Last Week in Australia

Hello! Happy Canada Day, or happy fourth of July. My sister and I are now in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Eastern Canada), and I am writing this from the University of Prince Edward Island. My sister and I had a fantastic time in Toronto, and then a good night in Charlottetown, so I have even more photos that I’ve yet to upload. Before I show you some of the delicious eats that I enjoyed during my last week of Australia, here is a list of the activities I did, and the cafes I visited, during my four months in Australia.

Me with my landlord; vacuuming the yoga studio for the last time; delicious meal of veggies, halloumi, scrambled eggs, and falafel

List of Things I Did and Ate in Australia

FOOD-RELATED PLACES I VISITED

  • Cat and Fiddle Deli Cafe in Toowong
  • Jocelyn’s Provisions
  • Pearl Cafe
  • Mu’ooz
  • MADO Cafe and Restaurant
  • Fogata Latin Fusion
  • Anouk
  • Tartufo
  • Gauge
  • Crust & Co. Bakery
  • Harveys
  • She Bangs
  • Pourboy Espresso
  • Sourced Grocer
  • Morning After
  • Banneton
  • A Night In India
  • Corner Store Cafe
  • Campos Coffee
  • Bakers Arms
  • Chouquette
  • John Mills Himself
  • Abode Cafe
  • Bunker Coffee
  • Three Monkeys Coffee House
  • Nitrogenie
  • Pawpaw Restaurant
  • The Gunshop Cafe

FUN-RELATED PLACES I VISITED

  • Cultural Centre
  • Gallery of Modern Art
  • Queensland Performing Arts Centre
  • State Library of Queensland
  • Queensland Art Gallery
  • Queensland Museum
  • City Hall Clock Tower
  • Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens
  • City Cat ferry down Brisbane River
  • Roma Street Parkland
  • Museum of Brisbane
  • New Farm Park
  • Brisbane River walk
  • Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre
  • South Bank
  • Milton Sunday Market
  • Jan Powers Farmers Market: Powerhouse Market, City Farmers Market
  • Wheel of Brisbane
  • Streets Beach, Little Stanley Boutiques
  • Davies Park Farmers Market
  • City Botanic Gardens
  • Suncorp Stadium
  • Queen Street Mall
  • Eagle Street Pier
  • Anzac Square
  • City Centre Heritage Trail
  • BrisAsia Festival
  • Avid Reader Bookstore
  • Woolloongabba Antique Centre
  • West End (shopping)
  • Paddington
  • Science Centre
  • Fortitude Valley nooks, like Bakery Lane

Now, here are some of the things that I wanted to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to doing these activities or eating at these restaurants. I suppose that means I’ll have to come back to Australia in the future.

IF I HAD ANOTHER WEEK, I WOULD SEE:

  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • Eat Street Northshore Market
  • Sherwood Arboretum
  • Noosa Heads
  • Mount Coot-tha lookout
  • Story Bridge Adventure Climb
  • Spring Hill Baths
  • Australia Zoo
  • Kangaroo Point Cliffs Walk
  • Brisbane Maritime Museum
  • Moreton Bay snorkelling at Tangalooma wrecks, whale-watching

IF I HAD ANOTHER WEEK, I WOULD EAT:

  • Ecco Bistro
  • Naim
  • Cafe O Mai
  • Wild Canary
  • Lady Marmalade
  • Goodness Gracious
  • GOMA Restaurant
  • Julius Pizzeria
  • Popolo
  • Longtime
  • Merriweather Cafe
  • Marchetti Cafe
  • Double Shot New Farm
  • Gettin’ Place
  • The Yiros Shop
  • Corbette and Claude
  • King Arthur Cafe
  • The Cheese Pleaser
  • Billy Kart Kitchen
  • Flour and Chocolate Patisserie
  • Sassafras Canteen
  • Jam Pantry
  • Gertrude and Mabel
  • Scout Cafe
  • Miss Bliss Whole Foods Restaurant
  • Let Minnow
  • Lokal & Co.

This was one of the last, and most delicious things, I ate at Pearl Cafe. It was a sticky date loaf topped with date buttercream, poached pears, and honeycomb ice cream. It was a dreamy dessert with all the richness and fresh sweetness I could ask for. The ice cream, paired with soft pears and date loaf, was superb.

One weekend morning, I went to the University of Queensland yoga festival, where there were tons of food and clothes vendors, a corner for meditation, and a large outdoors yoga class. The sunny weather was perfect for some zen-time, and I enjoyed watching the yogis with a small cup of Blackdog vegan chai made with soy milk. Then, I said goodbye to the UQ campus!

You guys! How amazing does this look? From Nodo donuts, I enjoyed this homemade brioche bread topped with beet-cured salmon, a soft egg, dill foam, greens, yuzu pearls, and sorrel. The flavours were extraordinary, and it was hands-down the most unique eggs benedict-type meal I’ve ever enjoyed. I wish there was more, because that buttery toasted brioche was heavenly with a smear of brown butter hollandaise, and all the flavourful toppings. I will think about this forever.

I also had a small cup of chai and a delicious baked cheesecake with mixed berries. The crust (gluten-free) is so good, and I dare say it’s better than any gluten-containing crust I could imagine. It has a light nutty flavour that I love.

A lot of lists and schedules were made.

Goodbye, beautiful, beautiful Brisbane! The sunset was glorious one evening, and another day, Seline graduated from high school. The last image is from her commencement, where she received two big awards. The entire family was very proud of her, and she was simultaneously shocked and thrilled.

From Anouk Cafe, I loved their salmon pot pie with herb gremolata and arugula salad. For dessert, I had a buttery apple almond flour cake with sliced almonds on top, and two generous vanilla ice cream scoops. This is my favourite kind of dessert – a little fruity, made with almond meal, warm, and served with plenty of ice cream.

Another day, I had a Pearl Cafe strawberry shortcake cake, which was incredibly buttery and delicious. The strawberry jam, sandwiched between shortcake layers, provided plenty of fruity, summery flavour.

