Monday, August 26, 2013

things your orthodontist knows about you.

I had my “back-to-Philly” ortho appointment last week. After being out of the country for the entire summer, I was curious to see what had happened.

My third molar rotated almost completely!
My left side is almost a Class I.

It’s so cool to see what’s happened since my last appointment. I can look around my own mouth (cramming and balancing three hand mirrors) but I love coming to my ortho appointments for that reason.

image from Saxe Orthodontics


Other cool things I’ve learned from my ortho appointments:

I breathe with my mouth. I had no idea that I am a mouth-breather! I thought that’s what everyone did… until I learned that the way I block off air- when I swallow and such- was pushing my teeth around.
I am sort of tongue-tied. Not enough to require surgery but enough to benefit from it.

Next visit is going to be painful. After looking in at my teeth, our faculty orthodontist said “it’s time”. All of my brackets are going to be repositioned=rebonded and my molars will be engaged too. I’m excited!!! More movement- more pain, yes, but more movement! Need to eat more calcium and help my alveolar bones grow.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

summer ‘13 gratitudes.

This summer I’m grateful for having a real home to go to, with loving family and friends.

I moved around so much growing up that I never felt like I had a hometown. I never had those histories and stories attached to a familiar place. Now I see that home is wherever I’m with family.

It’s hard to grow up and grow out when you don’t know who you are. That identity and sense of belonging is so important! Now I see that growing up Korean, with familiar Korean foods and Korean television shows and this Korean common sense of pride and history, has been so wonderful. Even when I don’t know the latest K-pop star or graduated from American schools, this is my identity.

Like loving patbingsoo in the summers:2013-08-03 18.37.11

And turning to Korean snacks when feeling homesick:koreansnacks

Or getting too excited about Korean mushy goodness: tofu and dotori-muk (acorn jelly)

I’m more than a little homesick but the good news is that school is starting next week! I am not going to have time to mope around looking up weekend flights to Seoul.

How would you describe your cultural identity? I think the fact I love eating kimchi with everything (sweet potato, spaghetti, tacos!) says everything.

Friday, August 23, 2013

just chillaxing…

I’m still technically on vacation. But I’m getting tons of stuff done like…

…putting these adorable I Heart Guts keychains on my dental school keys. I can’t get over how cute this is.toothy

…filing away funny memories from Korea for rainy days (this is the famous shopping district Myeong-dong).MD

(And this is me and Appa at 2:30AM in the morning, after watching Snowpiercer- you’ll think about this movie for days.)smufnight

…reading and eating in my pajamas, in my bed. lazyafternoon

I’m finding that I had always associated Philadelphia living with stress and busy-hustlin’. I noticed this last winter break when I returned to Philly and was automatically turned onto “busy-mode” where I have a chronic headache. It was like a switch went off the moment I landed.

This time I am trying to spend this week making my apartment cozy and happy with quiet relaxing moments. I need my home to be a sanctuary, not another source of stress…

How are you stretching out your summer vacation?
Have you picked your favorite summer moment yet?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

best dentist shadowing experience…. at ADEA’s Go Dental

I wrote a guest post for ADEA’s blog Go Dental. Go check it out here: Five tips for the best dental shadowing experience.

For those of you finishing up your shadowing hours or just starting out on the dental application process, get more hours! Shadowing is seriously the most fun part of the whole application process.

In my article I write about:
……how to get your dentist to think you are punctual
……how to get patients to agree to you shadowing
……how to remember everyone’s names in the dental office.

Fact: I took my headshot with my mom’s phone in our hotel room in Jeju.

Monday, August 19, 2013

back-to-school checklist

Over the next week, I’m slowly crossing these off my to-do list to get ready for the school year ahead. There’s the usual….

1. Organize your apartment.
2. Go shopping.
(Bags! Clothes! Shoes! And new school supplies, of course)
3. Set up your semester budget. I love the mint app on my phone for on-the-go tracking.

And the special things I do to prep myself for the new year.

4. Set up a picture folder of summer memories. I found myself flipping through my Korea pictures after last summer. These really kept me going when dental school got rough. It made me look forward to next summer’s vacation yet again & put me in a positive (grateful!) mood when I was feeling down.


5. Find your mantra. Last year my mantra was “Write. Pray. Run.” I had these written on post-it’s and stuck around the apartment. It was a reminder for me keep doing what’s important to me and to remind myself to relax sometimes (so hard for me!). I’m still thinking about this year’s.

