Sunday, June 28, 2009

Under the Shadow of Leaves

It is a good day.

I sit on a stone bench under the shadow of leaves, the sun poking through as if light were leaking through the green canopy. Looking out, the sky is clear blue except for the presence of a few wispy clouds. The day is bright and full of colors forgotten in the seasons prior.

I close my eyes and hear the sounds of toddlers and children laughing, of students talking, of many feet walking by. I wonder, how many hundreds of thousands of people have passed this point? What were they thinking as they passed by? The birds above sing their chorus in a language I cannot decipher. Far off a group of people are playing some instruments - a guitar and some drums. Though unrefined and unpolished, the sounds mix organically into carefree music.

A breeze blows by, carrying with it the scent of approaching summer. It is the smell of leaves, of living wood, of flowers, of the stone buildings - sentinels that resist the wear of time. It is the smell of life itself, and nourishes my lungs in a way I had taken for granted. I hold out my hands and arms into the breeze, as if to slow it down or capture it. Instead, the invisible force flows up over and down under my arms. It flows between my fingers, eddying slightly and briefly into an almost tangible ball in the palm of my hands. It feels as though I was almost able to grasp the breath of the world.

Something speaks to me, faint just beyond the detection of my senses. I see nothing, hear no words, smell no source, touch no object - but it is there. It surrounds me like an emotion but is not an emotion. Suddenly it feels as if things will be okay. And all those times I have tried to believe, to rationally seek answers to the mysteries, to understand that which cannot be tested, all this does not matter. It is there, it is here, and somehow I know things will be okay.

I open my eyes and walk away from my stone bench, away out from under the shadow of leaves. I am cloaked in the day and the moment and the world and this mystery. I will be okay.

It is a good day.
A small prose passage. A memory - a snapshot capturing what I feel on the best of days. It is curious how I never expect it but always welcomed, replenishing my inner strength.

You may have noticed my new blog title banner thing. I'd like to give a HUGE shout out to J of Southern Inebriation for designing it for me at my request (he's an art major, can you tell?). I will explain the 5 panels of this banner from the left to the right:

The first panel is of Chinese opera masks and the Great Wall. It represents my background: being Chinese, culture and language has been a huge influence in my life (sometimes good, sometimes bad). The second panel is of a stethoscope on a book. It represents my future, my goals and aspirations: for a long time I have worked my ass off towards getting into medical school and (hopefully) I will come out poised to be an excellent doctor. The third panel you should all recognize as the smiley face banner I had previously. It represents outlet and others: it is this blog and all of you who read, and all of you I talk to. The fourth panel is of a flower I took while visiting a clinic in China. It represents life: I was a biology major in undergrad not primarily because it's the "easiest" path to medical school, but because it can give one an appreciation for life - for all its complexities, and mysteries, and frailty, and endurance. The last panel is of a ghostly mask of sorts. It represents conflict and struggle: all the uncertainty and frustration that being bi/gay brings and a kind of loneliness that comes with an inability to find "the one."

Finally, to conclude this post, I would like to give a shout out to the following 3 blogs that I've had the pleasure to read fully on. They may need no introduction as many of you already read them, but if not, do go over and say hi! And they are:

Enjoying the Journey
Overrated Integrity

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Disenchanted Summer

I remember the days when I longed for summer, practically dreaming of it. I remember the excitement of the last day of classes - those days were filled with joy and laughter. I would go home and play in the backyard with my next-door neighbors. Those were long enchanted afternoons of fun, of running outdoors, of make-believe games and adventure. Each day felt like it dragged on and our play was extended with the growing hours of daylight.

In middle school and high school this waned, but summer was still a time to look forward to. Usually there would be a vacation planned - some relative to visit in another state, or a road trip within the state. Days passed slowly but that was alright. Things began to change senior year of high school. That summer was the summer of disenchantment. This was it - the last summer of our childhood, possibly the last summer that I would see all my friends concentrated in one place.

Every summer since then has progressively gotten worse. While each day seemed to crawl by time still flew. Summers were spent working in the lab and I didn't have much time to see old friends. Heck, I didn't have much time to do what I wanted to do personally. Whether in the lab or at home, each summer has been a constant reminder of the forward progression of time. That there's a "next step" after this summer, and another after that. Summer has become a pause between breathes.

