Charming Memories.

(Stories to do with my charm bracelet – might be a bit boring for some of you! No theories today.)

Let’s go back to my 20th birthday: I really, really wanted a charm bracelet. I had made enough hints to my then-boyfriend (Scott) that it was obvious what would be the perfect gift.

… I got a laptop instead.

That sounds like I was disappointed.

On the contrary, I was thrilled to get a laptop (yes, something I needed), but I do admit that part of me was a little let down that it wasn’t a small jewellery box with a charm bracelet waiting for me to collect little memories of my life into one small, simple piece of jewellery (and one that I always envisioned happily telling the stories of each of the charms to my children or grandchildren).

Scott, a small group of his friends and (mostly) my parents had contributed to be able to buy me the laptop and Scott had relied on his connections with computer people he knew to get a discount.

Later I learned that he had actually not contributed a thing because my parents fronted up almost all of the money and the $20-50 per contribution from each of his friends was enough that it looks like he probably made a bit out of my birthday present. Not the greatest boyfriend ever.

I did get a bracelet from my group of friends (at least someone listened) – but it was already full of charms and dangly bits so wasn’t quite what I expected. Still have and love that gift.

This lack of understanding about what I really wanted was helping to pave the way for things to go poorly with Scott, though that is probably a story for another post.

Ultimately, I had hoped that when Christmas rolled around a few months later there would be a charm bracelet waiting for me (I was not subtle about the hints). I can’t even remember what he got me, but it wasn’t a bracelet.

This meant that sometime in the following January when Peter, my closest friend of that past year and one of Scott’s closest male friends, handed me a small gift bag with “Pandora” written all over it, I was ecstatic to finally get the charm bracelet I wanted (though at the time of course I wanted a traditional charm bracelet, and probably in gold — I’ve now come to fully appreciate the flexibility of the pandora design and am quite happy with silver since all of the charms are hence less expensive and that my yellowish complexion doesn’t suit gold all that well anyway).

Peter got me two charms to go along with the bracelet:

Pink Four Petal Flower Charm

Heart Drop Dangle Charm






The first one representing the friendship that we had, and the second expressing the feelings we had of more than just friendship*.

*Also a story for another time I’m afraid.

Blue Dew Drop Dangle Charm








Much later on, Peter gave me another charm (above) to mark how long we had been together. I can’t even remember if it was for my birthday or Christmas or our anniversary when he gave it to me.

Last year, while on my Paediatric term, I was working an evening shift (and hence getting to wear my comfortable scrubs i.e. pyjamas to work). I was called into theatre to be in charge of the baby once it had been delivered by emergency cesarean section. This meant I had to change into hospital theatre scrubs, but instead I put the hospital scrubs over the top of my casual ones and took off my watch and jewellery, putting them into the pockets of the scrubs on top, to get ready to scrub, glove up and catch the baby.

You can predict what happened here I bet.

The newborn baby needed to be transported to special care nursery so I didn’t go the usual way out of the theatres and ended up staying in the hospital scrubs until the end of the shift. That was where I took off my top layer of scrubs and added them to the pile of other scrubs ready to be taken back to the changing rooms for cleaning.

I realised when I got home that my arm was empty.

The following afternoon when I got to work, I discovered that the scrubs had already been taken to be washed.

Attempts over the next 1-2 weeks to contact lost and found or the washing services, all of it was in vain. I did not get my bracelet back.

It devastated me. What was worse was that to help the pandora bracelet stay on, I had a small gold bangle that was adjustable size-wise, and was given to me by my grandparents when I was a baby. It absolutely broke my heart to have lost that piece of jewellery, I may never forgive myself for not properly checking the pockets before I was so eager to get out of the door.

I ended up buying a replacement of the bracelet and charms, not too long after Peter and I had broken up. It was a bit of an impulse buy, but I was shopping with my mum and explaining how upset I was to have lost it, and that it meant more to me for a thousand other reasons than the connections with Peter. I’m glad I did buy another one, and now it means much more to me since I paid for it all.

The following charms were then added to the bracelet:

Sparkling Square Dangle Charm

Dandelion Clip

Milkway Clip








The one on the left was given to me by Peter’s mum after she stayed with us for a week after his car accident. Considering this was after I had lost the bracelet it was a little bit weird. I think of this charm as the downfall with Peter and I, and his car accident and everything it represented. Again, that is a story for another time, sorry.

The clips were more so that I could unclip the bracelet and not fear for the safety of all of the charms. The Dandelion one reminds me of Gallifreyan (Doctor Who written language), which I love; and the Milkway one is a reference to how much I love the night sky and how I used to study astronomy because I found it fascinating. Perhaps neither of those are that exciting reasons to have charms, but they were the prettiest of the clips and I thought they were more interesting than the plain ones!

And that’s as far as I’ve gotten with building up my charm bracelet in almost a year.

Though I have thought about what other charms I would like to include.

  • Finishing Med School/becoming a doctor:

Medical Charm








  • Quilting:

Vintage Scissors Dangle Charm








  • Buying the house:

House Charm








  • Narcolepsy diagnosis and treatment

Treasure Chest Charm








  • Post-break-up-from-Peter (cup = furnishing my house/getting the things I want/drinking a lot of tea; elephant = painting I did that helped occupy my time):

Tea Cup Charm

African Elephant Charm








  • Graduating from pre-med:


Graduation Cap Dangle Charm








  • For all of the dogs, but also representing my little guy’s paralysis and spinal surgery:

Dog Dangle Charm








  • Ex Files (Scott = bear; Mitchell = duck; Alex = glasses I think, though candy would be better)

Polar Bear Dangle Charm

Duck Charm

Celebration Glasses Dangle Charm








  • Ben (haven’t decided which of these, or maybe all of them, or maybe I wait until things develop more):

Camera Charm

Snake Charm

Pineapple Charm

Passport Dangle w CZ Charm













  • Dragons are always special to me (I was born in the year of the dragon) – no specific reason though except that I like it:

Dragon Dangle Charm








  • Holidays (with Peter), particularly the first holiday I paid for after I’d started work:

Cruise Ship Charm








  • When I move:

Sydney Opera House (c)








  • Buying my first car (this isn’t as important, but it was still a big life moment):

Car Charm








There’s still a couple of other big moments in my life (my grandmother and dad passing away), but I haven’t found the perfect symbols yet.

We’ll see how I go, I don’t want to take up too much room with random things on the bracelet, but I love that I can change things around as I want.

Ultimately, I like the stories behind it all, so I guess it’s just what is important to me in the long run.

– Dr O.



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