Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Essential questions about dental career

I’m taking this Thought Catalog piece by Chelsea Fagan and applying it to my dental career.

  1. Do I really want this dental career?
    Or am I just afraid of not having a concrete plan?
  2. Is dental school right for me, and is it what I’m really good at?
    (These should be recognized as two separate questions.)
  3. Am I actually happy with my decision to be a dentist?

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It is August 1st. As in, the August I’ll be starting dental school, the August I’ll be moving to Philadelphia, the August that marks the real beginning of my dental career. I answered these questions during the entire application process. Now that I’ve come this far, time to think about them a little bit more- for myself. After all, this adventure is a huge investment.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Multitasking failures

I figured out why I’m completely wiped out at the end of the day at Haslla. It’s because I spend so much of my time multitasking.

The term “multitasking” comes from a computer term referring to a single processor’s ability to run multiple programs. Computers don’t really multitask- they actually switch back and forth between programs. Similarly, what seems like human multitasking isn’t. Instead the brain is serially working on different tasks by switching back and forth. 


Art piece by Ffurious

Here I throw you a bunch of findings on multitasking.

And it’s hard not to multitask because we open multiple tabs on Internet windows, keep conversations up on Skype and Google chat, while listening to the radio and finishing our lunch.

Here with so many things to do, I need to figure out what project to focus on. Meanwhile I need to screen out the constant camera clicks (default background music at Haslla), lead guests who may be lost, and be ready for impromptu errands.

It’s this constant switch from “focus mode” to “interactive mode” that’s wearing me out. Maybe this is why people work so much better in closed-off offices (or reading rooms in the library), since there is that initial knock on the door to warn you of impending human interaction before you break out of your intense working zone.

July thank-you’s

I decided to incorporate a little more gratitude in my life by doing this series I’d like to call “monthly gratitude's”. For this month, I have a couple.

1. Staying at Haslla. Means delicious food (without having to prepare them or do the dishes afterwards), daily coffee tastings, granitas made to order. Also wearing: earrings from the Haslla art shop & shirt from Haslla’s 2010 International Residency Artists program.

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2. Working in the services industry- kind of. I’ve heard that you should work as a waitress once in your life. Here in the museum, I’m learning similar lessons without the stains on my shirt. Dealing with people, staying patient, setting task priorities. This is for the “I Spy” post I wrote for the Haslla blog.

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3. Learning to appreciate readily available food. I wasn’t starving (see #1). But living in rural Gangneung with the closest grocery store 30 minutes away, I suffered because of my spoiled city food habits.

Now I’m back in Seoul and have two weeks until my flight to Houston. Two days of packing/flying/moving in and settling into Philadelphia, and three weeks until first day of dental school orientation! Can you believe how quickly the time’s passed?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

An-nyong everybody

Since I’m in Korea this summer, here are some basic Korean phrases! We bought a new Wacom tablet to use for our gallery business & I love this green chalkboard background with the chalk tool.

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Especially useful if you are planning to fly out to Korea for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. AQ- I expect you to have these memorized by the time I see you…. ;)

Olympics and other goals

An advice can be just a few cool words until you attach personal meaning to them. I had an inspiring conversation about dreams the other day. I always wonder this about the accomplished and respected: when you have achieved your dreams already, what do you aspire to? So I asked.

The answer: you dream bigger. You wake up one day and realize that where you are now is a place you dreamed of being. But you have bigger dreams now, each dream a stepping stone onto your next dream.

2012 London Olympics are beginning and I am giddily excited. Not just because I happen to be in Korea for this deeply patriotic event but also because Pyeongchang is hosting the 2018 Winter Games- some games will be held in Gangneung.

Here’s what Gangneung looks like in the winter (at Haslla Art World). Look at the pine trees on the mountains. Is this real life?

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The clouds over the ocean, the chunks of snow, the white frothy waves crashing onto the shore. Breathtaking. Fact: I have not seen snow in seven years. I saw mini chunks in Mammoth Lakes on my geology field trip but I don’t think that counts.

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Here I ask myself, where will I be in 2018? Maybe this blog will be around in 2018 and I’ll smile reading this post on the first day of the Winter Games. There are 2021 days to go until the games (the official site has a countdown). That is six years from now and two years after my graduating from University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. I’ll be twenty-nine.

