MIS: Causes of falls

(In case you’re wondering, MIS stands for Medicine in Society – the rotation I’m currently undertaking, specifically in Geriatric Medicine)

Alright, moving on!

I’m currently in the Fractured Neck of Femur (broken hip) Service. That means, all our patients are elderly AND have broken hips that need repairing.

We admitted a number of new patients this week and as usual, needed to ascertain how they fell. There are a number of factors that can attribute to a fall, either extrinsic or intrinsic factors.

Intrinsic factors are things that are wrong within the body. This includes: balance and gait problems, visual impairment, medications, cognitive problems (ie dementia), cardiovascular problems, etc. Extrinsic factors include anything in the surrounding environment that could cause a fall – stairs, footwear, floors surfaces, lack of mobility equipment, etc.

As you can probably tell, it’s really important to find out the cause of a patient’s fall, because if possible, we want to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Asking our 80+ year old patient:

“And how did you fall?”

“I got blown over by the wind! If you can believe that!”

Resident and I just could not keep a straight face! An elderly woman carrying a pot of spaghetti for her neighbour (who just got out of the hospital) suddenly gets shoved from behind by a gust of wind (easily around 90km/hr during this storm week) and ends up in the hospital – the poor thing! She is lovely though, and her recovery is going well, which is great!

Wind = extrinsic factor πŸ˜‰

Brisbane is going to flood, again

Hello family and friends back home… thought you might want to know what’s going on here!

Tornado warnings, crazy winds, torrential rains have been affecting Brisbane all weekend and now we are anticipating floods. Many towns in the state of Queensland are already affected by the rising water with evacuations in effect.

We’ve been indoors all weekend due to the insane weather and are now hearing of numerous friends losing power and surrounding areas starting to flood.

You can keep an eye on this link for updates: http://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/latest/15962644/live-queensland-tornado-alert-as-wild-weather-hits/

In terms of Brisbane:

Brisbane River to peak about noon on Tuesday, and again at noon on Wednesday. Brisbane River flooding to affect about 3,600 homes and 1,250 businesses, compared with 12,500 homes and 2,500 businesses in 2011. Brisbane River expected to peak at 2.6 metres, compared to 4.46 metres in 2011.

Flood maps were just released and show Windsor (the suburb we live in) as one of the places expected to be worst hit, predicted to peak at midday on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. (LINK) 😦 We are a little worried since our house is located in that red circle. Fingers crossed!

Thinking of everyone and your safety!

Photo #333: Real Breakfast

January 26, 2013

After an intense week of early hours at the hospital, we finally have time to sit down and have a REALLY good breakfast. Open faced sandwiches on grilled ciabatta bread with turkey breast, garlic sauce, tomato, cucumber and Swiss cheese, and a side of salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Yummy!

I’m a 3rd year med student now – woo hoo!

Hello world!

Haven’t blogged in a long time, but this first week in the hospital has been insane!

What? In the hospital you say? Yes!

I’ll just start with a brief blurb about Phase 2 of our medical education πŸ™‚ 3rd and 4th years are known as clerkship years. Good bye are the daily lectures and hello to real world learning! We spend all our time in the hospital, going through 5 rotations a year learning everything we need to become the best doctors we can be. Each rotation is 8 weeks long, with one week orientation at the beginning and one week for review and exams at the end.

This is my rotation order this year:

rotation orderMy first rotation is Medicine in Society – specifically in Geriatric Medicine at The Prince Charles Hospital (TCPH). I had never been at this hospital and didn’t know what to expect. Additionally, although my clinical hospital is RBWH (5 minutes away) it would take 40 minutes to get to TPCH, ugh!

Needless to say, the thought of starting 3rd year terrified me. Imagining my constant lack of knowledge, being berated by my seniors, looking stupid in front of patients, etc.

This week, however, has been amazing! I am spending the first 2 weeks in Fractured Neck of Femur Clinic. In this ward, we work in a multidisciplinary team to care for patients who have broken their hip and will require surgery, making sure their pre and post-op care is complete.

