DHAL: June 19-26, 2014

Hello friends! How have you been?

What a long absence, but here’s what I’ve been up to this past week!

Highlights:

  • As I mentioned in my previous DHAL, I spent last week in ICU and glad to say I enjoyed my entire time there. Unfortunately, I do think a week is too short. Just as I was getting used to the very different medical environment and getting to know the team, it was time to move on. Alas!
  • On Friday, June 20th, I made soft cranberry white chocolate chips! I think they turned out good and not too sweet with a hint of cinnamon.

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  • The next day, I accompanied FangYing (and her younger sister FangZee) in the morning to help her look for wedding dresses. I couldn’t stay with her for all her appointments because I had lunch at Matt & Kristen’s – thank you so much for the delicious food! It was lovely to see their family – Abigail gets bigger, smarter and more gorgeous each time I see her. Not only was it really nice to see my friends (James, Kim and Smiles), it was also really nice to meet some of their friends and catch up with some of the ones I’ve met in the past. Annette, who I first met through Kristen during our first year elective in Vietnam is 6 months pregnant already, how time flies!
  • On Sunday, I went with FangYing and her sister again to another bridal shop in Indooroopilly, where she also convinced me to try on a few wedding dresses. Although I’m not seriously looking for one myself yet, it was a fun experience! I definitely do not want a mermaid wedding dress and after trying on some strapless ones, I like them a lot more than I think! That’s all I got so far 😛 Afterwards, we met up with YungHowe, her fiance, for dimsum lunch – yummy! I’ve been craving for a while so it was quite satisfying 🙂

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  • It was a fun weekend that continued even into Monday when I met up with Sarah and Amanda for a girl’s night catch up. We had dinner at New Shanghai, left stuffed with the promise of doing it again soon. It was also Amanda’s belated birthday so Sarah and I had the chance to treat her to dinner.
  • My gorgeous friend Ruixi married her love, Chris, on June 21! So sad I couldn’t be there with them and friends, but she was a beautiful bride and they both looked so happy!! I’m so happy for you two! Love seeing the photos!
  • Starting this week until the end of this rotation – July 11th, I will be on Anaesthesia. This entails me accompanying a different anaesthetic consultant everyday to theatre in order to learn and assist. So far, I have been blessed with very friendly seniors who are happy to have a medical student and eager to teach and give me hands on experience. I am getting better at ‘bag and masking,’ which is the most important skill to learn in these next few weeks. I still lack the upper body strength to hold the mask and bag at the same time, but I’m working on it! Another skill we try to master during this term is intubation – which I’ve met with variable success – I accidentally put the endotracheal tube in the oesophagus today. My last intubation was perfect though, hopefully I keep it up!
  • The other nice thing about anaesthesia is the chance to see surgeries I haven’t seen in the past. For example, a total hip replacement, maxillary advancement, bilateral breast reduction, etc.
  • This morning, I got confirmation that I will have free accommodation during my 4 week elective in Nanaimo, BC – yay! Saves me at least $500 🙂
  • I finished at the hospital quite late today. It was already very dark outside when I got home but I saw an outline of a bouquet waiting for me at the door. I couldn’t look at it until I was inside but what a beautiful surprise. A bouquet of our favourite flowers – lilies from Michael – I love you! They haven’t bloomed yet but are so fresh and I can’t wait to see what colour they are. Thank you dear!

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Lowlights:

  • I need to start packing! 2 weeks left until I go home! So much to do still. I have 2 pieces of baggage on my flight back so I will be bringing back goodies for my family 😉
  • Long days. I’m exhausted and falling asleep around 10pm these days. This rotation is draining! Can’t wait for it to be over and to be going home!

Valentine’s Day dinner

February 14, 2014

Although completely consumed with studying, we did put time aside for ourselves to celebrate Valentine’s Day. A slightly silly holiday, as you should be celebrating your love everyday, it was still nice to do something a little more special than usual.

I decided on getting ‘us‘ a ‘gift‘ – case of 12 bottles of wine, yay! I personally picked a mix of reds, whites, and sparkling – which we will be enjoying (hopefully if all my choices are good) throughout the next months!

Flowers, a card, and a delicious home cooked meal from Mike. We also cracked the first bottle of wine, a Kooks Shiraz 2012, given the stamp of approval from the both of us.

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Glazed beef tenderloin with walnut mash and grilled veggies. The walnut flavour was great and the beef so tender, so yum! Thank you dear!

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You can clearly see how tired and tired we are in this photo. 😛

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Someone might think, “Why not roses?” Because lilies are my favourite, they are large and beautiful, will bloom over days, and leave your house smelling amazing!