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Campos Coffee for lunch: mushroom risotto with roasted chestnuts and smoked cheese. I don’t have risotto as much as I’d like, because ravioli and gnocchi always seem more appealing, but this was divine. The smoked cheese on top was slightly melted and had such a sharp flavour that paired beautifully with the creamy rice. For dessert, I loved the peanut butter chocolate brownie, which came with raspberry puree, whipped cream, and two scoops of unpictured vanilla ice cream. The peanut butter swirl here was THICK!

One Sunday afternoon, I went to Brisbane’s Art Gallery. It was a beautiful, serene, thought-provoking place with many galleries that I thoroughly enjoyed. These were some of my favourites. The Garden of Narcissus was one of my favourites (it’s the one with the mirrored orbs on the water). According to the Queensland Art Gallery blog: clusters and constellations are formed, reflecting the building’s architecture back onto itself from an infinite number of angles. Not unlike the myth, there is a dreamy yet sinister aspect to the work — it mesmerises at the same time that it forces one to look away. I love how it blends art with architecture.

Lovely meal at home: a mix of salads, including my favourite with roasted cauliflower and date, and some quiche. One of them is a homemade tart with spinach and truffled goat cheese, and the others were purchased from Botanica. I am going to miss their quiche (the crispy, flavourful crust is unbelievable) so much.

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Finally, I had a wonderful time at aerials before I left. When packing for the plane ride, I looked at these two websites, which informed me which healthy things I could bring onto the plane. Very exciting! Then, before I knew it, I was back in Canada. 🙂

Finally, a list that I’ve been working on, ever since I arrived in Australia!

Things I Liked About My Time in Australia

  • Class and campus
    • Play area on campus for children, like a day care, whose parents are in class
    • Cover page scanner for academic submissions
    • Lecture automatically recorded and uploaded to Blackboard
    • UQ Library website has previous course exams for the last five years
    • Classes are smaller, with about 30-50 students
    • Classes are more interactive, with discussions, debates, word banks
    • Professors and other speakers honour Indigenous people, the traditional owners of the land
    • 15 libraries on campus, and many of them are open 24 hours
    • Sleeping pods in the libraries
    • Buildings are numbered, and there are signs that direct you to different buildings
    • Classes are broadcasted on a screen outside the lecture hall, so you can always be sure that you are entering the correct room
    • UQ Nav app so I don’t get lost on campus
    • Professors and other university staff answer their emails very clearly, promptly, politely
    • Many microwaves and kitchenettes
    • Largest, most beautiful campus ever!
    • Many food options on campus, and open from morning until evening (including Chatime)
    • Free ice cream during O-Fest (Orientation Week)
    • All readings are available online; do not need to purchase textbook
  • Transport
    • Excellent bike lanes, bicycle lights, pedestrian areas
    • Slow for SAM (Speeding Awareness Monitors) on small roads with a smiley face
    • Bus times projected on screens
    • Large number of buses that go everywhere
    • Stops are numbered
    • It is very clear which buses go where
    • Bus drivers are kind and interact with passengers
    • People line up to take the bus, rather than crowding around the stop
    • Bus drivers wait until everyone is seated
    • Trains have U-shaped poles, so there is extra room for guide dogs
    • Trains have security and a lot of workers supervising
    • Trains have very cushy, comfortable seats
  • No allergies at all (no sneezing, no runny nose)
  • Because it’s so hot, I sweat a lot and my pimples disappeared
  • Super colourful birds with very vibrant colours
  • Mats at C!RCA training centre are very clean
  • Farmers markets (~15-20 per week?): over 50,000 markets, festivals, and events in Brisbane each year
  • Beautiful river with great bridges and comfortable, safe river walk
  • Foam soap that smells like soap from Princess Café
  • Free outdoor gyms for adults
  • Smaller bananas
  • Kitchens, bathrooms, etc. are more environmentally-friendly
  • Vegan market, many organic/raw/vegan restaurants, and many vegan options available in restaurants/grocery stores
  • Takeout coffee culture, so everyone has little reusable glass coffee cup that they take to cafes (many cafes have Keep Cup discounts)
  • A Night in India has kind waitresses and delicious palak paneer
  • Sun rises very early
  • Accents are occasionally tricky for me to understand, so I have to listen very carefully during lectures instead of zoning out
  • Dining outside is easier and more common, with great patios
  • Many butcher shops in malls, and many of which sell meat pies
  • Casual dress
  • Tips are incorporated into the bill, so tipping is not required
  • Tap water is drinkable, and there are water fountains everywhere
  • Many garbage cans out on the street, so there is little litter
  • People are generally very laidback, friendly
  • Wi-Fi everywhere, even on the bus
  • I have a moveable shower head
  • I live close to restaurants, shopping centres, grocery stores, and a great library
  • Tax is included in prices
  • Many seasonal fresh fruits (eg. Papayas, melons)
  • Tiny asparagus and giant blueberries
  • Farmers markets are typically cheaper than grocery stores
  • Grocery stores have massive yogurt selection
  • Vibrant colours: super blue sky, very green grass
  • Unique and beautiful plant life
  • Keys to home are not fussy; easy to use
  • Live music in the valley at night (great nightlife, and a lot of bars)
  • Time difference makes it quite easy for me to chat with family (they go to sleep around my afternoon/evening), and Mom wakes up before I go to bed
  • Excellent cafes with very unique menus
  • Laundry machine will finish washing clothes in less than 30 minutes
  • Fun vendors and booths everywhere
  • I have my own bathroom
  • Early morning yoga sessions (5:30 AM session, 6:05 AM session, 9:30 AM session)
  • There are bats outside in the evening
  • Lecturers end 30-45 minutes before they are scheduled to finish their lecture
  • At the mall, you can take the shopping carts around the entire mall
    • Shopping carts have store directories, phone slot, cup holder

