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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

I left out one big part of my D2 year in the last post about dental school life, and that’s because it deserves its own post! As someone who conducted research over the summer between D1 and D2 year, I, along with a large group of classmates, went to the American Association for Dental Research/International Association for Dental Research conference in March. The event was held in Boston, and despite the cold, we had a ton of fun there.

Me and my good friend/clinic partner/ortho buddy Mychi at the UCSF reception the first night of the conference:

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Presenting my research poster next to my classmate Mona! This was such a cool experience not only because I was able to talk about my research to a bunch of new people, but presenting next to Mona was a bonus because we had first met in Boston when we interviewed for Harvard together! Funny how life works out sometimes.

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Me and my poster!

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D2 girls manning the UCSF booth at the exhibit hall!

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We had some free time to explore the city and I took full advantage of it! I really didn’t like Boston when I went there for my Harvard interview a couple of years ago, but this time I found the city quite charming! On my last morning there, I took a walk by myself to Boston Common. It was a cold but clear morning and it was just lovely.

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Then I met up with friends for some delicious seafood at Neptune Oyster! We had oysters, lobster roll, and clam chowder:

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For dinner we hit up Giacomo’s for some Italian food – with more seafood of course!

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I’m so glad that I was able to attend this conference during dental school. There are so many opportunities to get involved in dentistry on a bigger level, be in with research, organized dentistry, academia, and more, and having the chance to travel and meet students and professionals from other places in the world is so enriching. So advice for current/future dental students: take advantage of these opportunities!

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I seriously LOVE living in the Bay Area – there’s just so much to do here no matter what you’re into! Here I’ll be sharing some of the fun stuff we did last fall and winter.

Treasure Island Flea Market

A fun place to check out local artisans and grab some food at food trucks! It’s held on the last weekend of every month and entry is $3.

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Cat Town Cafe

A cat cafe in America?! I knew I had to go when I first found out this place was opening in Oakland. The place is pretty small and we needed reservations when we went last year. There’s a cafe area where you can buy drinks and snacks, and a separate play room with the kitties. A must visit for cat lovers!

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Twitter Holiday Party at the Exploratorium

We had been to the old Exploratorium back when it was still at the Palace of Fine Arts, but last year’s Twitter holiday party was held at their new location at Pier 15, so it was the perfect chance to go check it out!

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All the exhibits were open but we didn’t have time to hit up everything with so many people there. Plus, there were delicious food to be had and drinks to be drunk, even ones made by the robot bartender:

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Will have to revisit some day soon!

Sonoma Coast State Park

I am absolutely in love with the California coast, and there’s no better place to see it in all its glory than this gorgeous park! Plenty of trails and beaches along a long stretch of the coast line.

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Devil’s Slide

Another place to admire the beautiful Cali coastline! This one is very close to SF and is an urban “hike” along a stretch of highway that’s no longer in use. Pretty cool place to check out!

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There’s also this cool abandoned bunker at the south end of the trail:

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Calistoga

We went on a relaxing weekend trip to Calistoga last winter. We stayed at the Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort, which had several indoor and outdoor hot springs. We also paid for a couple’s mud bath that was very interesting! A fun way to rejuvenate.

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We also visited a couple of wine tasting rooms, my favorite of which is the tasting room for Romeo Vineyards. The lovely garden setting filled with lights made for a very cozy and romantic evening!

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We also went hiking at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park on this trip. There are some really nice trails and we hiked for 6 miles!

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On the drive home, we couldn’t help it but stop and enjoy these gorgeous yellow flowers all along the road! Napa Valley is such a dreamy place.

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Cartoon Art Museum

A fun little museum in SF! We had a Groupon or some other voucher for it so we went to check it out. I had actually been there once when I was visiting SF back in 2011, but they have different exhibits all the time so it was a whole new experience.

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Sausalito

We went to Sausalito for brunch one morning and took a stroll to see the houseboats! Very quaint and charming.

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I feel like I still haven’t really explored Sausalito very much (seems like we only ever stop there for food haha) so I would like to come back and explore the city some more some day!

Grizzly Peak

Gosh, this is such a magical place. Located in the Berkeley Hills, it offers a beautiful view of the Bay Area. It was cloudy in SF when we went, but you could see the tops of the buildings just peaking out from under the cloud covers, which made it look like the city was floating. I would absolutely love to go back when it’s clear, or to watch the sunset!