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Happy Valentine’s Day! What did you do to celebrate?

Part 1: A Delightful Wednesday

October 24, 2012

Met up with Christine for study date – lunch at Petit Four in Wintergarden Queen St Mall. Christine had a ‘tasting’ voucher – $15 for the 2 of us which I thought was definitely worth it!

I had read a number of negative reviews on Urbanspoon but was quite happy with the pleasant service! We were patiently instructed on our options and what we could choose:

  • 2 hot drinks (approx $5/ea value) – I chose a hazelnut chocolate milk while Christine got a strawberry mocha. My milk was nearly hot enough to even melt the chocolate so I ended up with a clumpy chocolatey drink. Fortunately, it still tasted good.

  • 2 chocolates ($3/ea value) – Wild passionfruit for me and a rose shaped fudge for Christine. Yummy chocolates!

  • 4 small macarons (approx $3/ea value) – Pistachio and citrus for me, strawberry and pistachio for Christine. I really enjoyed these but haven’t had them enough to know if these would be considered ‘great’ or not.

  • 1 tart (approx $5/ea value) – Lemon meringue. Nothing special but tasted good.

  • 1 square (approx $5/ea value) – Chocolate mud cake. Didn’t really like this – barely enough chocolate flavour and not very moist – definitely not a ‘mud’ cake.

  • 4 finger sandwiches – We got one of each flavour: egg & dill, chicken, tuna and tomato/cheese/ham. Again, nothing special but they were good!

Overall, the food was quite decent. And really, how could you complain when you paid $15 for all of that food, in Brisbane?

There were also numerous people who came to redeem the same voucher (which expired the next day). I was amazed at how impatient and stuck up some customers can be. Hello?! You chose to be cheap and purchase this great deal… what on earth are you so high and mighty about? Some people really need to learn to be a little more respectful!

Anyway, Petit Four is located in a corner of the mall so you don’t expect much. But they do have a cute environment with  clear plastic chairs and little tables (seat 2 or 4) as well as clear stools for 2 big counters for customers to sit at. We set up shop at one of the counters and ended up staying for close to 5 hours, mainly studying with some chit chat 😉 Not once did we feel pressured to leave and the tasting definitely filled us up for a while!

Would I come back? Yes! But only when I’m not so cheap and poor… 😛

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Finally got home around 5:30pm to these! So pretty!

From this guy! 😉

We had a dinner date that night (you’ll see in Part 2!) so he decided to get me flowers… awww, so sweet!

Last stroll around my neighbourhood

It will be January of 2012 when I will have another opportunity to go around my neighbourhood taking pictures, so decided to do it one last time today.

(Photos with my new T2i – yay! Came just in time for Vietnam ^_^)

I’ve fallen in love with the Jacaranda trees here and finally some better pictures!

And some more pretty things!

Follow-up: Never order flowers from Dveras Fine Flowers

As promised, below is the closure to a complaint post I wrote regarding Dveras Fine Flowers. You can read that entry here.

Amazingly, the manager I spoke with called my sister quite early the following morning.

She continued to insist that their return policy was that if I wanted my money back, they would have to come and take the flowers (no Return Policy stated on website). She told my sister that she had also offered to replace my mother’s bouquet – both of which I had repeatedly turned down.

My reasoning:

  1. Why on earth do you need to come and take back someone’s present when clearly you were at fault and the bouquet can’t be reused?
  2. If you could provide a replacement bouquet that looks similar to what I ordered, then why didn’t you replace the original arrangement with that that one to begin with?
  3. You thought you could get away with something because this was an international order and now it’s backfired in your face.

Reasoning #3 was made even stronger when my sister gave me the manager’s explanation: They had run out of white lilies so had to work the colour scheme of the bouquet around tiger lilies. Bull! The bouquet would’ve looked perfectly fine even if only orange lillies were substituted, not to mention every other flower was substituted or replaced with cheaper ones. And she initially used roses as her excuse with me.

My sister eventually decided against the refund because it was not fair to my mom to have them come and take away her birthday flowers. Instead, Dveras Fine Flowers apologized by sending my mom an additional bouquet with light flowers as well as a plant – both of which were nice.

Unfortunately, despite the positive resolution, with all the trouble that I went through and the dishonesty I felt from Dveras Fine Flowers, I stand my ground and will not be ordering from them in the future.

Never order flowers from Dveras Fine Flowers

I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my mom’s birthday this past weekend.

