Monday, December 6, 2004


So, the last 24 hours has been painful. Here's a rundown of what's been going on in the sphere of me.

1. Cal lost the bid to go to the Rose Bowl. Damn Texas. They already have the presidency. Give us something here.

2. My neighbor, whose living room wall is my bedroom wall and whose conversations I can hear clearly thanks to the gap between the wall and the ceiling, decided to have a party at 3 am. After an hour of trying to convince myself that I could go back to bed, and after hearing Michael Jackson's "I wanna rock with you," I moved myself to my living room couch. Yes, I slept on the couch.

3. I did not eat anything except a bagel and a cup of coffee before 4 PM today.

4. Had a stressful scheduling thing due.

5. Went to the bank to ask them what my statement, from August, said (I hate bank statements). Then, was subjected to a lecture about how I need to be more up-to-date on my financial records. Idiot! Sorry, I was in Vietnam for two months and started my second year of medical school a week after returning!

6. Played basketball, which I thought would be good for my bad day - but subsequently jammed THREE of my fingers.

7. Spent the last three hours making banana bread and lemon bars, only to have them come out just ok, not great.

8. Do you see any kind of academics in that day at all?! Neither do I.

So yes, now all I want to do is sleep. Rest my fingers and my body. And maybe tomorrow will be better. I can hope, can't I?

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

World AIDS Day

I think it's rather sad that most medical students are not concerned with anything but their exam grades. Really. I organized a talk about Global HIV/AIDS and women and the showing was good, but disappointing in that most people could not bother to learn about what's going on in the world. And we even had free food.

Sorry, my own griping about the apathy of medical students. I'm not saying that I'm the most worldly of all medical students, but I do make an active effort to learn what's going on. Is it too much to ask?

Friday, November 26, 2004

Battling turkeys

Really, I didn't battle turkeys. But Thanksgiving has come and gone and I woke up early this morning (7:30 am) and went downtown to go shopping. Fortunately, I knew what I had wanted and so spent as little time as I could (minus the half hour I spent standing in line to buy a down comforter).

Now, I'm tired and about to watch a movie. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I don't fall asleep.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

I smell Roses

So, my Golden Bears whooped some booty yesterday. I watched it from Boston, but it was great nonetheless. Granted, I nearly fell asleep during the second quarter, but watching them beat Stanford so definitively and continue their run for the Rose Bowl is amazing.

Now, I only wish I was able to go to the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, on New Year's Day, I will be in the midst of my tour of America, aka my flight back to Boston with two stopovers.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Bad news

So, I got some bad news today and my response totally took me by surprise. Recently, my parents took in another dog (making the grand total 4 dogs and puppies on the way). However, my brother told me last night that one of the dogs was in the vet hospital because he couldn't move his legs. Turns out that the innocent doggie ate rat poison, on accident, at its previous owner's house (we only had him for one week) and eventually had to be put down last night.

When I called my dad this afternoon, I completely lost it. I started crying and my nose started running. And this is a dog that my parents have had for a week and one that I've never even met! But I think what made me respond so emotionally was the fact that the dog had suffered for a week because of the rat poison he had ingested.

So, a warning to all to make sure you don't have any poison around the house - where pets or children can accidentally ingest it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Off to see the President

Well, not the current one. Maybe a future one. Mrs. Hillary Clinton. I don't really think she will be president (I don't think most of the country is ready for a female president who thinks on her own. gasp!). But I'm excited nonetheless.

Will report back in a few hours.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Seriously bitter cold

So, the weather in Boston just took a turn for the worse. I wondered last year why all Bostonians kept on complaining about the cold, I mean, they live through it every year and you must get used to it. Well, it got cold today and I found myself complaining and wondering how I got through it last year with all my fingers and toes intact.

My only hope is that it snows soon, as that makes it worth it. Well, at least the first snow.

Sunday, November 7, 2004

Medical school griping

So, I just have to gripe about medical school.

I hate pharmacology. I was not meant to be a pharmacologist and after my performance on the last exam, I'm convinced that if any of my patients get malaria, they're better off at home than coming to me for a prescription.

I hate neurology. We just started the class on Monday and I'm already beyond confused. I've studied it all weekend (which is a miracle for me, given that I don't study at all unless a test is in sight) and I still don't know anything about neurology.

And I have no life. Yeah, yeah, you may be thinking, "You're in medical school. You're not supposed to have a life." That may be true, but it'd be nice to go out to a cultural event, on a date, or hiking every once in awhile without worrying about how far behind I am in school.

So, that's it for my griping. I'm going to attempt to make it in time for 8 am class tomorrow morning. The odds are 10:1 that I will not make it in time, but I may as well try.

Saturday, November 6, 2004

Happy Anniversary to me

So, I just realized that I passed the 1 year mark of blogging... in August.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

The aftermath

So, it seems official now that Kerry has conceded and Bush has accepted. This all makes me extremely sad, to say the least. At the most, it scares me. It scares me that a lot of the rights and privileges that I value are at risk of being infringed upon.

Now, I have no idea what to expect. I still have the slimmest glimmer of hope that someday before January 20, I will wake up and it will be declared that it was all one big horrible mistake and Bush is not going to be our president for four more years.

Election Day: Kerry Rally

So, I just came home from my first big election day. Of course, in prior elections, I have faithfully voted (even in primaries!). This time, I decided to be an especially proactive citizen and go to the Kerry rally in Boston. I did this for several reasons. First, I'm a Kerry supporter. However many flaws he has, I can confidently say that he is my choice for President. Secondly, I live in Boston. I don't if there will be any other time in my life where I will be living in the same city as a presidential candidate (let alone one that I support) and have nothing extremely urgent that needs to be done. Thirdly, I felt as though it was something to be a part of. It's a historic election and I feel like it would be an experience that I could really remember forever, regardless of how the experience turned out.

On all of these parts, I have succeeded. I waited dutily for 45 minutes to vote this afternoon then rushed over to Copley Square to stand in the cold and sometimes rainy air to support Kerry. Yes, I chanted "Kerry" at times and yes, I was proud to be a supporter. Ultimately, I think my knees and my feet will hate me the most tomorrow morning.

But in the end, nothing happened. I did not see Kerry, nor did anyone else. I got to see Edwards up close, though (I eventually made it, after nearly 8 hours outside, to ten feet away from the stage). And, of course, the election is not decided. I am glad that the Kerry campaign has put the statement out there that they seek only to make sure votes are counted and not to file lawsuits against states. On the other hand, I don't know how much they can be held to this statement. I guess we'll see what happens by the time I wake up tomorrow morning.

Monday, November 1, 2004


Please, all Americans who are reading this blog - vote on Tuesday! If you haven't received your official notice, just go to any polling place and they have to give you a provisional ballot.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my eyes closed...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

2 more days

I don't think that I can handle it. Really. I don't think that America can handle it, regardless of the result. We've become so divided and fragmented as a nation that I have no idea if there is a cohesive American identity (other than "ignorant").


Happy Halloween!!!

Family Medicine

So, after a grueling week of exams, I decided to spend the entire weekend at a conference. Some may think this is crazy of me, but come on, is anything that I do not crazy?

It was a family medicine conference in upstate New York, and I have to say that I love family medicine. Well, I don't know if I love the field, but the people in it and its philosophy is definitely appealing. Even if I don't go into family medicine, I still have a great deal fo admiration and respect for those in it.

All, in all, it was a good experience just to inspire me, especially after a disillusioning several weeks of exams.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

They did it

So, the Boston Red Sox have really won. It's quite amazing. I'm not even a Red Sox, or Cardinals, fan but it's been a good series to watch - if for nothing else but to watch sports history.

But the question is, will any Red Sox questions show up on my exams on Friday?

Monday, October 25, 2004

Medical school and terrorism

Never would I have imagined that in medical school, I would have to deal with terrorism. However, that day has come and I listened to a Microbiology pathophysiology lecture on biological warfare (titled benignly as "Emerging Infectious Diseases").

So, I listened to a professor tell me how health professionals (am I one yet?) are the first line responders if there was a bioterrorism attack and it was necessary to learn how to recognize symptoms of smallpox and anthrax. She then proceeded to go over what makes an "ideal bioterrorism weapon."

I just don't know how to respond to it. Yes, it's necessary as this is the world that we live in now. However, did it really have to be this way? Do we, from now on, have to worry about biological terrorism and the possibility that sometime in the future, I will have to quarantine a whole hospital because someone walks in with smallpox?

I guess that is just the world that we live in. Especially if our military keeps on losing weapons and explosives.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Red Sox

I have to admit it, I've been caught up in the hoopla surrounding the Boston Red Sox. I mean, I do live in Boston and and they did manage to come back from 0-3 in the ALCS to beat the Yankees. And, even if I didn't watch the games or keep up with what was going on, I would hear a play-by-play recap of the game through classmates the next morning.

