Japan & Taiwan: An Asian in Asia

Greetings EDC,

As you all know, I went on a splendid trip recently that required some time travel: past the international date line and into East Asia. I have not been before, aside from being born in Taiwan, and had been looking forward to this trip for basically my entire life. It was as strange and wonderful as I always imagined. Robert, the friend that I married, adventured with me and we both appreciated the fact that he was finally a racial minority. We began our trip in Tokyo, then stayed in the outskirts of Kyoto in Kurama before flying out to Taiwan and touring the entire island essentially. Our trip was only 2 weeks long, but we packed a lot (maybe too much) into it. Here are some of the highlights!

Tokyo: A feast for your eyes, ears, and tummy!

Tokyo delights the senses with overwhelming sounds and visual stimulation while bustling with orderly activity. Some favorite districts of ours were Akihabara, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ginza. Each offered their own distinct personality and flare keeping us pretty much in awe the entire time. The metro system is very precise and organized making it easy for any traveler to use, but there is a very specific etiquette for these trains. Before boarding you must stand in line, race each other to open seats and then sit noiselessly. Speaking at full volume is frowned upon on these train cars.

A cold, drizzly day in Akihabara.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View of Tokyo skyline from Observation deck at the Mori Art Museum.

 

 

 

Conveyor belt sushi in Harajuku. You submit your meal requests on the electronic device, and the conveyor belt zips it out directly to your counter station!

 

 

 

Takeshita street in Harajuku – known for all things cute and sweet: cat-petting cafes, cotton candy stands, creperies (on every corner), fashionable shopping, and many food items to select!

 

 

 

 

 

Owl-petting cafe: my personal favorite. While the owls were being fed live mice, we drank tea. Best to satiate their appetites prior to being petted by strangers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictured here is the extremely popular and often photographed Shibuya crossing. It’s maybe the busiest crosswalk in Tokyo but as all things Japanese, superbly organized. The second the light changes to red, there is a complete absence of pedestrians in the street. Amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

UNIQLO in Ginza. Happy happy me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onsen in Kurama: Bathing naked outside and eating traditional Japanese food

The bathhouse that we stayed at was up the street from the Kurama Mountain, a hike boasting stunning Buddhist Temples and a steep train-car to the top. Two days of wearing yukatas at every meal, sleeping on tatami mats, and bathing outside in the wilderness was very refreshing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAIWAN: The Best Part

After enjoying eclectic and energetic Tokyo paired with quiet, drizzly Kurama, we made our way to the homeland. We flew from Tokyo to Taipei and made the most of our first day in Taiwan by doing laundry. Positioned right next to the street market and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen museum, we were able to wander around while the clothes spun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following a single evening in Taipei, we set off for the streets in which I was born – Taichung. A gritty, scooter-dominated city, Taichung represented a lot of what I imagine Taipei used to be. The skyline was dimly polluted, the night market was noisy and crowded, streets were narrow and without sidewalks, and nobody spoke English. The night market was probably the best part; imagine 3+ miles of food stalls, backpack and phone cases stores, and being packed in with a crowd of people while stinky tofu harasses your nostrils. I loved so much about this city, it really felt like home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The courtyard of the orphanage in which I spent the first couple years of life. It no longer houses orphans, but instead is dedicated to caring for physically and mentally handicapped children. A wonderful place.

 

 

The rooftop garden of the orphanage.

 

 

 

 

 

After the emotional and wonderful time spent in Taichung, we ventured forth to Kaohsiung, a port city in the southwest region of Taiwan. This was a really fun city to visit and we were able to rent bikes, take a ferry to a local island, visit the British Consulate for Tea & Biscuits, and just wander around. We even got sunburns.

above: view from British Consulate

 

We took a river Gondola ride and were serenaded by the Gondola driver in Taiwanese songs. Very unexpected, a little cheesy, but much fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

next: Lotus Lake temples and temples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best cold noodles I’ve ever eaten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To round out the trip, we returned to Taipei and enjoyed some Din Tai Fung (very busy), night markets (Raohe >>> Shilin), visited the Taipei 101 Starbucks, and spent our final day at the National Palace Museum. I loved visiting Taiwan and Japan, but as they say, there really is no place like home.