Things I Disliked About My Time in Australia

  • My hair becomes greasy sooner because of the heat
  • In the rain, it is so loud when the raindrops hit the metal roof
  • Bluetooth issues
  • Lecturers alternate (eg. One class has three lecturers, another has five), with many guest lecturers
  • Difficult to find entrances to buildings on campus
  • Birds are very squawky and loud
  • Rain is spontaneous
  • Cafes do not serve tea lattes (but they do have chai!)
  • Crows may swoop down and bother cyclists, so people wear helmets with zip-ties attached to the holes of the helmet
  • Fruit can be quite expensive from Fruity Capers
  • No standing desks or standing café spots
  • Buses and train rides are expensive
  • O-Fest was not as fun as I’d expected
  • Fitness centre on campus is not free; student price for 1 drop-in pass is $14
  • Bus stops to go to campus are very busy at noon on weekdays
  • During the heat wave, had to shower twice a day from the heat
  • Water tasted mineral-y when I first arrived
  • Saturday store hours are terrible, and most close at 3-4
  • Cafes close early (2-3)
  • Many places closed on Monday
  • Random spider webs can go in your face if you walk under a tree
  • Fan at home clicks loudly
  • Need vehicle to visit cool, beautiful places near Brisbane
  • Ants in the house (very fast and smart), and cockroaches
  • Library closes very early, and is closed on Sunday
  • Some cafes don’t have bathrooms, so need to walk a few houses down to arrive at construction bathroom
  • Gets dark quite early; sun sets around 5:30
  • Some online videos are unavailable in Australia
  • Difficult to find the entrance to train stations
  • SIM card plans are complex
  • Chair at home is not very comfortable or ergonomic
  • Must hail bus drivers

Neutral Differences Between Canada and Australia

  • Most breakfast/brunch/lunch restaurants serve:
    • Milkshakes
    • Smoothies
    • Avocado
    • Halloumi
    • Chai
    • Vegemite toast
    • Sourdough
    • Golden latte (turmeric latte)
    • Beet latte, mermaid latte
    • Chai latte
    • Turkish bread
    • Flower decorations
    • Dukkah
  • Australian Polysporin = Betadine
  • Australian Restoralax = Osmolax
  • Australian Chipotle = Guzman y Gomez (GYG)
  • Australian Bed, Bath, and Beyond = Bed, Bath, and Table
  • Australian Booster Juice = Boost
  • Australian Cobs Bread = Bakers Delight
  • Australian Chapters, Coles, or Indigo = Dymocks
  • Australian Burger King = Hungry Jacks
  • Australian Lays = Smiths
  • Australian Starbucks or Tim Hortons = Merlo’s
  • Australian Rogers or Shaw = Telstra or Optus
  • Australian LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) = BWS (Beer, Wine, Spirits)
  • Australian Goodlife Fitness = 12RND (twelve round) Fitness
  • Steering wheel is on the right side, and people drive on the left side of the road
  • Thursday is the “late night”
  • GPA is out of 6 or 7
  • Very steep hills in some suburbs
  • Must push a button to get on and off a train
  • Wheelchair logo is reversed (mirrored)
  • Eating competitions held at festivals
  • High schools and malls are “outdoors”
  • Toilets have little water in them
  • Grammar-related
    • Use of ’s’ instead of ‘z’ in words (organised, fertilised, analyse)
    • Use of “ae” in words such as faeces, aetiological, paediatrics
    • No oxford comma
    • “ch” or “j” sounds instead of “t” sound (eg. Tuesday, produce, due date)
  • Australian food
    • Lamingtons and Snowdrops
    • Nougat
    • Beef jerky
    • Meat pies
    • Rocky Road
    • Macadamia
    • Tim Tams
    • Arnott’s cookies
    • Eton Mess
    • Hot dogs with white bread instead of a hot dog bun
    • Chicken parmigiana
    • Melting moments
    • Hot cross buns
    • Turkish delight
    • Sticky date pudding
  • School zones and other areas where pedestrians walk are painted
  • Eggs are not refrigerated
  • Playgrounds are shaded with a “roof” because it’s too hot
  • Pools are outdoors
  • Aboriginal names like Indooroopilly, Cooloongatta, Tangalooma, Woolloongabba
  • Tiny outlets can be turned on and off
  • Hole punches have 2 holes instead of 3
  • Many private-practice health practitioners who work out of their homes
  • Clothing-related
    • Spaghetti straps
    • Anello bags
    • School uniforms = dresses with big puffy sleeves for girls, button-ups, hats, white socks, standardized shoes and backpack
    • Colourful peasant blouses
    • Dark denim skirts
    • Flip flops or sandals
    • Bras are okay in public
    • Tote bags
    • Lorna Jane athleticwear
  • No radiators or dehumidifiers
  • Many dinner places have “banquets” which are like set dinners for 2+ people
  • Male and female bathrooms are often separate (i.e. in separate parts of a hallway)
  • Bathroom sink areas and bathroom stall areas are separated by a door
  • Many roundabouts instead of intersections
  • Lots of water dragons and geckoes
  • Separate colleges for boys and girls
  • Gum trees instead of evergreens, firs, or pines
  • Less time to cross the street
  • Sushi is pre-made and sits on the counter, uncut, so people can grab it as an on-the-go snack and eat it like a wrap
  • Walking on the right, standing/waiting on the left of an escalator
  • Some streets are also appear in Ontario: Dovercourt, King, Queen, Ann, Adelaide, Albert, Elizabeth, Edward, Morningside region
  • Traffic lights are black
  • Giant spiders that spin massive webs from tree to tree