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Hopefully this gives you some ideas for things to do in the wonderful Bay Area! There will be more posts like this coming soon because like I said, there’s no shortage of fun here!

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I refuse to be over a year late in posting on here so here I am again trying to catch up on blogging! Last year over Christmas break, I went to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon with Yufei and his parents. I was unfortunately very sick with the flu, and all the bright lights, loud noises, and cigarette smoke filled air in Vegas did not help with that. Nonetheless, we had a fun time.

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Photo-ception!

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Cirque du Soleil Zarkana.

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The Hoover Dam!

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Met these guys on horses on our hike in the Grand Canyon.

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The aptly named Ooh Aah Point at the Grand Canyon!

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We rode on the High Roller, the giant ferris wheel (we like to ride ferris wheels everywhere we go). It’s kind of expensive but the night view of the Vegas Strip can’t be beat!

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Didn’t actually go into this place but I had to take a photo with the giant boba cup!

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For Thanksgiving last year, we decided to take a quick trip to Los Cabos super last minute. We stayed at Secrets Puerto Los Cabos in San Jose del Cabo, which was absolutely wonderful. It was adults only, so it was definitely more relaxing and had a more sophisticated vibe. I’d say it was probably the best all-inclusive resort we’ve stayed at so far!

Watching the twilight from the pools:

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The weather was gorgeous every day.

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The beach was beautiful, but very large waves made it impossible to swim in unfortunately.

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But we’re not going to complain when we can lounge on a day bed by the ocean with a cold drink in our hands.

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Lounging by the pool.

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Food was great. Lots of different options with buffets and a la carte restaurants abound. And lots of pina coladas.

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We took a day trip to downtown Cabo San Lucas and rented a boat for a couple of hours.

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Our hilariously entertaining hibachi chef on our last night at the resort. Loved this guy!

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There was a professional photography around the resort taking photos of the guests and we agreed to have our pictures taken one day at the beach. It was fun pretending to be models for a bit! And we actually got some pretty good photos, so we ended up buying a couple of them. Hey, gotta keep some records of when we’re still young and beautiful, right?

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We had an amazing (albeit too short) stay at Secrets and I’d highly recommend it for anyone traveling to Cabo!

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I’m solidly into my D3 year now, but I guess it’s never too late to share some tidbits and highlights from D2 year at UCSF!

Presenting my poster for my summer research project at UCSF Research and Clinical Excellence Day 2014. It was my first poster presentation ever! Had a really great experience.

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My dental frat family at the annual Delta Sigma Delta initiation dinner! We welcomed 4 new D1’s into the family. We’re a good looking bunch if I do say so myself.

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Fun girls night in with classmates. We cooked fresh mussels that were harvested illegally on Ocean Beach earlier that day!

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Group photo after doing dental education, screenings, and fluoride varnish applications at an elementary school in the Mission. For one of our classes last year, we went on 3 outreach events like this. Very rewarding even though we had to get up very early those days.

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Halloween last year! A classmate and I dressed up as Kevin and Russell from the movie Up!

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One of the best things I did last year was to join the board of ADEA (American Dental Education Association) at UCSF. I got to be a part of an amazing group of people and we put together so many great events. Here’s our board photo last year.

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And here we are again at the annual High School Outreach Conference!

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The theme of the conference last year was social media and we had this Instagram photo frame for the participants (and us) to take photos with!

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Another student group I’m a part of at UCSF is the Chinese Health Professional Students Association (CHPSA). Here’s the board at the annual Chinese New Year celebration!

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PaintNite with dental school friends!

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Delta Sigma Delta family dinner!

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CHPSA dental outreach event in Chinatown!

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Last year I had the honor of receiving a Craig Memorial Scholarship from Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU), the national dental honor society. Here I am with 2 of the other scholarship recipients in my class at the convocation dinner at the Cliff House.

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And one more DSD photo: me with my big and little at senior dinner:

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D2 year was definitely the best year in dental school! Not as much work as D1 year, much more free time, and before the stresses of clinic!

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Slowly but surely, I’m catching up on blogging! Here’s another restaurant review summary for this past winter.