What’s on your back-to-school checklist?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

good morning, second year!

I’m back in Philadelphia and on the strangest sleep schedule. I went grocery shopping yesterday in Center City and was feeling so drowsy on my way home. I seriously wanted to curl up in a park and nap.

I’m also mixing up Korean and English words- I haven’t adjusted to speaking English yet. ;)

2013-08-12 10.41.44 korean

Besides unpacking and organizing my apartment, I’m working on a new project for my brother (who just started his miltary service in Korea!). This is the first year I truly feel “international”- I don’t have a single family member in the U.S. to call/text/whatever. Eek.

But it’s “breakfast time”. I’m waking up from the long refuel and getting ready to take on the day aka second year of dental school. The mental equivalent of coffee and fresh fruit to start the year.

crepes from Café Brazil in Dallasbrunchin'

New attitude, new beginnings. Today’s a good day!

Monday, August 12, 2013

last week of vacation in Korea: recharge.

It’s already my last week in Korea and I’m arranging when I’m going to get my Philly apartment keys…

We spent the day in 삼청동 (Samcheong-Dong). It’s a neighborhood in Seoul with traditional Korean houses on hilltops and tons of shops/restaurants on the bottom. I felt like I walked into 19th century Chosun or something.



We stopped by the SK-II pop-up shop here. I got my skin tested with the “magic ring” and I got a score of 34%, putting my skin at 26 years old to my real 24. I blame dental school.


Earlier this week we went down to Daegu again for our grandpa’s memorial ceremony. Spent the weekend with extended family and the two little cousins.


So yeah… with the traveling/shopping/packing/cleaning the apartment, it’s been a little crazy.

Here’s the thing about summers: it’s only a few weeks, barely a whole month spent in Korea but I leave completely rejuvenated and recharged for the upcoming year. I eat good food, take tons of pictures, and build up memories to keep me motivated for dental school.

I pick up a few good habits too: a complete skincare routine, dressing up not in scrubs and jeans, eating (rice) cake for breakfast, etc etc. :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

learning to say no- and yes.

I found this somewhat frightening book on my childhood bookshelf. It has all these potentially dangerous situations (adults offering rides, strangers calling on the phone) and what to do when a child’s encountered these situations.

saying noes

I’m way beyond the age where I have to worry about getting candy from strangers. But for me, learning to say no is a skill I have yet to learn and practice.

A great opportunity sorta fell into my laps last semester. I committed to it without thinking because it was a fantastic project. Then for the next couple of days, I had nightmares: I’m on stage to sing a song/perform a scene/dance, only I have no idea what I’m doing.

The project was a great opportunity and I thought I could squeeze out a little bit more time from my dental school life. But after some thought, I had to admit I couldn’t do it… and thankfully the person was really understanding and we worked it out.

I’m starting to recognize that I like to overload my plate. I like the feeling of being busy and being needed somewhere. In talking with a friend (who is on the verge of some major career changes) she pointed out that it’s more important to say yes to the right things. That’s why we say no.

And by saying no to the “wrong” things, I can make room for the right things in my life, causes and projects I’m passionate about.

Less than a month until school starts! I’m saying yes to: reading, letters, and trinkets at subway stations (Korea has the cutest stuff!).

What are you saying “yes” to this summer?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

orthodontic braces and chronic pain.

When a friend asked for advice on braces-if she should get them this year or wait until after dental school- I hesitated. Sure it’s best to start early when you are younger… But stressful dental school is not the best time to be in chronic pain/having to watch what you eat 24/7.

After we worked on rotating my molars I was in pain for a full three days. It made me cranky, irritable, and just in a bad mood overall. I could see how chronic pain could permeate every aspect of your life- I could barely focus on studying the day after my dental appointment.

I mean, it’s a lot of work for the teeth to move around in their bone sockets. It’s literally bone-crushing pain.


My favorite foods- like popcorn!- were off limits. I could chew on the other side, but if I accidentally hit the rotating teeth with the opposite arch, ohmygosh, I would just started crying. For the first time I regretted getting braces. I was so miserable.


But of course, all that passed and I’m just amazed to see my teeth shifting…. until the next dental appointment. Gulp.

Now that I’m on vacation from dental school, I sorta wish I could go through all the painful stuff right now. It’s ironic that the time I could afford to deal with pain is summer vacation when I can’t make my orthodontist appointments.

I’ve had braces for nine months now! It’s been a long time.