Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Deeper Look

I feel disorganized; Immunology has started off at a gallop and I'm still trying to clean my apartment and clarify my weekly schedule in my head. Even my thoughts are disorganized and there are so many things that I wanted to ruminate upon, describe, discuss, and yet I seem to have internalized all these feelings and ideas without really sorting them out. So many things that I want to say to people (e.g. Kim), but haven't had the time to sit down and write.

Once someone wrote that writing helps them understand and process things, and I think that for many people, writing does fulfill a need to delineate and organize thoughts. It's almost like the thought is a soul that needs a corporeal vessel in the form of words to come into existence in this world. Writing often reminds me of giving birth (well, writing papers), it's a painful, long process -- one that I haven't been able to fully engage in for a long time. So please forgive my stream of consciousness.

Today was the second day of school and the med school gods pushed us hard...we had FPC courses on taking a sexual history and challenging patient scenarios. It was thought-provoking and well-done. We've had so much class already!

Last night, Jey and I participated in a Sausalito Moonlight Paddle...which pretty much describes the situation. We went sea kayaking in the bay at Sausalito in the evening and saw a beautiful full moon. It was pretty wet and we were busy paddling, so no pictures were taken. But honestly, it was the most beautiful experience. We saw sea lions bobbing their heads in the water near us, the famous and quaint Sausalito boat houses, the giant moon hanging over the forest of boat masts like a Christmas ornament, and the square lights scattered over the hills of Sausalito. Everywhere around us...shiny black water streaked with luminous light reflected from the moon and hillside stars as I breathed a silent prayer of thanks for the privilege of being alive at that moment to know that such beauty exists. No pictures to share, but it was more like a feeling anyway.

Also thanked my lucky stars for living in the Bay area and for UCSF's wonderful opportunities. Today, I walked to my favorite boba place (Wonderful Food Co on 21st and Irving) with Paul and got my classic standby. Then ate dinner with Paul and Irene at Hama-Ko (also dubbed "No Name Sushi Place," "Hole in the Wall," and "the Sushi Nazis" by our little clan). The adorable elderly Japanese couple that runs this place actually Nazied me tonight. I was sitting cross-legged on my seat and she told me to sit properly. At least she didn't kick me out for ordering spicy tuna rolls (as legend has it). Ate the most amazing hamachi toro tonight, it was like gourmet fat that melted in my mouth. Orgasmic, really. Then I got locked out of my apartment, chatted with police officers, and gave a Stata lesson to Jenny. Now I am writing this entry and thinking that man, I should be sleeping.

What I really wanted to write about was this summer. Haha, I didn't even get around to a summary of my first year of medical school (note to self: you are way behind). What I really wanted to say was that this summer was a rediscovery of the familiar. I often joked that UCSF med students have two popular options for summer plans: travel to a foreign country or lock youself in lab for 8 weeks. But upon pondering this dichotomy, it's actually pretty easy to describe these options as either reexamining the world on either a macro- or micro- scale. You can either explore new cultures, new countries and see the big pictures. Or you can look into the microscopic minutiae of lab research and see another world. Either option is great, but it's a question of whether you want to "zoom out" or "zoom in" during your last vacation. My summer theme can be summarized as "zooming in," because I didn't really go anywhere radically different -- Stanford has always been my refuge in a strange way, UCSF was cold as usual, and I went home twice to see my family. However, the summer was also extremely productive and life-changing (in a patient, quiet way), because I got to spend more time thinking about my favorite research topics, honed a few lab techniques, revisited my beloved cancer patient cohort (just the data sets), and just look at everything more closely. What made a big difference was the people whom I met this summer in lab at Stanford, especially Joe. He could take up another rambling entry. Outside of lab, I spent more time with Jey and we explored the area a bit more and worked out a few issues. I visited Napa three times, and even though I've been to Napa so many times...I still love it and never tire of seeing more wineries and trying more wines. It occurred to me that I want to be familiar with Napa in a less touristy commercial sense...not just visiting the big, popular wineries...but I want to really gain an intimate knowledge of Napa and not exactly know "everything" but really have a solid sense of the place. So my goal is to visit at least 70% of the Napa wineries by the time I graduate from medical school. Why 70%? Because at UCSF, that means that you passed the exam. On three fronts -- academically/professionally, personally/romantically and interest-wise -- I've really tried to delve into the heart of things and be honest with myself. Growing up is a gradual process that never really don't suddenly wake up one morning and decide that you have matured into the ideal person, but rather a continuous process that continues your whole life. So although I'm not perfect, I'm learning to love and accept imperfections in myself, in others, in life. Again, a hard process, but a worthy one.

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