Different Words Between Canadian English and Australian English

Canadian English Australian English
Bandaid Plasters
Whole milk Full cream milk
2% milk 98% milk
1% milk 99% milk
Outlet Power point
Duotang Folder (they use folders or clipboards)
Call Ring
Post-secondary students Tertiary students
Hashbrown Potato rosti
Darn, that sucks! Bugger
Period Full stop
A-P-A APA, pronounced “apa”
Hot flashes Hot flushes
Cotton candy Fairy floss
Raisins Sultanas
Exact change Correct money
Store hours Trading hours
Melt, or open-faced sandwich, or grilled-cheese Toastie
Tasting menu Degustation
Great Beauty
Pepper Capsicum
Sorry Soz
Coconut yogurt Coyo
Movator Travelator
Sunglasses Shades, sunnies
Fanny pack Bum bag
Elevator Lift
Pharmacy Chemist
Appetizer Entrée
Entrée Main course
Personal tent Swag
Gas station Servo, petrol station
Pass (passing someone on the road) Overtake
Eraser Rubber, or eraser pronounced ‘e-ray-zer’
Sweater Jumper
Tap (debit or credit card) Pay pass, pay way
Pay with card/machine EFTPOS (Electronic funds transfer at point of sale)
Papaya Pawpay
Kindergarten Kindy
Cafeteria Tuck shop
Area, section, or zone Precinct
Attendance Roll
Prom Formal
Math Maths
Tour Contiki
Umbrella Brolly
I believe, I think I reckon
Disaster, mess Dog’s breakfast
Tank top Singlet
Afternoon Arvo
Candy Lolly
Mosquito Mozzy
Tasmania Tassy
Brisbane Brissy
Meat pie Traveller meat pie, long pie
Drunk driving, or driving under the influence Drink driving
Biscuit Bicky
People on wheelchairs Ambulants
Washroom Toilet
Dropbox Chute
University Uni
Teaching assistant (TA) Tutor
Fries Hot chips, chips
Chips Chips
Hollow position Dish position
Streetcar Tram
Baby stroller Pram
Rent or borrow Hire (yoga mat rental = yoga mat hire)
Flashlight Torchlight
Tattle on you, tell on you Dob on you
Tattletale Dibby-dobber
Duvet Doona
Garbage Rubbish
That’s okay, no problem You’re alright (after receiving apology)
Interested Keen
Friend Mate
Whole grain Whole meal
Plants and animals Flora and fauna
Office hours Consult hours
Flip flops Thongs
How are you doing? How are you going?
Syllabus ECP (electronic course profile)
Sidewalk Footpath
Midterm exams, midterms Midsems
Water fountain Bubbler
Container Punnet
Barbecue Barbie
Curb Kerb
Green onions Eschallots
Ice box, cooler Chilly bin, esky
Hoop Lyra
Silks Tissu
Thrift store Op shop
What would you like? What are you after?
Feta Fetta
Garbage can Bin
The week after classes finish, and before exams begin (study week) Swotvac “study without tutor vacation”
Cup of coffee Cuppa
Bathing suit Togs
Avocado Avo
Cinnamon buns Scrolls
Good (in response to “how are you doing?”) Well (in response to “how are you going?”)
Redneck Bogan

Lately: A Lotta Brunch!

Good morning! Today is Monday, May 7 – Labour Day in Australia. Since it’s a university holiday, I don’t have classes today. Normally I have two classes and a tutorial on Mondays, which would go from noon to around 5:00. So, I’m glad that the entire day is mine to relax, catch up, and sit at home. It also happens to be rainy today, so I’m glad that I don’t have to catch the bus or walk to school with an umbrella.

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Spamming my sister with comments about the book – I want her to read it so badly!

Over the weekend, I went to Dymocks, the Australian version of Coles/Chapters/Indigo/Barnes&Noble. It’s a lovely bookstore in the heart of the city, and I picked up a book called Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein. I was immediately captivated by the synopsis, which I’ll paste below. I thought I’d flip through the beginning of the book, and it was so fascinating that I sat on the ground and read it until a bookstore employee told me to go sit in the back. So I did… and devoured the whole book!

I don’t have enough good things to say about it. I’ve always been a fan of psychological thrillers that are more creepy than gory, diverse characters, lots of action, suspense, and plot twists. This one checked all the boxes, and I would highly recommend it. Truly a remarkable novel – I can’t believe it’s her debut – that I’m probably going to purchase next time I go to Dymocks. Since it’s an Australian book (author is currently in Melbourne, and note the spelling of words like ‘traumatised’ and ‘realises’ below), I doubt I’ll be able to find it in Canada later on.

Here’s the summary, which I pasted from Goodreads. Interesting in a haunting, thought-provoking way, right?!

We don’t pick and choose what to be afraid of. Our fears pick us.

Tash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory’s never spoken about the week she went missing.

As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?

I need to recommend it one more time – if you’re a reluctant reader who loves action and intense scenes/dialogue, this book is the way to go. Check out the author’s website, too! It’s beautifully-designed.

Speaking of books, my sister is rereading the Red Queen series. She’s jotting down all the new-to-her vocab words to define and incorporate into her vocabulary. This will be super helpful for her English provincial exam, which is coming up. Go Seline!

Switching gears…

Brunch with my friend, Grace! Grace and I travelled to Byron Bay for a weekend getaway together, and we reunited at She Bangs Coffee for a lovely brunch. I had the Italian smoked salmon with poached eggs on a beet puree, with dill cream cheese. The eggs were poached perfectly, and I loved all the sharp, tangy flavours from the red onions to the fresh cucumber. The salmon, however, was a little too salty for my taste. I loved the chai latte that I enjoyed before the meal, which was heavily vanilla-scented.

Afterwards, I headed up to the Albion Peace Centre for Brisbane’s Urban Yogi Retreat! Yes, after a very long time of not doing yoga… I did yoga. The event, which I discovered on Facebook, was promoted as “the perfect time out – stress, anxiety and worry melt away and leave you feeling uplifted and rejuvenated and ready to face the world again in just a few hours”. The retreat was suitable for all levels of experience, from the first timer to the seasoned yoga practitioner.

The program was from 11:00 to 3:00, and during that time, we did the following activities.

  • Pranayama: yoga breathing
  • Yoga asana (posture) class
  • Plant-based cooking class, where we learned to make tahini rice balls
  • Plant-based lunch of tofu, cucumber, red peppers, Thai noodles, and soy dressing, plus two spring rolls
  • Introduction to meditation class, with chanting (yoga chanting meditation is called Kirtan)
  • A discussion about yoga philosophy and yoga wisdom
  • Yoga nidra (yogic “sleep”, for full-body relaxation)
  • Tea and the best peanut butter brownies I’ve ever eaten! I asked Yasmin for the recipe, and can’t wait to make them myself.