Thanks for reading. 🙂

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The place so nice, they named it twice

Welcome to Walla Walla, Washington!

For all those travel bugs and foodies out there, just wanted to give a shout out to Walla Walla, the town I did my third year clinical rotations at!

If you ever get the chance, here are some great things (mostly food) to check out in town:

Food

  1. Graze
    • I LOVED the Vegetarian Torta – my absolute favorite!! I must have gone here every week for this sandwich. It is mind blowing – great bread with chipotle, avocado, black beans, pickled daikon and carrot, sprouts, tomatoes… my mouth is watering just thinking about it
    • They are a sandwich and salad place – pear salad is really good too!
    • http://www.grazeevents.com/
  2. Grandma’s Kitchen
    • Fresh, non-greasy, super tasty Mexican food – you can get nopales! You pick a filling (nopales, black beans, varieties of meats) and pick what you put it into: burrito, sopa, taco, etc!! Yum!!
    • http://wwgrandmaskitchen.com/
  3. Maple Counter
  4. Bacon and Eggs
  5. Fine-ly Made
  6. Walla Walla Bread Company
  7. Sweet Basil Pizzeria
  8. Olive
    • My roomies loved this place. A place to sit and study as well. Lots of baked goods, salads. I think after 8 or 9 pm, some of the baked goods are reduced price!
    • http://olivemarketplaceandcafe.com/
  9. The Marc
  10. Dora’s Deli
    • This is a hole in the wall place. So good – their food is authentic and tasty!!
  11. Whitehouse Crawford
  12. Sipid Bites by Sarah

Events

  1. Gesa Power House Theater
    • Loved this theater – I think we went to a Shakespeare production here. It was fantastic!!
    • https://phtww.com/
  2. Little Theatre of Walla Walla  
    • Went to see a Christmas play here with my adoptive parents from Walla Walla! It was awesome!!
    • https://www.ltww.org
  3. Symphony / Chamber Music 
  4. Corn maze
    • This was super fun! Go with friends!

As you can tell, I did a lot of eating…. 🙂 There are also beautiful places you can explore, hike, and enjoy! Walla Walla is a great town – lots of vegetarian options, family friendly, safe, and happy. And for those of you who love wine, it’s got a lot of it! The downtown is especially nice to explore. I really enjoyed my third year here and am grateful for the experience I had!!

Happy exploring!!

-P

New York Travel VLOG

Traveling – it leaves us speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. – Ibn Battuta

So every med student I know has been stacking their vacation time for the end of the school year so they can do one big vacation trip … except for me. A lot of people think that your life is over once you’ve entered into medical school. I do my best to find the balance between school, career, family, friends, food and FUN!! (Lots of F’s) I love medicine but it is not the only thing I love.

Enjoy the VLOG – live vicariously through me … until you get your month long vacation 🙂

California Eating

Hi All!

Hope everyone is doing well!!

I just completed my second audition rotation and had a great experience in Southern California. I stayed with a family friend from my spiritual group, whom I call Akka (big sister) and had a blast with her. I got YUMMY food everyday (she’s an amazing cook and knew the best places for a vegetarian girl to check out!), got to see LA (went to South Bay, Mother’s Beach in Long Beach, Cerritos, got lost and drove past Griffith Park, explored Sunset Blvd, and many more!), and met some amazing people along the way! In true EDC spirit, here are some photos and food recommendations from the month:

Akka’s peanut Thai noodles with veggies, avocado, and tofu

Akka’s aloo poha (flat rice and potato) with homemade lemon pickle

Akka’s Mac + Cheese with avocado salad

Trader Joe’s masala veggie burger with sweet potato fries, grilled veggies, and salad

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Eating pizza at Green Peas Casual Dining in LA (got the Green Peas pizza – it had pumpkin seeds, avocado, and other veggies with the perfect crust!)

Eating at Soup Plantation with a new friend from Australia

Eating Indian food with new friends
Boba!!!
Enjoying Jeni’s ice cream with new med student friends! If you’re ever in LA, check it out! Unique flavors like “Wildberry Lavender” and “Brown Butter Almond Brittle” were SO GOOD!

