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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.

Category Archives: General

I really should be studying for a final next week but I really don’t want to so I’m writing this instead. Thanks to the magic of social media I’m reminded that 9 years ago I was also at Columbia studying for finals of my first semester in college. I don’t think my 19-year-self would be too impressed to know that this is still happening almost a decade later.

As the end of the year approaches, I’ve been looking back and reflecting on everything that’s happened in the last year. More specifically, everything that’s happened since the start of the residency application cycle last year. Having just experienced the interview and match process on the other side has brought back a lot of memories, and honestly not very good ones.

When I applied to ortho last year, the hope was to stay in SF, or at least California, since both my parents and Yufei are pretty established in the Bay Area and it would be nice to stay somewhere for longer than 5 years for once in my life. I worked really hard in dental school and naively thought that I had a pretty good chance of achieving this. However, it soon became apparent that life had other plans. With each passing interview notice received by classmates and strangers on the internet but not me, my heart sank a little. No SF interviews. No California interviews. Only 1 west coast interview. It was like watching your dream fade away piece by piece yet there’s nothing you can do about it. I was watching my future slowly diverge from my carefully planned tracks. When match day came and I matched at Columbia, I it wasn’t unexpected but it still stung. I knew I should feel happy that I matched at all but I wasn’t. I tried my best to come to terms with it but the following weeks and and months weren’t any easier. First I find out that I would be going to NYC by myself and have to be a long distance relationship for at least a year. Then I find out that my housing application for a studio didn’t pan out and that I would instead be living with 2 randomly assigned roommates. Then 2 days after moving in I find out that housing made a mistake and gave me the wrong room and I had to move everything again by myself. It felt like every little concession I was willing to make in my plans was still not enough and life was just playing a cruel joke on me.

I remember sitting in the theater watching La La Land, a couple of weeks after match day, and sobbing uncontrollably at the epilogue where Mia imagines what her life would have been like had she stayed with Sebastian instead of going to Paris to pursue her acting career. I felt like I was at a similar crossroads in life, where I was forced to choose my career over love. While I knew that my relationship would be fine in the end, having to live on opposite coasts for a year was still a daunting prospect. Was it going to be worth it? Would I regret my decision down the road? There were so many regrets and doubts in my head. What if. If only. Maybe things would have turned out differently.

(At this point in my writing this, I went back and checked my past post almost a year ago and realized that I had already shared much of the same sentiment back then. I guess I’m still processing everything.)

As for how I’m doing now, well, I have good days and bad days. On the good days I’m happy; happy with my residency program, happy to be back in NYC, happy to have friends old and new in the city. On the bad days, sometimes bad in the way that only NYC bad days can be, I’m reminded again and again of everything that had led me here, so far away from where I thought I would be today, and my old wounds would be opened again. But the wound is getting smaller, and the good days outnumber the bad. I hope to one day look back and say to myself, everything happened for a reason, and things turned out the way they were meant to. I don’t feel remotely close to reaching that point yet, but one day, one day.

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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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Anybody home? Does anyone still read this thing? *Crickets chirping*

Well, this is awkward. I’ve fallen oh about 9 months behind on blogging. Oops. I guess this is what happens when you’re a dental student, even though second year was supposed to be the chillest of all of dental school. Anyways, I’m back and I will try my best to catch up on everything soon! Expect posts on my travels (finishing up Iceland – finally, lots of weekend getaways all around California, Los Cabos, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, Aruba, and most recently Colorado), my food adventures (oh god there are so many food pictures), and what I’d been up to at UCSF.

In the meantime, follow me on Instagram @wendandelion for much more timely updates on all of the things you’re used to seeing on this blog!

Can’t believe my super long summer is almost ending! I’m frantically trying to finish up my summer research project, submit the abstract and finalize my poster… because next Friday Yufei and I are leaving for a week in Iceland! It’ll be my last big summer adventure and I’m so beyond excited for it.

Some other news since last time… I passed boards! I started to get really worried when everyone who took it the same day as me (or even after) started getting results in the mail and I was still waiting, and I called them and found out that it must have gotten lost in the mail. So they had to re-send it and I finally got it 5 weeks after my exam. I felt pretty good about it afterwards so I wasn’t too worried about passing, but the wait was agonizing! It would have been so nice if we got instant results like the DAT (man that was so great). But now that it’s done, I can relax a bit and enjoy my D2 year (supposedly the most chill year at UCSF according to upperclassmen).

We celebrated Yufei’s 24th birthday last month! We had dinner at Hakkasan and then drinks with friends at Local Edition. One of the presents I got him was this scratch map where you scratch off places you’ve travelled to. Since we love traveling together I thought this would be a good way to track where we’ve been together.

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Really puts into perspective how much of the world there is left to see!

What else… we went to the annual Twitter picnic last month. It was such a gorgeous day, and since we don’t get many of those in the summer months in SF, I of course didn’t use sunscreen and got burnt.

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Afterwards we went to check out the Wave Organ, which was nearby.

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There was even this nice little stretch of beach facing the city!