The food was simply amazing, and the people were so kind. One of my favourite parts of the day was sitting in the grass outside the Albion Peace Centre, barefoot, with the sunshine streaming through the leaves of the trees above us. The four hours went by quickly, and I left feeling emotionally cleansed and ready to get back to schoolwork.

Another day, I had a remarkable brunch by myself. I started with the large chai latte at Corner Store Cafe before diving into this polenta and jalapeño waffle topped with creamed corn, sour cream, poached eggs, and smoked salmon. I’d eyed this on the menu for ages, and it certainly lived up to expectations. Delicious!

Since I had aerial silks practice yesterday, I had an energizing breakfast at home. I had half of a quiche made with pumpkin, spinach, and parmesan, some yogurt topped with cinnamon, and the bottom of a pistachio-raspberry muffin.

After practice, I walked around the area and found a place called Little Loco Cafe. I’ve always wanted to try their – you guessed it – chai latte, so I stopped in for a sip. This was great!

Meanwhile in Canada, Mom was cooking dinner. She made mussels with spaghetti in a spicy basil tomato sauce, topped with parmesan cheese. Her cooking is always so inventive and tasty-looking.

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I asked Seline the same question, and she picked American, Japanese, Vietnamese, Greek and Italian.

That afternoon, I also did a survey for the University of Waterloo’s Food Services. This was one of the questions. How, how on Earth, am I supposed to choose only five of my favourite? Only five cuisines?! I ended up choosing French, Indian, Japanese, Lebanese, and Thai. French because I genuinely love the quality/freshness and richness of French cooking, Japanese for the incredible seafood, Lebanese because I’m a huge fan of garlic, onions, eggplant, and saffron, Indian for and Thai because

If you had to pick five, what would you select?

Last but not least, this is a restaurant that I really want to go to! My Brisbane list of cafes and restaurants continues to grow and grow. If you were to order from this menu by Merriweather Cafe, what would you select?

I would probably get the freshly-baked sourdough topped with avocado, poached eggs, beet hummus, dukkah, and add smoked salmon and halloumi to it. Or – how delicious does a free-range eggs benny with truffle hollandaise sound?! From the brunch menu, the quinoa fritter on a brioche burger looks awesome! I would also order a hot chocolate, a chai latte, or their banana, honey, cacao smoothie (and add peanut butter).

Last but not least, podcasts! I’ve downloaded the bolded ones and have listened to a few. It’s a little daunting to have so much information at my fingertips.

Pre-med Podcasts

  • The Premed Years *
  • PreMedLife
  • Accepted
  • The MCAT Podcast
  • MedStud Memoirs
  • Dear Premed *
  • Academic Medicine Podcast
  • Medical School HQ
  • Pritzker Podcast
  • Sawbones
  • Quackiest
  • Andrea Tooley
  • Kevin MD
  • Medical School Admissions Doctor
  • Get into Medical School
  • Skeptics Guide to the Universe
  • Skeptoid
  • Audio Osmosis
  • The Short Coat Podcast
  • OldPreMeds Podcast
  • Tailing Admissions and Med Student Life

That’s pretty much it, for today. Hope you all have a lovely rest of the week.

One Million Stars

Hi everyone!

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Pearl Cafe breakfast and lunch menu

I hope you are all having an absolutely lovely Easter weekend so far.

Recently, I’ve been very excited about visiting some new restaurants in the area (since we’re on Easter break and the mid-semester reading week!). This restaurant, Pearl Cafe, is one that tops my To-Visit list. I really want to try their homemade angel hair spaghetti with silky eggplant, chilli, and goat cheese. Doesn’t that sound amazing? There are a couple other places that are high up on my list, including Naim (for brunch), Gerard’s Bistro, and Sassafras Canteen.

Here’s the bulletin board at my local yoga studio, Zama Yoga, where I volunteer as a Karma Yogi. That wonderful title just means that I help to vacuum, mop, wrap up garbage, and dust, once a week.

Back home in BC, Arnie is doing well. I have no idea what warranted this photo, but Mom sent it over to me one day. Seline, Mom, and Dad went on a day trip a few days ago to Victoria, where they visited the University of Victoria. Seline is possibly going to UVic next year, so I’m glad they had the opportunity to look around the campus, get a sense of the student life there, and, of course, try one of Victoria’s famed restaurants! They ended up going to Original Joe’s.

Mom sent me these wonderful photos of their meals from Original Joe’s. Seline loved her bacon jalapeño mac and cheese, and Dad enjoyed the chicken tenders. Mom’s bruschetta chicken fettuccine with pesto cream sauce was also very popular amongst the three of them. Though I wish they’d also tried that chocolate fudge brownie ice cream with cookies and cream crust (!!!), they were too full for dessert.

Studying on campus. Sometimes when I have a commitment after school (i.e. aerials, my only commitment LOL), I pack my dinner. This time, it was a delicious hearty Botanica salad mix and some yogurt with blueberries and a muffin.

This looks very fancy, and it was! Because I didn’t make it. 🙂 I got the salad from a vendor at the Jan Powers market, and cooked up an egg with cheese, and fried some of a pumpkin and spinach scone on the side.

Same meal, different day, different filter?

This is One Million Hearts, a super cool exhibit that opened up at King George Square in Brisbane’s city centre. I love this exhibit because of its vibrancy and lovely cause.

I’ve been really into walking recently! I will come back to this with a special post shortly.

And yes, still very much in love with veggies, rice, and halloumi. I could eat this every single day, and I do.

This lovely plate included salads from Botanica, a crushed falafel, and an egg that I cooked up with some grated cheese (I think it was provolone, but I’m onto some Gouda now!). The salads tasted wonderful and very refreshing.

I bought a few tennis balls to roll out some knots, but within half an hour, I broke BOTH of them! This was my first time seeing the inside of a tennis ball, and I guess I was surprised by how fragile they were, and that they were hollow inside.

So I ended up buying a $2 spiky massage ball from Kmart, which is much tougher and has been helping immensely for relieving muscle tension.

