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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: Science

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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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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Thursday, Sep. 19

The longest day ever. We got assigned a group project on using evidence-based dentistry to answer a question that a patient could ask a dentist. Then we sat through several presentations on campus services such as safety, student health, and financial aid. Then we got a little rehearsal on how the white coat ceremony was going to go the next day. We got free lunch again, this time courtesy of CDA (though I was getting pretty tired of sandwiches at this point – but I guess I shouldn’t complain about free food!).

After lunch, we finally got introduced to one of the biggest course streams of our first year, biomedical sciences. The course director, Dr. McMaster, came to talk to us a little about the course. Some D2’s also came to give us some advice about the class. After that we went into the anatomy lab with our lab groups. I really like my group and I’m looking forward to working with them on our cadaver. We also got our bone boxes! So basically right now I have half a skeleton and about 100 teeth in the apartment.

That evening we also had a scholarship reception. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to UCSF, and although it was a small amount, I still really appreciate it. I still remember on December 3rd, waiting all day hoping for a call from UCSF, until I almost lost hope when my phone still hadn’t rung in the late afternoon. Then I got the call from Dean Featherstone telling me that I had gotten accepted and had received a scholarship. I was so so happy. I knew that as an international student applying to a state school, the odds were stacked against me. So I have a lot of gratitude for UCSF for not only accepting me but also for being the only school that offered me any form of financial assistance.

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After the reception, some friends and I dropped by an event held by one of the 3 fraternities at the dental school, Delta Sigma Delta. I chatted with some current members and everyone was really nice and helpful! When I finally got home for the day I was so tired from this long day. So I just showered and then slept – need my beauty sleep for the white coat ceremony the next day!

Friday, Sep. 20

My group met up at 9am to discuss how we were going to approach our little project. Then we had a panel with 4 UCSF alumni who talked to us about their experiences at UCSF and beyond. We also had the chance to talk to the alumni in person after the panel and they all offered a lot of insight and perspective into what our paths might look like after graduation.

Then it was finally time for our white coat ceremony! We got our coats outside the auditorium and then lined up to go inside. Dr. Perry, Dean Featherstone, and Dr. Hipona (the president of the alumni association) each gave an address. Then came the keynote speech given by Dr. Ho. It was undoubtedly the most moving and unforgettable speech I had ever heard. Dr. Ho told us an incredible story about him and a patient and his family. By the end half the audience was weeping, myself included. (I was trying really hard not to cry because I didn’t want to mess up my makeup. Failed anyway.) Dr. Ho did not have any notes at all and you can tell that he spoke from his heart. His keynote address was met with a full standing ovation. I felt privileged to have had him as our keynote speaker and faculty member, and I cannot think of a better speech to inspire us at the beginning of our professional lives. I am certain that Dr. Ho’s words, story, and message will stay with me forever.

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My parents and Yufei came out to see me get my white coat and I was so happy to have them take time out of their day and be there for me. After the ceremony we went across the street for the reception where they had a lot of delicious food and also provided time for more photos. Here’s me with Dean Featherstone!

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And me with my new friends and classmates.

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This was definitely one of the most exciting days of my life so far and it felt amazing to be officially a part of the wonderful profession of dentistry! I’m really happy about my school, faculty (from what I’ve seen so far), and classmates. It’s going to be a wonderful 4 years!

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About time I did an update on the final chapter of my pre-dental life. Last time I wrote about putting down my deposit at UCSF and getting wait-listed at Harvard. And I thought that was the end of it, so imagine my surprise when I got a call from Harvard at the end of May! I had gotten accepted! I was almost ready to e-mail Harvard to withdraw my spot. It was a good surprise but also created quite a dilema for me. It’s the pseudo-problem that any pre-dental student would love to have, to have to pick between 2 great schools. But it was a really tough choice all the same. I’m not going to go into all the factors that went into my decision, but I picked the school that most resonated with me during my interview, the one in the city that is more interesting and fun and offers more opportunities for Yufei’s future, the one that I knew all along what I was going to choose. Can you guess? It’s UCSF! Was it hard to give up on Harvard? Well, a little, though I think my mom was more torn up about that than I was (bless her Asian parent heart). I’m super happy with my choice, and it’s so nice to finally (finally!) have some closure to this whole admissions process. Now I could put everything behind me and move forward.

