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 😛

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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 😛 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!

Early Christmas Dinner with the family

December 23, 2014

My family from Perth were staying in Brisbane until Christmas Eve evening. That meant we definitely had to take the opportunity to have an early Christmas dinner with everyone present.

If you know my family, food is a priority. You will never attend a family event with us and leave hungry. NEVER. EVER.

Visiting another city and living in a serviced apartment? No problem! The Nguyens always deliver!

Preparing the food is all part of the fun!

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Sneaking in some more views from their apartment

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The… Christmas tree?

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Some of the food dishes… all homemade!

Inari – aburaage (deep fried tofu) bags filled with rice. Our addition – topped with seaweed – yum!

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Variety of sushi rolls

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Vietnamese cold meat – thit nguoi – one of the traditional meats seen in Viet subs

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Roasted leg of lamb

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Shrimp cocktail ring with traditional Viet garlic mayo. So much better than marinara sauce!

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Curry egg salad

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Couscous salad

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Ong Ba Ba!

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Michael and his mom

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Ong Ba Ut

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My future parents-in-law 🙂

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Ba Ut and I

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View of the spread

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And as always, family photos before eating!

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She who cooks, carves

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Self serve buffet

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He’s so cute.

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The following day, December 24, 2014, was all about relaxation and spending our last day together. We ate Christmas leftovers and hung out at the apartment. Michael and his parents climbed Mt Ngungun during the day and joined us at the apartment in the afternoon to see my family off.

Love my family! Don’t know when I’ll see them next 😦 Thank you so much for everything, can’t wait to see you again! ❤

Graduation presents

December 21, 2014

After lunch at Wagaya, our families came back to our house to visit – a first time for my family from Perth!

In addition, our families took that opportunity to give us amazing, generous, graduation gifts – thank you so very much!

My mom gave us our gifts from my grandparents first – as they are the oldest and couldn’t attend in person – thank you Ong Ba Ngoai! We will put the money towards our future and wedding planning!

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I received a nice watch and card from Ong Ba Ba

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Thank you to Ong Ba Ut for their generous gifts – we will put it towards our relocation and setting up a new life in Rockhampton!

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A very special gift to Michael from his parents, a laminated card that his mom has kept safely for many years

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My mom is the best, as always!

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With the best card 😛

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She gave us each a Pilot retractable fountain pen

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Michael also got a beautiful dark purple DKNY tie from my mom, and I received 2 Pandora beads – thank you mom!

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Thank you to Di Loan for your lottery tickets! We were really hoping to win, but alas!

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Also a very special thank you to Ong Ba Hai (Ong Ba Ut’s best friends) and Nghiem for sending me cards and gifts!

Some family photos

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I also want to share the graduation gifts from Michael’s family! We received them on December 11, 2014, during our beach getaway at Noosa with his family 🙂

Aunt Patsy and Uncle Dan gave us a generous gift to treat ourselves out to a celebratory graduation dinner – thank you! It was really too bad that our graduation date was changed to a week later this year compared to previous years. Unfortunately, they couldn’t attend but I’m sure they had a great time on their cruise!

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Uncle Rick and Aunt Wendy gave us the cutest Christmas ornaments. They definitely went on our tree and will be on our tree every year!

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Uncle Jim and Aunt Brenda gave us the novel “Breathless” written by Dr Todd – a thoracic surgeon who performed many of Canada’s early lung transplant operations.

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Thank you so much to everyone for all your love, gifts, and kind words! Treasured forever!

Graduation – Family Photos

December 21, 2014

With no other graduation ceremonies taking place, the University of Queensland campus was beautifully quiet for our family to take photos at a leisurely pace.

Campus is beautiful with sandstone and green back drops. For just one camera, a tripod and me running back and forth in heels to set up – I think the pictures turned out pretty good! What do you think?

Some of my favourites 🙂

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My pretty mom!

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Who knew this day would come?

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And always take the opportunities for pretty photos! That’s my rule 😉

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Everyone was ready for lunch by the time we were done taking photos – off to Wagaya for Japanese food!

We had a made a reservation and had our private room, which was nice!

