since october,

my fb chats with dan have become something like a stream of consciousness.

in order of frequency–think of this as a scale from 15x to 1x a day:

herp derp
hirp dirp
meep moop
so tire
so slippy
i don’t wanna study
can u do my work for me.

lol ok
[reddit links]
you should go eat then
you can do it!
lol no
what you up to
how was your day

rocky II

Remember when we was on ice skates,
And I thought you were supposed to be great,
But I kept giving you lip,
And you kept trying to slip,
So I could catch you.
That was our first date,
And after that, every day was great.
So now I want you to know,
That wherever you go,
Atlantic City or in the snow,
Don't worry about a thing,
Cause as long as I got this ring,
I'll always be there to catch you.

ok the rest of it is kind of cheesy but here it is for future reference

So I am asking you this… what are you giving your dream up for? Is it as important as the many times you told me that you wanted to let people live a little longer so they could still say ‘I love you’  to their family or go to their daughter’s dance recital or simply live? Is it as important as the many people who stood by you, never gave up on you and tirelessly built the stairs that you now climb to reach your dream? Is throwing away your dream not as hard as regretting? Because love, you fought for this. You went through four years of hell so you could finally go into medical school… so you could finally save lives – even if you hadn’t got the chance to save that one person you so badly wanted in your life.  Just right now, you are already a physician. You may not have the license and you may still not have graduated but you already are a doctor. Because I saw how selfless you are. How you messed up your life so others could live. You say you feel stupid, that it feels like you don’t fit in medical school, that people are smart there, that you feel that you don’t have the magic hands that can cure. But that is not what I see and most importantly, you are not alone! Many people feel this way… not only in medical school, but in the game of life. So trust me when I tell you that you can get through this. That all your hard work will someday pay off. You are smart. I see it every time you read a line again and again because you try to understand it. I see it every time you fail because you don’t cheat yourself out of it – you want to learn things the best way, not only for yourself but for your future patients. And that in itself is an essence of a true genius. So please start trusting yourself because someday, people will come knocking on your door because they trust you with their lives. Don’t give up. You didn’t come this far just to get the hell out of it. Nothing is as huge as the times your heart started to cave in because you craved for this dream.

And so, to finally answer your question, no… not all the stars in the night sky are dead. They say that stars can live up to million years. So maybe when you look up the sky, you see stars that have seen more than the years you have lived. They have seen many people who don’t walk on this earth anymore. And now they are going to see you live. Let these stars be your dream… that despite the many times the universe might have failed them – they still shine. But then again, I know you. And you will in some way find another loophole. So I’ll stay ahead of you and recall that you did say that not all things that shine are alive. But you’re a doctor remember? Save them.

this is a well written intro

I catch you sometimes frowning on the words written on a hand-out that you complain so many times about, and know that you wish you didn’t dream about this. Your mind runs like it’s in a marathon – and you still tell me, it is never enough… because you’re losing. You oftentimes wish that memorizing and understanding something was as easy as transferring data from a memory card. But reality hits you in the face when it proves to you that it is never that easy. And that’s when you start slowing down. You looked at me one time and said, “In our mind, our dreams sparkle with big bold letters and golden arrows pointing at it. But when you try to reach them, the luster disappears and the lights flicker. And you realize that not all the things that shine are alive – aren’t the stars in the night sky dead?”

all that lingers

Little complexes/fears: A lot has changed since, but I think I will always “feel something” when I hear about death at sea, like the little kids from Syria, the students on Sewol, and Ana & Elsa’s parents. haha

“something”: lump in throat, arresting feelings

“After I told my father that I’d made it to Europe, I wanted nothing more than to turn that lie into the truth. I found a smuggler and told him my story. He acted like he cared very much and wanted to help me. He told me that for 1000 Euros, he could get me to a Greek Island. He said: ‘I’m not like the other smugglers. I fear God. I have children of my own. Nothing bad will happen to you.’ I trusted this man. One night he called me and told me to meet him at a garage. He put me in the back of a van with twenty other people. There were tanks of gasoline back there, and we couldn’t breath. People started to scream and vomit. The smuggler pulled out a gun, pointed it at us, and said: ‘If you don’t shut up, I will kill you.’ He took us to a beach, and while he prepared the boat, his partner kept the gun pointed at us. The boat was made of plastic and was only three meters long. When we got on it, everyone panicked and the boat started to sink. Thirteen of the people were too scared to go. But the smuggler said that if we changed our minds, he would keep the money, so seven of us decided to go ahead. The smuggler told us that he would guide us to the island, but after a few hundred meters, he jumped off the boat and swam to shore. He told us to keep going straight. The waves got higher and higher and water began to come in the boat. It was completely black. We could see no land, no lights, only ocean. Then after thirty minutes the motor stopped. I knew we all would die. I was so scared that my thoughts completely stopped. The women started crying because none of them could swim. I lied and told them that I could swim with three people on my back. It started to rain. The boat began to turn in circles. Everyone was so frightened that nobody could speak. But one man kept trying to work on the motor, and after a few minutes it started again. I don’t remember how we reached shore. But I remember I kissed all the earth I could find. I hate the sea now. I hate it so much. I don’t like to swim it. I don’t like to look at it. I hate everything about it.” (Kos, Greece)


