Friday, September 04, 2009

So the past few weeks as I've been coming closer to closer to starting UCSF, I've been racked with insomnia. I'm not sure why, since I've had no reason to worry about finances, or jobs or anything like that. For the most part, I'm really excited about starting my dream and doing what I want to do.

And yet, I've been feeling this weird sense of "survivor's guilt." Knowing that I had one of the lowest GPAs in the class, being one of the oldest people as well, it makes me wonder, why did UCSF choose me? How did I end up one of the 7% who got in? I definitely know part of it stems from constantly being told I wasn't good enough to be at the top, that I would never make it by my family. On the one hand, I can see how this was seen as an attempt to protect me in case I failed--but on the other hand, it also made me feel like I was too stupid to really do it.

Now that I've made it, and with two weeks before I dive headlong into this new chapter of my life, and a lot of the old things that have plagued me to get here are resolved, it feels like a new beginning. I've suddenly felt a new appreciation towards things, that my family is there, my friends are there, I've made plenty of new friends already in my class, and honestly, it does feel like I'm 25, when I'm actually ten years older.

Am I scared shitless? Fuck yeah. But I'm also excited beyond belief. It's taken so much for me to get to where I am, from being sidetracked as an undergrad, taking a long circuitous route in grad school, finding love, losing love, losing and regaining my family, and most importantly believing that this was what I wanted and amazed at how easy it came to me once I set my mind to it, it's still humbling that UCSF is taking me back. And on the other hand, I knew this was something that I've wanted so bad, from the time I was 21 and saw pharmacy as what I wanted to do, that to actually make it--it feels like I've made up for the 14 years of dicking around to get to where I should've been at 21. Honestly, it still doesn't feel real, and I think it really only will when all these first steps are taken: orientation, white coat, etc.

And there's no turning back. Frankly, I don't think I want to. I am so ready. Still scared shitless, but I'm ready.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Babies and Relationships

Thanks to the wonderful world that is Facebook, I've become reacquainted with lots of friends and relatives my age that I've lost touch with from grade school to college. As I've just passed my 35th birthday and am now comfortable with being single again (Howard and I broke up about a year ago, and it's only been now that I feel comfortable with publicly announcing it), I'm seeing myself surrounded by friends, both straight and queer, who are doing commitment ceremonies, having babies, and cementing their relationships in one way or another. And while I'm not bitter about the relationship with Howard ending (in fact, it seems funny that we're in some ways a lot closer now), it's made me wonder why my biological clock isn't ticking, while everyone else around me who's single and my age seems downright hormonal with a sense of urgency to find a life partner, settle down and start having a family (whether that be having babies or pets, or whatever).

What brought this into extremely sharp focus was seeing MJ and her new daughter today at UCSF, who's not even a day old. Amelia is an adorable little baby, and MJ and Jason were glowing with their new addition. But I didn't feel the pangs of wanting to be a parent, or find another boyfriend, or have a partner.

Another friend of mine from high school is giving herself a deadline of having a baby before she turns 37. As she ticked off the reasons why she should or shouldn't have another baby, in the back of my mind, I thought, "I don't think I'm ready for that. Or if I'm even willing to do that." When she asked me if I wanted to have a kid, I honestly gave her an "I don't know."

Maybe it's because it has been only a year or so since I've broken up with Howard, and so the desire to find someone right away isn't there. Part of me is actually enjoying being single--though I'm not exactly looking to date anyone. It could also be that I've always put taking care of someone else as an excuse for not taking care of myself--and at 35, I'm being able to do things on my own that I haven't been able to do since I met Howard at 23.

The funny part about all this is that it does really seem like a do-over for me in so many different parts of my life, from going back to school to do what I've always wanted to do; to establishing and re-establishing friendships; and to have people recognize me as me, and not as a part of a collective unit, whether that be as part of a relationship, a group, or whatever. I think there's also a little bit of "been there, done that" in terms of long term relationships, and I'm clearly not willing to invest so much emotionally into someone right now when I don't know where I'll be after I finish my PharmD, and once I figure out where that is, maybe the focus will become clearer. But as of right now, I'm not interested.

Who knows--maybe after I finish my PharmD at the age of 39, I'll become as hormonal as everyone else I know. I think I have a lot more important things to worry about than worrying about being single.

And if you're a hot Asian guy who's into bigger Asian guys, send me a private e-mail. ;)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Tumblr blog

So I've decided to do a separate blog that chronicles the next 4 years at UCSF as I go through pharm school, through tumblr, since honestly, I don't think I'll be able to blog as much on here.

I'm envisioning my tumblr as a way to separate my pharm life form the rest of my life (which hopefully won't completely dominate, but I'm sure I'll be failing miserably at that).

I'll still be posting here, but probably not as much as before. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wow.