In effect, summers have slowly lost their allure and luster. Last summer was pretty bad, as I said farewell to many graduating friends and anxiously awaited my fate in placement into med school. This summer is worse. To have my last real chance at travel taken away from me, with little to do at home without a car as a means of transportation, and few friends in town - the days become a stupor. And yet, even in the past I've always begged for summer to end, I want this summer to drag on just a little longer. Because once med school starts, I will become indentured to the system for at least the next 7 years.

Disenchantment, it's a bitch.

Many blogs have disappeared or gone inactive of late. I wonder, what's the "shelf life" of a typical blog here? It seems that few last little more than a year. I wonder, since I started my blog in 2007, are my days numbered here?

Anyway, farewell to the following, as their blogs are removed:

coming out (on the net)
Minding the Heart
A Bi Boy's Pic Blog

And the following haven't updated in a long time (please update and let us know what's happened to you):

Life of one gay/bi boy
Life On The DL

Friday, June 19, 2009


Beethoven's Piano Sonata Op. 13 No. 8 in C minor. Aka, "Pathetique." To think that such a piece would have such an influence on me. C minor even became one of my favorite keys after playing it. I didn't know then how well the piece would reflect me now.

When I first learned the piece, I didn't understand or appreciate the significance of C minor in Beethoven's pieces. C minor was typically Beethoven's chosen key to be "powerful and emotionally stormy." Thus, the first time I played the opening chords of the first movement I did not hear the approaching storm, but rather the vanishing sun - I did not hear the suffering, but the remnants of hope. I was instructed to feel the power and the storm: to feel the suffering and the pain of the piece. But how could I, when I hadn't really experienced anything that could be called "suffering" at that point in my life? What little I knew and could understand I channeled into that piece.

Here's an interpretation that's actually somewhat similar to mine:

So what is the point of this post? That I'm beginning to feel a little like how the piece is intended to be. That I feel a storm coming inside me - ironic how it's thunderstorming like crazy outside here right now. It's funny because when my path is "set," that's when I feel most stagnant and lost.

I just RSVP'd to AW-M's, my old roommate's, wedding in July. I RSVP'd to go single. This serves as a constant reminder that I'm getting older and have yet to be in any kind of actual romantic/sexual relationship. Heck, I'm still a virgin in many ways (not that that's necessarily a bad thing). I mean, it's just like, "Wow, I know people my age who are engaged and are getting married." I just feel a little depressed by all this. I'm not sure what I feel but it's like a kind of pressure over my chest.

I'm not sure what the cause is. Perhaps I'm too eclectic to be in a relationship. Perhaps I'm too picky. Perhaps I don't have a confident enough personality or attractive enough (and what muscle definition I had gained in the last 2-3 years is slowly fading, goddamnit). Perhaps I'm not ready. Perhaps I'm scared. I talk to some people online (not all are bloggers) and sometimes a part of me thinks, "Why are you so far away? Why can't I meet you in person? Why can't we be friends and/or something more?"

If I had one wish: I wish love would find me - that it'd fall right on my head. I wish someone would take the initiative with me because I'm not sure I know how or even that I can bring myself to right now. Right now, my blog and I are "pathetique."

I apologize for this rant/whine-fest.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Back with Answers

Hey everyone, I'm back! Miss me? Eh, I didn't think so as evidenced by the handful of questions I got. But that's okay. I didn't get even a significant fraction of what I wanted to get done this last week, but I got some of the more important things done and made headway on others, so it's not all wasted. Anyway! Answers to the questions that (the few of) you posed.

E: What is you reaction when you see someone incredibly hot?
I . . . have a tendency to stare. But since staring is unnerving and rather impolite, I take lots of side glances. And my heart rate increases a little, maybe Also, I tend to lose my ability to speak eloquently or at length. I find that if I stick to short phrases/sentences and say little, I'm usually okay.

naturgesetz: What siblings do you have, by sex and age? Where are you in the birth order?
I have two younger brothers: 20 and 18. I'm the oldest.