I feel extremely lucky to have been assigned to a great medical team which comprises a geriatrician (GeriDoc, my preceptor), a registrar (Reg) and an intern (Resident). Mornings are spent doing ward rounds with Reg and Resident (GeriDoc joins us at least twice a week), lunch times are often spent in meetings and afternoons are spent doing ward work.

I have learned an amazing amount in such a short time. The most important thing I’ve learned is not the medical knowledge, but how to work in a ward. Understanding the dynamics of working with other staff members, knowing where to find things, learning procedures and protocols on tasks like prescribing meds, ordering bloods and imaging, etc. Being comfortable on the ward and with others is the first step to success I think!

Reg and Resident have been instrumental in my positive experience thus far, especially since I spend all my time with them, and for that I’m very thankful! They are kind, patient at teaching and do not hesitate to give me opportunities to learn and make me feel a part of the team. Although he’s quite busy, I have also spent some time with GeriDoc and he has been more than encouraging. I will be spending more time with him this week, so I’m nervous but anticipating lots of learning.

My only complaint? I’m so wiped by the end of the day! I leave the house at 7am, get to the hospital before 8. Have a bit of time to review recent tests before handover and ward rounds start. Go all day, sometimes no time for lunch, and finally home around 5-6pm. If I’m lucky, earlier! By the time dinner is over, I can barely keep my eyes open to study 😦 Slowly getting used to it though!

Photo #327: Big Day Out of Garbage

January 20, 2013

Mike and I went to Big Day Out today! There will be a separate post about that later, but the amount of garbage lying around is unbelievable! Amazing that so many people can’t just take a few steps to one of the many garbage bins to throw out their trash.


Photo #326: Guilty or Not?

January 19, 2013

It was late and I was the only one awake. It had been 30+ degrees all day and suddenly a craving for cookies&cream ice cream came over me. So… I had some, yum! Do I feel guilty? Nope! Trick: Use a small ice cream scoop (1 tbsp) – looks like a lot but 4 tbsp is only 1/4 cup! πŸ˜€

My last 2 weeks in a nutshell

I haven’t blogged much about being back in Australia, so now’s the time!

It has been hot, like REALLY HOT. So hot that I sit indoors, doing nothing, under a fan, and still sweat. I still have not completely unpacked yet because it’s too hot.

This comic, courtesy of Amin and Imgur perfectly depicts the last week or so:

On a more serious note, such extreme temperatures (on top of health-related risks) have sparked bushfires across Australia and claimed many homes. Keep the victims and the brave workers and volunteers in your thoughts!

We had a Year 3 orientation on Friday Jan 11, which got us excited to be starting the new year. We are expected to soon be able to perform at the level of junior doctors :S As scary as it sounds, how thrilling to finally reach this stage of our education!

Over the weekend, Mike and I saw Les Miserables. I thought it could’ve been great, but Russell Crowe ruined it! Every time he sang, I cringed. I simply don’t understand why he was cast for such an important character (Javert) when he cannot sing! Otherwise, bravo to many others for their performances. My favourites were Samantha Bark (Eponine), Isabelle Allen (young Cosette), and Aaron Tveit (Enjolras). Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway were very impressive in their roles as Jean Valjean and Fantine, respectively, as well. πŸ™‚

On Monday Jan 14, we had our Rotation 1 orientation, which was Medicine in Society. Unfortunately, it was not very useful because everything that was said was already emailed to us last month.

We watched a palliative video called “A Good Death” that hit very close to home and was almost unbearable. Palliative care will become an inescapable aspect of our careers and many have never experienced it personally, it was definitely an important video to prepare our mindset for going into the hospital.

The afternoon Radiology tutorial, however, was lengthy and not high yield at all. The first part consisted of a radiology resource being monotonously read to us and the second part involved approximately 30 students trying to cram around one x-ray viewer in order read x-rays “systematically” (basic steps that should’ve, but weren’t reviewed).