So, yes, I spent the last three nights sitting in front of my TV to catch at least the last hour of every game. And yes, I had my doubts up until the last swing of the bat. But who did I cheer for? Ah, who knows - and who cares. I was just happy that I was watching a good sporting event.

And my apologies to Eric, as when he gets out of trekking on glaciers/icebergs, he will find out that the Red Sox won Game 7 and might actually have a chance at winning the World Series.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

No Republicans allowed

So, I just found out that my youngest brother is not a Bush supporter. This makes me happy. Well, I'd be happy if he just saw a minute of one of the debates. But it's even better if he's not a Bush-liker.

Maybe our future has some hope after all. Too bad he's not even old enough to vote yet. If only the election was held on June 30.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Karaoke, part II

Ok, the karaoke is out of control. They started this morning and they haven't stopped. And it's so loud that I can make out the songs, and probably sing along - even to the Chinese songs.

Someone, kick my butt out of this apartment and tell me to study. I need to motivate myself.


So, after being single for extended periods of time in my early twenties, and not so distraught about it, I've started to see myself in ten years as a spinster. Now, whatever you may think about spinsters, I don't imagine myself to be a chain-smoking, three martini kind of spinster. Nor do I intend on working so hard that I forget that I'm single (though I may not have much choice in that matter).

Rather, I imagine myself as a rather cool spinster. Someone who every once in awhile dates a cool guy for a few months. It doesn't work out for one reason or another, and I'm single for a few months, "playing the game" and find another to occupy my time.

Am I delusional? Maybe so. But it's hard not to imagine yourself as a spinster when one of your younger brothers is living with his girlfriend and the other seems more committed in his relationships than you have ever been. Not that that's bad or anything. Just not me. My longest relationship has been 6-7 months, and tell you the truth, I can't imagine it being any longer. I don't know what to do past then.

So yeah, my thoughts on spinster-hood. Check back on me in ten years. I hope by then, everyone will claim that your 30's are the new century's 20's - where you can party and dance all night with strangers and not feel guilty that you're not looking for "the one."

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


I tried out for Jeopardy! today. To tell the truth, I have been looking forward to this since I found out that Jeopardy! was coming to Boston. I was so very very very excited. However, after trying out, and failing the written exam, I feel like I should wear a t-shirt that says, "I tried out for Jeopardy! and all I got was a lousy pen." Yes, I got a pen. And yes, it does say Jeopardy! on it. And yes, I'm a total dork.

So, after feeling totally rejected, I went to get some shopping therapy. Then, as I'm walking home, tired and grumpy, a homeless man says to me, "you're beautiful." That made my day. Why don't people say things like this anymore? Say and do things with no expectations of anything in return. It's just such a rarity these days that when it does happen, it almost catches me off guard. Is this what our world has come to?

Sunday, October 10, 2004


So, nothing's been going on. Well, there's always stuff to do, things to see, places to go - but in general, no stories. I've been taking an extraordinary number of naps lately. I've been going out, but really not into it. I think that after all the partying, I'm finally settling down into the rhythm of school, studying, and sleeping whenever I can (which includes during class).

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

War and terrorism

In regards to my earlier comment on justifications of the war on Iraq and supposed links to the war on terror, look at this.

It will be an interesting debate tonight, hopefully.

Sunday, October 3, 2004


I went to an award ceremony for Partners In Health on Saturday afternoon and listened to Paul Farmer (who is a public health powerhouse in my view) and Ophelia Dahl speak about public health and social responsibility. Listening to them speak, especially Ms. Dahl, was amazing. It was inspirational beyond belief and it reminded me why I'm doing what I'm doing. It's easy to lose focus in the middle of three exams and two papers (like I had this last week), and so to see that people really are making a difference and I can be one of those people was very therapeutic.

I truly believe that everyone can make a difference in this world, and the decision is up to them as to whether they want to do it and in what capacity they will. Not to say that everyone will find a cure to cancer or establish world peace. Rather, that we are capable of doing great things - whether big or small. It's just nice to see that people are doing great things in this world. In a wonderfully strange way, it gives me a glimpse of the light at the end of this tunnel of medical/public health school.


I think that my upstairs neighbors are operating a karaoke bar out of their apartment. I swear. They are currently butchering the Eagles' Hotel California (and before that, they sang Vanessa Williams and Toni Braxton). God, it's absolutely horrendous. Can I tell them to stop singing horribly and go outside to sing karaoke? I don't know how much longer I can take it. Ahh!!!

Harvard Finals Clubs

I had never heard of them before, but my friend gave me a short intro: Harvard does not have fraternities so they have "Finals Clubs" instead. Or so I think. It was loud when the guy was trying to explain it to me, but hey, we were basically at an undergraduate frat party.

Now, you may ask, how did a graduate student end up at an undergraduate frat party at Harvard? Well, the evening started out calm enough - we were simply having a dinner party at my apartment and then we decided to go out to a bar in Harvard Square. Then, we meet a guy (who was ambiguously gay) at the bar (6 girls, by themselves, will attract a lot of attention, let me tell you) who offered us champagne. Then, next thing we knew, we were following him to a Finals Club party going on.

It was pretty much like any other party, except with Harvard undergraduates in suits. And really, I was not planning on drinking tonight, but after the champagne, it all went downhill. Next thing I knew, I was claiming that I was an undergraduate student, named Christine, who was roommates with a medical student. I really come up with wonderful stories when I go out.

But that's the posting for now. All in all, it was a calm night.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Presidential debate

So, I'm currently watching the first presidential debate of the campaign season and I'd have to say it's not all that eventful. First of all, I'm sick and tired of talking about the war. Yes, the war and recovery efforts are very important. However, it's not all that is going on that relates to this country. What about healthcare? What about education? What about environmental policies?

Secondly, however much I have to back Kerry, I can't say that either candidate is especially likeable or all that public-friendly. Kerry comes off as more intelligent than Bush, but it's not an eventful debate.

However, I have to say that Kerry did hit the spot on one thing. When Bush justified the Iraqi war using the phrase, "the enemy attacked us," Kerry pointed out, very eloquently, that there has been no official connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Therefore, connecting the Iraqi War to the September 11th attacks on the United States is completely incorrect, even according to President Bush's intelligence reports. Maybe it's just me, but this is one of my biggest annoyances is that people, mostly uninformed, justify the Iraqi War by using a supposed link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Additionally, I don't think that the administration has really worked to make the two separate and distinct from one another - mainly to use people's misperceptions in order to show that public support for the war was more than it would be if people were actually made aware of their faulty logic.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Partying hard

So, in celebration of failing my pharmacology exam (I don't really know if I failed or not, I just have a creeping suspicion that that's the case), I went out on Friday night - and I had the most fun that I've had in quite awhile.

First, I went to Pho Republique, a Vietnamese fusion restaurant that, to tell you the truth, is way too swanky for my tastes. After being there for about half an hour (my friends had been there for almost two hours already), we decided to move on to a house party that someone was throwing. When we arrived, this was no ordinary house party. The "house" was this extraordinary apartment completely covered in original artwork and architectural looking furniture. The guests were all international and the atmosphere a cross between a chic cocktail party and all out drunken debauchery. Well, perhaps my friends and I were the drunken debauchery part and the rest were the chic cocktail party. Nonetheless, we had an awesome time and let's just say that we're all still trying to piece together what happened that night.

But now, it's over and I'm back to studying.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

School sucks

I have to say that I'm damn happy not to have gone to pharmacology school because I seriously don't understand any of it. And yes, I have an exam tomorrow. I would be happy that it's going to be over soon - but ah, it's not going to be. I have three exams next week.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Why do I do this to myself?

I think medical school is making me sick. Seriously. Since I have started medical school, I have started grinding my teeth at night, get anxiety/panic attacks, get less than 6 hours of sleep a night, eat terribly, and work out to the point that my knees hurt (again!).

I went to work out today, for the first time since last week. I knew it would hurt, so I took lots of Ibuprofen before (I say lots because now I have dosed myself to take the maximum allowed by my body each time). It's really sad. But yet I continue to do it because, ironically, it keeps me sane. It's the one thing in the day that I do for myself and no one else. Otherwise, everything is school related (whether it's academics or extracurricular).

So, my conclusion is that I should drop out of medical school. No, really. Maybe this happens to everyone? I know a lot of my friends are feeling the same thing. Maybe it's just that everyone, up until now, has had it easy going through high school then college. Now, medical school hits you and you realize that it does get hard. Damn it. I want it to be easy again.