Also got to visit branches of my spiritual group in Southern California, work with kids and teach them some music, and visit the beach!!

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Got to make SOME time for studying….

I also got to eat at:

-Poquito Mas (awesome Mexican food!)

-Messhall (got a tasty veg stew with pea fritters – tasted really good!)

-Churro Borough (another great ice cream place)

-Rockwell (tasty fries and grilled cheese, bar foods)

-Tree House Thai (super good soup – Tom Kha Gai)

So much AMAZING food!!!! Happy eating!!!

EDC love!

-Priya

 

 

COMLEX 2 PE

Hello All!

In April, Nari, Stacey and I completed our COMLEX 2 PE in Philadelphia.

Just wanted to share a few tips/tricks for those of you who have the exam coming up:

  1. Go with friends!
    • We planned it so that we could go together, cutting down on hotel and rental car costs. It was also an a great way to meet up as we have all been at different rotation sites for the year.  Thanks to Stacey for the pictures!
  2. Schedule it ASAP!!!
    • Slots fill up FAST! I wanted to make sure my exam was during a more laid back rotation, preferably at the beginning (far from the shelf/COMAT exam) or during ER (there is no shelf/COMAT exam).
    • ***Pro tip: plan wisely! If you have to be gone for more than 3 week days, it counts as an entire week off at our school. So, you end up being required to make up that extra week later on! This can screw up your entire third year schedule! So make sure you only officially take off for two week days.
    • Try to finish it off towards the end of your third year (we took it April 1, 2016), that way you can just focus on COMLEX 2 CE / USMLE 2 CK till you have to take them!
  3. Give your self time to adjust
    • If you go 2-3 days before your exam, your body will have time to adjust to the time difference. We did not do this (we went 1 day before), and definitely struggled to sleep/wake up, BUT we powered through (and it is possible to do it!).
  4. Make a mini-vacation out of it
    • Some of our classmates were brilliant and turned the trip into a fun getaway. You’re close to a ton of places on the east coast and you just completed a board exam–go have fun!
  5. Stay close to the exam site
    • We stayed at the Residence Inn Marriott in Conshohocken (Website), walking distance to the testing location (although I would NOT recommend walking the morning of–can get sweaty as you go uphill). It offered a really nice breakfast in the mornings too!
    • Again, planning is KEY. Hotel rooms fill up fast, make sure you book it ASAP. Thanks to Stacey for getting this organized!
  6. Rent a car
    • We had a classmate who didn’t and had to do things in a very round about (and long) fashion… definitely wouldn’t recommend going car-less (at least before the test!) if you can help it! Thanks to Stacey for getting this organized!
  7. Book your flight ASAP
    • To get the best possible prices and decent timings, make sure to book soon! We booked it around $450 round trip, but I know of classmates who booked around $300! Thanks to Nari for getting this organized!
  8. The COMLEX 2 PE
    • Dr. DiMeo and the clinical skills department do an EXCELLENT job of preparing us. So, if you went through your OSCE/ standardized patients with no problems, that’s a good sign! I will say that I found the test to be harder than what was provided at PNWU (because of my stress level, the strict time, the fact that we had to go through 12 different cases, and the atmosphere in general).
    • We went through cases on the flight from the JB Review book and found it to be EXTREMELY helpful! Especially going through the cases together! I also had a game plan, I had memorized my questions and exam in a particular format (CC, HPI – OLD CARTS, PMH, PSH, MEDS, ALLERGIES, FHX, SHX-FED TACOS, HCM, etc) and that really helped me stay on track during every single encounter.
    • They do provide a lunch with various options (I got a vegetarian pesto pasta dish I think, it was quite good).
    • They provide a locker as well for anything you brought, but you have limited access to it.
    • Don’t forget your Driver’s License or your confirmation sheet (they want you to have your AOA #).
    • Get there early (you are told the time on the sheet).
  9. Places to check out in Conshohocken:
    • We went out for dinner the night before our exam. There are a ton of places on Fayette street, check them out on Yelp! To be honest, I don’t remember the name of the place we went to, but we ended up getting lighter fare (salads) which were tasty.
  10. Places to check out in Philadelphia:
    • We went out to the city after our exam and met up with Priyanka and Kapil. It was a lot of fun to walk around and check stuff out. We did eat out at an Italian place but it really wasn’t very good… I would recommend making a reservation at one of the better places (check out Yelp) beforehand because we walked to two before getting to one that had space for us.
    • After dinner we went to Ritas frozen custard (http://www.ritasice.com/)!
      1. so yummmmmy!!!
    • We left Pennsylvania the next day, so we spent Saturday am in the city and went to Reading square and the Mutter Museum!
    • Reading Square (http://www.readingterminalmarket.org/)
      1. We had falafels and amazing cookies here! A really cool place to check out!
    • Mutter Museum (http://muttermuseum.org/)
      1. A really, really cool place to check out (Nari’s idea). Lots of amazing medicine and rarities. They had a case of acromegaly next to a dwarf–the contrast was mind-blowing!
    • There are a ton more! We just didn’t have time to check it all out.
  11. The east coast is great. Remember that it’s a bit humid (my hair wasn’t happy). There’s also a ton of Dunkin’ Donuts… it’s like Starbucks on the west coast… We also met up with friends at the airport both ways! On our way home, we ran into Sara and the gang–it was really nice to meet up with them!! There are lots of places to check out–so do it with friends!