Speaking of moving, Yufei and I are actually moving this weekend. As soon as I decided to stay with UCSF, we began to look for an apartment closer to school. I really wanted a place that is within walking distance to school, which is very helpful according to the upperclassmen I talked to. It took a few weeks of searching and refreshing Craigslist, but we found a nice little studio apartment only a few blocks away from campus. It’s smaller than our current one-bedroom, but it’s in a nice area and cheaper and – did I mention it’s less than a 10-minute walk to school? I’m going to need all the sleep I can get when school starts. Ain’t nobody got time for commuting in the morning for 8am classes! I’m so excited to arrange and decorate our new place, and I’ll definitely post some photos when it’s all done.

I’m also looking to get involved with doing research at UCSF, and tomorrow I’m meeting someone from a team that uses Twitter for research on various health topics. How awesome is that? I’m really excited to learn more about it and help out. I always knew that I didn’t really want to do lab research again, but I’ve always been interested in the intersection between health and technology, and using social media as a way to survey and analyse health information is very cool. So, yeah, really excited about this opportunity!

Anyway, lots happening in the next little while. I’m a little overwhelmed but also very much energized. After a long year of not really doing much, I think I’m ready to dive into being somewhat busy again (I’m sure I will regret saying this when dental school starts, oh well)!

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For the first time in more than 2 and a half years together, I was finally able to celebrate Yufei’s birthday with him! For the last 2 years, we were always half a globe from each other on the special day – first me in China and him in Canada, then me in Austria and him in New York. But this year we’re finally together in San Francisco! So of course we had to celebrate – with lots of delicious food!

After sleeping in until a luxuriously late hour, which is highly suggested for one’s birthday, we got ready and headed to Burma Superstar, one of an oddly large number of Burmese restaurants in the city. Neither of us had had Burmese food before, but I really wanted to try it out, so I took Yufei there for lunch. The place had great reviews online, and there was a line when we got there at past 1pm on a Monday morning – this place better be good! After about 20 minutes, we got seated in a corner of the restaurant.

We started with chicken samusas and a Burmese salad:

The sambusas were nice and hot and crispy and we both liked them. The salad had an interesting freshness to it, which I enjoyed more than Yufei. For our mains, Yufei got the nan gyi dok noodles, with flour noodles instead of rice noodles:

It had a nice coconut curry sauce and was really good! I stole a lot from Yufei’s plate. I got a Burnese chicken curry dish with tan poi rice:

The curry was delicious and the rice was very interesting – it had huge raisins in it! I’m always adamant about having dessert, so even though we were both quite full, we ordered a fried banana and ice cream dessert to share:

Which was a good call because it was so yummy! After lunch we decided to go to Golden Gate Park since we were nearby. We visited the California Academy of Sciences first (we are such nerds), where they had this really cool green roof:

The museum itself was pretty cool, but we ran out of time before they closed so we didn’t get to see everything. We walked around the park for a bit and then went to to Japanese tea garden.

It was quite a lovely place, but a little too crowded when we were there, which kind of takes away the serenity of the garden. But it was still a nice place to spend an afternoon. By then it was starting to get late and we hopped on a bus to go to dinner. I had made reservations at Frascati, a Mediterranean style bistro on Russian Hill. We were greeted warmly upon arrival, and they even wished Yufei a happy birthday (always a good sign when they actually pay attention to what you mention during the reservation). We were seated upstairs, which is smaller and more private than the first floor. We started with a couple of appetizers, the gnocchi and the duck confit salad:

Both were delicious! The salad had quite a lot of duck in it, which was great. And of course since we’re finally both legal, we each had a glass of chardonnay with our meal. Yufei ordered the duck breast for his main:

And I had the wild California salmon:

Both dishes were fantastic! And of course, we had to have dessert again at dinner, so Yufei got the affogato and I had the blueberry cobbler. Yufei’s dessert came with a birthday candle, which got blown out since it was a little drafty, but our server did his best trying to re-light it (and it was on the house!).

The meal was absolutely wonderful, the service was great, and we both had an excellent time. We were much too full and a little tired to go through with plans of hitting a bar, so we just walked home and watched a movie on the couch. It was a a day well spent – and I hope that I’ll be able to spend many more of Yufei’s birthdays like this!

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The California adventure continues! Yufei and I headed down to Monterey for the weekend (2 weeks ago), on the Greyhound, which we both agreed we’d never take again since it was awfully delayed (not the first time it’s happened). Anyway, I’m going to skip over the unpleasant business of getting there and say that we did eventually arrive at the bed and breakfast we were staying at late in the afternoon. It was the Martine Inn, which sits by the ocean in Pacific Grove, a beautiful Victorian abode. From the moment we stepped inside the house, we knew we were somewhere special. The place was impeccably decorated, gorgeously warm and welcoming in every way. Here’s the lovely living room:

And the beautiful garden:

They even had a little games room:

The whole place was just so quaint and charming – we had a clawfoot bathtub! – I just loved it! Props to my awesome boyfriend for picking such a perfect place!