Everybody starting to lose focus as the reading went on and on…

… including Michael and Yoni


This week should’ve been orientation week… but we received no other schedule. Unlike others starting with their Rural or Surgery rotation, we sat around all this week, but at least we had self-study time!

What else did we do?

Went to campus to get our loan documents completed. It’s so nice being on campus when the rest of the school is on vacation – so peaceful!

We also went grocery shopping. Michael has imaginary friends that sit far away and watch the groceries apparently.

Ate deeelicious olive hummus…

… and got fat.

Some of my Christmas presents :)

I mentioned that I would share some of my Christmas presents in an earlier post – I’m finally getting around to it!

Christmas with the family was really lovely this year, thank you again for all the gifts!

16 tupperware containers (so compact!) and a hand food processor from my mom and sister. A silicone mat from Mike’s mom, Caroline, and a Crustache (which I am definitely going to use as a cookie cutter) from his sister, Meaghan.

A Pandora bracelet from my brother and charms from my mom and sister!

A Calvin Klein shoulder bag (that I can use in the hospital!) from my mom and a bottle of nail polish from my cousin Janet!

Funny t-shirts from my siblings

‘I miss my wonderful family :'(‘ t-shirt from my sister – I will wear it proudly

50 Shades of Chicken cookbook (lol) from my cousin Janet and a 32GB USB from my brother. The USB is so tiny, I’m afraid I will lose it soon…

There were other gifts as well, including yummy edibles and red envelopes filled with $$ πŸ˜€ Looking forward to next Christmas!


Photo #319: I’ve Joined the Dark Side

January 12, 2013

I’ve been keeping an eye out for a comfortable pair of shoes for the hospital. A few pairs pairs at stores like Naturalizer and Armstrong & Richardson were pretty comfortable but not very stylish and quite expensive. Dropped into Crocs today without any expectations and voila! Found a lovely, extremely comfy pair for a great price πŸ™‚ Although I am ashamed to say I now own a pair of Crocs… at least they’re not the hole-y sandal Crocs??

Last day in Ottawa with the family

January 03, 2013

Today was my last full day in Ottawa and it turned out to very full and busy!

We invited my grandparents and my cousin Janet to lunch at Play (as you can tell by now, I really like that place). Most people had never been there before and I thought it would be a good experience.

We had reservations for 12pm and asked specifically to be seated upstairs because I find it nicer. πŸ˜‰

Once everyone arrived, it took us a while but we eventually decided on our 2 dishes each. There were a number of repeats at our table, including the hanger steak, sweetbreads, Walleye, scallops and clam linguine

My brother, grandpa and I had sweetbreads (thymus of a calf/lamb) for the first time. Unfortunately, it’s not on the current menu so I can’t give the full dish description. I didn’t know what to expect and I’m glad I can say I’ve tried something new, although I didn’t love it. The taste and texture was a mix of really soft chicken plus mild liver (and I don’t like liver, unless it’s pate). The blend of flavours was good though!

My mom and grandpa ordered the scallops / cider / cauliflower / raisin / bacon / brussels, which were quite tasty, although I don’t have a picture of them. 😦

My grandma and sister ordered the Walleye / chorizo / beans / grapefruit / fennel / brown butter. Like myself the other day, they found the dish too bitter and the beans too crunchy for their taste.

My mom and Janet had the little neck clams / linguine / parmesan / chili / soffritto /garlic. The portion was enormous, but apparently the dish was just way too bland. Very disappointing!

My grandma and brother got the frog legs / polenta / truffle / eggplant / radicchio / caper. I think both were underwhelmed with the dish, especially my brother who wished he had chosen something else.

Janet and I also got the grilled hanger steak / mushroom / frites / aioli. Yum! Unlike Mike’s steak from the other day, this one was super tasty and I was really glad I chose this dish.

Lastly, my sister’s second dish was the beef slider / cabbage / bacon / cream cheese / matchsticks. I don’t think she fully enjoyed this dish, especially because there was a spread similar to tuna on her beef slider. The matchsticks were also not as good as having actual frites.

It was still a fun experience though!

