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Summer Travels with Tran

From Brandon Tran, ASDOH Class of 2022

Sometimes, time drags on forever at school. But a month off for the current D2s flew by. It has been three weeks since myself and my D2 classmates came back from our month long summer holiday. Many of us went abroad to explore another side of the world, realizing that it might be the last long break ever for the rest of our careers, at least that is how I felt. I took the month to explore Thailand for two weeks and then spend time with family for the remaining two weeks.

Thailand was beautiful, delicious, and energetic yet at the same time very calming. I had the opportunity of staying in Bangkok and Krabi, a Thai province known for its many jaw-dropping cliffs and islands. While in Bangkok, I was able to stay in the hustling city but also in the outskirts where I resided in a Buddhist monastery. Entering Thailand, I absolutely had no idea how developed Thailand was. The flow of life in Thailand was incomparable to New Delhi, India which I had the pleasure of visiting twice before. In the midst of hundreds of pedestrians and food stalls, as well as 24/7 traffic on the roads, there are Buddhist monasteries at every corner which house monastics. Standing at the door of the monastery and looking down to the road, I was amazed by how such a place known for its quiet and calming atmosphere was able to function in such a busy and hectic city. Comparably, there are many skyscrapers in Bangkok for residential or commercial uses. Luckily enough, I was able to get a 360 degree view of the city which was absolutely stunning.

What I enjoyed most of Bangkok was the availability of street food. Being a dental student living off of loans, I knew I had to be frugal during this trip. I was able to hunt down restaurants and street food stalls that serve plates of freshly made noodles and rice for less than $2 each. Even the cost of staying the night in the city was roughly $10 per night, which can never be found here in the States. Unfortunately though, being a vegetarian in Thailand was quite hard. Almost everything sold contained meat! Thankfully, I was able to learn a few words in Thai and was able to order food where no meat was included. I will have to admit though that I did have some “cheat days” where I did try some dishes containing non-vegetarian items….

Although I got sunburnt in Krabi, it was well worth the trip. I could not deny the $75 round trip and similar low cost of living in Krabi. The most memorable part of Krabi was the ‘7 Island Sunset Tour’. I was able to visit seven different islands, snorkel with fish swimming right past me, chow down on food on the beach, and watch a very entertaining yet frightening fire show, Also in Krabi, I was able to record myself dancing Bhangra with hundreds of eyes staring at me (very awkward), receive a $4/hour Thai massage with cool breeze at the beachfront, meet other foreigners from around the world (putting my networking skills into action), and so much more!

Those two weeks in Thailand wrapped up real quickly. I then spent the remaining two weeks at home in Texas where soon after reaching Houston, I unfortunately witnessed the passing of my cousin. For two weeks, I was able to meet family members I had not seen in years, but also contemplate how we should all live our lives. Although my cousin’s dream of getting into a medical residency program was not fulfilled during his very short lived life, he was always very hopeful, compassionate and altruistic. It made me make a vow to live a life like his.

Now that we are back in school, cutting crown preparations, fabricating provisionals, poking each other with periodontal instruments, treatment planning and perfecting our operative skills, I am enjoying it all. While my summer holiday was very memorable and one to never forget, I have truly enjoyed being back at ASDOH, meeting the new D1s, and continuing to learn what it takes to be a competent and compassionate dentist who will soon be an ASDOH graduate.

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