After we got settled in, we were right on time for the daily afternoon hors d’heuvre and wine in the dining room (can I love this place any more?). Having satisfied our palates on the delectable treats, we set out for a trek along the beach on the seaside trail. It was a rather grey day, but not windy and therefore not as chilly as it was in San Francisco. Quite pleasant, actually. We passed by some harbour seals along the way:

Then we made our way down to Cannery Row and walked around the shops and attractions, and where I felt very compelled to read the Steinbeck novel for which the street was named after (in fact, I think I shall soon). As it was starting to get dark, we walked over to The Sardine Factory, where we had dinner reservations.

We had looked up the place on Yelp and made a reservation earlier that afternoon in a rush, and I was in no way expecting such a fancy place from a name like “The Sardine Factory”. But fancy it was indeed, and I felt under-dressed, but oh well. Though we were half an hour early for our reservation, we were seated right away in a nice little corner by the window. Warm bread (love that!) along with butter, seasoned olives, and a bean spread, was brought to us promptly:

The bread was so fluffy and warm and delicious that we had to force ourselves to stop eating them lest we stuff ourselves before the real meal even begins. We started out by sharing the Salinas Valley Salad, which was very good:

For our main courses, Yufei had a steak with a side of mashed potatoes:

And I knew I had to get some sort of seafood, and I opted for the seafood pasta:

We were both very impressed with the food so far, and even though we were pretty full by the time we finished (or in me case, attempted to finish) our mains, we wanted desert. After taking a look at the dessert menu, we decided to have the ice cream bonbons. We had no idea what that actually meant, but it was supposed to be “served dramatically with dry ice”. And indeed it was:

It was so dramatic that it elicited “oohs” and “ahs” and camera flashes from the table next to us! Turns out the bonbons were strawberry ice cream on a stick covered in chocolate, served with caramel sauce and crushed peanuts for dipping. Delicious! Overall we had a wonderful experience at the Sardine Factory and went home with happy stomachs.

The next morning we got up in time for breakfast served in the dining room overlooking the bay. French toast with berries and sausages, coffee, and apple juice – all served fresh (this place is seriously awesome!).

After breakfast we reluctantly left the lovely B&B (they gave us homemade banana bread upon departure!) and walked towards the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where we spent the better part of the day. We saw lots of colorful fish:

Sea turtles:

Strange sea horses and sea dragons:

Beautiful yet deadly jellies:

And lots of other fish, rays, coastal birds, penguins, sea otters, starfish, crabs, lobsters, and tons more. Here’s me sitting in a clam!

By the time we were finished with the aquarium, it was already afternoon, so we hopped on a free tourist bus and went to downtown Monterey to walk around a bit before catching another bus to Salinas. And having vowed to never take the Greyhound again, we went to the Amtrak station and bought train tickets back to SF. And thus ended our weekend in Monterey! Sigh… I want to go back already!

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Morning: Went to Twitter with Yufei and had breakfast there, which consisted of a delicious bagel (it was Bagel Monday!) topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon and tomatoes and cucumbers, and some fruit and yogurt. Then I went shopping downtown for a few hours, before coming back for lunch at Twitter (I’m such a moocher). Seriously, this places is awesome.

Afternoon: Lounged around and then met Yufei for dinner at Tandoori Mahal. We got chicken samosas, rice, naan, chicken tikka masala, and lamb korma, and it was all delicious!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Morning: Slept in, had leftovers for lunch.

Afternoon: Went to the Cartoon Art Museum, which had exhibits on Archie, The Green Lantern, and the art of Howl, as well as a permanent exhibit on the history and progression of cartoons and comics.

It was a nice little museum, plus it was pay-what-you-want day, so it was definitely worth the visit! They had a nice little gift shop too, with some pretty cool stuff local comic artists too.

For dinner we went to Triptych with a coupon from Travelzoo. It was a cute place that’s both a restaurant and an art gallery! We started with 2 glasses of sparkling wine:

And a starter of spicy mini chicken drumsticks. For our entrees, I got the individual sized paella and Yufei got the grilled sirloin:

I was a huge fan of my paella, while Yufei’s steak was just okay. We finished off by sharing a warm chocolate molten cake, which was so good! Overall a great meal, our server was very nice, and I really liked the place!

