re pretty chill so I’m glad! I’m not alone! 😀

I made it…

… to Brisbane! Home!

Landed pretty much on time (2:45pm, local time), there was initially going to be a delay due to the bad weather, but we made it 🙂

I was picked up by Norma, a representative from the University of Queensland and driven to my home-for-the-week – St Leo’s College. The room isn’t bad, small with a large desk, plenty of closet/storage space and a bed. I wish they had clothes hangers… and a blow dryer though! I’ve met 2 guys from Canada, one of them graciously helped carry my luggage up the stairs to my room – thank god, I may have died otherwise.

I feel and look diiiisgusting! Just got off the phone with my mom. 🙂 ❤ Dinner is served from 5-6pm here and it’s almost 5pm already so I must shower and then eat!

I hope you are all doing well and having a goodnight!

 

 

Made it…

… safely to Sydney!

Landed on time at 10:20-ish am, local time. It’s now about 12:40pm.

Proceeded to pick up my baggage and go through customs. The only trouble I had was managing all my luggage by myself! 2 boxes, 1 piece of luggage, 1 carry on, 1 backpack = death on a fat girl like me. I managed to pile everything onto one trolley and push it while pulling my carry on and wearing my backpack. Because I claimed that I brought food and meds, they had me open my box with food in it just to verify. Thank goodness my mom and I packed the food right on top for that specific reason. Besides that, customs was a breeze, the people were nice and I was soon on my way.

Pushed my trolley like a noob across the airport to the Qantas domestic transfers to check in my luggage, go through security and wait for the shuttle bus. Didn’t have to wait long, the bus took us on a lengthy ride to the domestic terminal which is where I am now. Just waiting… I’m boarding in about an hour!

I bought internet access (5$/hour) which is how I’m updating now!

I really wanted to take pictures and/or video of my trip to show you guys, but I have so much luggage with me that it’s such a hassle so I gave up. I do have a few pictures of Vancouver though… I’ll add them later!

My internet time is almost up… so that will be all! I’m going to look for something good to eat… *eyes Krispy Kreme*

Love and miss everyone. Sorry to the family I was chatting with on MSN… it froze on me 😦 Will be in touch soon!

[Picture update] I’ve landed…

… in Vancouver!

I was so tired, I actually passed out before the plane took off and pretty much slept the entire way here… >_>

My flight was delayed over an hour so I got here around 9:20pm, Vancouver time (12:20am EST). Just had a super late dinner at one of their food courts (there’s an aquarium!) and will be heading to my boarding gate soon (my flight boards at 11:10pm).

I miss everyone! I looked like such a crazy person crying by myself all over the place earlier 😦

It’s only been 6 hours on a plane and my butt and back are crying out in pain. I hope I survive this next 15 hour leg to Sydney!

Have a good night and I will be in touch again soon! Love! Thuong!

Picture update:

The nice big aquarium in the food court

Looking out from the aquarium

I’m leaving tomorrow…

… and it makes me sad… and I’ve been crying lots… and bleh! 😦

But I will miss all of you!! Love everyone!

This will be the start of a new chapter of my life, hopefully it will be the best one yet. New journey, new aspirations. I’m scared and nervous, but excited and ready for the challenge. Don’t worry, I will be good, live well, and study hard. Maybe the next time you see me, I will have an Australian accent, a nice golden tan, and mad surfing skills. *cough*

I wish everyone the best in all aspects of life. May you always be blessed with good health and continuous success in all that you do. Love!

I will try my best to keep in touch with everyone! But please check this blog often because it will be your primary source of updates.

Skate on the canal for me! Check in with my mom and siblings for me! Keep me updated on your lives as well… farewell!

2010 IN REVIEW

Hello my lovelies!

Look at what WordPress sent me, a summary of statistics for my blog in 2010! I thought it was pretty neat (sometimes odd) to read. I started this blog as a personal project, to keep a record of memories and events. Along the way, some of my family and friends joined along for the ride too, yay readers! The blog has expanded quite a bit since its inception back on January 1, 2010. My favourite addition has been the latest – Family Photos. Gosh, time flies! It makes me happy to think that I posted entries on a regular basis – very satisfying and continuously motivating!

I’m hoping to use this blog as my main platform for updates once I’m in Australia, so please visit often!

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2010. That’s about 12 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 334 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 40 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 43mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month. (Sandra’s note: Only because I use Photobucket to share photos! Hehe)

The busiest day of the year was November 15th with 199 views.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, mail.live.com, mail.yahoo.com, alphainventions.com, and obama-scandal-exposed.co.cc. (Sandra’s note: Whaa?)

Some visitors came searching, mostly for cho bac lieu, bac lieu, trai bau, sandranguy wordpress, and sandranguy.wordpress.com.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Down with the ancient… November 2010

2

FAMILY PHOTOS October 2010
1 comment

3

PHOTOGRAPHY January 2010

4

MUSIC ON MY MIND January 2010
2 comments

5

ABOUT January 2010

Happy…

… new year (duh)!!

Best wishes to everyone! May you attain all that your heart desires (within reason of course) 😛

New year’s day has always been very quiet for our family, most of us usually head to bed early (see below), this year has been an exception for me!

Took some family pictures! 😀

We had new year’s dinner with my grandparents. A nice classy dinner… of McDonald’s… hahaha! I’m sorry I had a craving and made everyone suffer with me XD. For dessert, multiple kinds of cheesecake… mmm, pounds-to-be-gained!

Some pictures! Hover for captions, click for larger!

 

AND CLICK HERE FOR ALL PICTURES!