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On Saturday last week, I visited a new (to me) part of town called New Farm. New Farm is known for their lovely markets, performances, and cafes. This cafe, called MYLK + KO, is famous for their vegan, vegetarian, and gluten/dairy-free brunch dishes. I started with the cocowhip, topped with tons of peanut butter, cocoa granola, strawberries, and berry coulis.

My main dish was equally beautiful: falafel, a maple pumpkin slice, halloumi, roasted red pepper hummus, tons of grilled veggies, savoury dukkah, and sprouts. One of the best veggie breakfasts I’ve ever had, and it was so fun to photograph.

On a different note, I am now really into chai lattes! After purchasing a box of chai tea bags, I’ve been brewing up the chai religiously every morning. The creaminess of the milk, mixed with gentle spice from the tea bag, and sweetness from the honey is perfection.

Cindy’s Chai Latte

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 chai teabag
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste, to taste
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 tbsp honey

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine water and milk in a saucepan. Simmer until it almost reaches a boy;.
  2. Break open the teabag. Pour the loose tea into the saucepan. If you don’t, the tea will be weak. Whisk and allow to simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, giving the tea even longer to brew. Add honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  4. Strain out the tea leaves using a fine kitchen sieve, or even coffee filters/paper towels.

Last night I ate something that was unbelievably delicious – milk chocolate enrobing a perfect piece of feathery light Aussie honeycomb. This was from Noosa chocolatier, and one of the best chocolate things I’ve ever eaten. The chocolate was creamy and rich, contrasting with the airy honeycomb. I can’t wait to go back to Noosa for another.

Finally, a tasty salad mix with a variety of quiches! There’s quite a lot on this colourful plate:

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  • 1/4 pumpkin red onion quiche (Botanica)
  • 1/4 spinach quiche (Botanica)
  • 3/4 spinach goat cheese egg quiche (homemade)
  • 1/4 Botanica salad (coleslaw, sweet potato pesto couscous, carrot quinoa, spinach and rice with pumpkin)

That’s pretty much all for now. Wish I had more to share, but I really have not been doing much recently. I wish you all a beautiful weekend full of delicious eats!

Lately | March

I’ve been having such a busy week, full of classes and yoga and other fun activities in and around campus. Hence the shortest post I’ve ever written and a flashback repost.

So, finally, some original content whisked together in more than a few minutes. For breakfast this morning, I had two scrambled eggs, bulked up with sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, tomato, and eggplant. Topping of Gruyere cheese, one of my favourites.

After the eggs, I had yogurt with raspberries and honey-roasted cashews. I’m getting really into roasted nuts recently (I’ve always been a nut butter fanatic), and the crunch is everything!

Another day: sliced chicken thigh with cauliflower rice and veggies.

YUM! This looks like a mess, but it’s cauliflower rice with steamed squash, sliced chicken, and Asiago cheese. Asiago is another one of my favourites, for its sharp flavour and meltability. Is that a word?

As usual, dessert featuring Greek yogurt, honey-roasted cashews, plenty of blueberries, and a few squares of chocolate.

Last night, my housemate Jessica left some carrot patties for me. Her mom, my landlord, lives upstairs and made these tasty bites. I need a recipe for these, stat! They were perfectly sweet from the carrots, tender, with a blast of flavour from the green onions. I loved them!

On a completely different note, I’ve told myself for weeks months that I’m going to make ratatouille. I just keep procrastinating because it seems like a lot of effort. I will, I will, I will. Next time. 😉

We had a few sunny, but not too hot, days in Brisbane. One of those days, I walked home from campus. It’s normally a 40-minute walk, but I was wandering pretty slowly and it took me around an hour.

More cauliflower rice, more squash, and more halloumi. I think I have some kind of obsession with halloumi. I’ve been eating it daily, and I don’t think I will ever get sick of it.

Sliced cucumber with smoked salmon dip, and a lovely chicken pie.

This was definitely one of my most memorable meals – wholemeal bun, sliced and topped with the creamiest Brie I’ve ever encountered, plus deli turkey and sliced pear. The combination of turkey, Brie, and pear is divine. Perhaps my favourite sandwich trio of all time?

I know, more halloumi. I should stop taking pictures of it every day because it’s always the same! Dessert was a little different: yogurt with blueberries and a crumbled LARABAR.

After two decades, my clumsy fingers finally figured out how to braid my hair in a pseudo-French braid. This was definitely the success of the week 🙂 Also, some scrambled eggs with veggies and cheese, alongside leftover garlic naan bread, before yoga one morning.

Surprise – halloumi on cauliflower rice with squash and a fried egg. What a novelty. 😉 Dessert today involved a crushed peanut butter LARABAR, a way-too-expensive chopped garnet plum, and some milk chocolate.

One Thursday evening, I was tired, outside, hot, and too lazy to cook. I ended up going to Sushi Kiyo, where I ate seven plates of sushi. Each plate of sushi here is $2.50 and has a few pieces, so I had a little of everything. Plus dessert – a great piece of tiramisu that I’m still reminiscing.

  • 4 tuna aburi, 2 salmon aburi, 2 spicy salmon aburi, 2 hotate aburi, 2 king fish aburi, 2 pieces Spider Roll
  • 1 tiramisu cake

This was one of the best evenings ever – my housemate recommended taking a walk down the Brisbane river. There was a gorgeous pedestrian pathway, and it wasn’t too hot as the sun had started to set. The panorama photos are my favourite.

Every Sunday, I take an aerials class with Ben, an experienced straps artist and handbalancer. He inspires me so much, and I love how patient he is when I ask, for the millionth time, how to wrap my wrists. We are working on a back balance here.

Organic chicken thigh with taleggio polenta, prosciutto, creamed leeks, roasted garlic crumb. Does this need further explanation?! It was freaking delicious and definitely worth the 50-minute wait.

Dark chocolate tart with caramel ice cream, dates, creme fraiche. Better than I could’ve imagined. This may be one of the top five desserts I’ve ever eaten in my life. The pureed dates, rich caramel ice cream, and slightly sour creme fraiche paired beautifully with the caramel smear, crispy pearls, and decadent chocolate. I would go back to HARVEY’s in a heartbeat for this dessert.