We came back after dinner and decided to watch a movie at home. We ended up seeing The Adjustment Bureau, which I had high expectations for since I found the premise fascinating and it got pretty good reviews. But we were both disappointed by the movie. For me, I just felt like I kept expecting it to get this point that would just blow my mind, and it just never got there and all of sudden it was over. Oh well, there goes an hour and a half of my life.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Morning: I walked over to the School of Dentistry at the University of the Pacific to check it out. The walk was pretty much uphill the whole way, which caused me to take way longer than the predicted time on Google Maps. Anyways, the school was really nice, and I even talked with one of the admissions people. The only thing is that they want me to take more biology labs (ugh). Sigh… we’ll see. My walk back was decidedly more pleasant, offering me views like this:

And I got lunch at Gallery Cafe, half a block from Yufei’s place. Cute little neighbourhood cafe.

Afternoon: Tired from my morning walk, I just took it easy until dinner time. We met up at Passion Cafe, a nice French bistro in a pretty sketchy part of town. We got a grilled chicken salad, Yufei got a burger, and I had a calamari.

The salad was great, Yufei liked his burger, but my calamari was a little bit over-fried. Regrettably, we didn’t really order anything French, although our waiter did have a discernible French accent and that’s always a good sign. Perhaps next time!

After dinner, we went to a nearby theater to see Cowboys & Aliens, which I found to be okay, and Yufei loved it (of course, since it was his pick – my turn the next night!).

Thursday, August 4, 211

Morning: Umm… I don’t think I did anything.

Afternoon: Another day in SF, another dental school visit. This time, I decided to check out the Dental School at UCSF. UCSF consist only of graduate schools in the health sciences, and it is located in a cold, windy, misty part of town. The campus is considerably bigger than Pacific since the dental school is kind of lumped together with everything else, so I couldn’t really see much. But I did talk to admissions and got some info. Gosh, this dental school business is getting pretty serious!

For dinner, I met up with a friend from Columbia who lives and is interning in the city. We went to the Ferry Building:

I really wanted to try Slanted Door, but the line was crazy huge, so we walked around for a bit before deciding on Gott’s. They had delicious chicken sandwiches and milkshakes!

After dinner I met up with Yufei to go see my movie of choice: Crazy, Stupid, Love. It was one of the best romantic comedies I’ve seen in a while. The cast was amazing, and they all gave great performances – what a refreshing role for Steve Carell! Really pleasantly surprised by him. There seemed to be too many story lines in the movie at one point, but they were all brought together in an unexpected, hilarious yet heartbreaking twist (honest haven’t laughed that hard in a theater in a while). A realistic look at love that is at times funny, at times agonizing, but ultimately heartwarming and optimistic – highly recommended!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Morning: Not much until lunch, which I had at Out the Door at Westfield Center, one of 3 locations for the less formal eateries spawned from The Slanted Door. I started with a half portion of the spring rolls with a really yummy peanut sauce:

And for my main I got the stir-fried rice noodles with chicken:

It was good but somewhat unremarkable, which is probably no unexpected for such a simple dish. Anyways, pretty good meal!

After lunch, I walked over to the Asian Art Museum, where they were having a special exhibit on Bali, which was completely worth the extra $5. It was a beautiful and fascinating display of Balinese art, rituals, and performance, as exemplified by this amazingly intricate and elaborate offering made from rice dough, called a Sarad:

I didn’t realize how big the museum was and spent too much time in the Bali exhibit, and had to rush through the rest of it before they closed. But it was really quite a nice museum! I wish I had planned to spend more time there.

To celebrate the end of the work week, Yufei and I went down to Pier 39 to embark on the Happy Hour on the Bay Cruise from Blue and Gold Fleet! They had some snacks and a bar where you get one free drink – and I think I finally look past 21 since I didn’t get carded, ha! It was unfortunately too foggy out to go to the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz, so we headed the other way and went past the Bay Bridge and AT&T Park instead.

The cruise lasted an hour and a half and was pretty fun, but afterwards we were still hungry so we headed to In-N-Out for burgers! Being in NYC exposed us to a lot of debate over Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out, so we had to try for ourselves! Granted, I’ve never really had a freshly made burger from Shake Shake before, only a somewhat small and unimpressive one in a take-out bag that’s probably not the best for judging. But the burgers at In-N-Out were decently sized, freshly made, and the value is excellent! The fries were just average though.

I wish they had more topping choices (like bacon!), but at just over $2 for a burger, you can’t complain. But I think Five Guys still wins overall for quality and variety and huge servings of good fries (and free peanuts!). And for best value, M2M still has a special place in my heart. (Wow, I cannot believe I just wrote this much reviewing burgers! This is all Yufei’s fault).

So this wraps up the work week! A special weekend post coming up!

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