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Sake for everyone, right mom? 😛

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Very happy everyone loved their food! It’s one of our favourite places and we were really happy to share with our families

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After lunch, we came back to our place… more about that in the next post!

MBBS Graduation – we’re doctors!

December 20, 2014

After a long journey, MIchael and I officially became doctors – yay!

Our graduation ceremony took place at the University of Queensland campus and attended by Michael’s parents, my mom, Ong Ba Ba, and Di Loan.

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Micheal receiving his “diploma” and being congratulated by the Chancellor. You actually receive an empty cylinder on stage and receive a packet of documents, including your diploma/testamur once you leave stage 🙂

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My turn 🙂 I didn’t faceplant on stage, success!

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As with every university graduation ceremony I’ve attended, the graduates are asked to turn around, face the audience, and give our family and friends a standing ovation. To thank them for their never ending love and support, for helping us achieve our dreams, and celebrating with us. This is a moment of happiness for many students, but a bittersweet moment for me. Happy to have succeeded but with tears stinging my eyes, remembering my father who’s no longer on this earth to see his daughter graduate. I know he would’ve been extremely happy and proud 🙂

My Ong Ba was quite exhausted after the long ceremony

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With a class of over 400 people, you can imagine how crowded the campus was!

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Family photo!

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My biggest support

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My other half, my meant to be!

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We decided not to hang around for long as it was quite crowded and hot, plus everyone was tired, but we were able to grab a few photos with our friends on the way out!

With the lovely Sarah 🙂

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Josiah and his family are amazing people – so warm and gracious – will never forget their hospitality!

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Will be working with Chuan in Rockhampton in 2015! Woo hoo for getting jobs!

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Can’t forget these 2, Fiona & Smiley, PBL 25 represent from Day 1. Missing Christine (elsewhere), James (on his honeymoon) and Kristen (with her baby girl)!

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And of course, Tom!

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While getting our diplomas framed, we ran into Lauren!

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Woo, we did it!

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Part of the reason why we were eager to leave was because we had already made plans. My Ong Ba Ut couldn’t attend our graduation (not enough tickets) so we had decided to come back the following day (Sunday) to take some family photos together. We would dress up again and come back to campus to take photos at our own leisure. It would work out perfectly because our graduation was the last ceremony of the year so campus would be completely empty.

So with that plan in mind, we went back to my family’s apartment to celebrate!

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Lots of toasts!

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Lots of “1-2-3-Voooooo!” (1-2-3 cheers!)

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Michael and I had wanted to take our families out to dinner to thank them. But everyone was tired and we decided to get McDonald’s takeaway instead. With wine. Ended the day super classy!

Thank you again to all my family and friends for your love and support! Couldn’t have made it to today without all of you!

Malaya Corner and meeting for the first time

December 19, 2014

Dinner out with my family from Perth, and they were meeting Michael and his family for the first time!

Michael and I suggested Malaya Corner for dinner as it has a lots of seating, and tasty, generous dishes for a very reasonable price.

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Unfortunately, some of my family members really didn’t like their dishes and jokingly vowed never to return 😛

Some of our dishes

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Even though the food may not have been the best, the company sure was!

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I don’t remember the last time I had a meal out together with both my Ong Ba Ba and Ong Ba Ut, making memories for a lifetime!

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Glad Michael and his parents had the chance to meet some of my family as well!

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We walked over to King George Square after dinner to enjoy the Christmas Lights Spectacular show

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Then walked my family back to their apartment. It was getting late and everyone was ready to call it a night.

We did, however, take a few more family photos!

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Thank you to Ong Ba Ba for treating us to our first family meal out together! ❤

Family arrives from Perth!

Around close to midnight on December 18, 2014, my mom and I greeted our family arriving from Perth. Welcome to Brisbane!

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My great aunt (grandma’s sister) and uncle Ut (Ong Ba Ut), my great uncle (grandma’s brother) and aunt Ba (Ong Ba Ba), and my Aunt Loan (Ong Ba’s daughter). Who’ve traveled to Brisbane in order to celebrate our graduation with us!

I helped them rent a 2 bedroom serviced apartment at Lexicon Oaks in the city, which they were really happy with. Spacious, had all the amenities, a gorgeous city view, and in great location. Consistently good customer service as well, would highly recommend if you’re looking for a place to stay in the city!

