Birthday Ramblings

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August 24th, 2014

Well…. it’s my BIRTHDAY (at least here in Saipan time)! I think in general people have mixed feelings about their thirtieth birthday so I figured I would share mine here. As part of my routine on my birthday, I have emailed some people from various parts of my life and posted this site on social media — partially selfishly — because I really enjoy connecting with people (even if it is just via email) to hear how they are doing. So if you are visiting for the first time… as we all said on our high school yearbooks, KIT please!

*(for those in the younger or older generation: KIT = keep in touch)

If someone asked ME for an update on my life, it may look something like this:

“Well, it’s a little complicated actually! After high school, there was college and medical school in Houston, I moved to Philadelphia for my residency in pediatrics… and then moved to a small island called Saipan in the Pacific where I worked for a year.. and then went to San Francisco to do my first year of pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship there … and am now living back in Saipan to complete my fellowship (?! insert confused look here) and work here as a pediatrician.” (I usually say this VERY fast all in one breath so it doesn’t sound as overwhelming as it could)

To describe my last decade would probably include phrases like: “I really enjoyed my time ___” (said many times to describe many things), “While it was challenging, it was so great because it was doing what I wanted to do” (again, to describe so many things), and “I learned so much from ______ and would do it again”

Some additional highlights include an amazing church home in Houston, a thoroughly challenging but working/living/laughing/learning-with-the-best-people-in-the-world experience in residency, a number of international trips (!! actually now that I think about it, SO many new passport stamps!).. and to top it all off, all the new people I now am privileged to know. Your horizons are supposed to expand by going to college and while I can DEFINITELY say that is true about my life since age 20, it is the PEOPLE that have enriched it. Some people have only been involved in my life for a few minutes and some people have occupied a space in the circle of my life permanently.

I must especially comment on my patients. First of all, the fact that I can say “my patients” is such a big part of the blessing of the past ten years. While I rag on people for wanting to be doctors and “putting themselves through all this”… I must be real and acknowledge that special bond between patient and physician that is so meaningful. If I had to pick one group of people who have made me look at life differently, hands down .. for the REST of my life, the answer will always be ‘my patients’.

Most people will ask me how I am celebrating my birthday but I’ve never been a big birthday celebrator. I’ve never ever been a great gift-giver or receiver either :) but I do take advantage of my birthday as a time to reflect.

Here are some excepts from my personal journal reflections today. Most of it is like my blog – stream of consciousness!

“Thirty is a big birthday.. mixed feelings on this one” In my reflections, decided to write down a few overall goals and I think they do a good job of reflecting some overarching thoughts about my life now:
– stay humble
– make a difference
– reconnect with God
– be generous (with my love, my time, my knowledge)
– be grateful (… see blog!)

“My life thus far has taken me more places than most, and I have been lucky enough to do things both mainstream and off the beaten path — both of which have greatly enriched me. Without the formal training, the friends I’ve made in normal life situations, the support I have, the roof and other markers of financial stability I have.. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy some of the things I do.” “Without the unconventional experiences of seeing the other side — travel abroad, being aware of needs of the under-resourced, having the time to listen to the stories of those with less, living in places where priorities are different — allows me to be able to create a balance that is unique.” “It also involves courage to implement.. it challenges me to be creative and introspective… it reminds me that I will make mistakes and will have to learn from them”

Reading that again, I see that I have a full life and am glad for the challenges and am glad for the ups and downs. I can only hope that I continue to see the glass half full and face with grace and determination the things to come.

In light of the above, I am planning on spending the day journaling, going to church, meeting with friends for lunch, getting a massage, going for a leisurely run, watching sunset, and then probably doing some work. Not anything super crazy or special for my current island living and relatively normal for a day after a full day of hospital work and call.


A special thank you to my parents and family (and some that are practically family). As I tell my patient’s parents all the time, every hour will seem to pass very slowly but the years will fly by. I’m sure these past thirty have flown by for those around me. But THANK YOU all of those who invested in me and continue to invest in me. Not just monetarily but with their love and support however obvious or not obvious. There were probably SO many moments as I child that I was instructed, mentored, loved and cherished that I do not really remember.. but they make me who I am today.

If you ever want to know why I am the way I am, I owe it to these people more than anyone else in the world.


Please feel free to share this blog with others, and I hope to update you soon about my somewhat crazy, offbeat but mainstream life. :)

(and I promise future posts will be complete with more pictures!)

HBD …. happy birthday.. haha

** An update:

My present: the sunset today…

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4 Responses to Birthday Ramblings

  1. yangp says:

    Happy birthday, Tiff. Glad to see 30 is finding you well. I’ve been keeping up with the blog ever since you started it so I’m thankful for all your updates!

  2. manny says:

    A big Happy Birthday greeting Tiffany!

  3. RC says:

    Happy Birthday day!!!!

  4. jay says:

    Happy Birthday. Stay humble? checked! be generous? checked! be grateful? checked! reconnect with God? ….I’m going to say checked! and finally make a difference … a big fat check mark! Keep it up cuz you’re doing great!

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