Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Year's Resolutions 2014

I can't believe it's been a full year since my last New Year's resolution post and hence over a year since I've been blogging regularly (hey, somewhat).  It's ironic I started this blog during the dark days of second year of med school (third year is so much better), but it's also helped because it helped me chronicle and remember the fun times I had during that period too.

How did I do on my New Year's resolutions for last year? I think I posted a lot more consistently and a lot more photo stories of the more-than-usual trips (Honolulu, Montreal, New YorkBeijing) that I took last year, so I did build my blog more. I tried to keep up with current events more, especially at the beginning of the year, but didn't do so well at the end. And I definitely did NOT phase Facebook out, so there's that. Yeah...

I'm pretty much convinced that New Year's resolutions are a load of bullocks and that the vast majority of people don't achieve them (including me). However, they do offer a good opportunity for introspection on what you think you need to change and improve about yourself. So without further ado, my resolutions for 2014:

1. Dream Bigger - As mentioned before, med school and specifically second year was rough. So rough insofar that I lost a lot of my ambition and drive that I had going into med school to excel. After not doing so stellar on my first couple of tests, I was satisfied to get around the class mean and I resigned myself to the fact that I would just be average. Now that I'm halfway through third year, I feel myself regaining a lot of the confidence I had as I find my knowledge improving my leaps and bounds every rotation. I'm not cowering in the corner during rounds, afraid that the attending will ask me a question, because I know how rounds work, what lab values mean, and what clinical findings are important. As I'm becoming more comfortable with a doctor's role in how the hospital works, I want to set my goals higher and dream bigger this year. I want to travel somewhere far for residency, ideally the Bay Area or anywhere in California, but anywhere on the west coast like Portland or Seattle would be fine, just for a change of scenery and culture. So many of my friends have made the move and don't want to come back. Since I will likely pursue a fellowship, residency will be a good chance to go away for 3 years and then eventually come back to the DC area if I can tear myself away from California. I had a period where I would have been satisfied to stay in DC or even Baltimore for residency just because it would have been "easy," but now's a good time to refocus my plans and resolve to make the big move!

2. Take control of my finances - I've already started doing this by tracking all of my bank accounts on Mint sometime in the spring last year, but now I check Mint much more often than my actual bank accounts. Mint makes it easy to categorize your purchases under the Transactions tab and then see how much you spent on a certain category in a certain period under the Trends tab. It makes it easy to track spending trends throughout the years and to figure out what categories you need to cut back on or expand. My goals for this year are to apply to a new credit card in order to take advantage of the reward miles in preparation for interview season THIS fall (!!) and to learn some basic investing. I gave my dad some money to invest for me after high school and just asked for control of the account so I can learn some stock market basics. I completely forgot that I still had that pot of money, so I'm not going to take it super seriously as if all of my savings depend on it (it doesn't) and instead just try to have some fun with investing!

That's it. Only two and I'm already doing most of the second one. But the first one is a biggie, so I think that'll be more than enough to keep me busy for 2014. Let's see how I do!.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Instagram winter break

Ok technically these weren't all taken during winter break of third year, but they didn't fit nicely into other posts. Here's my winter iPhone photo dump: 

 The roof of Mercy hospital, one of our (fancy schmancy) affiliate hospitals, where I did the second month of my Internal Medicine rotation. The rooftop garden looks out onto downtown Baltimore!
 My classmate K and I on the rooftop during the year's first snow! Our resident took us out to play in the snow and then let us go at 11 am. 
 Mercy Med A was the best!

 Lights on 34th street, an annual tradition in Bmore. 

 I went to Taco Bar, an authentic Mexican place located in a gas station in my hometown (#1 on yelp!), no less than three times over winter break. 

 First meal back with the parents

 Christmas eve selfie
 Christmas eve outfit

 JJ's first attempt at apple pie

 Unwrapping presents on Christmas eve

 J's grown up holiday playdate in DC

Remus is trying to sneak a bite

 The infamous "birth juice"


 The perfect Xmas present

 My mini cheesecakes for the annual NYE party

 The day MoCo closed schools one day after New Year's

 The most accessories I've ever worn

Bistrot du Coin for Jeff's 25th bday!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy Holidays and 2014!

Last winter break, the whole fam was in Beijing so we spent Christmas at our grandparents house and NYE in our pajamas watching Downton Abbey. This year, my only request was that we not go anywhere and just stay at home -- and it was all I could ask for. I was able to sleep in until 8 or 9 most days (depending on how ambitious I was feeling), eat some of my favorite foods, spend an obscene amount of time plopped in front of the TV, and catch up with lots of my friends (some of whom I only get to see once a year). 

For Christmas this year, we had our big dinner of hot pot on Christmas eve, took Charlie on a long cold walk, and then opened presents! The next morning, we abided by the cliche and headed out to the movie theater with all the other Asians and Jews to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It was a good family movie, but not much more substance than what was in the trailers, so I wouldn't really recommend it. 

Christmas 2013: various shots to get Charlie's good side

Our NYE party is our biggest family tradition every year. It was especially memorable his year because we skipped it last year and hadn't seen some of our family friends for 2-3 years, the length of their kid's entire college experience. Before I knew it, kids that I had last seen when they were seniors in high school or just starting college were now seniors in college and accepting offers for their first jobs! Oh how fast we've grown up, especially since I've known them for over 15 years. My parents go all out by cooking their most impressive dishes (bao zi, roast duck, shui zhu fish), we stuff our faces for multiple rounds, then play games and watch movies in the basement (yesterday it was Stardust). I've never really had the quintessential party and freeze your butt off NYE that all my friends have seemed to have because I've always been at my family's New Year's party, and I don't regret it at all. I have the people I care about most around me every NYE and I couldn't ask for more. Cheers to a relaxing winter break, family traditions, and to an even better New Year!

NYE 2013

 The kids table, all grown up!

 Charlie had to sneak in there