24 July 2006

Luck of the draw and lucky to be in Canada

Last Friday, I went to Burnaby General Hospital’s emergency room. My physician sent me there after postulating that my kidney may have an infection. I got there at 1pm and I was tucked into one of the beds by 1:35pm. I thought it was really speedy service and considered myself lucky. I’ve heard of the complaints about waiting time in our hospitals. On the other hand, I thought that this illness may be more serious than I expected; that’s why they got me is so quickly. I chose to believe that the ER was just having a slow day and I am enjoying the benefits of that.

I was put on IV therapy which meant I had to go to the ER everyday to get my dose of antibiotics. My visit on Saturday morning resulted in very speedy service too. I had to get an ultrasound and I didn’t wait long at all. Then off I went to get my IV dose of antibiotics. Then they decided to get a chest xray done to make sure it was not my left lung that was the problem. Again, just a short wait. Then I was done. All in all, I was there for 2 hours. I was impressed and began to think that the waiting time problem didn’t exist at Burnaby General.

My Sunday visit was the same. Hi, I’m here for my IV therapy. Less than ten minutes later, I was settling into my chair for more antibiotics. Throughout my visits to date, the nurses and doctors have been excellent. They were friendly and professional. I was very pleased and thought the taxes I am paying this month was money well spent.

For Monday’s visit, I got to the hospital at 3:50pm. And for the first time, I experienced the waiting time problem. I waited over three hours before they called me in. As it turned out, IV therapy can only be administered by a nurse. And on this day, there is only one nurse in the ER and she happened to be preparing a patient for surgery. I was SOL. Finally, at 7pm, I got called in. By 7:50, I was done. It really is just the luck of the draw. On some days, it’s good and on some days it’s not so good. Maybe more people got hurt because it’s a Monday. Who knows....

The good thing is, they switched me to oral medication. No more hospital visits!

Reflecting on my first real encounter with the hospital system, I consider myself so lucky to live in Canada. I have to say that to be able to walk into a hospital, present my Care Card, receive excellent treatment (inspite of the waiting time), and walk out the door without once handing over a credit card is amazing. I appreciate that I am able to lay there in the hospital and not worry about how I’m going to pay for all this. I realize that I do pay for it - I cringe at the portion of my salary that goes to the taxman every month - but not having to worry about paying for the tests and the treatment when I am shivering with a high fever is comforting. Inspite of all its problems, our health care system is pretty awesome.

19 July 2006

July wedding #3

For the third weekend in a row, Ed and I attended a wedding. Shelley and Mark got married last Saturday in North Van. It was a lovely wedding and I'm glad for Shelley.

Random thoughts about that day...

- This is the second mass I’ve attended this year; the first one being Mark Aleong’s wedding last May.
- Even though I haven’t gone to mass in a while, all the responses and prayers automatically come up from some recesses of my brain. I can even recite along with the priest most of his lines. Weird.
- Shelley and Mark didn’t sit together during the mass. Her chair was on one side of the aisle and his chair on the other side. That was weird too.
- I love Trini weddings because people actually dance and dance and dance after dinner. It’s fun.
- The Trinidadian rum cake is so delicious. I think they use an entire bottle of rum to make that cake.

Philippines, here we come

Ed and I are finally starting to organize our trip to the Philippines. It’s been almost 14 years since I was last there and I’m sure so much has changed. And I’m sure so much has also remained the same.

We will be going in mid-September and I’m staying for 4 weeks while Ed is staying for 3 weeks. I’m doing my reunions and get togethers with classmates and old friends that first week. Then once Ed comes, we will be spending the next two or two and a half weeks travelling around the country. Not really sure yet how much we can fit in; it will all depend on the transportation methods we end up with. Since the country is made up of islands, travelling from one destination to another will always involve a plane or a ferry. Flying everywhere would be expensive and taking ferries would slow us down a lot. At the very least, we will visit Cebu, Palawan, and Boracay. I’m hoping to make it north to the rice terraces in Banaue. And maybe we’ll get our PADI certification. We’ll see.

It will be very interesting to see my friends from way back, to catch up, to see for myself how their lives have evolved. I’m sure I’m going to get questioned a million times why I don’t have kids yet. Everyone’s going to comment how payat (thin) I still am. There is nothing sacred over there, nothing too delicate to discuss. I better brace myself!

It’ll be fun, I know it. Two more months before I go. Can’t wait!

13 July 2006

Mon and Josh get married

July 7: They became Mr. and Mrs. Blommestein.
July 8: We got to celebrate with them. It’s so cool to see them married. We’ve seen their relationship grow through the years and it’s so evident that they bring out the best in each other. Congratulations, Josh and Mon!