Although this feels like way, way far, I’m sure there are athletes already training for the 2018 games. Similarly, where do I want to be six years from now and how do I get there? Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Where do you hope to be in 2018?
What are your big dreams and aspirations?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Inside my backpack (out of dental school)

I’m spoiled from my gap year in another sense- I’m carrying around tote bags instead of backpacks. For back-to-school, I bought another tote bag instead of the one on my wish list. Big enough to double as a purse and dental school bag- definitely, maybe. Here’s what I’m carrying to the gallery every day this summer.

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Notice the absence of:
- Netbook
- Textbooks- ahhh.
- Powerpoint slides print-outs
- Highlighters and Post-it notes
- Coffee cup holders*- I always have a couple because I think I’m going to re-use them, but the truth is I love collecting them! When I’ve been frequenting coffee shops for power hours, these pile up in my purse until everything I grab out of my bag turns out to be another cup holder.

Enjoying the lack of shoulder strain that comes with dental school classes and dental school backpacks. Backpacks are the best for late-to-class running- you can’t really run with a flailing tote bag. But it’s not like I expect to be running late when I’m living five minutes away from the dental school… right?

Do you carry a separate personal bag with your work/school bag?
Do you have any unusual items in your backpack?

Friday, July 27, 2012

True cost of a dental education

This story made me cringe.

About fifty years ago, a twenty-something kid went up to Seoul to study. His parents wired him tuition money each semester. And at the end of four years, his parents came up for his graduation. Only there was no graduation. He hadn’t gone to college at all.

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Instead he had been buying land with the money. Not just any land- land near the flowing river in Gangnam. Over the years (and now decades later) the value of the land has skyrocketed (“average market price of Gangnam real estate has multipled by 500,000 times over the past 50 years”- WTF???). He’s now richer than he could have ever dreamed of, because of a little financial savv and his young fearless wisdom- thinking for himself, carving out a different path, seeing the true value of the money.

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We are investing time (our beautiful youth) and money. All this money didn’t come for free- someone had to work hard for these pennies and dimes- or loans which may equal years of budgeting and worrying. Because dental school is unbelievably, mind-blowingly, ridiculously expensive. Plus all our late-night misery, hours spent sitting (sitting is the next big killer) and perhaps our sanity for this degree. And all this for what? We all need an answer that keeps us asleep at night, something to justify this enormous cost of our dental school education.

Just walk on through

After I wrote about fear of failure, expectations, and disappointment I noticed something pretty interesting. In order to come into the restaurant from the art museum, you need to walk over the glass tiles. Today a little girl was yelling “scary scary scary” at the top of her lungs and refusing to walk over.

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It is not just little kids either. I’ve seen several grown-ups close their eye and hold their arms out for balance while crossing this transparent glass floor.

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It is not scary- I know- but maybe I don’t think it’s scary because I never stopped to think about it. I looked straight on and walked on through. This may be a useful strategy as it applies to fear in general. Don’t acknowledge it, keep your eyes on your goal and just walk on through.

A television crew came to Haslla to our Ocean Café and filmed a 30-minute scene with my acrylics painting hanging in the background. I didn’t want to put my painting up on this blog and now it debuts on national television. Ohm.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chewing on ice

It is summer which means it is iced coffee time!!! You could cool down with a hot drink but I think iced coffee is the best thing about the summer.

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After you down the cup of that sweet jolting caffeinated gift from God, you have ice left over. Teeth clanking down on ice may be satisfying, but do not chew on it. (We already know coffee is bad for your teeth.) Not only might your teeth feel sensitive, you could also chip your teeth on those harmless ice cube babies. This could also cause TMJ problems (“temporomandibular joint”- or simply your jaw). This has been a public service announcement from your favorite dental student.

A recent researcher found that people chewing on ice in coffee do so because they unknowingly have anemia. Or it may be their way of dealing with emotional issues, such as feeling overwhelmed from stress.

What’s your favorite summer drink? Do you put sugar and cream
in your iced coffee? (I just started drinking mine black.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Publix. HEB. Whole Foods. Wegman’s.