For dessert, we went back into Byward Market for baked goods at Moulin de Provence – one of my favourite bakeries in Ottawa and also home of the famous Obama cookies.

Doesn’t this amazing selection make your mouth water? And all for such good prices too!

“I don’t know what I’m doing!”

Trying to smile with food in her mouth…

We walked through the market before saying good bye to our grandparents who were going home first.

The rest of us went shopping at Rideau Mall for a while until our stomachs had enough room for… Beavertails! For those who don’t know, they are delicious fried dough pastries, a Canadian treat! Waiting in line for our order…

Some shots in the market as we wait…

Mmm! I got the Kilaloe Sunrise – which is the classic cinnamon & sugar beavertail with a spritz of lemon juice – delicious!

We didn’t get home til after 5pm, which is when my cousin Flora, invited us to go skating with her siblings. There’s an outdoor rink outside City Hall called the Rink of Dreams, that is apparently gorgeous at night. How could I say no? Janet went home to grab her skates and belongings since she planned to stay over. We would meet her at the rink instead. My sister also decided that it would be a good idea to invite the rest of our other cousins to come over afterwards for my last night in town.

The cousins who went skating!

Some footage of the pretty Rink of Dreams and of my sister falling! πŸ˜€

Heading home!

The cousins came over shortly after we got back from skating. We had a few good solid hours of boardgames, food and laughs. Thank you so much for coming guys! I hope we do it again soon!

I stayed up late to finish packing, but finally called it a night and went to bed around 3am!

FYI: On the day I left Ottawa, 40cm/16″ of snow (should be more since some melted and compacted) had fallen!

Visiting Dad & Cha Ca La Vong

January 02, 2013

My siblings and I finally went to visit my dad today at Beechwood Cemetery. Gosh, it was so cold! It had also snowed so much this season that my dad’s headstone was half buried.

As mentioned in an earlier photo of the day, we brought out my dad’s little dog statues to keep him company. My sister had given my dad these dogs a few years back, they represented his 3 children since he was born the year of the dog.

My sister then took us to try a bakery in Orleans… but too bad it was closed! Instead, we went grocery shopping before I headed back to my grandparents’ house to meet up with my cousin, Christine, to learn how to make Banh Bo.

It was a lot easier than I had anticipated, and in the end, it turned out nice! Thanks Christine! I will try to make some here in Brisbane when I can find all the ingredients.

That evening, my mom made her version of a Northern Vietnamese dish called “Cha Ca La Vong” and it was delicious! Definitely one of my favourite dishes πŸ™‚ The combination of salmon, dish, fermented shrimp sauce, onions and peanuts is amazing – you must try it if you get the chance!

And in unrelated news, I tried a sapodilla fruit (sapoche) for the first time today! It was tasty and despite my apprehension, I wasn’t allergic! The taste reminded me of persimmons and be careful not to choke on the hooked seeds!

And in more unrelated food news, I had a pretty artful lollipop πŸ™‚

Happy New Year!

Michael stayed to celebrate new year’s with my family, which consisted of champagne (okay, sparkling wine), snacks and board games. Hurray!

My mom didn’t stay up late with us because she had work the next day. Instead, we celebrated with an early breakfast at Perkins before taking her to work πŸ™‚

Like previous years, our entire family was supposed to celebrate New Year’s on the 1st at my grandparents. Unfortunately, the majority of my relatives were really sick, so our family festivities were cancelled!

I hope you all had a wonderful time with your family and friends – either out partying or just having a good time relaxing! πŸ™‚

Fardella’s Classic Bakery & Internet Cafe

December 28, 2012

While in Kingston, Michael took me to a bakery his brother Matt had introduced him too – Fardella’s Classic Bakery & Internet Cafe.

I can imagine the Fardellas have turned their bakery into a home away from home for many customers – I know I would be one of them if I lived nearby. Friendly faces greet you as you come through the door, an enormous center table full of baked delights immediately draws you in and then you look around and instantly feel like you could come here everyday.