Steevo: Will you be out at med school and perhaps open to a having a BF?
I have a general policy of "If you don't ask, I won't tell." But I think I'll try to be more "out" in med school (though definitely not to my family - not yet). I might join a LGBTQIA (or whatever it is) med group on campus.

I'm totally open to having a bf (or gf). However, looking at the ridiculousness of my M1 class schedule might preclude this possibility. Anyone have advice on finding and maintaining a relationship when I have class from 8am till 5pm (straight) most days of the week, and will spend a significant chunk of my "free time" studying?

James: If you could have any super power, what would it be? And why?
This is a toss-up between two super powers: shapeshifting or self-cloning.

Shapeshifting would be cool because I turn myself into anyone or any creature. With shapeshifting I would never feel "trapped" in my own body, and can escape from it, in a sense. Also, it allows me to have aspects of other powers: speed (cheetah), flight (birds), strength (bear), etc.

Self-cloning I want because it would be SO useful. As you know, I have a tendency to over-extend myself a bit. So if there were 5 of me, I could be in 5 places at once and do 5 things at a time. Also, my clones would have shared experience - anything one does is transferred to the others. So one of me would be constantly working out, one of me constantly sleeping, one of me doing homework, one of me hanging out with friends, and one of me doing whatever else needs to be done. And, I would also have the ability to "consolidate" all my clones back into one me at will.

Landyn: How tall are you and what are some physical characteristics about you/your body?
I am 5' 7", I wish I were 3-4 inches taller. I'm currently 180 lbs (was 170 lbs a couple months ago), need to lose 30 lbs now, grrr (working on it!). Well, it's still better than the 195 lbs I used to weigh. I have straight black hair (but it turns brownish in the summer), and I have brown eyes and wear glasses. I wear medium gloves (in the lab) and size 9-9.5 shoes. I'm Asian, that should fill in the rest. :P

Are you ever planning on coming out?
Again, my current policy of "If you don't ask, I'm not telling." Though like I said above, hopefully more "out" in med school. I don't plan on being completely out until I'm 100% financially independent from my parents . . . which may be 4-8 years from now. o_O

When did you first realize about your "orientation", or rather, that you weren't "straight"?
Hmm, this is a tough question. I guess I started looking at guys a bit at the beginning of puberty, age 11-12. I guess I also kind of "half-forced" myself to look at girls too. Up through high school I didn't think much about it - there were a few girls I found attractive and a couple guys I thought were hot. I just pegged my attraction to guys as jealousy or envy, because they almost always had the body I wanted but didn't. So until I went off to university I didn't think much about my orientation - it was honestly the last thing on my mind. Then, starting my sophomore year of undergrad was when I faced myself and said, "Okay, you're not straight." It wasn't until I started this blog, really, that I seriously considered that statement. So where am I now? Still confused and unsure. Only one thing is for certain: I'm not straight. You can read more on this in 2 of my really old posts here and here.

What tv shows do you watch/enjoy, if any? What ones can you not stand, if any?
I love watching Heroes, House MD, How I Met Your Mother, and Top Chef. I also watch some anime such as Naruto Shippuuden, Bleach, and Fullmetal Alchemist. Shows that I can't stand are typically most reality TV shows, modeling shows, and really "girly" shows: e.g. American Idol, America's Next Top Model, Gossip Girls, Desperate Housewives, etc. I have, however, gotten somewhat into So You Think You Can Dance. I can only tolerate "stupid" humor in small amounts (such as Family Guy or South Park).

If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?
Tests are testy, duh. XD Though to be more crude, I suppose I could've said tests are "testical," hahaha.

Edit: tracy: Realizing that your interests will probably change quite a bit during "Med Skool", what areas of Medicine currently interest you the most right now?
Right now I'm most interested in pediatrics, endocrinology, and medical genetics. I also find nephrology (kidneys) kind of cool. What I might do is specialize in pediatrics and then do a fellowship to further specialize in endocrinology and/or medical genetics within pediatrics. I kind of hope to work with genetic counselors some day. Unfortunately, pediatrics and medical genetics are pretty far down there on the doctor pay-scale. Oh well, at least pediatricians are in demand. :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Please Hold

. . . while I get a few things sorted out. I'm going to take a break from posting (and thinking about posting) for a week because I spend WAY too much of my day sitting on my ass in front of my laptop; and really, life's been a bit meh and boring lately. I have to kick start myself into doing some things instead of letting myself turn (quite literally) into a blob. I will, however, still be on AIM and MSN as well as reading and commenting on blogs - so it's not like I'm going anywhere.