Yoga! This reminds me that I haven’t posted on my yoga page for a pretty long time. But I’ve been getting back into yoga, mostly yin yoga, which is relaxing and restorative. I’m also heavily contemplating a new yoga mat, but these are just out of budget at the moment. My current mat was a $4 one from KMart, and it’s been serving me well in most classes – until I sweat and start slipping everywhere.

Finally, a mash of random veggies and chicken… and desserts galore. It doesn’t look like much, but it was awesome:

  • 1/4 peanut butter chocolate cheesecake (another one of my Top 5 desserts of all time! This had the richest chocolate peanut butter ganache to ever hit my taste buds.)
  • 1/4 strawberry hazelnut baked donut (vegan and gluten-free, but I would never be able to tell!)
  • 1/4 carrot cake loaf with cream cheese frosting (loved the citrus kick in the cream cheese frosting)

Finally, Indian food. Cassie (love the new blog look, by the way!), how lucky am I to have an incredible, inexpensive, Indian food place directly downstairs of my building?! They serve plenty of gluten-free and vegan options as well, and never cook with preservatives or MSG. I’ve lived in Brisbane for about a month, and have visited A Night in India three times. Each time, I order a large serving of the palak paneer, saffron rice, and garlic and cheese naan. It’s to die for. Seriously. I’d die for this spinach curry.

On a different note, I found this online (Facebook?) and it made me think. Sometimes, I don’t feel physical hunger in my stomach, but feel weak and need a blast of energy. I’d love to see some scientific studies done on hunger cues and hormones.

That’s it for this lovely Thursday, mes amis!

Peace out ✌️

Black Garlic Dessert Bread?!

Good morning, everyone! Today’s a crazy rainy day, and the next few days in Brisbane aren’t looking much better. It’s 24 degrees, and just pouring. We have thunderstorms planned for the next few days – until next Thursday. What a disappointment!

Anyways, this week was my first week of school, and I loved it. Here you can see the schedule that I had for the first week. I had to dip out of a lot of yoga/fitness classes because I didn’t feel like going. Getting there is always half the battle! And, unfortunately, I sometimes lose that battle.Schedule (13)In light of all the events that have happened over the last couple of weeks over in the US, this tweet really stood out to me. What powerful words. I’ve been following the incredibly articulate, thoughtful, patriotic, and compassionate students of Stoneman Douglas High School since the event, and every day I am impressed by the momentum they’ve gained. What an incredible group of young leaders.

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Here are some of my class notes! I am taking four courses this semester, and they are:

  1. BIOL3009: Arthropods and Human Health
  2. SOCY2179: Sex, Drugs, and Disease
  3. SWSP2211: Individual Development and Health Care
  4. PSYC3132: Health Psychology

I don’t know if I have a favourite yet, because they all differ from each other quite a bit. I am trying to link the courses together as I work through the material. For instance, in Individual Development (a Sociology course), we discuss marginalized populations and how people in third-world countries are susceptible to diseases such as malaria. Then, in my Arthropods course, we discuss the mechanisms behind malaria, and how exactly it is transmitted.

I am getting a personal trainer! I felt that it was more “worth it” to get a 10-class personal training class rather than a fitness pass. Starting Tuesday, I’ll be working with a lovely woman called Amy to meet some fitness goals. On the right side, you’ll see my academic to-do list. I’ve only been in school for a week and there’s already plenty to be done! I love it.

I don’t have much stuff in my room, so it isn’t too hard to keep it tidy.

L: Here is one of my lecture classrooms. I really like it because it isn’t extraordinarily big. The entire classroom will seat about forty students, so I think that’s just right.

R: Toowong Village is the local mall. I love this place!

Some eats:

  • broccoli, cauliflower rice, squash, tomatoes, red pepper, cheddar and gruyere, 1 fried egg, 4 pieces fried halloumi

And again:

  • cauliflower rice, squash, 6 pieces fried halloumi

Some things that I really want to make include crepes with brie, apple, and turkey (or flatbreads, using the same ingredients), stuffed peppers, or spaghetti squash with veggies and cheese.

I did end up making something like that, using a hearty whole grain bun from Baker’s Delight, creamy brie, and some sliced turkey.

  • 1 medium cucumber, truffle dip, smoked salmon dip
  • 1 whole wheat grain bun, 4 medium slices turkey, 1/2 triangle of brie

Deliciousness – one for dessert, and one for breakfast. I recently discovered how tasty it is to crumble up a LARABAR and serve it on yogurt. Love this!

  • plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 peanut butter LARABAR, 2 squares nougat chocolate
  • plain Greek yogurt, 2 peaches, 1/2 peanut butter LARABAR

One afternoon, I visited a restaurant called Gauge. When I looked at the menu previously, I was 99% sure that I wanted the cavatelli, cashew cream, zucchini, black garlic dish. However, upon speaking to one of the kind waitresses, who recommended the pan-fried mahi-mahi with caramelized cream, tomato, and dill, I changed my mind. This was good, but not worth $32. I was also surprised by the very long wait (surprising, because I normally dine alone so food comes to me quite quickly) of approximately 40 minutes and the little serving size. Was expecting… a little more for $32 – at least some bread or greens on the side.

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For dessert, I had a very unique dish: the black garlic bread with brown butter, burnt vanilla. It sounds weird. It was weird. I’ll try my best to describe this:

  • First of all, I’ve never tasted ANYTHING quite like this. It was like the time that I tried mushroom ice cream at the Sunshine Coast – I didn’t have any expectations, but was full of curiosity.
  • This had the texture of banana bread, but a little less ‘crumbly’. As if it were a banana bread crossed with a yeast bread. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to crumble this between my fingers – I’d have to tear it. Perhaps the texture was like a banana bread made with oil rather than butter.
  • The flavour was sweet, but not overwhelmingly sweet. Of course, I had the rich brown butter on the side. The cake itself was a bit like a toffee or date cake in flavour, with rich notes of garlic.
  • The garlic flavour didn’t really shine through until after each bite, when you get a garlicky aftertaste. Black garlic, to me, tastes just like regular garlic.
  • Definitely an interesting experience. Do I regret ordering it? Not at all. I finished every crumb on the plate, and kind of wanted more. But would I order it next time? No.

