Being an Absolute Asian

March 19, 2011, Saturday: At the regional NY/NJ APAMSA Conference (Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association). I reaped up a crowd from Stony Brook, reunited with my NYU gal pals, and headed to Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Waking up at 6 am to get ready for a long train ride out was not the perfect Saturday morning. My new friend and I got to Penn Station by 9am and cabbed all the way up to 102nd Street. Seeing the city life made me miss Manhattan again. I wished I headed uptown more often, whether it’s going to museums or walking through Central Park, since I spent most of my time around Union Square and Greenwich village.

Yes, I know it's a hospital... but I had to whip out the camera

Wow, Mount Sinai was rather nice on the inside. I felt like a total tourist when I whipped out my camera phone, snapping pictures (and trying to look discrete). The expansive atrium and the amazing student lounge with flat screen TVS, ping pong table, pool table, and many couches for snoozy medical students. Even the elevators and corridors resembled hotels. The lecture rooms were pretty too, with lots of stage space, reddish seats and clean walls, and overall warming architecture. Oh, and do not get me started with their panic rooms. I am so jealous that their panic rooms (and anatomy lab supposedly) overlooks THE CENTRAL PARK. What a view! At Stony, all our classes are almost underground, students travel by escalator, and panic rooms do not have precious, lively views because you are surrounded by bland white walls. That’s why I like studying at the library, because at least there is some sunshine and signs of life there. But hey, Mt. Sinai tuition >>>> Stony Brook; I’ll be in less debt, but I’ll still be yearning for that urban dynamic!

The morning to evening was filled with food, fun, and education. We all met up, ate breakfast, courtesy of Au Bon Pain. Bagels, cream cheese, and coffee, the ultimate breakfast of those on-the-go. I wish I had more room to try the muffins and danishes, they looked so good, but huge. Lunch was even better, also courtesy of Au Bon Pain. I had this amazing Chicken Cesar Salad wrap with a chocolate cookie for my sweet tooth and kettle chips for later. I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting new people, other medical students going through the same hell hole as me, and the talks of the day, mostly dealing with health issues Asian Americans face and what we as doctors, Asian doctors, can do. Read the subsequent blog for personal insights on the day’s subjects!

A few of us sneaked away after the documentary and before the comedian, to go to Starbucks, to study. Yes, studying. I cannot escape the guilt if I don’t study. I stayed for a little while, then ditched to go back to Mt. Sinai. Well, after my GI pathophysiology primer, because I wanted to be semi-productive and finish reading something. I got back in time for the wine and cheese and fruit festival. No, I did not get drunk, I got fat and happy on cheese and sweet pineapples =) After some pictures, chit-chat, and more socializing, my friend and I strolled over to the Starbucks in the atrium to study. Yes, study, again. I was making my disease chart and she was reading her notes. That did not last too long. We just ended up talking and laughing. Our other friends were still playing in the game room (lucky, nothing to study for them when they’re not in school).

By 6:45 pm or so, we headed down to K-Town to meet up with the other half of our gang, the ones I left at the street Starbucks. We could’ve gotten to K-Town faster, but there were some stupid service fix-ups and the yellow line was down. No wonder the trains were so crowded >=I Anyway, we all eventually met up at Pocha 32, this amazing Korean restaurant made for Korean street food goodness. Oh, the dukkboke and the Korean egg pancake. Man we were stuffed. But still, we all went to Woorijip anyway, because some people wanted to drink more. I just got sugar drunk on Milkis, this really deliciously cute carbonated milk water. It’s like the Japanese Yakult yogurt drinks. So good.

Korean spicy food kicks ass, literally

When Milkis Attack

Last stop: Eden’s Lounge, where the after party was happening. Yet again, it was like a Mount Sinai and Stony Brook party, littered with some Einstein kids too. It was a very Asian club, with Korean DJs, Korean MVs on the flatscreens, and very hot Korean bodyguards in suave suits. I mistakened them for the Super Junior boys in the foggy atmosphere. Well, needless to say, it was more mingling time and dancing the night away. Too bad I was not dressed for clubbing, because 1) I was still in professional wear and 2) I did not think about bringing a change of clothes to party in. Oh well, I was still fashionably acceptable.

Thanks to Mount Sinai medical students for organizing! It was a lot of fun at the conference and the after-party at Eden’s Lounge. We’ll be mixing more business and pleasure in future get-togethers; I see a beautiful, yet professional relationship here between Sinai and Stony…

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