Opening presents!

We have always opened our presents on Christmas night, as opposed to Christmas Eve night or Christmas morning like many of our other friends. Our rationale is that it allows us to collect all our presents in accordance with our get-togethers and we can open all our presents together at the end of the day.

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Family photo in onesies!

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It was really lovely to have Michael be able to join our entire family for the day, and then with us at home while we exchanged and opened gifts. ❤

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Friends and family were more than generous this year, thank you so much! Adults have always given the children ‘lucky red pockets’ so I received one from each of my mom’s 4 siblings.

And now opening presents!

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My mom is the oldest so she gets to open presents first 🙂

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Ou, Pandora beads!

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Hugs!

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Me too, me too!!

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My siblings pitched together to get me a great camera tripod, something I’ve been needing and wanting to buy for years. Additionally, they got me a whole bunch of other gifts! Thanks guys!

Yay,  a charm to add to my Pandora bracelet from my sister. Her note reads: In Celtic culture, ivy is symbolic of growth, renewal, connection, friendship, and opportunity.

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Have you ever tried chocolate flavoured cola? Because let me tell you, it’s pretty horrific. Don’t be fooled by the empty bottle, it’s because the syrupy liquid ended up down the drain!

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Mike and I always watch videos from the YouTube channel called RRCherrypie. We love watching them put together these Japanese mini edible meals and find the sound of mixing powder so soothing against the plastic tray. You will only understand this if you are familiar with the product and the videos, don’t laugh at us! Can’t wait to try this out! And in the realm of Japanese food, I also received some mini green tea and passion fruit KitKats! I would love to one day try all the KitKat flavours available in Japan, but for now, I can cross 2 off my list! They were nice, but I still prefer the chocolate one more.

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Received soooo many sweets like you wouldn’t believe. Including these Purdy ‘s Truffles and Goji Berry bar, also from my sister! Apparently, Purdy’s is a brand well known for its quality of chocolate but is not available outside the West coast, I will enjoy these!

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Caffeinated chocolate bars from my bro. Chocolate and caffeine, what more does a med student need?

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My mommy gave me a lovely fuchsia dress from Tommy Hilfiger, a nice addition to my clinical wardrobe! Also, a super comfy pair of black pants that I actually wore onto the flight home!

Michael gave me a Wilton piping set, something I’ve been wanting for a long time, thanks my dear! He also gave me a camera accessories kit but we decided to return it as it too came with a tripod, which my siblings already covered.

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Teavana teas from my cousins Janet and Kevin, will enjoy trying them and adding them to my tea collection! They also gave me a French Press which I didn’t take a picture of.

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Colette and her husbane Pete are old friends of my mom, look at the gorgeous card we received from them. Not to mention gifts!

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She even gave me gifts! A Burt’s Bees gift set with a lovely travel bag that I’m actually using for my flight bag. It’s cute, small and fits everything I need! Also a bracelet from Twilight Jewelry.

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Michael’s parents gave me a bagful of goodies, including a long and light snake-print scarf that I used repeatedly on the flight home! I think it will be perfect for Brisbane’s mild winter – Thanks Caroline and Greg!

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Every gift I receive, big and small, is valuable and sentimental to me. I hope you don’t mind, but I am not blogging about them to show off but to document these memories so that I may look back and read about it in the future. ^_^

This year’s Christmas was super special to me, in many ways, which perhaps I will elaborate on in a separate post. The time I got to spend with my family and friends, although short was very much treasured, especially because I may not be back in Canada for next Christmas. Thank you everyone for your love, time and generosity!

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, I hope that wherever you were and the company you kept left you with joy and happiness!

Recent Randoms

Some pictures from random moments these past few days!

Thing (from Addams Family) awkwardly on Michael’s shoulder 😉

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The Water Dragon that kept running at Nuangi, Mike and I while we were studying in Roma Parklands the other day!

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Absolutely delicious Mentai Tonkotsu Ramen (pork bone broth with roe, bamboo, soft boiled egg, sliced pork) with dumplings and Takikomi (fragrant Japanese styled rice)… lunch set for $15.50 at Wagaya! Yummy!

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Mike with a monster!

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Was in the city studying today…

Super busy Post Office Square

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Less busy Anzac Square just beside, settled here instead!

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It was a beautiful day!

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Heading back to the train when we saw the WWI & WWII Shrine of Memories, a crypt in the lower section of the Shrine of Remembrance.