Running this morning kicked my butt. It was 86 degrees with 60% humidity. I ran, ran, ran, and gave up and walked the last leg when what I thought was the last hill wasn’t. With a mild headache from caffeine withdrawal and our glass-walled greenhouse heating up in here, I can only think about one thing… going grocery shopping.

Seriously craving all the fresh fruits and vegetables. Avocadoes. Apples with the skin on. Corn on the cob. Almonds. Peanut butter. Banana. Baked potatoes. Peach crumbles. Almond milk. Peaches. Blueberries. Oatmeal. Spinach. A plain scone with honey. Tortillas. Yogurt and pancakes. Honey on pancakes. What I really want are these overnight oats with almond milk.

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Picture from Eating Bird Food

Bright, ripe vegetables in different colors laid out. Juicy, tangy, sweet sour fruits, foods that have never seen the oven or the frying pan. After eating traditional Korean meals for a month (rice with salty/hot side dishes) all I can think about are fresh fruits and vegetables. Grocery shopping on a cool Friday night in Houston, strolling the aisles and reading every label. Oh please Philly, don’t disappoint me groceries-wise.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rothman is 4 months away

Holy schmoles. My 8k race in Philadelphia is four months away. And can I even run 8 kilometers without stopping right now? If I can’t keep up with running on vacation, how will I find time to run in dental school?

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One of the Residency Artists here exercises every morning. Tomorrow he is running to Jeong Dong Jin and back, which is a little less than 5 miles, which equals 8 kilometers!!! I signed up to come along and couldn’t be more excited.

7AM sharp, meeting downstairs by the grandfather clock. Sunscreen on, hat on, running game on. Never been this excited to go running. I might fall face down on the hot pavement (85F plus the road borders the ocean on the east) but I’ll wiped out-happy.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Happy four months, little blog!

It’s been four months since I started writing my ramblings here on this blog. Since then, I’ve gone through many dental milestones including signing the lease on my apartment and buying a one-way ticket to Philadelphia (eep!). My white coat ceremony (and first day of school) is now just a month away.

Here’s a little yellow cake for this little dental blog.

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I hope there are many more happy milestones for this little blog about an aspiring dentist. Thank you for all your advice/criticism/suggestions/comments and support. I think about each and every single one.

Should I attend this dental interview?

I wrote about how to have a productive and stress-free dental school interview but didn’t ask the essential question: should I go to this interview?

Yes, yes, yes. And not just because you can look like this (Picture):

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When you are a soon-to-be-broke dental student, a few hundred dollars seems too much to spare. That’s my entire monthly groceries budget! I can buy a new outfit with this money. And this trip- with this school- might be harder to decide on because I already interviewed at/ got into a dental school I like better.

After I got into dental schools on December 1st I didn’t know if I wanted to keep on interviewing. I liked my options and my research job was getting pretty busy. Over lunch I consulted a post-doc friend about whether I should go to a particular dental school interview. “I don’t know if I’m just wasting money by going to this school when I already got into a school I love.” She asked me how I knew that I didn’t like this second dental school more. “Well, I read some brochures, I talked to some people from both schools, and I’m happy with my current d-school options.” She reminded me that none of this knowledge had come from myself.

“Right, but maybe I’m worried I’ll like this dental school more and then I’d have a tough choice on my hands…”

She asked me to repeat what I said.

I went back to my office and called in to schedule my interview at the second dental school. You have nothing to lose from going to the interview. You spend some money but make it a fun trip you look forward to. My friend advised me to look at it like this: You’ll have gone on a fun vacation and oh, also made it to a dental school interview one morning.

So go. (And when you go, expect- and be ready to answer- this tricky question.) At the very least you won’t wonder if you would have liked this other school better. And in the case that you still like your first option, you will have made a well-informed decision with firsthand information. Plus, you got to travel and write it off as dental school application expenses.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bath tubs at Haslla Art World

are unbelievable. I took a tour of the different rooms at Haslla Art World yesterday.

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Each of the twenty-two rooms are uniquely designed by the founding sculptor couple and each one looks out into the ocean. Check out this video at Haslla’s blog.

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I looked at about five rooms, so that’s a few thousand dollars billed to my account… or not. How cool is the Pacman-shaped tub? With this beautiful ocean view?