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I also got my first haircut since my perm last year. I went back to Betty at Sally’s Salon since I really trust her. She got rid of my dead ends and got some layers in there, and I asked for side swept bangs. My hair now feels much lighter even though it’s still long. I’ve been putting it up in a ponytail more often since it’s not as heavy and the bangs frame my face nicely.

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That’s about it for now. Some upcoming posts to look forward to include a summer restaurant summary, my recent baking adventures, and LA trip!

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So I’ve been kind of MIA here for a while… that’s because I’ve been studying hard for Part 1 of the National Board Dental Exam for the last 5 weeks! I finally took it yesterday and it feels so good to be done (IF I did indeed pass the exam. We’ll find out in 3 weeks!).

I knew I had a lot on my plate this summer, our one and only real summer break during dental school. I was a part of the Summer Research Fellowship Program, doing a study on pre- and post-operative patient experience using data from Twitter. It was something I’ve wanted to do since before I even started dental school, so I was pretty excited about it. It’s awesome that UCSF was able to support 20 of us this year, the biggest group ever.

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But even though it’s great that I got to do research, I also knew that I wanted to take my boards this summer, and that studying for it would be quite time-consuming. Luckily, my project is very self-directed and the work can be done from anywhere, with no need for a regular schedule or to go into a lab everyday. So I made it work! I will probably do another post on boards later when I get my exam results.

Before all of that though, after school ended, I took 2 weeks off to just relax. D1 year was tough and I really needed some time off. Some friends from school and I went exploring the week after school ended and we went up the Filbert Street Steps to Coit Tower.

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I had been to Coit Tower when I first arrived in SF but had never gone up to the top. It was a beautiful clear day and the views from the top were great.

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Afterwards we walked around North Beach, got gelato, and watched the dogs play in Washington Square Park.

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I also went on a big-little date with Jenny, and we got brunch at Kitchen Story and then went ceramics painting at Terra Mia.

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Terra Mia is a paint-your-own ceramics studio where you pick out pre-made pieces to paint, and they fire it and you go pick up the finished product. It was so much fun and we spent the whole afternoon there since you can stay as long as you want. I decided to paint a bowl to give to my mom for her birthday.

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Yufei and I also took a short trip to Oregon during those 2 weeks, and it was nice getting out of SF for a few days. So I will be writing catch-up posts for the next little while, including a lot of restaurant posts, Oregon recap, and other stuff I’ve been up to this summer!

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Even though spring quarter of D1 year was tough academically, I still had plenty of time to have fun outside of school to explore different places in SF and beyond. Here are some of the things I did!

The Walt Disney Family Museum located in the Presidio. It’s a really cool museum and you learn so much about Walt Disney’s life and legacy. They also have special exhibits with art from different Disney artists. Highly recommended for any Disney fan!

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My dad, Yufei, and I went hiking in Tennessee Valley in Marin over Memorial Day weekend. We hiked all the way from the Tennessee Valley trailhead to Muir Beach – a hike that turned out to be much more physically demanding than we expected. There were so many ups and downs. But the views along the coast was incredible.

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We had lunch at Pelican Inn once we got to Muir Beach.

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After lunch, we took a much less scenic but much flatter and faster route back!

After we returned to SF from the hike, Yufei and I stopped by Baker Beach. It was our first time there and it was a gorgeous day for the beach.

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The view of the Golden Gate Bridge is great!

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Another weekend, another hike. This time we went to San Pedro Valley County Park. It got increasingly cold and foggy as we went higher and higher, so we eventually gave up and hiked back down before we reached the peak. The mountains did look very mystical in the fog though.

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Then the sun came out unexpectedly near the end of our hike!

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One big change from last quarter: I got braces! Being in dental school, you become super conscious of you teeth feel the pressure to have a perfect smile. I’ve been thinking about braces for a while now and this is as good a time as any! There are now quite a few of us in my class who have braces now, so that makes it more bearable. I considered getting them done by an ortho resident at UCSF, but they don’t take my insurance and it ended up being too expensive. So I’m getting them done at my regular general dentist.

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I got my upper first premolars extracted in the same appointment I got my braces on the upper teeth, and I was so miserable for a few days. But after a week I was fine. Right now I only have braces on my upper teeth and I’ll get the lower ones once school is out for summer. I can’t wait to start seeing changes in my smile!

I really love this draped blouse from H&M this season. Here I am wearing it to get ice cream at Smitten. I got the floral one online and loved it so much that I wanted to get it in other colors too. It’s so flowy and light and perfect for spring. But they were all pretty much sold out online in my size and the colors I wanted, and I have not succeeded in finding them in stores…

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To celebrate the end of the quarter, some friends and I went to Biergarten after our last final.

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It was a beautiful afternoon to visit and there were lots of people already at 4:30. Lots of beer was had and Yufei and I decided to get dinner there too. I got the Frankfurter with curried potatoes and he got the pork belly sliders. Yum.

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I can’t believe spring break is already coming to an end… it felt SO short. Now I have to take a deep breath and brace myself for the last quarter of D1 year!

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