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It was already so late by the time we got back to their apartment, we called it a night with plans to catch up the next day.


December 19, 2014

How good is it to catch up with family?

Ong Ba has Alzheimer’s disease. Although he may have difficulties remembering the conversations we just had (sometimes starting with, “Who are you again?” haha), he is such a delight with his humour and stories! Although he doesn’t remember me as he wasn’t around when I was growing up, he fondly remembers my mom! And my grandparents, aunts and uncles back in Canada.

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My Ba Ut, who has always supported me and my decision to come to Australia to study. She is eerily similar to my grandma in some ways – especially her cadence 😛

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Us with Ong Ba Ba – Ba Ba is well known in the family for her style and loud hospitality with guests

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My mom made a very simple (yet delicious) lunch of pumpkin soup and ginger chicken with rice. It was really nice to have a large sit down, family meal which conversing in Viet – something I’ve missed!

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Family photo 🙂 The only person I haven’t mentioned yet, Ong Ut! Always ready with a joke and a laugh!

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With full tummies after lunch, it was decided that we would go out for dinner later that day, to officially meet Michael and his parents… dun dun dun 🙂

A tasty catch Breakfast at Chouquette

December 17, 2014

It’s silly that it’s taken me so many months to share such a gem – but here it is! Now that we are living in Rockhampton, I can only daydream of having delicious French pastries again soon!

Founded and managed by Lara Sample, Chouquette opened in 2006… I didn’t visit until 2014, what a shame! At least we got a few visits in before moving away.

With the skills of French-born and trained bakers and pastry chefs, alongside Australian staff, Chouquette consistently produces authentic and high quality delights. It’s easy to see why customers return again and again.

In 2013, Chouquette’s sister business, Crust & Co, opened in Wilston as a wholesale business that also caters to the public. If you know me, then I’ve definitely told you how much we love Crust & Co! Chouquette is no different, with the bonus of more options and atmosphere!

The small bakery in New Farm opens at 6:30am Weds-Sunday. Get in early for the best selection of goodies, as well as a seat! There are a handle of seats indoors and a few more outside on the sidewalk. Definitely not a place to set up shop and study for the day, but a bite to eat and catch up with friends is perfect! You will also notice a consistent stream of customers come in for take away goodies through out the day.

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The variety makes the selection process difficult. Do I want cakes? Or pastries? Or bread? It often ends with, “I’ll have a bit of everything!”

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Service has always been fantastic and one of the few opportunities I’ve had to hear and speak French since moving to Australia!

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Prices are definitely on the higher side than what I’m used to, especially compared to back in Canada. But once in a while is definitely worth it 😉

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One of my favourite breakfast options are their filled baguettes! Fresh, delicious, crispy baguette with a variety of toppings. They are max $9.00 and one of my favourites is salami, provolone, basil, lettuce and tomato.

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We love all the pastries, although haven’t had the opportunity to try many of their cakes yet.

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Here a few yums!

Mille feuille – good cream but the pastry is a little too dark.

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Canele – beautiful and tasty! Although the ones we’ve had at Macarons et Madeleines in Ottawa will always be the best!

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Good coffees

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And of course, can’t forget to mention the good company! 😉

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Definitely worth a visit, I know I’ll be coming back when I have the chance!

Chouquette Patisserie & Café on Urbanspoon

Family trip to Stradbroke Island!

December 16, 2014

Stradbroke Island holds a special place in our hearts. Not only is it one of our favourite places in Australia, it was also where Michael proposed to me on March 12, 2014!

We were very excited to be able to show our parents the beautiful island and the place we became engaged 🙂

There’s not much to say because the photos speak for themselves!

Ferry ride over

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Ran into so many beached jellyfish

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Look at the gorgeous water!

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My mom is not a fan of midday beach fun because it’s so hot and the sun is so strong, very happy she still came along!

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Selfies!

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The rock where we got engaged! Where Deadman’s Beach transitions to Frenchman’s beach… ❤

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Continuing with the Gorge Walk

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We finished the day off with Korean BBQ dinner at Midam – delicious!

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