And to top it off, I'm paying lots of money for this torture. Why, oh why?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Voting in Boston

So, yesterday, I go to the polls like any good person would do (though I have to admit that I skipped out on ten minutes of public health class to do it) and found something very disturbing. I was in a hurry (because I was in the middle of the aforementioned class) and was trying to find my polling place. When I came upon some people who looked like they would be involved in polling and asked them if this was the polling place. They said yes, proceeded to talk to me about something, hand me something in Chinese (I'm in Chinatown, after all) and then dismiss me. When I finally got to looking at what they had handed me, they were campaign materials!

So, I may have been a little spoiled in California, but I think it's totally absurd that right outside my polling place (literally ten feet from the entrance), I was being distributed campaign materials. California does have a law that prohibits the distribution of campaign materials within a certain radius of a polling place, including putting up posters and those silly paper things with wooden sticks. Somehow, that always made sense to me and I took it for granted - until I was inundated with campaign materials right before I step into a polling place. Does this seem absurd to anyone else? I didn't even realize they were campaign workers (i.e. they weren't wearing stickers or pins or anything like that).

But besides that, I have an issue to bring up regarding voter turnout. Granted, it was only a primary election where only two seats (sheriff and something else) were contested, but only 15% of registered voters turned out. That is so sad. It's a sad, sad world where no one takes the opportunity to take 15 minutes out of their day to circle in a few bubbles. And, God forbid, if they also take another 15 minutes to look up the issues and the candidates on the ballot beforehand.

Well, that's my rant. Go out and vote. Especially on November 2. I don't care who you vote for, but that you at least put your name down. You don't have to vote for anyone. Just show up. Make me believe in a system where people actually exercise some minimal control over what happens in their lives.

Monday, September 13, 2004

my ode to craigslist

I love Craigslist. For those of you who are unaware of Craigslist (Gasp! Where have you been?), you should be made aware. I've been a big fan of Craigslist since it first debuted in San Francisco. I have found anything and everything on Craigslist - including a typewriter, a roommate, a spot in a documentary film on Craigslist, a free couch, and badminton partners. And that was all in San Francisco!

Since moving to Boston, however, I have found Craigslist to be a disappointment. Of course, I can't expect it to be totally up to San Francisco standards because San Francisco's is the original. However, I have found Craigslist to be especially helpful in finding furniture (couch, lamps, coffee table). But one of my favorite parts about Craigslist is their Missed Connections section. If you have never read a real missed connection (not one of those sappy "I hope that my ex reads this cryptic posting and realizes what an ass I've been" or a "how much I hate Boston drivers" rant), then you're missing out. And yes, I do look out for ones that may be for yours truly. I know, it's corny, but it's part of my hopeless romantic side.

But here is my short ode to Craigslist:
Whether you want to find really cheap furniture
Or locate old friends that you've missed,
You can turn to your friend, Craig
And the wonderful, wonderful world of Craigslist.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Vietnamese Americans

As a Vietnamese American who fled post-war Vietnam (albeit, I was a mere 6 months old), I have very personal ties to issues surrounding the Vietnam War and Vietnamese people living in America. So, today, I was reading the New York Times online and came across an interesting story that relates to both of these issues.

Summarizing, the story is of the Oakland Musem in California going through a very deliberative process involving the Vietnamese American community to determine what should be displayed in an exhibit on the Vietnam War. I have very strong feelings about censorship and believe that because something is seen as "offensive," that does not automatically mean that it should not be displayed. The danger in that is the line between offensive and non-offensive is merely subjective and if it's drawn one way or another, it comes very close to censorship. Ultimately, in this situation, I think that community input is very valuable, but it is the museum's decision as to what to display and what not to display.

However, this also brings up a point about Vietnamese Americans and their political involvement. Sadly, Asian Americans are seen as rather apathetic politically and because they do not participate where it counts (i.e. voting), politicians tend not to pay much attention to issues facing Asian Americans. However, I find that Vietnamese Americans, though they fit the general mold, are very passionate when the issue involves the war. I think it's interesting because, like many other groups, they only become passionate when the issue is strictly personal. Sometimes I find it frustrating, especially when trying to talk to my parents about why they should care about gay marriage or abortion rights.

As a person of Vietnamese descent and someone who believes passionately in political involvement, I would like to see a situation where the Vietnamese community, and the Asian American community at large, is not personally involved and they take a stance. I would like to see a large contingent of Asian Americans at political rallies (of either party) and see them at the polls and see them as delegates at the conventions. Sadly, though Asian Americans make up a small percentage of the American population, we make up an even smaller percentage of voters and political activists.

What is the solution? Ah, who knows. I believe that only when the point is made that political involvement is not only an option in issues that are directly personally relevant, but also in issues that are indirectly relevant will Asian Americans really have an impact. Maybe it's my optimism and my idealism peeking through, but I do think that however small a minority (whether it be ethnic or by some other social construct), they can get their voices heard.

Monday, September 6, 2004

cape cod adventures

So yesterday a few friends and I went to Cape Cod on a Zipcar! Yeah, even after my first adventure with Zipcar (did I tell that story?), I decided to give it another whirl. This time was much more successful than last and we had an awesome time. We went to Hyannis, Dennis, Chatham, and ended the day in Provincetown. The beaches are beautiful (though a bit rocky and filled with broken shells) and the towns are just so quaint. However, I can't say that it's too quaint because it's outrageously expensive to live anywhere on the cape.

But yeah. Lots of pictures are up here.

Saturday, September 4, 2004

another saturday night at home

So boston night life seriously needs a makeover. I went out last night to two totally different clubs and had two totally different experiences.

First, I went out to club cafe, in the South End area of Boston (equivalent to San Francisco's Castro district) with two (gay male) friends. I had never been to a gay bar so this was quite an experience. It was actually very pleasurable and very cool. And I realized that gay men are wonderful. Well, at least the ones that I know. But I have to say that boston's gay male population is significantly different than san francisco's. First of all, my "gay-dar" does not work here. Out of the guys that were there, I would not be able to spot more than just a few of them as gay if they were in the general population. After spending about two hours there, experience gay men in their mating habits (and seeing a friend get up the courage to approach another man), I had enough for one night. So, as the group went off to a club, I decided to join some other people at a bar.

The bar, named Whiskey's, was horrendous. Not only did I have to wait nearly 20 minutes to get in, there was noone there of interest to me. They were all drunken college students and we were crammed in there like sardines. It was terrible. I left after 20 minutes. Then, to aleviate my frustration at the nightlife in Boston, I decided to walk the mile and a half home. It was a nice walk (granted, I had bandages on both my feet because of blisters I got wearing a new pair of shoes earlier in the week).

But as I sit here on a Saturday night with absolutely nothing to do, I wonder if all nightlife just sucks. I mean, it can't, can it? The clubs here are either all college students or full of stuck-up people with money and nice cars - groups that I would rather not associate with often. I want something where I can go, talk to some random person, and them not feel as though I'm picking up on them or that it's strange that some random stranger talking to them in a bar. I find people in Boston to be rather defensive and it's difficult to meet new people.

So, that's my rant for tonight. I'm off to read or something. I just bought Fear of Flying by Erica Jong and I'm excited.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

One after the other

Gosh, as I was watching the Republican National Convention, I realized how much I dislike Bush (or "W" as everyone there affectionately refers to him). In about a third of the way through his speech, he managed to switch from talking about poor families on welfare to mentioning abortion (though never actually saying the word), religious charities, and gay marriage - all three topics in all of three sentences. I have to give him credit, it was quite amazing. I mean, I don't think that anyone could have done so much to insult my values as an individual in so little time. Really impressive.

And as I was watching the festivities, I realized how much I hate the fact that conservatives/Republicans/the right wing has coopted being "patriotic" and "support out troops." Yes, I oppose the war. Yes, I oppose what Bush has done in his "war against terrorism." But by no means does that make me less of an American than flag waving Texans. No way does that mean that I do not wish to make this country better for everyone who lives in it, regardless of their socioeconomic status, their race, or any other characteristic of them. And by no means does that mean that I do not understand and appreciate the sacrifice that so many troops, all around the world, have made to stand up for "American values." I may not support the person who sent them to Iraq or Afghanistan, but I do support them as they need it. They need a country whose citizens, regardless of political views, appreciates their efforts.

However, I have to blame some of the liberals/Democrats/left wing politicians for not taking a more proactive stance and taking back the idea of patriotism and not promoting the idea that supporting our troops is not equivalent to supporting the war.

And back to war. I was looking through a photojournal on BBC about the efforts of doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers in an Iraqi hospital. It was really amazing, seeing the images of children and the cost of war on their faces. Also, seeing pictures of flag-draped coffins and soldiers in full gear fighting in over 100 degree weather really affects me. Seeing images of war, both of fighters and of victims, makes me more of a pacifist than anything. While listening to Bush, I realized that even if a Democratic president decided to wage war, I don't think that I could support it except in the most extreme of circumstances. War is ugly and oftentimes not justifiably so. Some people would argue that just because war is ugly doesn't mean that you should avoid it. However, most of those people have spent their lives in nice little suburban houses with white picket fences. They have not seen the aftermath of war. They do not think of the ethical ramifications of fighting war for one cause but not another. War is not something that goes on in basement offices but in the daily lives of people around the world. It is not a theoretical practice but very real to those taking part in it or those who are victims of it.

