Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon is infamous in LA. Most of my friends warned me not to go--it's not that great of a hike, they said, it's super crowded, it's overrun with dog poop, there's no parking (welcome to LA), and full of K-list celebrities snapping selfies being active. As a girl who has watched said celebrities hiking Runyon Canyon, I couldn't help being drawn to the grounds where so much action (aka drama) takes place! Plus it was rumored to have great views of LA, and since I had a Tuesday afternoon free, I took a chance with parking.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the whole experience. Sure I had to spend 5 minutes finding a spot, but that's everywhere in a city. Yes there was dog poop, but that also meant there were hoardes of dogs--unleashed! As I ascended the hardest trail out of the three, I got some great views almost immediately.

And they just kept getting better and better. LA sunsets are among the most beautiful I've ever seen, and I sure got lucky that day. Catching me with my camera, a could-have-been-CW-actor remarked to me, "It's really pretty tonight!" 

My only regret is that I came down the highest mountain with the best views in order to climb the other two trails.

LA, you've done it again.

Next up, my final stop on my West Coast tour: San Francisco!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Back in LA

 Runyon Canyon

Earlier this month, I found myself back in LA for another round of interviews (4 total). After my one-month stint here for my away rotation, I half fell in love with the city with its beautiful weather, abundance of outdoor activities, and relative affordability. My second time around, I encountered some of the problems LA is famous for, namely the traffic, the somewhat superficial culture, and just how far away everything is from each other. But stereotypes exist for a reason, and as long as you acknowledge them, there's no reason you can't survive and thrive there.

My darkest moment on my entire West Coast tour came when it was raining (It seemed like half of my interview days were plagued with rain--I was promised sunshine, damnit!), foiling my plans to go to the beach, which set off LA traffic to the extreme, doubling my planned commute outside the city to a pre-interview dinner. I tried to stop for bubble tea as a mid-afternoon pick-me up (while I was already running behind, mind you) and hurriedly parallel parked on a busy street as cars were honking at me left and right trying to merge onto the freeway. I ran into the bubble tea store and they didn't take credit card (I never carry cash) so I run into a second bubble tea store around the corner, and there's a 5 dollar minimum! I had already expended so much time and energy to get to the bubble tea store feeling a time crunch (I really wanted that bubble tea lol) that I was forced to get the largest size bubble tea with all the fixings (bubbles and pudding) in order to make the $5 minimum! #pathetic. I sped to Redondo Beach and made it to the dinner just in time, but I can't imagine all the headache LA traffic would cause if I actually lived there.

However, you can't beat LA for the weather and sunshine most days of the year (I just came at an unlucky time...California was in a drought BEFORE I arrived), which I took full advantage of. I climbed Runyon Canyon (coming up next) and visited East LA and the hipster towns of Silver Lake/Los Felis as well.
Stalking the cast of Vanderpump Rules @ Sur with T. We saw Scheana and Jax!!!! But were too chicken to ask for a picture.

Intelligentsia Coffee, hipster mecca in LA 

 Alcove, a cute outdoor cafe in Los Felis 
 Epitome of LA dining
 Just a perfect day in LA 
 Daikokuya, #1 for Ramen on Yelp
Sliders and tacos from the Kogi Truck (Korean fusion), the food truck that started the food truck craze! 

I also spent an afternoon at the Getty, a landmark museum for European art in LA. It wasn't as impressive as I expected probably because it was a foggy and cold day, so I didn't get the best experience. The grounds are supposed to be beautiful! Instead it was just cold and damp. 

 Van Gogh's Irises

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

San Diego

La Jolla Cove

San Diego is the perfect place for a weekend getaway. Beaches, beautiful sunsets, a hoppin' downtown, and the best Mexican food outside of Mexico, what more could you ask for for two days?

That's just what I did this past weekend. In between interviews in SF and LA, I had one interview at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, so took advantage of the opportunity to spend the weekend relaxing in beautiful San Diego. 

Fresh fish tacos at Oscar's. Not pictured: ceviche!
Pacific Beach, or PB

Cloudy skies gave way to a fiery sunset

The colors really were this intense--I didn't even alter this photo!

After a couple days of well-earned R&R (I had travelled to LA, Denver, SF, and SD all in one week), I was ready to head back to LA. As relaxing as SD was, it was a little too quiet for me. At least in the area I was staying, I got the impression lots of bros move there for surfing, and lots of older people move there to retire. Even the patient population at Scripps was significantly older and you didn't really get the diversity of patient population and illnesses you see in bigger cities. So, it's out for residency but in for anytime I need even more beach.

Next up: LA round 2!

West Coast Tour: Denver

Hey West Coast: I'm baaaaaack!

I'm doing a tour of the West Coast from LA to Denver to SF to San Diego on 10 residency interviews for internal medicine. I've wanted to move to the other coast for years now and I've been incredibly fortunate to get so many interviews here--I feel like my dream is finally coming true! 

I'm exactly halfway through my pilgrimage and so far it has been eye-opening in ways I couldn't have imagined. I'm trying to keep an open mind through my interviews and find the right "fit" for me--in terms of location, academic vs community affiliation, program size, curriculum, and gut feeling about the program. So far, I've gone on 10 out of 15 interviews total (I had 5 on the East Coast) and I still have no idea how my rank list (which will determine where I will match) will look like in February. I think it is going to be one of the hardest decisions of my life as it will determine where I will be for the next 3 (and even 6 if you include fellowship) years. 

On my interview at the University of Colorado in Denver (technically in Aurora), I was lucky enough to be joined by one of my classmates, N. We found out we were both interviewing at Colorado at the same time and decided to make a trip out of it! We rented a house in downtown Denver with N's boyfriend and another friend of ours E, who was arriving the next day. In between pre-interview dinners and the actual interview, we were able to squeeze in a trip to Red Rock Ampitheater, a natural ampitheater where they hold concerts and events, even Yoga, during the summer. 

It wasn't quite yoga weather in December, but the view of Downtown Denver was still spectacular. 


All the fresh air, outdoor activities and active people, a high number of breweries per capita, and low cost of living was definitely a draw to come to Denver. The interview trail was the perfect opportunity to come explore Denver and it definitely charmed me!