Less than 32: missing teeth

My teeth problems just keep growing. I went to the dental hospital at Gangneung-Wonju National University last week (dental school tours!!!) and found out this: I’m missing my second set of molars.

I only have 28 teeth so I figured I just didn’t have my set of wisdom teeth. I only had one set of molars until this year when another set of molars erupted. I said yay, let’s not get any wisdom teeth now. Turns out, I have my wisdom teeth, just not my regular second molars. Neither does my brother. What the what? (Picture)

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About 20% of the population never gets a full set of wisdom teeth. Hypodontia refers to when a patient is missing up to six teeth (me). Oligodontia is when the patient is missing more than six teeth. Many times missing teeth is accompanied by other congenital conditions such as cleft palate and Down Syndrome. A family from Houston (I miss you Houston.) whose members were missing their first and second molars helped identify PAX9 as one of the genes responsible for this mutation.

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I should be fine as long as I don’t have weird pain that could indicate my second molars are developing. Until then, I get to be a little bit wiser without the jaw crowding.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The a-word (amalgam)

Before I got my cavities filled, I asked my dentist: “Do you recommend amalgam or composite?” She sounded shocked: "Of course composite resin. God no, we don’t use amalgam.” Amalgam is the new dirty word in dentistry. (Photos from fda.org)

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Amalgam is a mixture of different metals that is used in fillings. Recently it has become less popular due to the fact that it contains mercury, although there is no danger of mercury poisoning from professional fillings. People prefer composite (plastic) also because it blends in with teeth naturally.

Composite is cured with that magic blue light that beeps twice on your tooth. Amalgam, on the other hand, hardens without any light. Mercury is added in liquid form to the metal powders in order to make the mixture pliable.

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Amalgams are cheaper and are able to withstand higher load pressure than composite resin. Most clinical studies comparing the longevity of amalgam versus composite restorations suggest amalgam restorations outlast composite fillings (also here and here).  Some suggest resin lasts longer than amalgam (at 10 years, 82.2% of resin lasted compared to 79.2% of amalgam). Others offer mixed results.(Some suggest amalgam restorations last longer like this one). Survival of fillings depend on many factors including use of teeth and site of restoration.

In 2010, there was a huge outcry for the FDA to re-evaluate its claim that the mercury-containing amalgam in teeth is safe. Several patients and dental assistants came forth claiming that they had mercury poisoning from this supposedly safe amalgam. Some countries have gone as far as to ban amalgam fillings containing mercury (Sweden, Denmark). While dentists agree that it is risky to use mercury-containing amalgam in pregnant women and children under 6, amalgam is still currently used as a popular filling substance in teeth.

This Hall & Oates song came on the radio and it is perfect for this situation:

Now I’ll do anything that you want me to
I’ll do almost anything that you want me to
But I can’t go for that (no can do)

My dentist is so flexible and open-minded when it comes to everything but when it came to amalgam, she just wouldn’t budge (no can do). I’m going to think about composite and amalgam and teeth fillings whenever I hear this song.

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Happy weekend! A place where weekdays blend into weekends… just like the ocean blends into the sky. Saturday? What Saturday?

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Summer test kitchen

We set up a test kitchen yesterday for the latest development in our menu, the ice cream pie. We tested with different thickness and shapes. The dough shrinks as it bakes, so our pie crusts came out pretty shallow.

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Serve with a scoop of strawberry ice cream, roasted pecans and raspberries. Add a drizzle of honey for garnish. Enjoy at Haslla’s Jang Restaurant.

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What would summer be without ice cream and bingsoo?
(Hot gooey mess of misery- that’s what.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fear of trying

I’m working on an acrylics painting. Since I’m picking up a paintbrush for the first time in years, I’m not exactly Picasso. This process is stressful because there are expectations- majority of it internal.

I was heavy into art in high school. I took AP Art my senior year and spent hours upon hours working on watercolor paintings. I enjoyed it and my technique was acceptable. But painting remained a hobby. I didn’t think I was throwing away some God-given talent in pursuing the sciences.

