Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dental School: First Year, First Trimester Courses

USC dental school courses first year

What's new? I've registered for my first trimester of dental school. Wow...

As in, "wow, my life is evolving faster than I can comprehend". My best friend moved to New York this afternoon to begin her medical school journey, my high school friends have settled into their jobs and careers, I have just moved out of my run-down college apartment by campus, I'm moving in to a swanky apartment in downtown Los Angeles, and I'm starting dental school soon.

Only 27 more days until orientation begins! I'm counting.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Taiwan 2012: Tamsui

Scenes from Fort San Domingo. Did you know that the Spanish occupied Taiwan in 1629?


Spontaneous photoshoot with my cousin



Overlooking the Tamsui harbor.




Song of the Day
The House of the Rising Sun - Pip

Monday, July 16, 2012

Taiwan 2012: Yehliu Geopark


For a moment in time, I stood at the northernmost tip of Taiwan. So close that had a monstrous wave suddenly appeared, I would have been swept into the ocean. But for that brief moment, I was standing on my Pride Rock, overlooking the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and bathed in the humidity of the summer heat.

Behind me was the Yehliu Geopark, which is famous for its vast display of rocks. The trend is this: find a rock, give it a name (in this case, I'm standing in front of 'The Queen's Head'), turn it into a tourist attraction, and finally, charge tourists money in order to look at the display of oddly shaped rocks that were so creatively named.



Song of the Day
Not While I'm Around - Jamie Cullum

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Taiwan 2012: Ping-Xi (平溪), Jiu-Fen (九份)

I have a love-hate relationship with stories in which the guy doesn't get the girl in the end. For example, I was devastated when Summer Finn broke up with Tom Hansen in (500) Days of Summer and I wailed when Edmond Dantes and Mercedes realized the impossibility of rekindling their former passion in The Count of Monte Cristo.  These stories are depressing and emotionally haunting, aptly depicting the cruel realities of love. There are no cliche 'happily-ever-afters'. The girl does not fall into the protagonist's arms. They do not passionately kiss and sail off into the sunset together. The world does not spout rainbows and butterflies. What remain are pangs of heart-wrenching afterthoughts - "I understand that they can't be with each other for the rest of their lives - this is reality, not a fairytale" followed by "damnit, WHY can't they just get married and live happily ever after?!". And still, I am addicted to them.

My newest obsession is the Taiwanese romantic film "You Are the Apple of My Eye" (那些年,我們一起追的女孩).


Boy falls in love with girl during high school. Boy continues pursuing girl throughout college. They form a deep friendship and are on the brink of a relationship when an untimely argument causes them to part ways. Two years later, he calls her again and they reminisce about their past romance and childhood memories under the starlit sky. It's another heart-wrenching story where I'm practically begging the boy and the girl to come to their senses, profess their love for each other, and prance away as a happy couple. But alas, it is not meant to be. A few years later, she invites him to her wedding. And even though the male protagonist spouts maturity and wisdom by saying that 'their past emotions have transformed into a deep friendship and he sincerely wishes her happiness in marriage', my heart still aches for the relationship that never was.

Anyhow, all of this philosophical stuff truly does segue into the main purpose of this post: my vacation in Taiwan.

There was a touching scene in the movie (their first date) that was set in Pingxi, a quaint former coal-mining town in Northern Taiwan that is now largely abandoned.

We each wrote our hopes and dreams on sky latterns, which were then lit, causing them to float into the air. Of course my greatest ambition is "愛" - to live for love. For me, love is such a tricky yet magical emotion. To love your family, your friends, your career, and perhaps one day, to find that one true love in your life.

My cousin and I in Jiu Fen.