Overall, seeing Bush speak tonight made me think of how much I am happy to be an American. I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm proud to be one, especially with the leadership and the actions of that leadership. However, a lot has to change in America and Bush is not that person to do that. The first thing that has to change, before anything else, is Bush himself. He cannot be allowed to ruin America's international reputation and to make America as divided as it is. Seeing news coverage and just walking around Boston, I realized that I have never seen a nation so divided. Divided over war, over civil rights, over our next president.

Whatever happens in November, hopefully the next four years will be better than the last four.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

young and restless

so i'm bored out of my mind. i'm home on a saturday night with nothing to do. actually, that's wrong. i have lots to do, in terms of schoolwork, but i don't want to do any of it. and if i go out, i would feel guilty. but then again, none of my friends are out as they are all at home studying.

i've become very restless since i've come back to boston. it's either i want to go out and party or just go man-hunting (whereby i just go out to look at men with no intention of actually meeting anyone). but i also want to meet people outside of medical school. don't get me wrong, i love my friends, but then again, i don't really know anyone outside of school.

anyone have any suggestions as to where to meet good people to hang out with? any bars/clubs/music venues that are worth visiting?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

human pyramid mishap

so i was on top of a human pyramid today. and as i was jumping off, i hurt my ankle. didn't feel so bad then. it feels real bad now. i think i sprained it, but i don't really know what a sprain is or how it's supposed to look or feel.

you may ask, what was i doing on top of a human pyramid? well, today was field day - which means that second year medical students take first year medical students out to do camp-like activities. it's better than it sounds. but yeah. human pyramid. never again.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

in the middle of it all

so, i'm done with my first week of my second year of medical school (got that?) and i'm tired. i'm so tired i don't know how i survived a full year of this. it's really amazing what medical school can do to you. i just finished a poster about my summer experience in vietnam and have a poster presentation tomorrow afternoon. i just moved into a new apartment, met a new roommate, etc. and i'm still running around getting as little sleep as possible and wondering why i chose to go to medical school.

maybe it will get better? ha, even in this i can be optimistic. amazing.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

it's pouring men

yeah, i wish. rather, it's just pouring rain. i was walking to the hardware store and a guy, feeling like a smart ass, sticks his head out of a convenience store window and yells, "why are you outside? you should be at home in this weather!" yeah, like i don't have a life that doesn't stop because it's pouring rain, idiot.

sorry, small rant. but yeah, made the mistake of wearing new pants and it's pouring rain. but it's all ok. i got my hardware stuff and i bought two new pairs of shoes.

Monday, August 16, 2004

chinatown, good and bad

so i moved into my new apartment. it's in the middle of chinatown, which is convenient given its central location and that it's so close to school. and i have to admit, it's much much nicer than my last apartment.

however, i discovered one downside of living in chinatown/downtown - people. i can't go to CVS without thinking of who might see me and - god forbid - that i be caught wearing something absolutely horrendous. yeah, something totally trivial, i know, but hey, there has to be a downside to everything.

something not so trivial did happen to me as i was walking to cvs (i call it my second home because i'm there so often). an older, white man, about 50 or so, looked at me and said, "you're one fine chinese woman. why don't you speak American? you're in America after all." there were so many things wrong with his statement. first, i'm not chinese. second, i was not saying a word, hence his assessment of my "American" was totally uncalled for. third, he was in CHINATOWN. i was so shocked by what he said that i just walked on by without saying a word in response. what i should have said is... well, i shouldn't have said anything and beat him to a pulp instead. not that i would ever do that, but that's what he truly deserved.

i don't know whether it's me or because it's boston, but i've had a significant number of events happen to me, none of which were positive, surrounding my race. and it's not because i'm "more aware" of those issues or whatever. either way, it's not a good thing and i really don't know how to deal with it. of course, i can't change the view of all bostonians, but here are some things that i would like to change if i could (all coming from experience):
1. Asian people are not to be referred to as "oriental." oriental refers to rugs,
not people.
2. please do not speak an Asian language because you assume:
a. that the person you're approaching is of that ethnicity
b. that the person you're approaching speaks that language
c. that the person you're approaching is going to be the least bit impressed
d. that the person you're approaching does not speak English
or doesn't speak it well
3. do not make assumptions about other people's language skills based on
the color of their skin (see 2d above)

my tidbits of advice, coming from (unfortunately) many bad experiences. take it as you may.

Friday, August 13, 2004

back in boston

so for the past few days, i've been frantically trying to put together an apartment in my mind and doing random other stuff in preparation for school. meanwhile, i still have my public health paper from this summer to finish writing, an apartment to furnish, financial aid stuff to complete, and still manage to be the put-together kind of gal that i am.

but i have to admit, it's great to be back. to be in my own apartment. where i can make my own mess (and trust me, i have exceeded all expectations in this). and where i can swelter in the heat of a boston summer.

Monday, August 9, 2004

back in the states

so i'm officially back in the united states. it feels great and terrible at the same time. great in that i feel in place and that i feel good. terrible in that i have so much crap to do between now and the first day of school that i feel very overwhelmed.

but nothing really to post about. i'm back and ready for action, is all.

Monday, August 2, 2004

ironic liberties

so, i've gotten into the habit of switching between bbc news and cnn in the mornings. today, all they could talk about was: the new orange alert for financial institutions, the statue of liberty opening up for the first time since september 11, and the church bombings in iraq.

for those of you who are unaware, i dislike bush. i wouldn't really say hate because it's such a strong word, but it's as close to hate as you can get without saying it. in terms of my political leanings, i'm close to being bleeding heart liberal. on most issues, i can see and will listen to logical arguments on both sides. however, there are two issues on which i cannot ever compromise my opinion: a woman's right to choose and civil liberties. these two things are the ones that i feel bush has attacked most in his term as president. the first, he has attacked on numerous accounts, especially in terms of foreign aid. on the second, he claims to have preserved while making sneaky moves behind the scenes to deny some people the liberties that all deserve.

it's ironic that on the day before the statue of liberty is opening up to the public again that tom ridge steps up to the podium to say that we are now orange instead of perpetually yellow. it's ironic that as we say we are fighting for the liberties and freedom of the iraqis, liberties and freedoms of americans are being taken away. it's ironic that a president that was never properly elected is trying to establish a legitimate democracy in afghanistan and iraq. it's ironic that bush did not seek international approval when engaging in war but now seeks it to legitimize iraq's new government.

after watching the democratic national convention (see my other blog for details on that adventure), i am sincerely keeping my fingers cross that kerry and edwards has what it takes. just a few more months.

Sunday, August 1, 2004

asian american empowerment

i was listening to internet radio and came upon the song, "learn chinese" by jin. i had no idea who jin was or what the song was about, but i was fascinated enough to google him. with that, i came across a very interesting web site on "asian american empowerment."

as an asian american and one that some would argue is very "whitewashed" (a word that someone has used to describe me, to my face), i'm fascinated by asians in america. navigating around the web site, i came across the "dating" section. ALL of the articles in this section were on interracial dating. i don't know whether or not i should be surprised by this, but i was nonetheless. is it that a web site on asian american empowerment has nothing to say about asian american dating other than in relation to non-asians?

i have always been very tolerant of interracial dating and all of my relationships have been interracial. however, i've always been a little conflicted about it. am i, by saying that race doesn't matter in terms of who i date, perpetuating a stereotype when people see me on the street with a non-asian man? i mean, i can say that race doesn't matter, but that doesn't mean that it's true. people will still see asian female and white male. i admit, even when i see an asian female and white male on the street, i have my preconceptions of their relationship.

but i haven't even addressed the arguments over motivations and "asian fetishes." personally, i try and find out if the guy i'm dating has dated anyone else who is asian. if they have only dated asian women, then i assume asian fetish and can't date them. but then, if they haven't, then i wonder why. it's a doubled-edged sword in a way. but i guess someone could turn the same question on me and ask whether i have a "non-asian fetish" as i've never dated an asian man. i must be one of those asian women seeking a higher societal status by dating a non-asian man. no matter what the motivations or what the answers to questions is, couples in interracial relationships will always be doubted, always be judged.

in the end, i guess it doesn't matter what others think. if i am attracted to someone who isn't asian, it's wrong to deny it because of their race. but at the same time, i question myself when i see an asian male and feel as though i should be attracted to him, as though being asian gives him a few bonus points. society's pressures, however much we would like to ignore them, still invade my thoughts and it's hard to separate them from your own views.