I was painting wooden magnets this week. And who really cares about making little fridge magnets perfect? I was having fun when mom said “You used to have a great sense of color.” That is an avalanche of expectations falling from the perfect mountain of a disillusioned parent. I used to paint half a decade ago and I didn’t have time to keep up painting in college. But the fact that she held onto that notion and- even more so- that she voiced my unacknowledged concerns was upsetting.

I’m “supposed to be” good. Did you see my high school portfolio? I was good. What happened?

The fact that people hold expectations is hard because letting others down is hard. When you have expectations for yourself, letting yourself down is painful. It is painful enough to never even want to try.

These are the kinds of fears keeping me from making deliberate attempts and making ugly mistakes, because I’m supposed to be (and I believe I should be) certain way. And these expectations can come from different sources.

Because you are so smart.
Because you spend so much time on X.
Because you used to be good.
Because your parents are experts.

Even with making this menu, I was being a neurotic perfectionist. I kept erasing and rewriting until it was almost closing time and we still didn’t have a menu board up at the café.

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And I wish I could show you my painting in progress, but I’m afraid that someone (not you Dabel!) might comment on how my painting abilities have magically evaporated. Or I will look at it every time I come on and feel like giving up painting all together. Voltaire said “The perfect is the enemy of good.” I know it’s silly (recognize irrationality) to let my internal fears paralyze me from taking action but for now, I’m making little brush strokes and reminding myself that I’m just having fun.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yoga yoga yoga everywhere

It is yoga time at Haslla Art World. For instant relaxation, check out www.doyogawithme.com. You’ll be much more happier. For reals. Instead of running, I’ve been doing yoga in the mornings. I’m hoping this will help me be a better runner somehow???

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I’m reading a book on Hatha Yoga. I learned it is important to chew slowly not only to feel hunger but also to let saliva digest carbohydrates in your mouth. This is why drinking water with your meals is considered bad. I always remember this when I'm eating but it’s hard to execute when you have five things to complete. This is why I’m not going to to win our fitness challenge.

It is 2AM and I just got into Seoul. I brought my running shoes with me since I can actually RUN here! Something exciting is happening this evening.

Coffee for brain power

Instead of turning to coffee only in late-night emergencies, I am sipping on a steady intake of coffee throughout the day. Because this batch was roasted by so-and-so, this batch is from a different region, & etc. Some people here can even pinpoint the components of a blend.

To be honest, I can’t taste the difference. But I’m realizing first how watered down instant coffee tastes.

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There are many brain benefits of coffee.

For one, consumption of caffeine increases readers’ identification of complex global errors. A breakfast of cereal and coffee was shown to increase memory performance and decrease feelings of fatigue. Researchers at University of South Florida (yay Tampa!) found that a mystery component in coffee helps fight off Alzheimer’s. Consumption of coffee is also associated with decreased risk of Parkinson’s.

However, there might be a gender difference in effects of coffee. In a study of 64 subjects by Bristol University psychologists, coffee increased performance in women under stress while decreased performance in men in similar conditions.

But remember that coffee stains your teeth. For times when caffeine is necessary to get things done, there are little things you can do to minimize the damages like delaying brushing your teeth after drinking it. Or switching it up between coffee and teas.

I’m expecting many nights of coffee and conversation (or cramming) in dental school, so plenty opportunities to taste and critique coffee to come!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Brings you flowers

I found this poem at the oceanview café this morning.

No Borders by Morton Burke

Winds blow
Waters flow
Arts grow

Mr. Burke was a residency artist here at Haslla in 2010 and he engraved this poem onto a metal plate. The wildflowers are in full bloom after this weekend’s rain.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Comments about a female dentist

Happy Monday!

I’ve been catching up with family friends and chatting with guests at the gallery. I’m surprised by how sexist some comments are. For example, a typical response to my dental career goes like this:

“That’s a great profession for a female.”
“You’re going to be a catch to some lucky husband.”

LIFE KLH ANNIE GET YOUR GUN-thumb-425x293“Anything you can do…” (Picture from Annie Get Your Gun)

I agree that I’m entering a great profession. But the focus seems to be on the fact that I will be a “female dentist” not a “dentist who is female”. I’m probably being overly sensitive about a well-meaning comment. But I know my male counterparts are not getting these kinds of responses.

