Many of our patients have wondered how we met, and many assume that we met in school. The answer is…we sort of met in school. Read on to find out how we truly met.
We met while I was a dental resident in the Lutheran Medical Center's Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Program in Albany, N.Y. During my time in Albany, I made great friends, visited my cousin frequently in NYC, fell in love with Dunkin' Donut's coffee, gained an excellent dental education, and was mentored and cared for by amazing, kind, and extremely skilled faculty members of the AEGD program.
One particular faculty member decided to play cupid and intentionally introduced me to his best friend and dental school classmate, Dr. Sung Ju. My teacher and Sung graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in 2002. I graduated from the University of Southern California School of Dentistry in 2008.
My teacher told me about Sung every now and then during the first few months of my program. I declined the introduction stating I was not interested in a relationship, especially a long-term one, because my goals were to focus on my education and move back home to California upon completing my program.
Did my teacher honor my wishes at that time? You guessed it… He did not, and thank goodness for that. He knew better than me and followed through with his original plan to play cupid for us.
I can't remember the day exactly, but I remember it was a Friday afternoon sometime in October or November of 2008 when Sung and I first met. I was finishing my day at the clinic and making my usual rounds of saying good-bye to my teachers and clinic staff. When I went to say good-bye to my teacher, he was in the middle of having a cleaning. The person cleaning my teacher's teeth that day was my future husband! We were both timid and shy, said our hellos, introduced ourselves briefly, did the small talk and ended our conversation with something along the lines of "Nice to meet you and take care." And, I remember leaving the clinic saying to myself, "Wow, he's pretty cute!"
A few weeks later, Sung and I ran into each other at the Greater New York Dental Meeting located in Times Square. I was entering the convention center, and he was leaving. I was on my way in to begin my shift as a temporary salesperson for my friend's dental light eyewear company at the event. We were both stunned and shocked to see each other on the entrance steps. I could tell we were both nervous and excited to see each other. I don't remember what we said, but I remember the feelings of awe, excitement, nervousness, and amazement. I didn't expect to see him there, and he didn't expect to see me either. It's surreal looking back on how we met by chance on those steps. As the quote says, "Love works in mysterious ways," and it indeed did that day!
Later that evening, my teacher called me, texted me on my cell phone, and invited me to a social gathering with my fellow residents and that Sung would be there, too. I remember laying on my cousin's air mattress in her apartment located in Queens, NY. Before I answered my teacher, I confided in my cousin about Sung and how I felt about him – excited, nervous, and the butterflies in my stomach feeling. She encouraged me to say yes and have fun.
I excitedly said yes to my teacher a few minutes later on the phone and soon found myself going on an adventure that evening, like a scene from the famous comedy-drama series, Sex & The City. I hopped on the subway from my cousin's apartment, made my way to the restaurant in NYC, strutted in heels to the restaurant, and had a fun and exciting time dancing and sharing laughs, stories, food, and drinks with Sung. Sung and I both look back on this evening and agree that this was one of our best memories together, and this was the very moment we knew we were meant for each other.
A few days later, with my teacher's help again, we exchanged phone numbers and began our relationship. Now, you know how we truly met. So, the answer remains the same. We sort of met in school.
Author: Dr. Jeannie Ju