Dive Tables may be the bane of my existence.

So for this trip I have been working very hard on getting dive certified. When I first thought about learning to Scuba Dive I thought it would be relatively easy to do and that it wasn’t that complicated. I was so wrong in so many ways.

Learning to dive is like taking a college class. The online course is divided up into 5 sections, each with 150+ pages of learning material. This does not include the controlled indoor and outdoor dives you have to do to practice all of the skills you read and learn about in the online portions. Dive tables are probably one of the most important things to learn because it can help prevent Decompression Sickness, also known as the Bends, as well as make sure you have an awesome diving experience with an adequate amount of time underwater.

When you dive your tank is 21% oxygen and the rest is Nitrogen, as you dive the air in the tank decreases in volume and increases in density causing more nitrogen to enter your body (i think I’m getting this right?) which means Nitrogen builds up in your body as you dive creating bubbles, which is why it’s so important to take safety stops every 5 meters/15 feet. So what is Decompression Sickness? Decompression sickness is a serious medical condition caused by nitrogen bubbles within your blood and body tissues. If the excess nitrogen in your body tissues is too high, when you ascend and surface, the nitrogen may come out of solution faster than your body can eliminate it, forming bubbles. These bubbles are usually in joints, fatty tissues and environmental factors can be huge game changers on how/when/where they form. How do we make sure this doesn’t happen? By taking safety stops to allow the nitrogen to work its way out safely but also by using dive tables to ensure you’re not diving out of a safe depth and time.

Least to say I’ve never been good at math and figuring the table out involves math. If it’s your first dive it’s easy, if you are doing a second dive in a close period to the first dive you have to account for the nitrogen that hasn’t worked its way out of the body yet. The residual Nitrogen is also why you’re not allowed to fly the same day you dive. So I’ve taken this test three times now and just feel like the biggest idiot on the planet for not getting something that seems relatively simple. So for tonight, I gave the test a break and headed over to a friend’s house where there were double chocolate s’mores, a bonfire, great people and a telescope to look at the stars.

Signing off!

-NG.

 

Food and Beer places I MUST go!!!

So one more week and I am off on a grand adventure! I’m so excited!! I was trying to think of places that would be fun to visit while I’m there and then started thinking about beer. And food. And all the fun beer and food I want to try! So here’s my Top 5 Foodie Bucket List of Hong Kong!!!!

  1. Hong Kong Beer Co was recently relaunched by a company that has been in the craft beer business for about 100 years, with experience in the Asia and American craft beer markets, however this brewery is the first of its kind and is the Pioneer of Craft Brewing in Asia but with 6 year-round beers and 2 specialty beers I should be in for a treat.
  2. Little Lab A funky cocktail bar with some crazy mixtures. One of their drinks is called ‘HK Tea Time’ and the recipe is as follows: 12-year Dewar’s, house-made milk tea syrup and evaporated milk, topped with off craft beer and chocolate bitters.
  3. Lion Rock Brewery I liked the name of this one so naturally I had to put it on the list. I have never had a White IPA before and they boast one named Icy Lotus that I am dying to try. White IPA is a stylish newcomer that unites the best of Witbier and American IPA: light malts, strong hops, and aroma aplenty. A fragrant blend of blueberry, orange peel, passion fruit, and lychee.
  4. The Markets! Oh there are so many Markets in Hong Kong, from Ladies Market to Temple Street Night Markets you can find all sorts of goodies, and I plan on doing some shopping as well as hitting up as many street food vendors I can handle. Family members and close friends should expect some strange souvenirs in their mailboxes 😉
  5. Oddies Foodies is a Gelato shop with crazy flavors like curry gelato, swirled with mango jam, roasted peanuts, and coconut macaroon. In March they had one that I could probably die happy trying called PopCone which had salted caramel gelato, caramel popcorn, roasted almonds, burnt vanilla semifreddo, apple compote and dulce de leche. Yummmmmm.