Have you received similar comments because you’re a “female- something”? (or maybe males too) How do you deal with such comments?

Back in school

Do I look like I belong in the classroom? This weekend we visited a rural elementary school. Since there are no more students in this rural town, the school is officially closed and serves as an art school campsite for kiddos.

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I have the intense-focus thing down already. Actually I just have my third eye open for sneaky photographers. Hard at work in my summer work station.

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I’m probably writing about our globe-floating session by the ocean yesterday night here. It was cold, raining, and windy (miserable factor 89). It has been freezing here- low 60’s. But the artists persevered and we had the music notes floating on the river before midnight.

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Perseverance, teamwork, patience. Lessons from the non-traditional classroom. And speaking of classrooms, throwback to my teenage years with “Juliet” by LMNT.

“Every time I see you pass in my homeroom class, makes my heart beat fast.
I’ve tried to page you twice, but I see you roll your eyes.”

Loving the old school references. So catchy! Rolling on the floor laughing

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Imagine there’s no dentists…

Dearest Dabel sent this article on gizmodo to my inbox this morning. I was equally excited to hear from him & to read about this news (Hi!).

Scientists in Chile are working on a molecule that kills Strep. mutans- a major cavity producer in our mouth- in sixty seconds. The molecule is named “Keep 32” and is being studied for addition to not only dental care products but also sugary foods.

This development reminds me of the ill-fated weight loss dress alli. Perhaps in the similar way that people can continue doing what they do (eat sweets, eat fats) and pop a pill to offset the negative side effects (cavities, obesity).

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I’m not complaining. Toothaches are no fun. Findings in the laboratory are often far from execution but today I’m imagining a cavity-free world.

How to enjoy good coffee (worth dentist trips)

Here’s another post in my summer coffee series. I should probably keep my tolerance down in preparation for dental school.

I could say coffee is bad for you- quit it- but I’m learning to enjoy coffee and its brain-enhancing abilities (including the sweet aroma when roasting). Plus the cute little mugs make coffee taste so much better. At Haslla Art World artists participating in a residency program are invited to paint pottery pieces. One-of-a-kind and priceless.

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In other news, I got new glasses. Glasses are so much easier on my eyes when I’m staring at computer screens for hours. In the States I usually wait a week to have my high index lenses made. But here in Korea I waited ten minutes after my eye exam and my glasses were made and ready. I was in and out with my new glasses within 45 minutes- magic. I am so impressed.

I went clothes shopping earlier in the day and bought these pants. I didn’t have my glasses on so my vision (and judgment) might have been a bit hazy. But so so so comfortable and these make me laugh.

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Coffee. Glasses. Comfy pants. Perfect components of a study power hour. Penn School of Dental Medicine emailed out our upcoming semester exam schedule. Our first exam is on September 14th and we have an exam every week after that- sometimes two.

Good thing I’m going to dental school... There just might be enough toothpaste and whitening kits to offset all the caffeine damage to my teeth.

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Hand roasting coffee beans

I’m getting to know the silent teeth killer: coffee.
 
Exercise of the day: hand roasting coffee
Target: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

I just about died in the kitchen roasting these stubborn beans over open fire.

The beans slowly turn from khaki to green-yellow-brown. You need to listen for the characteristic first popcorn-ish pop then the second crackling lighter pop. Then you're done. The beans get to cool off too.

I’m constantly sipping on coffee these days. Awful for your teeth, great for your brain.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Teeth propaganda

I saw this in the restroom at the bus terminal.

About 20% of Koreans were reported to be smokers this year, a rapid decline from 35% just a decade ago. Perhaps these funny ads really are effective.

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“Keep cigarettes far away and toothbrushes close” says the confused (drunk?) molar.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Everyday versatile workspace in the museum

Portable, workable space for me in the museum to get my tasks completed. Might not be a super minimalist Korean reading room, but plenty of space and light to focus.

Also serves as a meeting room and a breakfast table.

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Maybe I should get a big plastic picnic table for my Philadelphia apartment. I’m already browsing the “Small Spaces” section of Apartment Therapy brainstorming ideas for my tiny space. What am I excited for? Dental school or a new place to decorate and explore?

