Category Archives: Friends
Since my last post, I have made it through graduation alive and relatively sane. Although all the worries and doubts from before were still there, I tried my best to focus on graduation for what it was: a celebration of the achievements of me and my peers over the past 4 years. It was a hectic and frenzied 3 days, but sitting among the sea of light blue in my own matching cap and gown, I was happy and proud to be graduating from such an amazing university and share the occasion with my family and friends.
I don’t think the fact that I won’t be returning to Columbia in the fall has quite sunk in yet, but hints of nostalgia are already beginning to peak above the surface from time to time. But with so much change on the horizon I’m forced to look forward and not back. Right now I’m back home for a bit, before moving to San Francisco on June 9. So I’m busy looking for jobs and apartments and procrastinating on my dental school applications. I know I’ve said this for just about everything this past year, but I’m both scared yet excited about all this change. Look forward to more posts about starting this new chapter in my life soon! But not before a post about Yufei and my post-graduation vacation to the US Virgin Islands!
It’s a little more than 2 weeks away from graduation, and I’ve been feeling like I’m at the lowest point in my life ever. Isn’t this supposed to be the best time of my life? Then why do I feel like I’m going to have a mental meltdown every other day? Am I the only one who’s feeling this way?
Let me back up a little. I have had an absolutely incredible time at Columbia, met some amazing people, and I’m truly excited about graduating. But I’m also more anxious and uncertain than I’ve ever been. Over the past few months, I have seen my peers get into fantastic graduate schools, get great awards and scholarships, accept jobs and fellowships, get engaged and married. They all seems to have it TOGETHER and have life FIGURED OUT.
And here I am, this close to walking across the stage, and I feel like everything around me is falling apart. In a few weeks, I will be thrown out of my dorm and I have nowhere to sleep for a few days in New York City. Then I have to move across the country to a city where I know no one and start living together with my boyfriend. And I will have a super expensive and hard earned degree but still no job (and trust me, it’s not because I haven’t tried). And now parents tell me that my dad might switch jobs in the next few months and they might have to move again. Everything is changing and shifting and the future has never been foggier.
While I’m happy for all the successes of my peers, they are a constant reminder of the things I don’t have. Why don’t I have those things? Don’t I deserve them too? Shouldn’t I have something to show for at the end of my 4 years at an Ivy League school? Why can’t my life be at the point where everyone else’s seems to be in? I wish I, too, had good and exciting news to share with my friends and family when they ask about my post-graduation plans, instead of just a forced smile and admitting that I’m “still trying to figure it out.” I just feel lost and stuck. Stuck at the edge of a great precipice, forced to move forward with no paths to follow. At this point, I don’t even feel the need to “have it all” anymore. I just want ONE THING to go right, to be certain, to hold on to.
I have no conclusion to this post. I wish I did, I really do. Just like I wish I had the answers to the next chapter in my life.
On our last day in Montreal, we decided to drive to Quebec City for a day trip. As usual, we didn’t leave the house until almost noon and didn’t get there until afternoon. It was freezing cold when we got there, and I was pretty sure all of us were under-dressed for the weather. We stopped somewhere downtown to grab a bite, then drove to Old Quebec. Even though it was March already, the place still exuded Christmas magic:
We walked up the steps to Chateaux Frontenac, where the wind and the icy ground made it impossible to be outside for more than a few minutes.
So we went inside and explored a little bit. Even though I had been to the Chateaux many times before, it was actually the first time I’d ever gone in, and it was fabulously opulent as expected. We decided that it was a waste of time to come to Quebec City and not walk around outside, so we braved the cold and went out again. We ended up just taking a walk around Old Quebec, snapping a few photos here and there with our shivering fingers, before heading back to the car again. I think we spent no more than 3 or 4 hours there total. Conclusion of the day: Quebec City is much better to visit in the summer (or if you go in the winter, at least go during the Carnaval).
For our last dinner in Montreal, we went to Ice House, a supposedly good Tex-Mex place. We got a pitcher of their famous bourbon lemonade, and it was delicious. Yufei and I shared half a fried chicken, which was delicious as well, though a little lacking in seasoning. The butter biscuit it came with was amazing though.
And that’s about it! The next day we drove back to NYC, and thus ended our Spring Break road trip!
Late start again to day 4 of our Montreal adventure. We decided to get bagels for breakfast/lunch at Fairmount Bagel.
I had an everything bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon and half a sesame bagel with just cream cheese, and both were delicious! Less dense and fluffier than New York bagels! After stuffing our faces with bagels, we took the subway to Parc Jean-Drapeau, on Île Sainte-Hélène. Here’s us (in increasing heights!) in front of the Biosphère, a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller:
We spent some time enjoying the beautiful sunshine in the park, then took the subway to Old Montreal.
It was late afternoon by then, and Yufei and I split from the group to get dinner on our own. It was still quite early so we grabbed a drink from a bar and also went to the liquor store to get a bottle of wine, as the restaurant we chose was BYOB. O’Thym, our pick for dinner, is a cute little French place tucked away in the corner of a quiet street. It was warm and welcoming inside; I especially liked the chalkboard menus on the walls and the simple lights.