Monday, July 19, 2004

"king arthur"

so i just saw the movie, "king arthur." granted, it was on an illegally copied dvd and a terrible copy at that. however, i had one thought that really irked me.

in the end, he says that his kingdom will preserve freedom. i can't help but think that his kingdom is what controlled most of the world and colonized millions of people. sounds almost like a modern-day leader. damn bush.

Thursday, May 27, 2004


so, this is a delayed blog about travelling. in the span of four days this past week, i had been on a plane, van, boat, car, and train. it's amazing. i'm still amazed at modern travel.

here was my travel itinerary:
plane from boston to long beach airport
van from long beach airport to long beach boat terminal
boat from long beach to catalina island, and back
car around long beach
train from irvine to oakland

i have to admit that after all that travelling, it's been good to sit at home and do nothing. plus, the boat ride was not fun as it was very rocky and i was very sick. also, the fact that i had to lug around all of my stuff for the entire summer with me the whole time was definitely not fun.

but if you want to see pictures of the train ride, click here. disclaimer: some are blurry and lots of just pictures, but take them as you'd like.

Posted by Hello

{also, note my use of "travelling" instead of "traveling." i swear, i should be british.}

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

travel blog

please visit the travel blog, in addition to this blog, over the summer.

for those of you who don't know yet, i will be in vietnam for over 9 weeks this summer. in the travel blog, i will write about my adventures in vietnam. i will still continue to update this blog on other stuff.


Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Each mark on the upperside of the ruler is one inch. The dark one hits just about the three inch mark. Posted by Hello


5 puppies!!!! And she even waited until I came back to give birth to them!!!!


Sunday, May 16, 2004


so, i've been wondering why i'm having slight anxiety attacks... then i remember that i've been drinking coffee. i have to stop it. but i can't stay awake for studying otherwise. and staying awake is important granted i'm taking finals. argh.

oh, had a wonderful weekend. went to the beach in the south shore, went for a midnight walk in the park (and i have more than a few mosquito bites as proof), and had sushi! and then i studied all day today and will study all day tomorrow. yippeee. feel the excitement.

Friday, May 7, 2004

conciseness, concise-ity

are any of those words? i like the word concise. too bad i can't be concise in my posts. so, that's my new resolution: to be concise in my postings.

so, here i am being concise. it's nice today. i skipped class. i made a cake for a friend's birthday. i'm going to a barbeque for friend's birthday.

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

dien bien phu

it's funny. when i first saw this article on, nothing came to mind. i remember the name and knew that it was in vietnam. then, i read the story and was reminded, but gosh, i didn't know nearly enough.

first, how did 20,000 people die in that battle? granted, the battle was not just a "battle," but rather 60 days of fighting - but 20,000 people?! does anyone else find this incredulous. maybe it's because i'm used to modern worlds where few people die, few wars are fought on homelands, and colonialism, for the most part, no longer exists.

now that i think about it, there have been a lot of war or conflict commemorations lately, or that are upcoming. the anniversary of tiananmen square is coming up. rwanda was 10 years ago. iraq started one year ago. i don't know what to make of all of this. all i can say is that lately, i've realized that i've become some sort of pacificist. most, if not all, types of violence get to me much more than they used to. i guess it all happened after i took a class at uc berkeley on leadership and ethics. it was an awesome class and the part that i remember most and that i find is most significant in changing my view of the world is war and ethics.

as an intro to what was taught in that class (and yes, i'm a bit rusty, so feel free to chime in)... in just war theory, there are two things that are used to evaluate a "just war." jus ad bellum and jus en bello. jus ad bellum is having just reasons for going to war and jus en bello is conducting a just war. i'll use the current war with iraq that the united states is currently involved in. a lot of the reasons as to why people oppose the war in iraq is because the united states was not going to war for "just" reasons. my main objection, along with others', is that pre-emptive strike against a country that does not pose an imminent threat to either the country starting aggression or to the international community is not just. though people could argue the other side in saying that iraq did pose an imminent threat to the united states or to the international community (however, evidence on that is thin and has been misconstrued to the point where any evidence is dubious). to illustrate jus en bello, some can argue that the way that iraqi prisoners of war have been treated by american troops is not just. prisoners of war are granted rights, as accorded in the geneva convention, and those rights have been violated.

in summary, a "just war" must be just in its reasons and just in its conduct. however, after taking the class and thinking about it extensively, my idea of what just reasons are and what just conduct is has become very strict - so much so that most wars, especially modern ones, are unjustifiable, hence my recent pacifist leanings.

i don't know what i'm getting at. i guess just a mini-lesson on just wars. later, i can evaluate international justice and what can be done in terms of reconciliation (e.g. rwanda, south africa) and international aid and equality (e.g. sudan, debt relief, etc.). but that's for another night.

Monday, May 3, 2004

larger ramifications

i've been up to a lot of stuff lately, and none of it having to do with the academic side of being a medical student. rather, i'm trying to get involved and informed in the larger idea of what it means to be a medical student and a prospective medical professional. several things that i have done to sort of explore ways in which i can get involved:

* attended a talk by Sheri Fink, who wrote War Hospital. she graduated from stanford medical school but never did her residency and has since worked in Bosnia, Iraq, and Africa doing medical aid stuff. she talked about the difficulties of doing work abroad, which is salient for myself because of my upcoming trip to vietnam. one of the things that i found most fascinating was her discussion of our responsibilities there. not only as medical professionals, but as members of an international community. we represent out home country but we are guests in another. i think that is forgotten by a lot of physicians who think that they can go to some poor developing country and save a few lives and return to their nice suburban life, telling their neighbors and friends of the poor people that they helped. i don't know if i effectively got my point across, but you know.

* starting a student chapter of physicians for social responsibility with a friend in the public health program. when we were talking about what we wanted to do and what our goals for the club would be, it dawned on me that a lot of my classmates either couldn't care less and/or don't want to know more in order to care more. it's so surprising to me when i came to medical school to find that it was more conservative, more sheltered, and definitely more concerned with their own practice more than their own patients. i don't know if this is everyone's experience, but it has been mine. i'm sure that the people that i am thinking about when i say conservative, sheltered, and concerned with lawsuits and money think that there are too many wackos and lilberals in medical school.

i thought that there had been more things that i had done or attended that made me think of the larger idea of being a physician. oh well. i totally forgot them now. but yeah, i've had to question what i'm doing here in medical school. yeah, i'm getting a great education, supposedly getting smarter and learning, but really, what are my responsibilities after i finish and actually become a doctor?

one of the most memorable moments when it comes to my choice of a medical career was at a conference that i attended during college. then, i was working at a very small non-profit, doing women's health work. i was speaking to another advocate in the field and we were talking about public health and medical careers. i told her that i was considering getting a masters in public health in addition to a medical degree and i asked her if it was worth it getting a medical degree if i will just do public health work. what she said to me, which i will never forget, was "though i hate to admit it, the 'MD' after your name gives you a lot of respect and esteem among people. yeah, you may not actually be talking about medicine, but if they see those two letters, you're automatically 'in.'" it's amazing how titles and degrees, though you may not use the knowledge gained from them, get you places in the world. i'd hate to admit it or even concede to the possibility that i would "use" my medical degree in order to have an "in" with someone, but that's the world we live in. especially in politics, a field that i'm very interested in, that seems to be even more applicable.

so maybe i'm idealistic and optimistic (two charges of which i freely admit i am guilty). does that mean that i'm naive? no way. though i think i will change the world, i am happy with the thought that though it's unlikely i will change the world, it's highly likely that i will change someone's life. i just need to reminded of my idealism every once in awhile, especially where my day-to-day life consists of anatomy textbooks and physiology lectures.

Monday, April 19, 2004

boston marathon!

today was the boston marathon. today was also 100 degrees. it was not a good sight. for my first boston marathon, i volunteered in the medical tent because, as a medical student, i can do so much in terms of medical treatment (yeah, sense the sarcasm). really, i was just talking to people and getting water and stuff.

i met some very cool people. i met the dean of the medical school at university of utah. he was so nice and sincere, though in so much pain. i'm sure he was just thinking, 'damn boston medical student. can't she just leave me alone to wallow in my own pain and suffering without losing my dignity?' well, no such luck.

another cool guy was a sport psychiatrist. i never knew they existed. oh, and i never knew that they would be useful until i saw him speaking to this woman with the world's most intense leg cramps. she flailed around like nothing else and he held her head, talked to her, and it was amazing. i have a newfound respect for sport psychiatrists. or at least this one.

but the medical tent was so intense. it was full of sick, wailing people and people getting everything for them to relieve their pain. it was really cool watching field medicine because all we had was water, gatorade, chips, IVs, and primitive lab set up (which was amazing).

look at my pictures!

