Tuesday, March 13, 2007

last spring break...ever!

it's official. the final key step to my transistion into the "rat race / working for the man" part of my adulthood, aka reality, is now complete.

spring break - the all-important cure for the winter blues that every student needs will no longer be part of my life. the term "spring break" has been replaced with "two weeks vacation."

this june, i'll no longer be paying $30k/year to sit in a classroom, i'll be paying $30k/year to work my ass off in an actual hospital. hooray!

at least i made my last spring break a memorable one.

mooching off my parent's timeshare access landed me in sunny cabo san lucas, mexico. these days i'm short on time (i'll explain, keep reading), so i'll sum up the trip with some random phrases.
  • getting snowed in in minneapolis, missing our connecting flight to cabo. spent five hours passing out on benches in the mall of america, when i could have been at my classmates destination wedding / reception (open bar on the beach). of course.
  • off-peak break = no young people = empty bars = boring, right? wrong. somehow, we made our own fun.
  • drunken people my parents' age falling off plastic chairs and face-planting in the sand.
  • creepy, old guys who bought me steak and lobster and margaritas since i was rolling at least 3 girls deep, just to have access to my friends. what can i say, i'm a lucky man.
  • playa del amor - appropriately named pristine beach for my "romantic getaways" with my lady.
  • fish tacos. the food (dirty mind).
  • in reference to my tall, brunnette friend: "senorita, you must be the reason for global warming!"
  • leaving out large metal pots on the nightstand, just in case any nocturnal puking happened.
this spring break also happened to mark the end of fun and relaxation for the next few months. you see, also this june, i'm actually supposed to take the daunting amount of knowledge i've crammed into my brain these past two years, retain it, and take a comprehensive exam over it. board exams. a slow death to my social life.

i've never studied so intensely or methodically before. and it's only been a week.

sure it's painful. in the end though, if i'm supposed to actually take care of real-life patients, i might as well be competent, right? come on, wouldn't you like to have a doctor that knows his shit, but also likes to take an occasional "nap" at bars after a few too many tequila shots? ...on second thought, don't answer that.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

from dolts to colts!

will sexy rexy take a pounding this sunday?

after years of post-season depression, my beloved indianapolis colts have finally made it to the super bowl! it's been a long journey following this team through their ups and downs.

it's funny how many emails i have gotten from old friends recently. the colts march through the playoffs somehow rung bells in people's minds -"oh yeah, dave's from indy. i wonder what he's up to?"...

from my days in colorado to volunteering in the marshall islands (i made my dad send me recorded dvds of every game), all of my non-indiana residing friends seem to correlate me with the colts. am i really the only colts fan people know?!? i mean, it's a small city, but not that small!

(on a side note, i know the real reason why everyone only has me as their lone indianapolis friend...BECAUSE US HOOSIERS RARELY LEAVE THE STATE!)

now, of course, the opposing team in this year's super bowl is chicago, where i live now. great...

in class, one of our professors asked who was a colts fan. i, a loyal guy, made a high-pitched yelp and raised my hand. i looked around. yup, i was the only one. here we go again.

for those of you who don't know, my next door neighbor a couple years ago was former colts' running back, edgerrin james. you know how pumped i was to be living next door to an all-star athlete? what was weird about the whole thing was that the neighborhood i live in in indianapolis is fairly modest. i do live by the colts practice facility, but it's not some posh place that rich athletes flock to...

of course, i took full advantage of the situation. got things autographed, played basketball with him, got a tour of his house (he had run d.m.c. on video conference one day - i said "wassup" - heh). my mom made him egg rolls for christmas, my aunt baked him cookies (edge referred to her as the "cookie lady"). really nice guy. down to earth. you'd think with his blinged-out "grill" and crazy dreadocks, i'd have some crazy parties to report, but he was pretty chill. i think he saved all his partying for the off-season in miami (where he lives).

so as you all go to your super bowl parties to watch the game, think of me will ya'? i'll be sure to be the only colts fan in the nearby vicinity...

Friday, December 29, 2006

what i really wanted for christmas...

a perfect gift for your local japanese foreign exchange student!

buy it on amazon.com!

click on the pics to blow them up

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

family first

the holiday season has arrived. in the nguyen household, this is a big deal. i mean BIG. you see, my dad is one of ten kids. and most of them live in indiana, which means a lot of people (spouses and my countless number of cousins included) cramming into one home.

it's been a tradition for all of my dad's side of the family to gather on christmas eve, eat an obsurd amount and combination of food (i'm talking egg rolls, holiday ham, pho, and sweet potato pie all on one table), and open presents at the stroke of midnight.

now that i'm older and not as consumed over what toys i'll be getting, i realized that i'm a part of a great, stable family situation. while other families need reunions to remember their relatives' names, i'm hearing the latest gossip about one of my cousins getting caught with a homemade bong that wasn't packed with weed, but with dried mint! i'm observing a talent show of all my little cousins playing instruments, doing magic tricks, or just being plain cute. i'm getting love advice from my uncle at the poker table...