The service was very friendly and the food was wonderful. I liked pretty much everything I ate/drank! We got complimentary soups to start (and of course lots of bread), and I got a grilled vegetable and goat cheese salad, which was very good:
Yufei got a rabbit liver appetizer (how adventurous!) which he enjoyed as well. We then each got a palate cleanser of lemon sorbet and vodka, which was delicious!
The highlight of my meal was my main course of duck Magret, so good!
We shared a molten chocolate cake for dessert – a wonderful way to end the meal and the night!
We didn’t leave our apartment until late morning (we were on vacation, after all!) and we took the subway down to get lunch at Schwartz’s, a famous smoked meat place in Montreal.
The place always has a huge line out the door so our expectations were very high. We got inside and each ordered a smoked meat sandwich with fries, pickles, and black cherry soda. The sandwich really was out of this world!! I’m not even the biggest fan of meat but this was amazing. The meat was perfectly smoked and tender and the spices were so good (apparently they invented Montreal steak seasoning?!) I’m still kind of craving it now!
After our very satisfying lunch, we headed to Mont Royal Park to hike up the mountain and burn off the calories. It was still quite icy there so the way up was a little treacherous, but it was a beautiful sunny winter day.
The top of the mountain offered spectacular views of the city, which looked so lovely bathed in the setting sun.
After enjoying the views and the sun for a while, we went back down, trekked through McGill quickly, and headed to dinner at Cuisine Szechuan.
The food was pretty good, though nothing spectacular, but it served to fulfill our cravings for Chinese food!
I went on my first ever road trip for Spring Break this year! Yufei and I and 4 other friends decided to visit Montreal (no money for somewhere tropical), and it was quite a success!
We left NYC Friday morning stopped at Albany for lunch. We went to Yono’s as it was the best rated place on Yelp, and apparently the only 4-star restaurant in Albany. I had their lunch special of the day, which was a fish burger with potato wedges. It was surprisingly good for only $7! That’s Yufei’s pulled chicken sandwich in the back.
We were on the road again after lunch, and it was after sunset when we crossed the border.
It was quite late when we arrived in our apartment that we rented on Airbnb (which was absolutely superb), so we just got some poutine for dinner and then went out for beer at Benelux. It was a pretty cool bar that had a variety of interesting beers. We were all pretty tired after that so we went home and hit the bed.
The next morning, we got up and walked to Olympic Park since it was close to where we were staying. It was a gorgeous sunny day, though cold and icy.
I should have known better about the cold eastern Canadian winter and packed warmer clothes, as I’ve experienced it myself before, but I guess time makes you forget these things. Anyways, we were all super hungry after all the walking, and 2 of the restaurants we wanted to go to didn’t work out, and we were recommended to go to Romados for roasted chicken. We each got half a chicken with fries, and the chicken was amazingly delicious. Here are my friends devouring their meals:
Even though we were stuffed from lunch, we decided to drop by Juliette et Chocolat for some sweets. I loved their decor inside:
After a short wait, we were seated. Yufei and I shared a crepe with maple syrup and an alcoholic drink with chilled milk chocolate, Bailey’s, and caramel.
Others had various hot chocolates and coffees:
Everything was chocolatey and indulgent and delicious. The place was a little expensive, but I can see myself spending a leisurely afternoon there sipping on chocolate and munching on desserts.
After that, the guys went drinking and the girls went on a failed shopping trip as most stores were closed by 6pm on Saturdays. Dinner didn’t quite happen as we were still stuffed from chicken and chocolate, so we just chilled back in the apartment and then went out to a sports bar for beer and to catch the hockey game. And that concluded our first full day in Montreal!
I’ve been neglecting this blog for some time now, because soon after my birthday I freaked out and realized that my DAT was in less than 2 months (now more like 2 weeks)… so I’ve been very busy studying. And now it’s finals week and I’m dying because I have so many and they’re all worth so much of my grade. But I really don’t want to study anymore so I’m using this to procrastinate.
Here are some photos from my birthday dinner last month:
We went to Symposium, a tiny Greek restaurant (the photo on the website makes it look deceivingly large) near Columbia. It was the first time since I started college that I’ve been able to celebrate my birthday with a group of friends, and it was excellent! Great food, great sangria, great company. And the delicious strawberry mousse cake was from Artopolis.
22 is a rather unmonumental age, I must say. But that’s just fine with me. Turning 20 and 21 felt like such a huge deal that it made me nervous and agitated that I still hadn’t figured out my life. But I actually felt surprisingly okay with this last birthday. Maybe it’ shouldn’t be so surprising, since I finally do have some idea of where I want my life to go, even if I haven’t ironed out every wrinkle in my future plan yet. But I finally feel like I have a goal and am making progress, so that it no longer feels like time is passing me by. It’s a good feeling!
So right now I’m focusing on finishing finals (with decent grades, hoping for straight A- this semester, haha), then it’ll be onto the DAT, and then doing the pre-health application and other stuff for applying to dental school, and finding a job for both next semester and my gap year, all while enjoying my last semester in college! And then it’s onto the real world… but let’s not get too far ahead yet.
I probably won’t be back until after my DAT on Jan. 7, so I guess I’ll wish anyone who’s reading a very Merry Christmas, and see you in 2012!