Saturday, April 17, 2004

i hurt

so, yesterday was not a good day for me. various reasons. i will go down the list one by one and you can decide for yourself which is the worsest (yeah, i know it's not a word, but it's allowable given my current mental state).
1. i found out that my wallet was either lost then abused or stolen. i'm so pissed. last time i knew i had it was lunch on thursday and when i tried to buy lunch on friday, no money. luckily, a friend was with me and loaned me some cash for the day. at first, i thought that i had misplaced it in my room or something, but no such luck. when i called my banks today, one of them said that someone tried to get money from an atm using my card on thursday night, so it was officially abused. luckily, no charges on my credit card and no withdrawals from the bank. however, i had to cancel all my credit cards and check cards. to make it worse, my drivers license was in it and the rmv (registry of motor vehicles here on the right coast) doesn't open until tuesday. oh, to top it off, i just mailed my passport to my parents for my visa to visit vietnam this summer so i'm officially without any form of id other than one saying i'm a lowly medical student. also, to make it even worse (worser?), my social security card was in my wallet so i also had to put a fraud alert on my credit. this has totally spiraled out of control. i'm out of control.

2. i went to practice basketball yesterday afternoon because my team wanted to practice. oh, it was horrible. no one showed up. so, upset and not wanting to work out, i tried "athlete's yoga" at the gym. granted, i'm out of shape. granted, i have only taken one yoga class. granted, i have bad knees and should probably not do yoga. however, all of that did not deter me. i nearly fell asleep near the end of yoga class and this morning woke up with every joint in my body aching. i dont' know whether it's a good ache or a bad ache, but it's an ache nevertheless. i can't even lift a cup without it hurting. i'm such a sad, sad person. (good news, though, is that my basketball team won the championships today. though i can't say that i helped much, i can say that i'm a winner!)

3. i still have not found a roommate. i found a great place, across the street from school (you have no idea how lucky i was!) and no roommate. argh.

oh, but good news is that i got a $1400 scholarship for my upcoming work and travel to Vietnam. considering that i'm spending nearly $1100 on the airplane ticket, this money is very very welcome. for those of you who don't know, i'm enrolled in a masters in public health program at tufts (in addition to my medical program) and will be going to vietnam this summer to work in hiv behavior and attitudes research with ucsf. i'll be there for almost 10 weeks, so i'm beyond excited as it will be a very interesting experience. in addition, i will be travelling to thailand to (hopefully?) attend the international aids conference in bangkok. this summer will be amazing. if anyone knows of anyone who would like to donate to the "yenniet helping the world fund," please forward them my way. anything would help.

ok, that's it. long entry. but it's been awhile.

Sunday, April 4, 2004


i had a very interesting conversation about wartime with the guy that i'm dating over dinner last night. you know when you're really comfortable with someone when you can talk about war and violence over indian food, let me tell ya. our conversation was very timely, for there are several things going on in regards to wartime and conflict.

as most people probably know, four US contractors were killed in Falluja, Iraq. When I first heard this, over dinner no less, I was more than shocked. I wasn't shocked or angry at the Iraqi people or even those who carried out this brutal attack, but shocked at what drives humans to do such things to each other. when things like this happen, i wonder a lot about human nature and what we are truly capable of. though i would like to think that everyone is good, and i still do believe that, there is some part of me that is continually amazed at what horror we are capable of. what also comes to my mind is what people must be driven to in order to carry out that horror. i have been against the war in iraq since the beginning and still stand by that position. i think that deep down inside, i'm a pacifist (though i'd hate to admit it or give it that label just because to most people, it just seems so outlandish). so, has my opinion changed because of recent actions? not really. i think that the united states, a country that i love, had made many, and is continually making, wrong decisions in regards to international relations (look at the kyoto treaty or any other international proclamation or treaty). the united states, or more rather those in charge of running the united states, is too high on its ego to realize that the world hates us. rather, i think that's slightly incorrect. i think that we know the world hates us, but we don't care. and that's a sad, sad thing.

though lots of people may know about the incident in iraq, not a lot may be aware of the ten years that has passed since the rwandan genocide. for those interested, bbc has this amazing section looking back on what happened in rwanda and what the current situation in that country is like today. i first became interested in rwanda while taking an ethics and leadership class at berkeley. then, it was brought up in my international ethics and justice course and i read the book, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. the rwandan genocide, largely ignored by most of the world until it was too late, is an amazing lesson in the possibilities of human nature. much like falluja, rwanda makes me wonder what drives people, not just one person, to such passion that they would do unimaginable things to other human beings.

i don't know what the purpose of this post is or was. i don't mean to shock people or make them think that they're terribile people because they are not aware of what is happening. rather, i mean to just inform. granted, it may be a biased or uneducated information that i am doling out, but information nonetheless. take it with a grain of salt or a teaspoon of sugar.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

everyone, look!

just a quick posting to say that everyone should read an article in the la times by my friend, eric! it's his second article for the la times and isn't he just awesome? wow, i'm gushing.

you'll need to register for the article, so use this one:
login / oopsies
password / oopsies


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

going to grandma's house

i went to visit my grandmother today. it's funny when someone says that they're going to visit grandma, you imagine one of several things. 1. their grandmother lives in some posh nursing home and is wheeled around by a nurse everyday, ala grosse pointe blank. 2. their grandmother lives in some nice little old mansion filled with antiques. 3. their grandmother lives in some nice little old house filled with antiques and the entire inventory of Country Clutter (a store that really does live up to its name) - from 1970.

well, my grandmother doesn't fit any of those styles, but then again, who in my family fits some stereotype? my grandmother lives in east oakland, in a tiny little apartment with my aunt and her husband plus my uncle (got it? three other people). she's the nicest person in the world but at the same time, i can tell she's a strong woman.

so i called her up this morning to tell her, in my rudimentary vietnamese, that i was coming. i didn't tell her to prepare anything or to do anything. i just called to make sure she would be home when i would be around. when i come in, she starts giving me wonderful food that i haven't had in awhile and then talks to me. i haven't ever really talked to her and it was wonderful. though i can't ask too many questions, i got to talk to her about my cousin who is getting married next year in Vietnam, my upcoming trip there, my schooling, the snow in boston, etc etc. it was nice.

as i was walking around the apartment, i realized little things. she still boils her water. though she doesn't live in the greatest neighborhood, there is no good reason for her not to drink water from the tap. however, she continues to boil it, as though it's going to give her dysentary, which it would if she were in Vietnam.

there is a washer in her apartment, but no dryer. just seems odd, to just say, "oh, you have a washer in the apartment" without the qualifying, "and dryer." luckily, we live in sunny california where the sun shines more often than not and they can dry their clothes outside.

also, she watches american tv, instead of silly vietnamese soap operas on videotapes, which is nice. she was watching the cooking channel, so i asked her (halfway knowing the answer) if she tries to make the stuff herself. she just tells me that it's entertainment and she just likes to look at the food. plus, she can't understand what they're saying or the ingredients, so she just watches. then she says that what the woman on tv is making looks good. i tell her it's a ham and cheese sandwich and it's rather easy, proceeding to tell her how to make it, knowing that she neither eats ham nor cheese.

it's stuff like this that makes me think of how much i love my family. though it was a random visit and we only talked about a little bit, it was nice just to see her. so, everyone out there should call their grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, father, mother, sister, brother, cousin, etc! get that nice warm feeling inside of you. who knows, you might be better off for it.

Monday, March 22, 2004

something you may not have noticed

i added some sort of site counter on this web site, stealthily and without anyone's knowledge. why i didn't mention it before, i have no idea. it's accessible to anyone, if you are curious. just go down to the way way way bottom of this page and click on the rainbow box. there, you can see how many (or how little) people few this site.

oh, so the reason why i bring this up is because i just noticed that they have a time zone thingy on there. i decided to click on it and there are some odd things happening. first the expected is that a lot of people from the west coast (presumably berkeley and my family) are viewing this blog. however, what's not so expected is that some people, besides myself, view the blog from the east coast. what is even more unexpected is that there are some people who belong to neither one of those coasts that view. even somewhere in the pacific and somewhere in alaska! how amazing. please, if you're one of those people, i'd love to hear from you. i'd like to consider myself intercontinental, like the airline, but with an "inter" in front. totally random, my apologies. or, if you're amused, thank you and i will take a bow.

i'm in california now. enjoying the sun, somewhat because i haven't been outside all day. i've been working on grnat and scholarship applications. if anyone knows how i can get some money for a medical student doing a public health project i'm doing in vietnam this summer in regards to hiv/aids, please please please tell me. short of becoming a subway musician (for which i would somehow manage lose money), i am open to ideas.

off i go. to ride my bike to the high school to drop off my brother's lunch (how wonderful of a sister i am!) and to go to the "village" - a tiny little shopping area in my hometown for those unfamiliar with the wonderful ups and downs of castro valley.