Good luck to you on your exam!!

-Priya

On Gratitude

Hi All,

Hope you’re doing well!! We’ve been on rotations since July and I’ve got to admit, the transition from second to third year was tough! I went from being surrounded by my classmates, faculty, staff, and so much love, to being out in rural Washington with only 3 other students. During the first two years of med school, we had so much support; the staff and faculty made us vegetarian soups, mac and cheese, brownies after every exam, breakfast (pancakes, bacon, eggs!) before finals, hosted Thanksgiving dinners… the list goes on! And now, we’re pretty much on our own. I’m lucky I live with 2 of my classmates and have them around, but it’s still very lonely.

I’ve been adjusting to my new, independent life by going to YMCAIMG_0843, checking out the theater scene here in W2, traveling up to Tri-Cities to meet up with some friends, and hanging out with the amazing folks I get to work with during my rotations. Some of our awesome classmates have made their way up to W2 as well! Sara brought along her dog, Mitis, who was extremely friendly, from Hermiston! And Alex, Olivia, and Audrey came down from Tri-Cities! These wonderful folks have helped me create adventures in W2 and I am so grateful that they are part of my life! 🙂

At the W2 Corn Maze
At the W2 Corn Maze
Lewis & Clark!
Lewis & Clark!

As we move forward, I hope things will just keep getting easier. I hope we each find our niche, our true calling, our path and that we come into our own this year. I hope we each find the bright side in every tough situation and grow from there.

CAM00535With all these changes, I’ve been trying to bring more positivity into my life (and outlook!) and have been keeping track of 3 “gratitudes” every day. I’ve done it for about a week so far, and I’ve noticed how much happier I feel. I’ve also been trying a new daily meditation we learned at a lecture at St. Mary’s hospital.

And I wish it upon you:

May you be free from suffering.

May you be well.

May you be peaceful.

May you be happy.

Maybe this week you can try keeping track of things that make you happy or that you appreciate in your day. See if it impacts you!

And if you need a little bit of inspiration, check out Dr. Crafts’ Tedx Talk. He even makes a shout out to PNWU students!

Thanks for reading. I hope your days are filled with joy!

🙂

Priya

Happy 4th!!

Woooooooooooooohooooooooooooooo!! Happy Independence Day! Today our regional dean hosted a 4th of July party for everyone at his beautiful home. We got to meet some wonderful folks and their families! There was amazing food (lots of vegetarian options and a completely homemade from scratch, super yummy blueberry pie and whipped cream from one of our amazing MS IV students!), played soft/baseball, churned homemade ice cream, relaxed, and lit sparklers and fireworks!!

Check out the awesome welcome sign!! 🙂

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Super excited to be in Walla Walla with these wonderful mentors and friends! 🙂

I’m starting with outpatient internal medicine at Walla Walla General Hospital in the emergency department! I’m doing 3 weeks in the ED and then 3 weeks of IM! Super excited and nervous for the future!

Thanks for reading and hope you are doing well!