Got into UCSF. Found out on Saturday.

I'm still shocked, even though it's been a few days already. I literally found out the day after getting into Touro, and I had resigned myself to the fact that I would go there. I had even begun scoping out pharmacies in Napa/Sonoma to check out and when I came back, I saw the letter.

I opened it up and as soon as I read the words, "I am pleased to inform you...", I didn't need to read anymore, and screamed. I was in disbelief because I felt I had done so badly in my interview that I was going to get waitlisted or rejected. I think I still am.

Anyway, it's just nice to see that everything's panning out for me for the next 4 years.

The funny part is--now that I've made it, I can stop obsessing over it--though it's now weird that the one thing that I've been worrying about since 2005...is something I don't have to think about.

Now I can focus on enjoying the next few months before I go back to school full time, preparing for what I've been wanting to do for literally decades.

I'm so excited. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Two out of 3!

Just a quick post (and in case you don't follow me on twitter or facebook).

I got accepted to Touro University for pharmacy school today, which means I'll be declining my spot at Hawaii-Hilo (and throwing away $500, but at least it was insurance that I was going SOMEWHERE for school in the fall). I'm still waiting to hear from UCSF (and I have about one more week to go before I find out the results).

For some reason, it felt like I wasn't quite ready to move to Hawaii yet, although this is still a goal that I want in the future. In all honesty, it came down to being closer to my dad and my family, and at least getting into Touro means that it's still only an hour or so away to see my family in case something happens. If I get into UCSF, even better. It also didn't help that the cost for Touro and Hawaii were about the same, but at least if I stay in the Bay, I still have my jobs to fall back on. With Hawaii, I would've had to take out crazy loans just to survive.

Honestly, I still can't believe that it's finally happening--that after all the stuff I've gone through to get to this point, that I'm finally starting to go to pharm school (even if it is at 35). I'm really excited. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Saying goodbye to an old friend...

I've had an incredible string of really wonderful things happen to me lately: getting accepted to pharmacy school in Hawai'i, establishing and re-establishing contact with old friends and relatives, getting a well-overdue raise from one of my jobs plus retroactive pay, and now eagerly anticipating my last interview for Touro in the East Bay.

Then I got a phone call from a friend of mine stating that a mutual friend had suddenly passed away last week from cancer. There was literally no anticipation of it. Tak had just turned 60 a few months ago, had an amazing muscle-bound body that people in their 20s would envy, and had the gentleness of an old soul. According to my friend, he didn't feel well while wintering in Hawai'i, went to see a doctor, and found out that he had metastatic bladder cancer that had traveled to his lungs. He had enough time to go back to his home in Vancouver, went into a hospice and died a week later, the day before I turned 35, last week.

As I tossed and turned trying to damn the unfairness of it all, I realize that for me this is the best way to send him off.

I had met Tak through a mutual friend while taking part in KinkyGAM and was immediately drawn to his body, since the first time I met him I was volunteering for FTFA at the Folsom Street Fair. He was wearing just a pair of white briefs, while I was in a pair of speedos to drum up money for fundraising. He had virtually zero body fat and was cut and ripped like any bodybuilder. When I tried coming on to him, he told me his age, and I was stunned when he told me he was the same age as my dad. We kept in touch through e-mail, and then decided to get together when we were both in Hawai'i later that winter as I was running the Honolulu Marathon.

During that time in Honolulu, I became annoyed that Tak seemed to lecture and nag me every chance we got, asking me questions about where my life was headed--like a father. I got so pissed at him that I didn't e-mail him for months later, but he was the first to vocalize what I had been doubting all these years. When I told him I was considering going back to school for my PharmD, he gave me priceless nuggets of advice, wrote me a letter of recommendation, and was one of my strongest supporters. Our friendship eventually became a close mentorship, as he prepared me for what lay ahead for pharmacy school, and he also told me bits and pieces from his life as well. Our e-mails after that point always ended with "Love" or "Hugs," since we really did love each other as friends.

In order to express his sexuality in the late 60s, he moved to San Francisco for college and thrived, even as he dealt with the racism from the gay white community at the time. He then moved to Texas to grad school, completing doctoral degrees in both optometry and pharmacy, eventually setting up a successful practice in Vancouver, and retiring very young. He was able to spend his winters in Hawai'i, summers in Vancouver, and occasionally come down to San Francisco and LA.

I find myself now thinking how unfair life can be--that someone who was so healthy and took such great care of himself was cut down so quickly by cancer, even though he had survived colon cancer years earlier; that someone who I expected to continue advising me as I started pharmacy school suddenly isn't there anymore; that someone who gave me so much practical advice about other parts of life, who made friends with anybody and everybody, who was such a giving and kind person had to leave before I was ready to let go.