Friday, March 19, 2004

random thoughts

when are my blogs not random thoughts? i guess today is just particularly random. i'll go through a run-down of what i've been up to. it's not all too interesting, but hey, you're reading my blog so you're obviously easily entertained. here's my feeble attempt to entertain.

* went to a bead shop yesterday after my physiology exam. i felt as though i needed to do something after realizing that i'm not going to be a cardiologist. so, i went with the intention of making a few earrings. i came out, after spending over $40, with the intention of making enough earrings to arm a small jewelry store. i'm crazy. when do i have the time to make these?!
* went to the boston common yesterday. i took some pictures with my nifty camera and played around with it. i have no idea how to use it, so i'm excited. i'll try and post them up soon. you can always look up my photos .
* went to the museum of fine arts here in boston. who knew that an exhibit of japanese postcards could be so interesting. yeah, that's what i really wanted to see, seriously. i was thoroughly enjoying myself. oh, and then i went to see the "Gaugin in Tahiti" exhibit. i can say that i was thoroughly conflicted going through the exhibit. i guess it's the idea of yet another white man painting pictures of non-white women. maybe it's just my own perverse sense of how weird that is.
* went to a physicians for social responsibility meeting at school. i'm thinking of helping to start a student chapter at the med school. have i gone completely nuts? maybe so. but see, that's why you all love me so. you're all just waiting for me to explode and all my stress will ooze out for everyone to see. people on the street will just say, "see, that's what happens when you go to medical school. you explode and all your stress oozes out."

yeah, those are my random thoughts for today. tonight is the gala. it's a medical school prom-like event. except, i don't have a date. i could have a date. i'm still going out with that guy. much more interest now, but we'll see. i didn't invite him to go to the gala. those who know me already know why - i'm deathly afraid of any kind of commitment. seriously. so, we'll see what happens.

but even more exciting news: it's SPRING BREAK! hehehe. it makes me giddy just thinking about it. i'm headed to california, where the sun shines and the people at the checkout counter are nice (you won't get it until you have some guy at the grocery store give you a dirty look the whole time he's ringing up your groceries).

Thursday, March 11, 2004

spreading myself out

that's what i feel like i'm doing. i'm literally going crazy. i haven't done an ounce of schoolwork at all in the past week and a half, yet i've never stopped going places. first, i'm part of a student body at school, which is organizing a forum for early april. it's literally driving me crazy. wait, i take that back. the chair of the student body is driving me crazy. she comes up with the most absurd ideas and everyone but her thinks she's gone totally nutso. it's amazing.

then, i'm also doing a presentation this saturday on std's for high schoolers. i'm excited that i get to be doing it, but it's so much work, making a powerpoint presentation from scratch on this stuff.

oh, i also just locked myself into a leadership position for the american medical women's association (AMWA) on campus for next year. it shouldn't be too big of a deal, but then again that's what i always say when i decide to take a "small" leadership role.

on the other hand, i'm very happy that i'm doing non-academic stuff in medical school. it's amazing because last semester, though i had a lot of fun, i felt unfulfilled because i wasn't doing anything but medical school. now, i feel as though i'm doing things semi-outside of school. however, i'm sacrificing my sanity and sleep for this. we'll see if it's worth it.

oh, and gala is next week. gala is a medical school formal. yeah, it's like prom, again! so, i'm not all too excited, other than for the fact that i get to get dressed up and such. however, i have yet to find something to wear, after three unsusccessful shopping trips already, i'm about ready to wear a paper bag. that'd be wonderful. i can blame my fashion faux-pas on the loss of my sanity due to medical school stress.

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

election results

so, it looks like kerry is now the democratic presidential nominee.

i voted for edwards.

i don't know why i did. i actually didn't decide this until late last night. maybe it's because i say he has/had a better chance of winning in the south. maybe it's because i'm in massachusetts and i don't think that my vote mattered anyways (i was tempted to vote for sharpton, just so i could say that i was one of the two people who voted for him). but i don't know enough about either candidate to have a very valid excuse as to why i voted for edwards over kerry. but then again, i attribute my indecisiveness to the fact that there is no difference between the two or to the fact that i would prefer either one of them, and arguably sharpton, over bush anytime.

ok, going to bed now. exam tomorrow morning. why am i still up?

Sunday, February 29, 2004

fight or flight

so, last night on the subway, i had an "incident." let me first give a little background on the subway in Boston, otherwise known as "the T." it's very convenient and pretty fast. actually, i have no idea what i would do without it because it's not how i get everywhere. but specifically, my route from home to school and vice versa is not the best route on the T. it goes through some bad neighborhoods, though my neighborhood itself is safe. in general, i enjoy riding the T, as it gives me time to read but at the same time, safety could definitely be improved. read below.

now, on to the story. i was coming home from downtown around 8:30. not even late, but late enough, i guess. as i sat down on the train, a drunk man sat right next to me. he reeked of alcohol and could barely sit up straight. now, the normal person would have probably moved, but i don't know why i didn't. then, he started talking to this couple sitting on the other side of him. they got off at their stop, which is when he turned his attention to me. as he's teetering back and forth on the train, he's asking me to come home with him. i look around the train and no one can look me in the eye. not the two guys a few seats away. not the one big guy sitting across from me. but who i do see is an MBTA (mass bay transportation authority) person. that's when my fight or flight mechanism went whack. again, he asked me to come home with him. i looked him straight in the eye and said, "NO." (it wasn't a timid "no" but a rather strong one) he then kept on asking me and coming closer to me. if the MBTA worker hadn't ocme over and told him to get off of the train, i woulda pushed him down. yeah, he was bigger than me and yeah, i'm stupid, but somehow, i wasn't so much scared as i was ready.

well, so, he got off the train with the MBTA employee and probably just got sent off on his way. strangely enough, or rather unfortunately, this is not my first, or second, encounter with a threatening man on the subway. first, it was a man who threatened a group of friends and i with a gun he supposedly had in his bag. second, it was a drunk guy who again tried to approach me.

why am i telling this story? i have no idea. it was a strange feeling last night as i was walking the two blocks from the subway to my apartment. i felt as though i had just survived something, yet that i had gone temporarily insane. why did i not feel afraid of this man? why did i speak up to him so strongly? what would i have really done if no one stepped in? and why do none of the men in boston have any guts to help someone who was obviously in a not-so-good situation?

yeah, so that's my story from last night. then, i studied anatomy and watched pretty in pink. wow, my saturday nights are just rockin'.

Friday, February 27, 2004

mass chaos

i had a great conversation with my dad tonight about politics and such. i'm an official massachusetts resident now. my justification for changing my residency status was so that i could vote without doing absentee. also, i want to feel more comfortable here in boston and part of that, for me, is voting. also, i have this totally odd delusion that one day when i'm before congress for confirmation (see, i plan on being appointed to some high level cabinet position someday and that requires being confirmed by the senate), they will look at my voting record and ask me, "how could you have voted in california if you lived in massachusetts for four years?" yeah, totally delusional, but that's my thought process. but, see, i did not think of the possibility that i would have to do my taxes in massachusetts and could no longer depend on my parents' tax preparer. also, i did not consider that maybe residency programs will look at my state of resident. so, i think i will change it back to california. i'm such a dork. this whole paragraph is one, long, convoluted way of sharing something that no one but myself had any interest in knowing!

oh, but again, talking to my dad. we were talking about california politics. boxer is up for re-election and several republicans are running against her. i haven't been keeping up with california politics much (other than realizing that every policy that's been publicized by Schwarzennager is beyond absurd), so i feel as though i'm disconnected from california.

it's odd that my connection to a certain state or location is through politics. in california, i knew the city council members, mayors, attorney general, etc etc. here, i know nothing. i don't even know my city council member. so, i'm in this current state of limbo, whereby i don't feel personally attached to boston or massachusetts, yet i'm slowly feeling myself becoming disconnected from san francisco and california. i guess it's not a huge personal crisis (unlike anatomy), but it's still an odd feeling. i guess i'm just bringing it up now because super tuesday, when many big states (mass and california included) hold their presidential primaries, is this upcoming tuesday. i plan on casting my first vote as an official massachusetts-ian (i don't even know what they refer to themselves as) that day. as for who that vote will be, i'm unsure. i'm still undecided. i think i agree more with kerry on the issues, but edwards does have an arguably better chance against bush.

i'll try to inform myself between now and then, while trying to study for an anatomy exam. i can do it. i'm a medical student. i have super powers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

interesting night tonight

so, the full moon makes me a little wild. summary of today:
* ran to surprise a friend in the library. he turned around and the surprise was ruined. but, lo and behold, he had no idea i couldn't stop. effectively ran into him. he then told me to lay off the coffee - that is, if i drank coffee
* took an anatomy exam
* failed an anatomy exam
* went shopping - bought nothing but dinner
* ran into cute dental while shopping. he's hot
* effectively scared all my roommates, especially one last night that witnessed a conniption over tupperware without lids

oh, but i have something significant to post about. as i was on the subway tonight, there were a group of teenagers that were harassing a mentally ill older gentleman. i really was sitting there, watching them harass him. i couldn't do anything (i may be idealistic, but i'm realistic. i realize that i - a short little woman - cannot defend myself against a group of big teenage boys), but i wanted to do something more than just sitting there. i just wish that i could just show everyone that even if you don't like someone or that someone is different, you should respect them. does no one teach teenagers respect? this is not the first time that i have witnessed something like this on the subway. it's a sad, sad world that we live in. it's funny because i never saw it while riding the train in san francisco. maybe it's a matter of culture or geography. maybe it's a matter of age (though i doubt this as i've seen people my age and older acting the same exact way). i don't know. sometimes i just wish i could knock some common sense into people. [i apologize for this random, incoherent post - i just took a huge exam and cannot think right now.]

sorry, random post. blame it on the full moon. blame it all on the full moon. i tend to go a bit crazy. well, a bit crazier.