A cozy living room area lets you sit and watch TV, grandfather clocks and other decor make you feel like you’ve stepped into the comforts of home, and of course, there’s always wifi! As a student, I crave exactly this kind of establishment, but unfortunately, no such thing exists here in Brisbane. Did I mention it’s open 24/7? I know! Isn’t that awesome?

The way customers are served is unique and enticing as well. You can place your order for prepared food at the counter, then help yourself to drinks and pastries, pick up your order and then sit down and enjoy your meal. Once you’re done, just head to the cash to pay, and perhaps you’d like to pick up some fresh bread and jams, or even more pastries on the way out!

Michael and I both decided on fritters, I got apple and he got blueberry. Both were $1.90/each and the size of my face – for real. And more importantly, they were delicious!

I really wish I could’ve made many more visits in order to try everything on their menu – but alas, perhaps next year!

Fardella`s Classic Bakery & Internet Cafe on Urbanspoon

Shawarma & Perth Road Village

Just continuing on with my catch up blogs!

December 26th…Boxing Day. No, I didn’t go shopping because I really dislike shopping in huge crowds – people are crazy! Instead, I had shawarma… again πŸ˜€ and I got to hang out with Amin! Not only that, but Max and Jason showed up too, so I got to see them as well πŸ™‚

Everybody busy feasting on their delicious food

Unlike everyone else, Amin didn’t finish his food. When he’s back in Toronto, where they don’t have Shawarma Palace and he’s craving it, he’s going to think about this moment and wish he had finished his plate πŸ˜›

Michael came up on December 27th to take me down to his place for a few days. Before leaving Ottawa, we went for lunch at Play – one of our favourite places in Ottawa. They are still offering 2 plates for $20 and it’s always hard to make up your mind because so many things look good!

After some deliberation, we finally made up our minds and ordered. Enjoyed some bread and butter while we waited for the food…

My first dish: Walleye / chorizo / beans / grapefruit / fennel / brown butter.
Thoughts: Loved the fish, it was beautifully cooked. The dish was a little too bitter and the beans were a little too crunchy for my taste but overall, it was enjoyable.

Michael’s first dish: grilled quail / rutabaga / rosemary / mushroom hash / scallion
His thoughts: Quail component of the dish was super tasty but the scallions were tough to cut and didn’t add much to the dish.

My second dish: frog legs / polenta / truffle / eggplant / radicchio / caper
My thoughts: Delicious! The flavours worked well and the frog was super tender. I only wish frog legs had less bones. Also my first time having radicchio, never knew it was so bitter!

Mikes second dish: grilled hanger steak / mushroom / frites / aioli
His thoughts: Steak was just ‘meh’, which was a surprise because everyone I know loves this dish. I tasted it too, and unfortunately, it just wasn’t as good as the other times I’ve had it.

Overall, a yummy lunch and soon we were off for the 2+ hour ride back to Michael’s place in Perth Road Village.

Play Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

Made it there before suppertime where Mike’s mom had made Turkey Tetrazzini – yum! That night we played Settlers of Catan – our new favourite game πŸ˜‰

December 28th: Heading into the Kingston!

After nearly dying the night before due to cat allergies, we started the day late with breakfast and a stroll around Mike’s place.

Walking in a winter wonderland!

The allergies were killing me, I do not look good, haha!

One of the culprits of my suffering – Napoleon, Michael’s cat of nearly 7 years. He may look a little evil in this photo, but he is such a darling. He always wants to be close and have your attention – it’s too bad I’m allergic 😦

We then headed into the city to watch to visit Fardella’s Bakery (more on this next post!) and to watch The Hobbit. The movie was good, but much longer than it needed to be. With that being said, I do look forward to watching the next 2 installments.

After the movie, Michael took me for an outdoor skate at Springer Market Square. So cold, but so much fun to be on the ice outdoors again – loved it!

Went back in time to help Mike’s parents take down their Christmas tree before having dinner. I didn’t last too long after that, went to bed early because the cat allergies were killing me. 😦

The next day, December 29th, we went to his Aunt Patsy and Uncle Dan’s home for lunch and stayed throughout the afternoon until dinnertime. It was really nice (and scary) to meet so many of his family members at once, but everyone was really easy going and lovely to talk to.