 

One more week and I will be in HK!!!!!!

Nerdy Gypsy

Travel Anxiety?

My favorite feeling in the world is right before the airplane takes off. The entire plane tightens up as it prepares to jet forward towards the speed of 567 MPH (or .85 Mach.) I always imagined the plane to be cat-like, sitting back on its haunches before taking off to anywhere you want to go. The first time I boarded an airplane I was 7 years old and off to Disneyland with my family, I was in first grade and was even allowed to skip a little school for the trip. Since then I have flown countless times and I’d like to think I don’t get too bad anxiety when I travel. A pretty standard level of ‘Oh god what do I want to wear while I’m there?’ and ‘Holy god, does this make me look ridiculous?’ was to be expected, I think I just fear that it’s not real, it is my first major international trip and what I’ve been dreaming of my entire life.

Recently the biggest challenge has been trying to figure out the most effective way of packing. Am I really going to be doing that much shopping there? Does it make sense to pack a wardrobe? I’ve vetoed taking any toiletries except for my make up and tooth-brush, as far as I can tell it makes much much more sense to pick those things up there. How many pairs of shoes do you think I’ll need?

You’re probably wondering where I am off to this time, and I cannot wait to tell you, but first you’re gonna have to guess. Some fun facts about where I am going:

  1. It boasts one of the world’s highest per-capita concentrations of cafes and restaurants at one restaurant for every 600 people.
  2. It consumes triple the world average of tea at a total of 9.8 million kilograms annual. This equates to an average of 1.4 kilograms of tea per person in ____ ____ per year. The world’s most expensive tea available in ____ ____ is Iron Buddha at USD2576.92 per kilogram.
  3. It was one of the stops in French writer Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” published in 1873.
  4. It is actually composed of more than 200 islands.
  5. It ended New York’s 11-year reign as the home of the world’s most expensive district for retailers as luxury-brand companies like Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Chanel, Aigner, Christian Dior and Marc Jacobs competed for space to set up flagship stores selling their goods to mainland Chinese tourists. In 2012, the average annual rents at Causeway Bay was USD338.87 per square foot.

Have you figured it out yet? This isn’t my only stop in South East Asia, while visiting I will also be making a stop into Thailand to go diving off of Kata Beach. I am hoping to swim with sharks while I am down there, as I love the teethy dudes to pieces. Sharks may be one of the coolest animals in current times. I will be bringing an underwater camera for these adventures, I cannot wait to post the pictures ^_^

Anyway, I suppose I better do the adult thing and look nice for work.

回头见!

Huítóu jiàn!

Sarah



A Grand Adventure

Ahhh this past year has been tough. I left my relationship, moved back to Vermont and most recently moved to Boston, Mass. Sometimes I worry that my life is a little too Eat, Pray, Love but then I remember that … Continue reading

您好!

So least to say my studies are going well, but complicated. I really need to make friends with someone who speaks this language fluently because my American tongue is having a hard time picking up the tonal points on it’s own. I was told that the ear to mouth relationship with this language is totally different from American. I am trying really hard to get the pronunciations correct because this is one of those languages where a downward toned word is completely different from the same word with an upward tone. Shaping my mouth around those words is trickier than I thought it would be, which is new for me, I tend to pick up languages very quickly.

Ever since I was a kid language has fascinated me, the history of how we’ve gotten so many dialects is just incredible. Although we don’t know exactly where the origin of language started we do know that today there are about 5,000 different languages spoken through out the world today, a third of these being in Africa alone. Between those 5,000 languages they have been grouped into 20 different families which historians believe each family has a common ancestor of language. The most common language is Indo-European languages which have been around since about 2000 BC. The language I am studying is believed to originate from a group of Nomads from Southern Arabia. Historically speaking the place I am visiting was the hub for incense trade, which made it a very important part of language history.

So, if you know what language I am talking about and want to help me study comment below or email me at: sctottn@gmail.com!!!