We had a gallery opening yesterday for Park Jung Sun and a meet-and-greet with the artist. I wrote about it on the official Haslla blog here. What’s your favorite piece? Mine is Munch-esque self-portrait (See I am obsessed with that piece!).

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One more sip of coffee then into super-productive mode!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Making the most of your interview trips

I spent most of last year thinking about dental school interviews. I was either preparing for an interview, thinking about a completed interview or deciding whether to attend an interview.

My first interview was in Florida. I scheduled it on Thursday and took extra time off from work. I spent the entire weekend poolside with my travel buddy.

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After this, I made it a point to extend my interview trips and spend some time in the city. Some of the applicants I met came straight away from the airport to the school, then were flying out the same day. I can’t do that kind of frantic scheduling. I’d be so nervous throughout the interview thinking about catching my flight.

During your interview, you will hear about places you want to visit afterwards. My interviewers gave me tourist magazines and names of their fave restaurants. You already bought the airplane tickets- probably the most expensive part of your trip- so stay a little bit longer.

I stayed with friends. My friends were wonderful to let me crash with them in the middle of classes, thesis-writing and job interviews. A friend I hadn’t spoken to since junior year of high school let me crash with him- I would have died in LA otherwise. They were a welcome face to see in a brand new city.

I explored the city on my own. I saw the city as if I’d already gotten into dental school. I took the subway, went into grocery stores (one of my favorite hobbies), walked around the campus. Once the dental school accepts your application, the table turns: you need to make a decision about accepting their offer. You don’t just go to dental school, you’ll be a citizen of the city and the state, so explore the city as a potential inhabitant.

Wanted: a liberal arts education

I am embarrassed by how narrow my knowledge base really is. I pride myself on being able to read about stem cells and energy alternatives and other science-y articles but I am painfully lacking when it comes to the humanities, especially world history. I AP’d out of U.S. and World History and didn’t take other history classes in college. Mistake.

Yesterday Appa and I were watching a documentary on Ancient Egyptian mummies. They showed papyrus scrolls written by an Egyptian male about his lover. The contents were read with a cheesy montage of an Egyptian couple frolicking around on a green hill. I think some of the lines were like, “Oh god, if only you would give her to me…”

Me: “Muslims aren’t allowed to date like that.”
Appa: “This is like 1500 BC. There was no Islam.”
Me: “Um… just kidding?”

rhind_papyrusPicture

Our entire Gregorian calendar system is based on Jesus’s life (AD: Anno Domini and BC: Before Christ). Muhammad was born in 570 AD. Muhammad was the prophet Muslims were waiting for (and whose coming they believe Jesus foretold). I had to look this up.

It is difficult to have a good conversation about the sciences. It is not the best cocktail party conversation. Rarely are two people engrossed in the same scientific topic. In my experience, conversations about science usually turn into one explaining something to the other- who often quickly loses interest. Discussion often turns to policy and execution, which can be fascinating, but it is not really “science”. Just because someone is an amazing scientist doesn’t mean she has strong personal views or even interest in these topics.

Some rambling thoughts. And I bring you this, a wish some kid wrote on napkin on the wish tree in the restaurant:

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“Dear Buddha, Jesus, God… I am a Buddhist but I believe in Catholicism.
I don’t think it really matters because I don’t believe gods fights with each other…”

Monday, July 9, 2012

A must-have for traveling: pig nose voltage converter

I’m back oceanside with my laptop. I had left it at home since my laptop uses 110V while Korean plugs are 220V. We had been using a box transformer at home but I figured- worst case scenario- someone else must have an HP laptop. I asked mom to “find me a pig nose” then hopped on the bus.

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On the bus I finished up writing emails. I’m already so much more productive when you’re around, LT.

These things are actually called “adapter plugs”. Only my dad calls them “pig noses”. Mom had no idea what I was talking about at first.

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By the time I came back a pig nose was waiting for me. One of the artists found one and we checked that my laptop can handle 220V (110~240V actually). Then voila- so easy.

A travel-must, especially if you are super-dependent on technology. Thankfully my phone plugs into any Galaxy chargers but for the rest- camera, laptop, automatic tangerine peeler and portable mint-scented humidifier- this little pig nose converter is a lifesaver.