After looking through many websites, I finally settled on Dveras Fine Flowers for 3 reasons:

  1. They are based in Ottawa. I had walked in to buy flowers before and they were of good quality. Also, since I was ordering from Australia, I thought they would be trustworthy as the delivery address was local. And if there were any problems, easier for my family to get in touch with them
  2. Their prices were okay. Not cheap by any means, just not as expensive as other florists in Ottawa
  3. I really liked, and believed my mom would like the arrangement I picked – Arrive in Style

The Arrive in Style bouquet looked like this:

The description, taken directly from their website stated:

This beautiful bouquet will most certainly arrive in style! Ready for the runway, as it were. A delightful combination of light colors and lovely flowers, it’s simply beautiful.

Light pink roses, white asiatic lilies, alstroemeria, cushion spray chrysanthemums and statice are delivered in a stylish vase. Style to spare!

The bouquet that ended up being delivered to my mom looked like this: Hideous

Not only were ALL the flowers substituted for different colours, there were no signs of alstroemeria, yellow carnations in place of chrysanthemums and purple baby’s breath was used in place of statice!!

But none of this could’ve been a problem, except they didn’t even try to obtain consent for ANY of the substitutions.

On their website, their Substitution Policy is:

Occasionally, substitutions may be necessary to create your bouquet due to the availability of certain flowers in various parts of the country. Care is taken to maintain the style, theme and color scheme of the arrangement, using flowers of equal value. Additionally, the substitution of certain keepsake items may be necessary due to increased demand, especially during major holidays. In single-flower arrangements, such as an all rose bouquet, or orchids, we will make every attempt to match the flower type, but may substitute with another color.

If this is how they work around their Substitution Policy, they may as well replace the entire paragraph with:

“The entire bouquet may be replaced, at anytime for whatever reason we chose, with another containing entirely different colours and flowers.”

Obviously, I called to complain and the manager knew right away which order I was referring to. The phone conversation ended up somewhere along these lines:

  1. Her initially telling me, “Oh I had to substitute the original light pink roses with hot pink ones.” Really? That’s the only thing? What about the purple flowers, tiger lilies, purple baby’s breath and chrysanthemums!
  2. Why didn’t you ask me for my opinion on any of these changes?! “Oh, because when we first called the contact number, your sister said you were in Australia.” That’s why I gave you my sister’s contact number! It doesn’t matter where I am, you should’ve called the contact number!
  3. I am not satisfied, I want my money back. “I’m sure your mom loved the flowers. It was the exact same floral arrangement, only the colours were changed but it was a very nice and bright bouquet.” Loved? Are you kidding me? There is a reason I chose Arrive in Style – because it was light and elegant, not bright and tacky. How does the one you sent her look anything like what I wanted? Do you know what she likes? And it was most definitely not the same floral arrangement!
  4. “You know, the bouquet was only $36 and that it was already a really good deal.” Are you kidding me? I paid a lot more than $36 with tax and delivery! And price has nothing to do with this!
  5. I am not satisfied, I want my money back. “We can deliver a substitute bouquet to your mom instead.” Really? How about NO. How are you going to guarantee that it will look anything like what I ordered in the first place?! And if you can guarantee it, how come you didn’t deliver that one to begin with? “Well… well, if you want a refund, we are going to have to pick up the bouquet.”
  6. Are you serious? You want to come and take the flowers away. Why? Is it not bad enough that you screwed up majorly, but now you want to take her birthday present back? Are you going to use the flowers in another person’s bouquet, is that why you need to pick it up? “No… but…” How about you just give me my money back.
  7. “Let me call you back tomorrow.” Excuse me? You’re going to call me back? To my Australian number? “Yes, I’ll call you back tomorrow, if I don’t call you, you can call me.” You don’t even know my Australian number, call the Canadian number I left on the contact form, talk to my sister.

So that was how my phone conversation went. Got nothing out of it! And received absolutely no apologies for their errors with my order. She only said, “I’m sorry you’re not happy with the bouquet, but… (insert another excuse here).”

In conclusion,

  • I’m sure she will not call tomorrow because she doesn’t want to deal with this problem, which is why she hung up in the first place.
  • I’m sure I will never purchase flowers from them again.
  • I’m sure Dveras Fine Flowers thought they could get away with these “substitutions” because I was ordering from Australia.
  • I hope none of my readers will be ordering from Dveras Fine Flowers in the future. There are many other local florists that do a great job and have good customer service and satisfaction.
  • I hope Dveras Fine Flowers comes across my post when they Google themselves.
  • I hope they do call tomorrow and rectify this problem so I can come back and edit this conclusion to make it more positive.