We took a weekend trip to Healdsburg at the beginning of the year and ate at Spoonbar. Delicious way to start 2015! The chicken wing appetizer:

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Pork tenderloin and riblet:

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Next up we have Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant. We discovered this Muslim Chinese place a while ago and it has since become a favorite spot for us. Super authentic and amazing food! The beef pancake and cumin lamb are some of our favorites:

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The crack fish was on point too! Covered in a thick layer of chili oil:

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We also tried their hot pot recently and it was fantastic as well. If you’re looking for authentic northern Chinese cuisine this is the place to go!

For this year’s Restaurant Week, we hit up 2 places. First we had lunch at Spruce. I really liked the space that the restaurant is in! Reminded me of a lot of places back in New York. Food was great and service very attentive. Pork loins:

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Scallops with ham and broccoli Romanesco:

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For our Restaurant Week dinner we chose Isa, a French restaurant in the Marina. Salmon carpaccio appetizer:

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My duck breast entree was fabulous:

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the food was great but we were not too happy with the service. We waited forever for our food and had to ask about our orders multiple times. They also did not discount our glasses of wine on the initial cheque even though we ordered them before the cutoff time. All of this made us think that they simply forgot to put in our order until we checked with them much later. Kind of put a damper on a otherwise great meal.

Next we have the Fly Trap, a Persian restaurant recommended by a Persian classmate of mine. We had a mini Columbia reunion here back in February. The food was all wonderful but sadly the only thing I managed to take a photo of was the baklava:

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Another ramen joint! We had wanted to go to Ramen Dojo but it was closed that day so we decided to go Himawari instead. It was pretty good!

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Lastly, Statebird Provisions! Yufei had been here before but I hadn’t, but I had actually unknowingly walked past it countless times going to and from my dentist! There’s no sign or anything on the outside so the only way you’ll know it’s there is the line that starts forming 2 hours before the doors even open, since reservations are notoriously difficult to obtain. We arrived about an hour before they opened and were still seated in the first batch they let in. The definitely food lived up to expectations and the dimsum ordering/serving style was fun. One of my favorite dishes of the night was this pork belly citrus salad:

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The desserts were great also – ice cream sandwiched and white chocolate parfait:

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Their menu changes all the time so I definitely want to return someday! If only it wasn’t so hard to get a seat there!

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Days 1&2 – Reykjavik
Days 3&4 – West Iceland
Days 5&6 – North Iceland

We’re finally coming to the end of our journey in Iceland! Writing this now almost a year later is making me very nostalgic…

On the morning of the 7th day, we woke up early and drove to Glacier Lagoon. The color of the lagoon and the giant blocks of ice in it makes for a spectacular view like nowhere else on earth.

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We then went to Vatnajökull National Park and hiked to Svartifoss, also known as the Black Waterfall. The basalt columns surrounding the waterfall were so cool!

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In the afternoon we went to Fjaðrárgljúfur, a majestic canyon. It was one of my favorite places we visited in Iceland. The green of the canyon against the blues and yellows of the late afternoon sky made the whole place seem magical. It was unreal.

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We stayed the night in Vik, and we asked the hotel to give us a wake-up call if there were any Northern Lights that night. And indeed there were! We ran outside in the middle of the night and caught a very brief glimpse of the lights, and I was fortunate enough to capture this photo!

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The next morning, we got up and drove a short distance to the black sand beach near Vik. More basalt columns!

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Our next destination took a while to find since it was kind of unusual. I read online about this plane wreckage on the beach and we thought it would be really cool to see it. The plane wreck against the backdrop of grey clouds of the gloomy sky made for some very dramatic photos.

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Next up is another unusual place: Seljavallalaug, an abandoned swimming pool filled with natural hot spring water. It took a short hike to get there and it started drizzling on our way there, but the water in the pool was nice and warm.

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Definitely the coolest swimming pool we’ve ever swam in!

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After that, another waterfall – Seljalandsfoss.

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And then it was onto Geysir, a park with lots of geothermal activity.

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Saw a geyser erupting!

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And then it was yet another waterfall, Gullfoss. Very big waterfall!

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As the sun was starting to set we did a quick drive through Thingvellir National Park, only having time to stop a couple of times.

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We drove back to Reykjavik, where this whole adventure started, and stayed the night at a small hotel near the airport. We were far away enough from the city that we were able to see some more Northern Lights on our last night in Iceland.

Then the next morning, we said a very reluctant goodbye to this amazing country. We had such an amazing time and it will forever remain one of my favorite trips!

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