It’s also the last wedding in our immediate circle of friends. Ed and I started the wedding trend in 2003, Yvette and Brian, and Louanne and Patrick got married in 2004, and in 2006, Josh and Mon tied the knot. Louanne mentioned during the reception that this may be the last time that we’d be all sitting in the same table during a wedding.

Except for Josh and Mon who are still looking for a place, we all bought houses in 2004 and 2005. Home renovations have been a common bond for us the last year or so. And come November, we will welcome the first baby in our circle with Yvette’s and Brian’s baby.

I love having these friends whom I share the evolution of my life with. They certainly make it more fun and interesting and I totally appreciate having them in my life.

12 July 2006

Hachi Bei

We had dinner at a really good Japanese restaurant tonight, a place called Hachi Bei. It’s on 16th Ave, about two blocks east of Oak St. Apparently, their specialty is the barbequed seafood so Ed and I had the bbq squid and bbq mackarel, respectively. Both dishes were delicious. It’s just refreshing to eat something different in a Japanese place.

11 July 2006

Beach volleyball

Yesterday, Kevin, my co-worker, asked me to play beach volleyball with them. They need a minimum of two girls and usually, Jo and Hina play but Hina was sick so they were short one girl. Kevin said that by showing up, I already give the team 5 points (I guess that’s the penalty for not having enough girls). I was better than having nobody, in other words. So, I reluctantly agreed. I haven’t played volleyball since high school and I was never good at it. All I remember is how much it hurt my arms. I was not really looking forward to it.

Before the game started, I got the quick tutorial of what to do and where to stand. Practicing the toss, I hurt my thumb. Great, that’s a good sign.

It turned out to be not so bad. My arms did hurt, a lot. But I also served quite well and scored a few points that way for the team. I squealed just once - when a serve was directed my way and it freaked me out. And I was able to pass the ball a few times. I missed a bunch too. Oh well.

The other thing that hurt were my feet and ankles. I was barefoot and running around on sand. There’s no support whatsoever for the lateral movements my feet have to endure. My right foot cramped up by the third game. How come nobody has invited beach volleyball shoes yet, I wonder?

In the end, we won some of the matches and I thought we played fairly well, considering they had me! Go Team Navarik!

7 July 2006


I did it - I joined the FCRCC OC1 orientation program last week. My first session was last Thurdays, June 29. This orientation program also entitled me to participate in the OC6 novice program every Tuesday evening and Saturday morning.

My OC1 session was very interesting. It was my first time in an OC1 and Norm, the coach, explained how to get the outrigger assembled, how to steer it, and how to get it into the water. I stayed in Alder Bay for a while, just going in circles, as I got accustomed to the OC1. We did go out to False Creek and that was exciting. I was very careful not to tip the boat over.

I attended the OC6 practice the following Tuesday, July 4. My first time in an OC6! We paddled from the Burrard marina to Siwash rock in Stanley Park. It was really fun and Norm said my technique is very sound, which was nice to hear. I found the paddling easier on the body because it’s not so frantic. It’s a little weird, though, because there is no foot brace to push off of and I haven’t figured out how to do a proper leg drive. Norm wanted me to focus on keeping my torso steady and to not lean out to the side. I want to work on my right side and making sure I lean forward and rotate properly.

It was really nice to paddle out by Stanley Park. With the dragon boat, we’re confined to False Creek but with the OC6, we can go out to the open water. And I get to feel the boat more, maybe because it’s lighter. I don’t know why that is but I just do.

So for the next few weeks, I’ll be paddling in the outriggers more than the dragon boat. Should be fun...

6 July 2006


Together with some friends, I went to Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai last night. The show was amazing. Everything about it was amazing. The costumes, music, choreography, acrobatics, and funny acts were all so superb. The entire time, my eyes were popping out in awe and my hands were tired from clapping. I must have said “wow” a gazillion times! Okay, I’m exaggerating but it was quite spectacular indeed.

The acts in the show, from what I remember:
- angel twirling in the net in the air
- acrobatics with guys being juggled and twirled using the feet
- three boys twirling rope thingies
- four women swinging up in the air (trapeze)
- russian (georgian) dance
- a woman doing maneuvers in an aerial hoop
- juggler
- acrobatics - a blend of bendy people and balancing them plus sliding around the stage
- two guys flying through the air suspended by their wrists
- bendy girl balancing in canes
- somersaults from swings
- clowns - disappearing act, guy singing a french song

The highlight acts for me were the two guys flying through the air, the foot juggling acrobatics, and the somersaults from the swings. The “musical” acts were really good too. I didn’t want the show to end. It was quite disappointing when they started taking their bow. I just wanted the show to go on and on.

What a show! Thanks to Kei for treating us! You rock!