hello just checking in

  • At the end of each week, I write down my first impressions of people: friends I made, ppl I want to be friends with, ppl who seem to suck, ppl i think are really good-looking, early clique formations, etc. It’s super candid because the more detailed and extreme I am in describing these people, the funnier I know it’ll be months/years from now. I’ve already had a good laugh at how wrong my perceptions from orientation were of a group of friends I made this week
  • Things I didn’t expect:
    • for half of our class to be in such a hurry to categorize themselves and others. I’m somewhere in the middle of being in a couple of groups of friends & having a handful of close friends I can always gravitate to easily (all of whom I really really like) and being a complete floater…
      • and also in the middle of not liking feeling a little rushed to make friends (bc i know friend groups will probably change around a lot over the next 4 years) and being thrilled about the random ppl i’ve grown close to and the ppl i have yet to get to know (man ppl are so cool here life is good God is good)
      • all of this is new to me bc I went to a really big high school & undergrad school
    • for us to have to sign up for leadership positions within the first 3 weeks of school, without even holding club meetings. Feel a little wary to be held accountable for a project that I’ve never participated in with people I’ve never met, but I’ll prob just do it anyway bc it will be fun and how bad could it be, knock on wood
    • I didn’t know that UPenn was so good about caring for Jewish students, and that they had so many Jewish students (this is a good thing, Jewish ppl are so smart and kind and down to earth)
    • to want to be in the party frat and to want to party so much all of a sudden
    • i am suddenly a lightweight and also i get asian glow after like 2 drinks
    • for my dreams for the future to quickly slip from [BEING A DENTIST] or [REPRESENTING GOD] to [BEING A BOSS IN DENTAL SCHOOL in terms of popularity, academics, having as much 20-something fun as I can] yes I know this is good and bad and also it is idolatry
      • for example, my first motives to sign up for a leadership role were
        • Do I have to do this to become popular? (prob not)
        • Do I have to do this to get my foot in the door for scholarships, the community service honors program, residency apps, and future leadership roles? (prob yes)
    • to get hit on by upperclassmen in the lamest of ways anywhere anytime (socially awk nerds will always be socially awk nerds)
    • for so many ppl to be taken, and how cute it is that there’s this unspoken rule to announce your taken relationship status within the first 15 min of meeting someone new
      • “yup i’m from new jersey, which is where my gf is so it’s not too bad”
      • “thanks my bf bought this watch for me”
      • “what was that? aww thanks my bf thinks i’m pretty too”
  • What I love
    • diversity of my class- so many interesting ppl from diff backgrounds. and it’s cool to hear ppl’s amazing stories/accomplishments/experiences and to think, “yup, that’s how you got into dental school, you one-in-a-million character, you.”
    • being surrounded by people like me aka people who are built for dentistry: nerdy, outgoing, did a bunch of extracurriculars since the 7th grade, like serving others, … and i think there’s more qualities but i forgot
    • Philadelphia, UPenn, and being in an academic environment. To have even one of those three would be great but I get to enjoy all three at once
    • living alone – i realized just last week that this is my first time living alone and it is pretty sweet
      • pros: can befriend anyone i want, live & clean however weird ways i want, don’t have to share fridge or anything with anyone, don’t have to stress out about random roommate convos that might come up (“hey…you need to stop hiding full trash bags in the living room for 3 days at a time…please. like how is this ok to you.”)
      • cons: walk home alone, could’ve gotten to know someone cool, cheaper, could’ve lived in a fancier newer place
    • teachers are so good and 70% of the ppts are well organized and detailed
    • having notes/study guides passed down from upperclassmen
    • knowing upperclassmen already and them reaching out to me and being able to ask them candid, “sketchy” questions
    • i can’t hate on the class material yet for being sooo much information bc it is really interesting and fun to learn
  • There are fleeting moments in which I feel anxious or not-myself, but it is SO EASY here to decide to distract yourself with something fun/novel (studying, social events, new friends). And this is actually a good thing, as long as it is balanced out with daily devotionals, and random personal reflections here and there. Because I know that the things I feel anxious about are going to be short lived with all the exciting changes that have been going on around here. And also that I tend to worry a little too intensely, too early, too often.
  • Finally, I wonder how I and my classmates will change over the next four years, and I am confident that there are upgraded, awesome versions of ourselves waiting to be tugged out in every which way in the crazy roller coaster/marathon/marathon-of-a-roller-coaster that is dental school, and I am really excited to see this take place

Every day is a good day

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I was discouraged by a lot of small bad things happening during my study break but I wrote them down alongside all the great things that I enjoyed today and the tense snares that clenched my brain unfurled and floated away.

“This is why I had a bad day:

Good things:

So actually overall it was a good day

I mean, every day is a good day.”