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Whoa… all the pictures are in portrait orientation, weird! Well, until next time! 🙂

Lunch Date with Mike @ Gyoza Bar ANN

On Friday, we were able to get out of the hospital earlier than usual. That meant an opportunity for a late lunch date!

Gyoza Bar Ann had been on our list of places to try, specifically for their dumplings. We arrived a little after 2pm, loudly greeted at the door by very friendly and hospitable staff.

My date!

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The lunch menu included Tower Lunch Boxes ($12 each), which of course, we each got. Each Lunch Box comes with steamed rice, a green salad and the choice of one out of 12 main dishes. 6 of the choices are gyoza (dumplings) and the other 6 vary from teriyaki, karaage, sashimi and tofu.

We missed the lunch rush 🙂 Lovely restaurant almost all to ourselves!

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Without much deliberation, Mike chose the spicy gyoza (made with pork) and I chose the cheese gyoza (made with chicken).

And, since it was Friday, we got drinks! Asahi for Mike and a Chu-Hi Lychee cocktail for me 🙂

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We didn’t have to wait long for the food, even though it says 10-15 minutes on the menu. Our dumplings came out on a sizzling hot plate with some onion and green beans. The staff brought over the gyoza sauce which we poured into the hotplate and let the flavours sizzle away for a minute more.

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Rice was slightly overcooked but good flavours. Salad was fresh with a lovely dressing.

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The dumplings were crisp with flavourful filling. My cheese gyoza also had tomato in it, added to the juiciness of the meat. Mike’s dumplings were oh-so-spicy – I couldn’t handle more than one.

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A really nice experience, we will definitely come back to try different dishes soon!

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Ann Gyoza Bar on Urbanspoon

Local sushi fix at Sakura Sushi

It’s about time I write about Sakura Sushi – we’ve been here enough!

Just a couple of minutes walk down my street, Sakura offers fair priced, decent quality and freshly made sushi and other dishes. A sushi train takes up the majority of the restaurant while workers prepare the food within the track where you can watch.

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It has been the same friendly staff greeting us since we started visiting last year and service is always the same – prompt and happy.

There are 2 options when it comes to eating:

  1. There is a menu but you can choose from whatever is being made and put on the sushi train
  2. If you don’t see what you want, you can order it directly from the staff and they’ll make it on the spot

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Super tasty BBQ pork steam buns! And crab claws!

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Chicken and avocado wrapped in egg with a dollop of mayo

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Tempura prawn and vegetable (I forgot the name!)

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Tempura prawn and avocado

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Fried wontons

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One of our favourite: Grilled salmon

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Great value and we always leave with happy bellies!

Side note: There’s a bowl of assorted candy by the cash register. Every time we leave, I make an effort to pick a tasty candy while Michael randomly picks one. He always ends up with a delicious candy and I always get a gross one with weird texture. How?!

Sakura Sushi on Urbanspoon

Harajuku Gyoza – A long time coming

Michael is a huge fan of dumplings – so am I.

We’ve also passed by Harajuku Gyoza many many times – each time itching to go in but holding off. We finally went on April 04 during Meaghan’s visit.

Super friendly service with shouts of ‘Irasshaimase!’ (welcome) as soon as you walk in the door. Great decor as well, I really liked the plates and the lights.

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The menu is simple but offered a variety of dumplings averaging $8 for 5 pieces.

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We ended up ordering edamame (boiled young soybeans), chicken karaage (marinated and lightly battered fried chicken) and 5 gyoza (dumpling) dishes, all grilled with pork, duck, chicken, vegetable, and Moreton Bay bug filling.

Food verdict? VERY AVERAGE, nothing special.

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Edamame was great, although it’s hard to get that wrong.

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The chicken karaage had too much batter and skin for my tastes – I’ve had much better.

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The dumplings were not very flavourful. If I didn’t know what we had ordered, it would’ve been hard to tell the difference between the pork, duck and chicken gyozas. The vegetable dumpling had interesting (edamame in the filling) texture, although not great flavour. This was also my first time tasting Moreton Bay bugs – it was tasty but I wouldn’t be able to say if it was cooked well or not 🙂 I also wish the gyoza wrappers were more chewy and crispy.

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Even though the food was a little lacking, it was clear everyone (including us) were enjoying themselves. The restaurant was soon filled to capacity and buzzing with conversation. Every time a sake shot was served (from a huge bottle), the staff would yell out leaving customers laughing and a little self conscious 😛

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For dessert, we shared an apple gyoza with icecream and a peanut butter & white chocolate gyoza with icecream. Each came with 3 pieces of deep fried dumplings and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Delicious. You simply cannot go wrong with those flavour combinations… deep fried. I was so excited to eat it, I forgot to take pictures 😦

A really enjoyable evening but we probably won’t come back unless it’s with a large group of friends for the atmosphere. We will try out other gyoza restaurants before coming back to Harajuku solely for the dumplings.