...i'm holding hands in a prayer circle being reminded that our family is blessed.

while i wouldn't call myself the most religious of people, i know how fortunate our family is to be able to celebrate christmas the way we do.

about 30 years ago, during the vietnam war, my family escaped the destruction and horror of the war by fleeing on tiny motor boat just hoping to make it to a surrounding country. the chances of survival are slim to say the least. *check out the wikipedia article on "boat people" for a history lesson*

by luck or by the grace of god, my family made it to a refugee camp in thailand and was sponsored by an american surgeon to come and settle in the state of indiana.

through hard work and determination, everyone in my family has become successful in their own way in america, allowing the next generation (including myself) to never have to endure the pain and suffering they went through.

so while my little cousins eagerly ripped through wrapping paper to discover their new, high-tech toys, i now understood that for my family, christmas is not just about celebrating jesus' birthday, it's about seeing the look on their children's faces and thinking, "we made it."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

growing up = growing old?

last week i celebrated my 25th birthday. it was quite fitting to celebrate my birthday in various ways. now that i'm right in the middle of my twenties, i feel like i'm straddling the fence of sophistication/maturity vs. running wild. here's a run-down of my "birTday" fun:
  • on the night of my birthday, i had a fancy dinner at the kendall college dining room with some close friends. this is a great hidden spot in chicago where student chefs (some of the best chefs in chicago graduate from here) prepare fou-fou meals and student servers take care of all your needs. i admit, it was nice to just wine and dine and spend hours conversing over good food. = getting old.
  • the next night, my "amazing" girlfriend (whom i've only known for a couple months) went all out, suprising me with a night out on the town. started with some tasty sushi and saki at kamehachi and ended the night at one of my favorite jazz clubs, the (new) velvet lounge. interestingly, we had the opportunity to meet up w/ some friends for a drunken night downtown, but i chose to keep the night intimate and special. = getting old.
  • i knew it was coming...the early twenties side of me came a'calling, making sure to remind me that i wasn't old just yet. yes, i had a drunken night with the fellas last night. post-exam, we tail-gated with tall boy cans of miller high life and greasy chinese food. stumbled into the united center for the chicago bulls vs. (my beloved) indiana pacers. post game? yeah, more drinking with various bouts of rowdiness. = still young.
i guess based on these events, i'm leaning toward getting old, but a little "craziness" never hurts!

here are some more pics of my extended birthday celebrations:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

happy turkey day!

i started at a young age...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

the "spark"

people watching has become my new favorite hobby these days studying alone at various coffee shops and restaurants. it's visually much more stimulating than the notes i stare at for hours upon hours...

recently, i noticed this older, married couple eating a quick dinner nearby. the odd thing was they did not utter a word to each other. they silently ate their food and stared off into space.

for some reason, this little scene had me thinking: does my future hold the same boring, rut-filled fate?

while marriage has not crossed my mind yet, i've been bombarded with the concept of marriage lately - the highs, the lows, the joys, the struggles, etc.

the big news in my family is my sister's engagement. my big sis. engaged. what?!? soon, she'll be buying a dog, moving to the burbs, and staying in on saturday nights. for some reason, this scares me.

my sister has always been the structered one, living her life in her comfort zone. in that respect, i'm happy she's settling down and found someone she wants to be with for the rest of her life.

with newlyweds, i can see why people get married. the "spark" between the couple is alive and well. they work together as a unit and give each other a sense of happiness and contentment that no one else can provide.

but what happens to this "spark" years down the road?

last month i learned that a close family friend (a doctor - yikes!) was having an affair with his nurse and is filing for divorce with his long-time wife. these are the kinds of things that scare me about marriage. what triggered this need to abandon his wife? was the "spark" between them gone? did he find a new "spark" with this nurse? was his life so familiar and boring that he felt the need to bust out his rut?

my parents just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. congrats. thirty years is a LONG time. but somehow, through the ups and downs, they've made it work. marriage truly is hard work. and they put in the time. while the "spark" between them has faded, it has been replaced with this deeper sense of love that i have yet to experience and therefore cannot explain.

in many ways, i think our society gives up too easily when it comes to marriage. divorce is rampant and commonplace these days. i think we've been brainwashed in this "me-first" society to think that if we don't feel the "spark" anymore, move on. we don't work hard enough to rekindle the "spark" or make things right. it just seems easier to end things and continue the pursuit of happiness. that's kind of sad.

i hope i take these lessons learned and apply it to my relationships. i seek the "spark" just like anyone else. it's an amazing feeling. but i know now that this "spark" can't be the only factor in a relationship. there are other elements that come into play that keep relationships happy and healthy. with a little hard work, i think you can break out of a routine-filled rut.

but where do you draw the line? how much work is too much work? i guess that's one more thing i have learn...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

boo! - yah!

happy halloween!