Due to my allergies, Mike and I went back to Ottawa tonight, a day earlier than intended – but we were concerned I might not actually be able to breathe this time if I stayed.

And that marks the end of my adventures at Michael’s!

Noel, Noel, Noel!

Christmas festivities at my grandparents with the entire family!

Some of the goodies our family made:

We made butter ‘bark’ cookies

I made Hors d’Oeuvres (ricotta & spinach, potato & mushroom, 3 cheese & olive)

My mom made Nem Chua (pink – cured fermented pork) and Cha Lua (white – Vietnamese ham/cold meat)

My mom also made scalloped potatoes and my grandpa provided a turkey, cooked by Cau Hai’s family!

Canh Ga Chien – Crispy garlic chicken wings from Cau Hai’s family. And salad from Cau Ba’s family in the background.

Banh Mi Chien – Deep fried baguette toast with shrimp paste from Di Nam’s family

Goi Du Du – Papaya salad with beef jerky from Cau Tu’s family

Soo much food!

All the kids

With Di Nam and my mom!

There are way too many pictures of our grandparents reading cards and opening presents from all the kids to post, so here’s a few!

All the kids received wrapped boxes of chocolate from my grandparents and the adults received gifts from them as well.

We then played boardgames… for hours and hours. And ate another meal during boardgames… and played some more until everyone had to go home.

Christmas was a great day. The kids even had an ugly Christmas sweater themed photo shoot, but more on that later…


Christmas Eve with the Grandparents

Our pretty Christmas tree with presents!

We went to church tonight and also cooked up a yummy turkey dinner to have with our grandparents!

But before that, we took some family pictures. You’ve already seen the “proper” family photo in a previous ‘photo of the day’, here are the better looking ones πŸ˜›

I love turkey soo much, seriously.

The spread

Family picture!

Time to eat!

My mom after a drink, her face suddenly matches the colour of her sweater πŸ˜›

A family photo courtesy of my grandpa

My grandma was also in the middle of baking and filling many many Banh Xu (aka Choux-CrΓ¨me)… these are super delicious and a hit with anyone who tries one!

We ended the night back at our house opening presents. I received such lovely presents, will have to write a separate post about them once I’m back in Australia and have taken pictures of them! πŸ™‚

Past to present

Alright, I’m going to go back now and catch up on blogging about everything from my last (not including Photo of the Day) post on December 16th!

Actually, before I do that, I need to share a few pictures from November 19th! My Cau Ba (third uncle) is off work on Mondays and he made “Vit Nau Chao” (Duck in soy bean based hotpot) for lunch with my grandparents and I was invited to join. Yum yum yum, thanks Cau Ba!

Mike was up visiting Dec 18-20 and of course, we had to go to Perkins for breakfast one day! We were pretty greedy and ordered not only huge breakfasts, but sweet potato fries as well.

We also contemplated trying their ‘Cake Pies’ but decided to spare our bodies and left it at that. Dinner that night? Shawarma of course!

November 21st: Down came the snow!!

It didn’t fall as snowflakes, it fell in huge clumps!

After clearing out the driveway, my sister and I headed out to run errands. We ended up at a Rexall pharmacy where they were providing flu shots. Guess who’s vaccinated this year? You should go get yours too!

I made baked gnocchi for dinner that night… thought it turned out okay! πŸ™‚

Absence and now back to Brisbane

My apologies for being so blog silent over the holidays! As you can imagine, the holidays take up so much time! πŸ˜›

I do have lots of stories and pictures to share though, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, Mike and I are currently on our way back to Brisbane.

Firstly, thank you to those I was able to see this break and my apologies for those I couldn’t meet up with: Bea, Ruixi, Mel, Sareda, Soph, etc. I was out of town, then sick, then super busy and unfortunately couldn’t see you… next time okay? πŸ™‚

Secondly, thank you to all my family who came to the airport to see me off! I look forward to being home again!