And now I find myself having to do just that.

The last time I saw him in real life was rushed, since I had to schedule him in between working, moving to my new apartment in SF, and seeing him for dim sum. He sat next to me, ordered dim sum in Cantonese for me (even though I knew how to do it anyway), served me, and joked about all the other queens at the table. When I had to leave too soon, he hugged me, and held my hand, saying, "I'll see you next time--it's so good to see you." I still sent him e-mails every so often, updating him on my progress, getting the interviews to the schools, telling him about my evolving personal life, etc. The last e-mail I sent him was telling him that I had gotten accepted to Hawai'i. He didn't respond right away, which I didn't think was all that unusual since he usually takes about a week or so to respond. The phone call I got today from my friend brought me back down to reality--and made me realize that I still have to appreciate everything and everyone around me now.

I find myself trying to rationalize this--that people enter and leave our lives at the appropriate times and moments, that they provide a certain something in your life that you can't provide yourself; but part of me just wishes that this wasn't so abrupt.

I know Tak is in a better place, and that hopefully he didn't suffer long, and that he died knowing that he was loved by many people around him.

Including me.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The bestest birthday ever!

Let's just say that turning 35 has seriously rocked in ways that I was totally not expecting. I think the main reason why is that things are moving forward in my life in terms of school--after having found out that I got accepted to pharmacy school in Hawai'i-Hilo a couple weeks beforehand and waiting to hear about UCSF while also getting ready for my interview at Touro this coming Thursday.

The other cool thing is having reconnected with a lot of friends and family through Facebook from childhood, high school and college. Yeah, Facebook is something that's poohpoohed a lot, but at the same time, it does have some utility. The realization that more people know about me on the web is a little shocking even though I've been on the net for 10+ years. It could explain why I've kept my private life very private and that the number of people who really know me are very few, even though it appears that I venture into TMI on facebook.

I also got to meet Stan from The Sweetest Tongue when he was visiting Ernie last weekend, and I was able to do my tour of SF (Korean fro-yo, and musubi with deep fried breaded spam!), and got to know another Asian Am bear/cub from the net (considering that I know all of maybe 5). And watching Ernie totally get fangirl'd by a friend at Dragon was pretty frickin' hilarious too.

Sobering moment that I am getting older: When Stan needed to find someone who grew up as a gay teenager in the 80s and I volunteered to be interviewed as a primary source, then suddenly realizing that the 80s was 20 years ago and it's been nearly 20 years that I've been fruity. Gah.

Unexpected surprise as I get older: Getting carded more, and having people shocked that I'm 35 when they think I'm in my 20s.

Best surprise: All the sweet birthday wishes from friends and family around the world.

Thanks for helping my turning 35 be so memorable.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Breakup Post with Year 34

I'm deliberately stealing a page from MJ's Annual Breakup Post, well, because she's just fucking awesome.

Dear 34,

I'm not sure what to make of you. You came into my life in the middle of major emotional upheaval and uncertainty, and like most people, when they're confronted with a batshit-crazy Filipino guy do what most people would normally do: grab a bowl of popcorn, sit back and watch the histrionics unfold and stare at the weirdness of it all.

You saw me gain an enormous amount of weight in a short amount of time, only to watch me lose it just as quickly. You saw me go through the anticipation of waiting to hear about pharmacy schools, then get dicked around for months until the final rejection when I couldn't take it anymore. And, you saw me go through the craziness of trying to understand why certain people were getting out of my life--only to see some pretty awesome people take their places. Like a patient boyfriend--who's about to lose his patience, especially since our relationship was ending, and you knew it, you gave me all these really cool things to remember you by, like getting into Hawai'i for pharmacy school. But I haven't forgotten all the shit you put me through.

So I'm not sure what to make of you as I push you away and let Mr. 35 into my life. Part of me really wants to just say, "Fuck you," and gleefully take 35's hand and get on with it. But then, part of me also realizes that you, 34, were there just to let me go through my shit, and sometimes that's exactly what a crazy batshit Filipino guy needs: an audience.

Thanks, 34, for the weird ride--but I don't think I want to go through that again.

Smooches,
Efi

PS If you DO come back again, can you bring back more hot men into my life? I'd really appreciate it.

Monday, February 02, 2009

"Immortality?"

So I'm going to be a subject for this study where blood is being drawn for a whole bunch of experiments on specific genes where the subjects are people of color. One part of the consent form was intriguing, since it states that my white blood cells could become "immortalized" in order to run potentially other experiments in the future on the impact of drugs on different folks of color.