Writing Prompt: Describe snowboarding

My little sister and I goofing off before we hit the mountain. She's a skier and I'm a boarder, proof that we can live in harmony ;p

My little sister and I goofing off before we hit the mountain. She’s a skier and I’m a boarder, proof that we can live in harmony ;p

It’s no secret that I’m a snow bunny. I live for being at the mountain regardless of how average I am at it. It always starts when I wake up, my toes tickle me awake as my chest warms to welcome me to the day. My legs, on the other hand, force me to get out of bed in the most antsy of fashions. Sometimes it’s hard to even focus enough to eat, I do because I should but I’ll be damned if it’s not like trying to force a sugar high two-year-old to sit.

As soon as that crisp mountain air touches my nose I know nothing can touch me. I start relaxing into my body and into a more solid foundation. I am centered, focused and a force to be reckoned with. I feel sexiest on the mountain and covered with nice, warm, layers. You can bet sun or snowfall that I am headed to that mountain to experience my ultimate freedom.

Once I am at the mountain I know I am home and the snow shimmers a friendly ‘hello’ in a multitude of colors just for me. Snow is not white. My feet fit knowingly into my boots and with each click of the bindings my heart stutters and skips, if I’m lucky I’m there early enough to be the first one to carve their name into the side of the mountain. Even the cold bite of the ski lift against my legs after a hot run feels like heaven.

From the top of the mountain you know why the Gods and Goddesses would have picked Mount Olympus as their home, the view is breathtaking. You can see forever on a clear day, watching the mountains fade into that soft periwinkle blue before disappearing into the horizon. The chilly air stings my cheeks, sinking into the bones in my face, as I snap into my bindings and head down the mountain. My hips already know this motion, they live for this as much as I do.

“Don’t you want kids?”

So obviously when I tell people about the fact that I travel a lot, and that I plan to travel more, they have a lot of questions. Lately the question of whether or not I want a family has been brought up and I want to make one thing VERY clear:

Me traveling now is not sacrificing me having a family later. Also: I am 22 years old and the LAST THING I need is to have a baby.

How does me traveling around the world keep me from ever having a family? I mean it is true that traveling as much as I do makes it hard to have a relationship because I am always on the move and yes that means my relationships tend to not last as long as someone who would generally stay in one place but that doesn’t mean I can’t have one, after all I am about to hit my one year with Brian and to assume that my ability to date is so far deterred by my love and passion for travel is down right insulting. Why on EARTH would I date a guy who doesn’t like to travel, who would keep me from doing what I love so much? If you were a bookworm would you stop reading books because your intelligence might ‘intimidate’ someone? Hell no. You’d keep right on reading, knowing that you’d find someone who would appreciate you for you.

Now you may call me selfish for this, and you would be correct in that statement, but I see nothing wrong with being a little selfish. In fact it’s better that I can admit to it than deny myself the life that I want just so people don’t deem me as selfish. I absolutely refuse to fill a roll that someone else thinks I should fill just because that’s the way they think that life should go. The same reason that I don’t have kids or a desire to start a family until I am done getting all my ya-ya’s out is the same reason I don’t own a dog: They require too much attention. If I can’t even own a dog then how the hell am I supposed to be a parent?

I suppose a lot of this feedback has been because I am a strong, independent, woman who don’t need no man but the fact of the matter is if the first question you are going to ask me about my adventures is “Well don’t you want a family some day?” then you may be living in the dark ages. I can still love, I can still have a family, I can still do all of these things without sacrificing myself and my needs and my wants just to uphold a social standard. There is no reason why I should have to go to high school, graduate, go to a four year college, graduate then settle down and pop out kids. There is every reason why I should travel around the world and travel. There is every reason why I should wait to have children because in the long run, I am still just a really big kid who happens to pay taxes and drive.

Plus, a long long time ago I made a promise to myself and it’s something I have held on to since: The only person I will marry is a person who can keep up with me while I travel around the world. I refuse to give this up.