I had the opportunity to attend a cool convention called the Mind Body Spirit convention, where there were hundreds of vendors selling things like essential oils, yoga mats, yoga attire, turmeric, vegan treats, and so much more. I saw lots of unique things like pumpkin seed meal, and vegan coconut-cashew ice cream (which I got a delicious sample of). It was a lovely experience, though most of the products were too expensive. Yoga mat for $150? No… I’ll stick to my $5 mat, thank you.

Brisbane is so lovely. Every time I come to the South Bank and West End area, I am bewildered by the beautiful buildings and sunshine. It’s so nice to live near a river.

Another day, another yogurt snack. I love these! This time, it was a chopped pear on Greek yogurt with a crumbled peanut butter LARABAR.

Also, I just realized later this week we’ll be in March. WHAT!?

For dinner one day, I went to A Night in India (they do takeout as well, but I’m so glad I didn’t do takeout because I wouldn’t have had the DESSERT), where I devoured a bowl of palak paneer. Palak paneer is hands-down my favourite Indian dish, ever. I love it. The spices, the creamy-but-firm cheese, the rich sauce and the spinach. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life! Alongside – some saffron rice and a big garlic and cheese naan. This dinner was one of the highlights of my week.

Dessert, of course, was just as stunning. Get this, my friends: a chocolate haven cake on a sizzling pan (literally, the chocolate was sizzling). Oozing with milk chocolate from TWO layers, which became warm and gooey on the sizzling pan, and topped with dark chocolate ganache. Vanilla bean ice cream on the side. As I was eating this, I was so mindful to savour every bite, and I’m pretty sure I went to heaven?! This was unbelievable. Easily one of the top three desserts I have ever eaten. It was amazing, and words just don’t do it justice.

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Finally, a huge spider web I saw (!) and my new, updated class schedule. This is the one I’ll be sticking to, from now on, because it includes lectures and tutorials.

That is… pretty much it for today, friends ❤ I hope you all have a lovely, lovely rest of the week.

Before Brisbane

Good Friday morning, everyone!

I’m writing this from 40,000 feet because I am currently on a flight from my home in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) to Brisbane, Queensland (Australia). It is a 15-hour flight, and I just have an hour to go. I just ate a large square of chocolate peanut butter banana snack bread that I packed, alongside a tasty red bean moon cake that my Grandma bought for me.

It was a mostly peaceful flight – only a little turbulence and one little crying baby. I got as much sleep as I could in these tiny Economy seats (probably 7 hours?) before working on some projects on my laptop. I didn’t bring a book with me this time, though I wish packing either Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, or it’s sequel, Glass Sword.

Now, one of my favourite things to do on an airplane is to go on a virtual rant of all my thoughts and expectations of the place I’m headed. It makes for a fun list to look back on, once the experience is over.

  • I am most excited about aerials. I can’t wait to learn aerial straps. I know I’m probably not strong enough at this point to do any real tricks on the straps, but I figure the worst that can happen is I get stronger for the silks. My goal is to take 10 lessons, one per week, throughout my time in Brisbane.
  • I am taking 5 courses, which are science/health/psychology related. I hope I still have enough time for training in aerials and yoga, so if academics becomes too much, I will drop a course.
  • For my classes, some have tutorials and practicals. I am a little confused about it since every week seems to be different, according to the weekly schedule online. It doesn’t seem to follow Waterloo’s A-B-A-B weekly schedule. I hope this is clarified during orientation.
  • I hope my roommate, Jessica, and I will become good friends (like how Madhulika, Arsalan, and I still stay in touch from our 2 years together in Waterloo)
  • I live roughly 25 minutes from school, which is a bit of a long walk in the heat.
  • The only things I have for note-taking are my laptop and one notebook, plus some colourful pens. I’m looking forward to note-taking and studying, since it’s been 7 months since I was last in school.
  • In Australia, I am going to eat very healthy, light foods because it’s summer!
  • I live 3 minutes from Zama Yoga, so I’m excited to do lots of yoga. They have Pilates, Barre, Hot Vinyasa, Dance Cardio, and one that I think will be my favourite – Warm Slow Flow Yoga.
  • I am looking forward to making new friends and getting to know new people.

Other things from lately:

Family had brunch at Brown’s Social House. There, we enjoyed nachos before everyone’s main dishes came. My entree was the prosciutto eggs benedict, and this was one of the best English muffin benedicts that I’ve had (I normally like biscuit benedicts). The flavour of the hollandaise was very unique, and I adored the Cowboy Salad on the side, which was topped with plenty of walnuts, chopped dates, edamame, black beans, carrots, grape tomatoes, and feta cheese.

Seline and I did plenty together. We love reading in Chapters, and scanning the summaries of novels to see which ones might be great. Also, I got a manicure with her! Seline helped me choose the colour, which is pink with lots of shine. Manicures always make me feel so clean and polished (I didn’t even intend this pun).

Seline’s birthday was on Saturday, February 4! We celebrated with lots of helium balloons and a Dairy Queen ice cream cake that read “Have a claw-some purr-thday, Christopher Shaw!”. Inside joke.

Another day, I went to the gym and then to Ikea with my dad, where we purchased a lovely chef’s knife which is currently also on its way to Australia. I can’t wait to use it!

Finally, I had an excellent sushi dinner with my sister, Seline, at her favourite Coquitlam sushi place called Sushi Karis. I had the fatty tuna aburi sushi and snapper aburi sushi. Seline had the beef ramen, and then we ordered three rolls. All the rolls were delicious, but I’m such a sucker for seared scallops that I’d say the Master Roll was my favourite.

  1. MASTER ROLL – California roll topped with seared scallops and mustard sauce
  2. VICTORIA ROLL – Yam tempura sushi with avocado and unagi sauce
  3. SPIDER ROLL – Soft-shell crab on top of a California roll, made with black rice (this gave it a striking appearance, but the flavour was the same)

Now I have to fill out my landing card details, so until then!

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