End of week update

Yes it’s been a while since I’ve had time to update our blog. It’s been a busy and exhausting week for me at work plus there have been quite a few activities. So this will been a quick picture-filled update.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11

Ron planned a trip with his classmates to the city of Johor Bahru in Malaysia which is very near to Singapore. You can literally walk across a bridge into the city. They spent the day there playing golf even though some of them had never played before. Apparently at this golf range there is no handicap requirement and it was relatively cheap, 80MYR (~24USD) for 9 holes.

They left Singapore around 12:30 and took a bus to Malaysia. They still had to go through the regular customs and immigration check going there and coming back. They ended up having to walk home over the bridge because there were no taxis or buses available around 10pm. Some were carrying their golf bag with clubs. Many people actually commute back and forth from Malaysia to Singapore so it can get quite crowded on that bridge.

I’m not much for golf plus I had to study for the pharmacy law exam so I stayed home all day.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12

Today was my last day of orientation! Yay! It’s been quite tiring and can get quite boring just sitting around and listening… it’s been a while since I’ve had to be in a “class” and listen for 8 hours. Although today was relatively interesting because it was presentations from all the departments to give you an idea of how the hospital is run and who to go for when you need help. Tuesday I would finally get back to work at the pharmacy.

Justine and I were at home alone for dinner so we tried out our skills on making a meal. We ended up making ground beef with coriander pesto sauce and wheat pasta. It wasn’t too bad although the sauce was a bit too garlic-ly.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13

I’m officially a legal worker here in Singapore. I picked up my official Employment Pass (EP) in the morning before work. It was just a green laminated card with my VISA stamped into the pages of my passport. It’s a bit different than Ron’s Student Pass because he has 2 cards, 1 is the VISA and 1 is the pass (I think).

I went to work after picking up my pass and it was a bit stressful. After only having worked 1 week then 1 week of orientation, I had some trouble remembering how things were done. But since it’s so fast paced there, at least you get re-exposed to everything again in a short time so more practice makes perfect!

Ron and I spent a quiet evening at home.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14

We went grocery shopping at Cold Storage today. It’s not the cheapeast place but it is the closest and I was craving some fresh food. I ended up going there first and having Ron meet me later. I got my hands on some mangoes, winter dates, fragrant pears, bread, baking goods (flour, sugar, nuts, baking soda, eggs), chips & salsa, and when Ron came, he picked up his frozen goods (pizza, spring rolls, fish sticks). Now our fridge is fully stocked so we can survive without eating out so much.

Wednesday is Bar of the Week night which this week was at Balcony Bar at The Hereen (a shopping center). It had a nice outdoor patio with “beds” (lounging seats) and a “hot tub” (actually a bubbling water feature with cold water that had a counter around it like a bar). I tried this drink called an Advocaat which I thought was going to taste like avocado but ended up tasting like and orange cream soda. Apparently it’s an egg-based liqueur topped up with sparkling lemonade. According to wikipedia, it did used to be made of avocadoes but it was adapted to eggs when avocadoes weren’t available.

The drink wasn’t very alcoholic but quite tasty, especially because it was fizzy.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15

Tomorrow is our flatmate Justine’s birthday so we went to dinner at this restaurant called Z’en located at UE Square. The dinner party was around 20 people so we had a set course meal. The sashimi was especially nice and overall, the meal was quite satisfying. The only kind of strange one was the chicken meat on a stick which seemed like ground up chicken with the cartilage and tendons because it was a bit crunchy.

We sat outside under a large awning with fans and we had a really long table. It was okay but a bit stuffy I think because of the weather, a bit more humid than usual. The restaurant has a large collection of sake so I recommend it if you also like sake. The service was pretty good for having to accommodate 20+ people along with their regular customers. But they went the extra mile in buying a very delicious chocolate cake for the birthday girl and even saying they were sorry when they couldn’t find the exact type requested.

Click here or see below for the slideshow of our meal:


We were pretty close by Clarke Quay and people did not seem like they wanted to go home so we ended up walking a few blocks and stopped at Fashion Bar. We stayed until midnight to wish Justine a happy birthday then called it a night.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16,

Today I look like I’m a drug user instead of a drug pusher… I had blood drawn this morning for the required annual blood screening. At NUH in the cancer center pharmacy, the employees are required to have a blood screening every year to determine if they’ve been exposed to the chemotherapy. In the US, during training we watch this video about how you can have traces of drugs in your urine and blood if you don’t wear the proper protective equipment but screening is not required. I’m not too fond of needles so I wasn’t looking forward to this morning’s blood test. The nurse had to prick me twice, the 2nd time because she did not have enough blood in the 2nd tube so she had to prick my right and left arm. Ouch! And my right arm was a bit bruised up.

So not only did I have to get blood drawn, I also had to get a Hepatitis B booster shot. I had the series of 3 shots done before starting pharmacy school (as required) and apparently my immunity is borderline low so I needed to get a booster. It hurt. Mostly because the vaccine was cold. I still need to go back in December for another blood test to check my immunity to make sure the booster worked. Not looking forward to it!

One good tip that my preceptor passed on to me is to offer your non-writing hand for blood draws, just in case something may happen, you’ll still be able to write. I guess that may sound a bit paranoid but better safe than sorry. From now on, I’m going to offer my left arm, like I always offer my left arm for shots.

But at least when I finally got to the pharmacy, I had a good breakfast. There was a drug company Kirin giving a presentation about their drugs GRAN (filgrastim, G-CSF) and Peglasta (pegfilgrastim).

It was also employee appreciation day at NUH so there was a free lunch for all employees. It was to thank everyone for a successful JCI (Joint Commission International) re-accreditation in July. JCI is the same as the US Joint Commission on Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). It can be a very stressful and difficult time for healthcare organizations because everything is looked at with a magnifying glass in relation to patient care. Hospital administrators are usually very appreciative of their employee’s efforts so there’s always these rewards like free lunches. We also all got NUH umbrellas as thank you gifts.

For dinner I had a pharmaceutical company sponsored talk and dinner to attend with my preceptor. GlaxoSmithKline sponsored the talk about the new drug Tykerb (lapatanib) as it was just recently approved here in Singapore. It’s a newly approved drug used to treat breast cancer. The dinner was at a restaurant near Chinatown called Xi Yan. The food was very nice and I’m sure very expensive. We were served lime juice and rose tea. The servers kindly explained the main entrees as they mixed or carved the dishes. We had a set meal and the flavors were Chinese, Japanese, and Thai. They apparently offer a cookbook there as well so you can try to make the dishes at home yourself. I think I will not likely get to eat there again so I’m glad I had this opportunity. Apparently if you would like to eat there you have to make reservations a few months in advance with a minimum of 6 persons.

Click here or see below for the slideshow of our meal:


Ron went to a BBQ tonight at our apt complex. More birthdays again. It seems like there are BBQs almost every week. I didn’t finish dinner until 11 so I got home after the BBQ already finished. It took me almost 30 minutes to wait for a taxi so I’ve had a long day and am exhausted.

I’m glad it’s the weekend but I’ve got to study for my exam. Only these 2 more weekends! yikes.

So sorry that wasn’t so quick but I’m going to try to be better about updating daily so I don’t run into this problem of forgetting what we did? where did we go? which day was that again? who were we with? 😀

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