Dear readers, in my absence I invite you to do something I've seen on other blogs. Feel free to ask me any question about myself between now and June 13th, and I'll post my answers some time the next day. A couple of ground rules though:

1. Don't ask identifiers that'll give away my (limited) anonymity - e.g. name, pictures, address, etc.
2. You may ask me via email or as a comment to this post.
3. However you choose to ask, you may only ask up to 5 questions total, so choose wisely. ;-)
4. Please look at my 100th Post, though some things may have changed.
5. Other than that, seriously ask anything about me. Amuse me. ^_^

To entertain you all in my absence, look below:

I came across this health/medical blog, EverythingHealth, a couple days ago. I found these two posts quite interesting:
Matrix 101: The Medical School
New Doctors - New Culture

Nifty NPR article: The Sims 'Legalizes' Gay Marriage

Hilarious website: This is why you're fat. Where dreams become heart attacks. Honestly, 95%+ of the food on there looks disgusting. Suffice to say, looking at that makes me want to eat healthy.

Hilarious pic at this site:

Lastly, I bought 3 T-shirts from because they were on sale and the shirts are pretty funny.

This one I bought for myself (I'm totally wearing this into anatomy lab):

And these two I bought for my brother (he still owes me $5).

Alright, that's all. :P

P.S. I saw the movie "Up" today. It's great, you should all see it!! ^_^

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Second Thoughts

Hmm, it's a funny thing. I'm not IN med school yet and already it's intimidating me.

The M1 year starts on August 17th and goes until May 28th. Wow, I haven't been in school for that long since high school! From what I could tell from last year's M1 weekly schedule, classes usually go from 8am until 5pm most days, Monday through Friday. At first I was like, "Wtf, that's A LOT of class time!" Especially since my friends at other med schools go from 8am to noon or 1pm. But in retrospect, it's not AS bad as I thought. Last semester in grad school I went from 8:30am or 9am until 6pm or 6:30pm most days (see post here); and, I would have to leave for class at 8am and not be able to get back to my apartment until about 6:20pm or 7pm due to the buses. So yeah, it's not going to be too bad (but it's still a heck of a lot of class time).

Now, the other thing that's a kicker is my financial aid, which I got in the mail today. It's really confusing but let me attempt to explain. I can get up to about $45K awarded in loans; however, the med school is only "allowing" me to borrow $20.5K. How am I supposed to make up that difference?! Neither my parents nor I have that much money. Granted, the above amount doesn't include institutional aid (like grants and scholarships) but I won't know how much I'll get until orientation in August. And it seems I have to make an appointment with a financial aid counselor to "unlock" the rest of my loans. Grrr, this doesn't make much sense to me. Why's financial aid always so confusing?!

All this has caused me to have second thoughts, however brief. I mean, I could've just graduated from the school of public health with my MPH (Master's in Public Health). And a really good MPH at that, coming from one of the top 5 public health schools in the US. In addition, I would graduate essentially debt-free if I held a GSI teaching position for the remaining 2 semesters (which should be easy, as I was really great at it before). Okay, so yeah, I have to return about $10,000 in loans - but really, that would be super-easy with a GSI position. And an MPH is quite valuable and helpful, so I'd be making decent money (not great, but not bad). And of course, I would be helping people.

So I wondered: is this all worth it? The grueling class and time? The possible (likely) hundreds of thousands in debt accrued over 4 years? The LONG hours and crappy pay of residency? For a moment I doubted it all. Before I knew all this was coming but now that it's here, it's really scary to think about. But of course I've already committed myself, there's no backing out now. I just need to tell myself that everything will work out in the end.

And of course, if you actually read all the rambling above or just skipped to here, I shall reward you with something I came across on someone's blog a while back (I forget who's).

This song was stuck in my head for a day. I really like it, and I love the violin playing.

I LOVE the jazzy style of this song. I've been looking for something like this for a little while.