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Harajuku Gyoza on Urbanspoon

Yumminess at Wagaya

After stopping in for a drink at Wagaya on Christine Q’s birthday earlier this year and enjoying the experience, Mike and I decided we had to go back and try out the food.

We finally went for lunch with Meaghan on March 22 and despite not making reservations, we were immediately shown to a cozy booth.

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My favourite part about Wagayu? A self-service, touch screen at your booth to order your food and drinks. Pictures, descriptions, and prices of each item is available and you can order at your leisure.

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We each ordered a Bento lunch box and 2 sushi dishes to share. Each lunch box ($13-14) comes with rice, miso soup, a creme croquette, ebi fry (tempura prawn), salad, soft boiled egg, agedashi tofu (silken tofu coated in cornstarch, deep fried and served in a hot broth) and Japanese pickles – a great deal!

Mike and Meaghan also shared a pitcher of Hokkaido beer. For some reason (and I do trust his pouring skills), this is what happened when Mike went to pour a glass… haha!

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Meaghan ordered the chicken katsu (breaded deep-fried cutlet) lunch box

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Mike ordered the chicken nanban (fried chicken seasoned with vinegar and tartare sauce) lunch box

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I picked the chicken karaage (marinated and lightly battered fried chicken) lunch box

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In addition, we got a spider roll and a rainbow roll to share

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And for once, I enjoyed the miso soup!

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The food? All amazing! The lunch boxes had so much food, we didn’t even need to order the other dishes. So stuffed! The service was also prompt and cheerful, unlike many reviews I saw on Urbanspoon, which was a pleasant surprise. With great decor, delicious food at decent prices, we will definitely return again soon!

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Wagaya on Urbanspoon

MOS Burgers for Lunch

We stopped at MOS Burger for lunch on Nov 7 after our second exam. Eating out is so quick and easy during study time – who could say no to such convenience? 😛

Mike’s last time at a MOS Burger was years ago in Taiwan and I’d never been so we were both looking forward to lunch.

The staff were super friendly and greeted us loudly as soon as we walked in the door. The menu itself is very simple with a variety of burgers, rice (buns made of rice!) burgers and hotdogs. Additionally, you can choose to add on chips and a drink or soup to your meal. Mike decided on the Spicy MOS Burger and I chose the Gourmet Wagyu Cheese Burger. We also bought chips and a cranberry iced tea to share.

The total came to around $15 and after placing our order, we headed upstairs to grab a seat. It was nice to see tons of room, even a tatami area!

Waiting for food and thinking about another exam tomorrow = 😦

What I was waiting to eat…

The awesome drink in a photo of the day I mentioned a few posts back. Iced tea with fresh cranberries and blueberries – amazing!

Our food quickly arrived!

Mike’s Spicy MOS Burger

My Gourmet Wagyu Cheese Burger

The chips were standard and even though the burgers don’t look like much, we both agreed they were quite tasty! I especially liked the fresh thick slices of tomato and the wasabi kick in mine, but Mike wished his burger had been much spicier. We both agreed that the bun was great quality – very thick, chewy and quite filling which was an unexpected surprise!

With our stomachs happy and our brains fueled, we crossed the street to King George bus station to head home and hit the books hard for our last exam – woo hoo!

Would we come back? Yep!

MOS Burger on Urbanspoon

Procrastinating… as usual -_-‘

I have 2 exams this Saturday: Clinical Science and Ethics & Professional Practice.

Am I ready yet? No.

Will I be ready? Maybe!

But as usual, I’m taking many breaks to go on (what Michael likes to call) YouTube Adventures!

Join me for a smile as I procrastinate!

Medical Terminology Concerto
(Not everyone will find this amusing as I do…)

2 Hamsters 1 Wheel
(Mike laughed so hard, he cried – for real)

Sugar Painting: Chinese Dragon
(Such a low cost business and so good! I wish I had such a talent!)

and because one video is never enough

Painting on Water
(Reminds me of doing marble nails if anyone has ever done that before)

Flexipan Small Cakes
(I really really want these pans now…)

Funny Japanese Pranks
(Because they never fail to make me laugh)

Gangnam Style!
(Come on… don’t tell me you haven’t seen this yet? :P)