Sunday, February 1, 2004


it's an interesting weekend. pats just won the super bowl. i studied ALL weekend. really, i did. i studied at least 8 hours today and for 8 hours yesterday. i guess this is what i signed up for when i wanted to be a medical student, but boy, it's more than i expected. also, i hope to do very well in anatomy, so we'll see what happens.

i don't know what to comment on for now, as there's not a lot going on. oh, bird flu. so, i'm planning on going to vietnam this summer as part of my public health degree. i'm very very very excited, as i was supposed to go last year but cancelled my plans because of SARS. however, this year, this damn bird flu shows up. bird flu? will i cancel my plans because of bird flu? nope. i refuse to. i've waited long enough to go to vietnam. though i did doubt this decision after i learned that a 23 year old female recently died because of bird flu. that scares me, but obviously not enough. am i crazy? maybe so, but not for just this reason (for the fact that i know the california state fossil, maybe).

sorry, that was a rather boring post. sorry to waste your time. i take input on what to post on. i have opinions, i swear. i'm just kind of brain dead right now. all i know is anatomy. i know that the common extensor tendon of the forearm originates at the lateral epicondyle of the humerus while the common flexor tendon of the forearm originates at the medial epicondyle of the humerus. does this make any sense to you? if so, you need a life. i've already signed mine away, so escape while you can.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

does no one love me?

why don't people comment? i know people read the site! comment people. even a hello so i know you're reading. argh. frustrations coming up again. i need to go to bed. good night.


so, i've come to a conclusion regarding singles in boston: the reason why everyone is so bitter and single here is because it's impossible to come off as attractive if you're wearing five layers on the top and bottom and you have hat hair for four months. wait, maybe that's just applicable to me. whatever.

i just came home from a club that was absolutely terrible. i mean, it wasn't the worst thing in the world, but close to it. it was part of some graduate school professionals mixer crap. ah, and it was useless. i didn't meet anyone from any grad school other than my own, and that includes the people i went with. oh, and when i saw guys with collar shirts tucked into jeans, that's when i decided it's not worth spending another $15 on a cab ride home after the T stops running so i went home. i can't believe that i'm home on a saturday night at 1 am when i went out just a few hours earlier. this sucks. i need to find a man. i have my eyes on a cute dental student - who, by the way, doesn't even know who i am and has no idea that i know his name. i'm back to my stalker ways. argh. oh, and another girl in my class is blabbing her big mouth about him and her big crush on him. darn it. well, all's fair in lust and war. whomever gets to him first...

argh. i'm tired but can't go to bed. utterly useless.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


it's a bit chilly outside. "a bit" = 0 degrees. oh, and subtract about 15 for windchill. yeah, negatives?! what am i doing here? argh, so never will i again complain about california weather.

oh, here's an excerpt from "The coldest spot in New England was New Hampshire's Mount Washington, where the temperature dipped to a record 44 below with a wind chill of minus 100." i hate no idea that it could get that cold without people just falling to the ground! i was walking yesterday for about ten minutes outside and when i came home, my legs were successfully frozen solid. it was amazing.

oh, we had physical diagnosis today and that was exciting. we got to get rather close to our classmates, as we were poked and prodded by classmates, all in the attempt to learn something about what people are supposed to feel like. it's amazing. i'm excited. though i still know nothing about the body (isn't that encouraging?), it's still exciting.

ok, that's it for now. i have to go home now. brr...

Sunday, January 11, 2004

i want to crawl into my freezer

seriously, it's warmer in there than staying outside. the past two days, it's been less than 10 degrees. what am i doing here?! just last week, i was in 60 degree weather. i just don't get it. ah, now i remember why i'm here. i didn't get into a california school! ha!

oh, started anatomy. it's fun!!! i love anatomy and i'm a freak. oh, and i've turned semi-vegetarian, as in i don't eat anything that looks like meat. yeah, it's a freakish vegetarian thing, as i had a hamburger the other day, but gosh, it didn't look like meat, so it's ok. and one of my roommates turned vegetarian. it's interesting. i freaked her out after telling her she needs to eat a lot of beans and eggs for protein and that only meat provides vitamin B12. haha, i need to stop. and i freaked out on another roommate after she went on a cabbage soup diet. i told her it was stupid and she's not getting adequate nutrition and that she's going to be unsatisfied and stop after less than a week, which she did. they ask for my advice yet never take it. wow, i feel like a real doctor now.

ok, back to work. writing a paper that makes no sense whatsoever. after we already establish in my classes that health is rarely a market good, we are told to come up with a market-based solution to a health problem. am i the only crazy one here?

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

finally back

to make it short, i made it back to boston at 10 AM, one full day after i set off from san francisco. i officially will never stop over in chicago ever again, at least not in the winter. i hate this. oh, and i had anatomy lab at 1 pm, and made it. then, came home and slept at 8 pm until 10 am today. 14 HOURS! and i missed two more classes doing that. however, it was fully worth it!

ok, off to clean my room some more. i never knew that i could cram more stuff into my room. gosh, what else can i fit into a closet?!

and it's wonderful to be back in 20 degree weather where my ears and legs can break off because they're so cold. i miss san francisco already.

argh... still en route

So, I have escaped the terrors of Madison, but now I am experiencing the wondrous world of spending the night at Midway in Chicago. It’s just like Madison, except I’m more tired. More hungry. More grumpy. More sore. And I’m getting more sick. I hate this. I’ve declared that I’m never going to fly in and out of Chicago ever again. I’m so tired, I can’t even figure out what to write. It’s taken me ten minutes just to write what I have above and it’s nothing of significance.

I have met some interesting people at the airport though. Let me tell you, being stuck at the airport for several hours (3 in Madison, 6 in Chicago). There are so many people here, it’s amazing and everyone’s so tired. Now I’m just repeating myself. I was supposed to be in Boston TWELVE hours ago. And I have class in 8 hours. Why!?!? Argh. I’m just angry and wasting time as I don’t know what else to do right now. And stupid me decided not to shower before leaving San Francisco so I’m also stinky. Yeah, I’m gross, tired, sick, angry, hungry, and grumpy.

With that, I bid you goodbye.

Sunday, January 4, 2004

trip back to boston

So, it’s been awhile since my last post and here I am, posting from Madison, Wisconsin. Why Madison, you ask? Well, because I’m supposed to be in Chicago but the airport is shut down due to low visibility so we were diverted here. So, I’m stuck in Madison. I hate this. And I don’t feel well so that doesn’t help. I was supposed to be in Boston in an hour, so there goes that idea.

On a different note, I have a topic to talk about. As I was having coffee with a friend from high school, I realized that I try not to tell people that I go to medical school. For the most part, it’s usually with guys in bars and such. This is how the conversation goes:
Guy – “What do you do?”
Girl – “I go to medical school.”
Guy – “Oh, you must be smart…”
(awkward silence) “Ok, I better get going now”

Are guys really that intimated by someone who’s intelligent and getting a degree? Are they worried that I’m so up on intelligence that they’re not even good enough for some silly bar conversation? I think it’s especially weird being an Asian female and getting a graduate degree, as it defies the subservient, docile image that’s perpetuated in media and such. Well, to all the guys out there, if you are intimated by an intelligent girl who stands up for herself and does not allow herself to be pushed around, then you deserve no one at all! Yeah, I’m bitter, but I also give in to the expectations. Now, instead of saying I go to medical school, I say I go to graduate school, which I feel is sometimes less threatening than saying medical school. I don’t know why this is, but that’s what I find.

Ok, well, that’s it for now as I’m feeling nauseous again and I have no idea when we get to fly the turbulent skies again. If I don’t get into Boston tonight, I’m going to be angry. And tired. And sick.