Our flight from Ottawa to Toronto was delayed, and as a result, it caused us to miss our connecting flight to Sydney last night.

We landed over an hour late, and then we had to waste several more hours figuring out new flights, finding our luggage, grabbing a shuttle, waiting for food delivery, etc!

Despite the delay and the extra night in Toronto, things worked out nicely. We were given a nice room at Days Hotel with food vouchers. Additionally, because the same flight to Australia was full for today, we were rerouted and will be flying through Los Angeles… in Business Class πŸ˜€

By the time we got to our hotel, it was already 11pm. The hotel restaurant was closed… thank goodness for ordering food for delivery!

Mike and I had breakfast at the hotel today before grabbing the shuttle bus back to the airport at 8am. We gave ourselves plenty of time to go through US Customs and Security. Priority access makes the airport experience a breeze and luckily, we didn’t run into any trouble. Our baggage is checked through to Sydney, so fears of traveling through the US temporarily relieved!

Because we were flying business, we had access to the Maple Leaf Lounge… very nice. I wish I could fly like this all the time! Comfy seating areas, showers, food, drinks, internet… it’s nice πŸ™‚

I love priority lines! Business class on our flight to LA were not the pods, sadly, but still very enjoyable. We had good food and drinks and more room for my bum.

This chicken wasn’t very good actually.

Mmm, tenderloin.

Warm chewy cookies AND gelato? My flight is complete.

A mother and 2 children were sitting in front of us. While they were settling into their seats, the son (around 11 years old) turned to his mom and said incredulously, “We’re in business class?” The mom laughed and said yes. Mike and I were amazed at not only how well these children behaved, but at the end of the flight, he turned to his mom and said, “I really enjoyed this flight. Thanks mom.” So cute!

The view as we prepared to land in LA.

So, we landed in LA around 3pm and had to walk over to a different terminal and go through security again. No trouble this time either and the lines went quickly so we were pleasantly surprised! Our flight to Sydney doesn’t leave until 10pm so we decided to pay for access to the United Club Lounge. So far, very worth it! We’ve got about 4 more hours to wait around… and then finally off to Australia!

Guess who’s catching up on her blogging, finally?

Michael enjoying his drink (and plethora of snacks) and saying, “Hello!”

Photo #309: Keeping Dad Company

January 02, 2013

My siblings and I went to visit my dad at the cemetery today. There was so much snow that his headstone was half buried, not to mention it was SO COLD. Years ago, my sister got these 3 dogs as a small gift for my dad, they represented his three children since he was born the year of the dog. Today, we marked them with our Viet names and brought them out to keep my dad company in the snow.

Photo #306: Learning My Wines

December 30, 2012

I failed at taking a picture today 😦 So sad, I’m sorry! But I did find this fun and informative flowchart. I’ve already tried quite a few and now I’m thinking of attempting to taste everything on this list (and others not on here) in my lifetime… want to join?


Photo #304: Finally on the Ice

December 28, 2012

For the first time in 2 years, I went skating… outdoors! My favourite, how I’ve missed this! It’s really too bad that the Rideau Canal in Ottawa will never be open before I head back to Australia after the holidays. Instead, Michael took me to the Springer Market Square Rink (at City Hall) in Kingston – fun!

Photo #303: Tender Frog Legs

December 27, 2012

Mike came into town and we were heading back to his place for a few days. Decided to stop for lunch at our favourite restaurant in Ottawa before hitting the road. I’d only ever had frog legs done the “Asian” way (battered and deep fried, then tossed in salt, butter and sauteed garlic) so thought this would be a nice dish to try – the frog was so tender!

Photo #301: First Cousins Portrait

December 25, 2012

Can you believe that we’re all grown up but today was the first time all 13 of us took a picture together?! Yea, me neither. Obviously we are quite special though.

Although I took many pictures today, this photo shoot (photo cred: Andy Nguy) was my favourite! Not bad for a first ugly Christmas sweater attempt?