Popped the Question





My big project has been planning a medical travel trip for the client. From day one and calling the offices to currently preparing all the medical history documents to send to the doctors’ office (and a hardcopy for the client to bring with him), I have watched this project unfold. I have also researched the doctors, been in contact with their offices, and learned about the client’s medical concerns. A month of planning will be over in a week, and I really want to be a part of its conclusion.

My wish was to travel with them to Hong Kong to observe how the doctors work. I do not expect them to act differently than American doctors, but these are prestigious doctors who will only see patients based on referrals. This is such a rare opportunity since I do not think I will ever be important enough to travel to Hong Kong to have a consultation with a celebrity doctor. The desire has been slowly growing as I continued preparing for the trip.

Today was the day I finally mustered the courage to ask my supervisor. At first, she hesitated. This is when I quickly interjected that it was a huge request and it is fine if she says no because I will completely understand. She then gives me a maybe. She said it was fairly late notice. I agreed with her, but I wanted to prove myself before making such a big request.

We had a trip meeting yesterday and I took on a few extra responsibilities (such as making the medical binder for the physician and the travel binder for the client) just in case I was going to ask the question. As she thought about it more, she said she would have to think about the budget because of airfare and hotel. I told her that I would only be there for less than a day (I did not want to miss that much school since I am technically here for study abroad), and I could just stay at my aunt’s place (she did ask me to come back). She finally told me to look at plane tickets and give her a list of how I could contribute to the trip.

I was overjoyed. I quickly Googled plane tickets. $283 roundtrip was not that bad. I strategically picked the date that she was going to see three of the doctors (including the most prestigious one). I sent the plane ticket details to her and then I started on the list of my potential contributions. I wanted to make sure it highlighted all the services I could provide for her along with what the trip would mean to me. This was my list:


  1. Have been the one communicating with the doctor’s offices, so can provide familiarity with the point of contact (especially Oasis of Hope and Dr. Li)
  2. (I know the consultation is for you) could help elaborate on the client’s need if you want to share with the doctor to prepare them
  3. Offer opinion of doctor’s services (another pair of eyes to observe little details that could otherwise be overlooked)
  4. Take minutes (I know the butler will be taking notes, but I could also jot a few things down)
    • I could also organize/summarize the notes afterward (both yours and client’s, if you like). I would have a better idea of how to do so if I was at the appointment.


  1. Would be able to observe how a foreign doctor interacts with their patients (note the cultural difference between doctor-patient relationship, which might be useful since I would not be specifically just treating Americans in America)
  2. Brush up on some medical terminology (useful in any language)
  3. Learn more about how doctors diagnose (just a consultation so would not be too detailed on the patient)

I was also talking with the study abroad coordinator to make sure the CET side was good. It is rainy season in Shanghai, but this is when Cloud 9 turned into a rain cloud. Turns out I misinterpreted the re-entry rule. It is not that you have 144 hours to go to a foreign country. It is you have 144 hours after returning from wherever to leave China. Meaning, if I were to go on Tuesday, I would not be able to stay, or I would be staying illegally. I was so tempted to ask Nova what would happen, but I figured it was not worth.

The worst part was telling my supervisor about what I found out. She apparently already told the team that I was going, so I think she would have let me go, which makes it that much worse. I felt so bad for inconveniencing her, but I also feel bad for myself. I let my hopes get too high.

Overall, I am not devastated. Disappointed, very. I think I will survive though. I just wish China was not so strict! However, this forced me to step way outside my comfort zone and made to ask if even I knew there was a high chance I would get rejected. It was a roundabout rejection, but technically my supervisor would have let me go. Maybe next time…