Given that it'll be six years since my mom passed away this coming Saturday, it's got me thinking about mortality, "immortality", and what people remember most about each other, particularly when someone's died. If one reads my old blog postings, the first couple years were really focused on responding to my mom's death and seeing how that's changed and evolved as the years went by. Considering it's been 6 years since my mom passed, there are times when it feels like it just happened a few days ago--and there are times when it felt like an eternity. Looking back, I do appreciate my mom for who she was...and I've accepted that she wasn't perfect.

I do remember that one of her obsessions was that she wanted people to remember her, usually based on the accomplishments that my sister and I did (or didn't do). I guess it's pretty normal for people to do that, but it felt growing up that she really only focused on us just so that people would look at her positively. Now I know different.

What is immortality, anyway? is it to be remembered by everybody for one thing that one does, that makes an impact? Is it to be fondly remembered or to be absolutely hated? Is it being known as a bunch of cells that are artificially kept alive to reproduce, even when the person itself no longer exists?

For me--for now, the most satisfying answer is to know that I've affected the people that I care and love for in one way or another. That in one short part of his or her life, that I cared for someone as much as he or she did for me. Looking at the bulk of my friends and family, especially the ones that I've kept in touch with--or re-established contact with, it's amazing to me how many people I know who care enough to at least maintain contact with me. Of course, the most important and closest people are those who I can pick up and maintain a relationship with, even when it's been years, or even decades, since we physically saw each other, and yet when we talk, the years melt away, and there's no awkwardness. I'm glad that I can say that I have a few friends who are like that.

I think if anything, sociology taught me that it's very rare that one person can change the entire world--but it's very easy for one person to change the world around him or her.

I sometimes wonder if my mom ever realized that.

Friday, January 23, 2009

We're #4, bitches!

So the collective blog that I write for, 8Asians, has been nominated for the 2009 Bloggies, one of the most well known blogging awards around. Our fearless leader/Bloggie Hall of Famer, Ernie, has done a fabulous job of keeping all 8+ of us in line as we blog about general Asian American craziness.

Unfortunately, there's no way in hell we're gonna win since 3 of the blogs are from Gawker Media, Gawker, Wonkette and Jezebel and these blogs literally have hundreds of times more traffic than we do, so we're just aiming to be #4.

And if you go to the Bloggies site, you'll also get to see 75% of my face, flanked between Ernie and Joz!



So please vote--and make us #4, because #5 will make us really sad.

Monday, January 19, 2009

How did Snow White really wake up?

It's not what you think...

Wow, it's been a while...

So I haven't posted anything on my blog in a while, especially since I've been posting other stuff elsewhere, like my twitter and 8Asians, so I haven't had much incentive to write here lately.

Well, actually I have, I just haven't felt comfortable sharing--and most of the people who want to know about me..already do. I've gone through some pretty profound changes and realizations the past few months, and I'm still trying to make sense of it all before I'm ready to regurgitate it on here. Also, these things focus on people who may or may not be comfortable with me talking about it, so out of courtesy, I'm keeping it quiet.

For the most part, things have remained relatively static, which is a good thing in terms of my jobs; and other things are in motion. I reapplied for pharmacy school and got interviews again for UCSF and Hawaii-Hilo, and this time around I'm going to Vegas to interview in Hawaii in February, with UCSF's interview being the week prior. The odds seem really stacked in my favor this time around, as Hawaii invited me to interview without submitting a supplemental for 2009. UCSF invited me for an interview even though they cut the number of invites by a quarter, so I have a 50% chance of getting in at this point.

I'm enjoying being back in SF, and on the one hand, I've been loving the fact I'm here--the ironic thing is that I'm focusing on things I need to get done personally, so I'm actually seeing people somewhat less than I used to, or want to. I've noticed that I'm a lot less aggro than I used to be--I guess walking to work every day tends to lower my stress levels.

I guess I'm also finding myself in the all-too-familiar state of being in flux since I won't know where I'll be for the next 4 years until the end of March. I really do find myself really wanting to stay in SF since I have very little incentive to uproot my life and go to Hawaii, but at the same time, it is appealing for obvious reasons.

It almost seems like that in order for me to move on with my life, I've been making peace with all sorts of different parts of my life that were not taken care of for a while. Most of it's led to a good conclusion and re-integrating people in my life; a lot of it, though, has been heartbreaking since I've had to let people and relationships go, or that in order for me to save my sanity, I have to say that I've worked hard enough, and can't do anymore. It's really hard to do so, even though I know that I can't change things in any way, and I am a better person because of it--I just wish that the people that I want in my life could be there...and for one reason or another, they can't. For the most part, it's fine. I am finding new friends and reconnecting with old ones who can be though and that's been a great experience. Angst is something that looks all right on someone in their 20s--with me nearing 35, it's just become tedious.

A friend of mine casually mentioned that this probably is a birthing process of sorts--and in some ways, it makes sense. I just wish it wasn't so painful.