Hong Kong was made for [Food] Lovers

I have officially been in this city for five days and it’s safe to say I am completely enamored with the place. It’s like all of my favorite cities combined and the FOOD, oh my god the Food here is phenomenal. There are restaurants everywhere, literally everywhere. In old Police Headquarters that have been renovated to dark alleyways that make you question if you’re even in the right place. This post is about one of those places hidden in a dark alleyway.

Down in Central Hong Kong there is a hidden gem called The Brick House. To get there is an adventure, you wont forget.

My cousin, Jason, has always had good taste in food; even so when he told me he wanted to take me to his favorite Mexican joint in Hong Kong I was entirely skeptical of the whole idea. I lived on the boarder of Mexico for two years and had sense become a serious snob about my Tacos. Northern United States is known for it’s terrible Mexican food and I was 8005 miles from Boston, I flew over the North Pole to get here. I agreed anyway, feeling apprehensive about trying Mexican Food in a city known for it’s Dim Sum.

To get to the restaurant you first have to find the entrance, and it’s hardly obvious. When we first got to the end of the alleyway I thought we were just taking a short cut like we often did to get around the city and avoid the heavy foot traffic. At the beginning of the alley there was a much more elderly man singing in what I could only assume was Cantonese. His voice rose and dropped beautifully while his notes hung in the heavy humidity that rules Hong Kong during the summer months. As soon as I looked beyond him and further into the alley I started getting nervous. Although Hong Kong is a relatively safe city I had been living in dangerous areas the last four years that if you walked down a place like this you were asking for trouble, but I trusted Jason and knew the end goal would be worth it, and it was.

The walls leading into the restaurant are smothered in Street Art, graffiti and love notes.

Once you enter the restaurant you are greeted by a warm and welcoming atmosphere where the tables for large parties are half inside, half outside with double seating along the alleyway. The walls inside the restaurant are also covered in street art. I was in heaven. Soon I was enveloped by the life of the restaurant, the music was beachy and the Margaritas were strong. I couldn’t wait to order food and try some of their delicious looking options.

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Naturally we started with Chips and Guacamole, because no visit to any Latino restaurant is complete without copious amounts of Guacamole…. I could also live off of Guac, it’s not only my favorite but the Brick House NAILED it. Also, the Salsa? Perfect!!!!

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Best. Ceviche. Ever.

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My new best friends ❤

Now anyone who knows me knows how freaked out I am by fish or eating fish or thinking about eating fish. The first time I tried Ceviche it took my friend Caroline and her Fiancee, Forrest, to convince me that trying Ceviche was 1) not going to kill me and 2) was actually delicious. The thought of eating raw fish horrified me and I didn’t totally grasp the science that the acid of the citrus actually cooked the fish and therefor it was entirely safe to eat. After that first bite I’ve become a bit obsessed with the stuff, trying it every chance I get in places where I feel comfortable enough to eat the fish and Hong Kong is known for it’s excellent fish. Everyone eats seafood here. On first bite I was hooked on Brick House’s twist on Peruvian Ceviche and by far it is the best I’ve ever had (sorry San Diego, you’ve dropped off my Good Mexican Food Map.) Let me just make it very clear: If you are going to visit Hong Kong you have to go here. You have to try their Ceviche and have one of their Classic Margaritas.

And don’t you dare forget to try the tacos, with homemade soft shell and incredibly fresh meat you wont ever want to leave the restaurant. I demolished two before even taking the chance to really savor the taste, on the third taco I took notes and it’s safe to say their Chicken Tacos are the best Hong Kong has to offer.

So thank you Brick House for the incredible experience, I will be back before I leave for sure ❤

Disfruta!

NerdyGypsy

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.

 

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



The Anniversary

So I never really know what to call the day I left Vermont and never looked back. Lately I feel like this event in my life should have a name and the other night, as I stood naked in the … Continue reading

You Asked It! Moving, Women’s Rights and Rape Culture.

Trigger Warning: Discusses Rape, Harassment, Assault, Controversial Issues, and very intimate details about my life. If you are not comfortable reading this, then please continue to the next article. For kids under 16 parents should be advised.

“What first prompted you to move and why you’re so passionate about women’s rights and rape culture” 

So the person who asked me this is a personal friend of mine who I met while we were working at a less than reputable place in Louisville, KY. When we first met I had only been in Kentucky for a couple of weeks, we clicked instantly and she became one of my closest friends which is part of why this article is being posted. This post continues below the break.


I have always known that Vermont was not the place for me, when I was a little kid I attempted to run away several times but in child-like innocence I would pack too much and not be able to carry it, pack the wrong things or get about half a mile away before I would get hungry/tired/scared of the dark and would head home promptly to my nice warm bed. In that bed I would dream of far away places, magical and enchanting like New York City, and as we drove past open fields I would day dream about galloping full speed across the Scottish highlands. I was constantly reading books about every other culture that I could find, when I was five or six I was obsessed with Ancient Egyptians and read every single book I could get my little fingers on and understand. I had a high reading level to say the least.

School did not make me living in Vermont any easier, I was not in the ‘in crowd.’ A lot of people say that small towns are safer, better and more respectable than big cities and in my experience that is just not the case. Cabot is a beautiful town, but it wasn’t safe for me and getting out of Cabot became my goal in forth grade. What really sealed the deal was when I was 13.

A few things happened when I was 13 that really effected my life, there were some family issues on both sides that left me feeling very angry and very alone. The adults in my life were not how I needed them to be and it was a lot. Depression runs in my family pretty deep, I certainly wasn’t new to the concept at 13 and it got pretty destructive. I made some bad choices, burned some bridges and pushed as many people away as I possibly could. As the adults in my life were doing their thing I fell into a less than stellar crowd and made a less than stellar ‘friend’ who later raped me. Being 13 was absolute hell. He told the group of friends what happened as if I were into it and of course, small town, news travels, questions got asked and guys started to get a little more aggressive in their advances. After all I wasn’t a virgin anymore. Not only that but when I went to the Vice Principle of the school she did nothing. She didn’t report it. I disappeared from my head for three years and shut everything down. I had also caught on to cutting, something I hadn’t even thought about until the nurse had to come to each of our classes and talk to us about it because it was becoming an epidemic across the US.

In the time that I dissociated I made some really amazing friends that brought me back to being me, even when I was the biggest jerk to them sometimes. When I finally came back to my own head and actually started to be able to remember my day to day activity I was 16 years old… It had been three years of what? What do you even call the space that you are in when you’re dissociated? For those who don’t know the feeling of dissociation it’s like a vacuum pulling yourself out of your body and sometimes you watch “yourself” and sometimes you don’t. Imagine watching your body from the back seat of a car but it’s NOT you and you know it. That’s kind of what dissociation feels like.

I was unreasonably hard to deal with, especially because during all of this time I was still being sexually abused my my peers. I hated physical contact, when people would touch me it would make me nauseous to the point where I would get dizzy. The word sex turned my stomach and even putting in a tampon was too much, the thought of hands down there made me so incredibly sick to my stomach. It still does sometimes, I have never been able to have a healthy sexual relationship with myself because of this.

It took me a really long time to get out of these cycles of finding unhealthy or abusive relationships, at least that’s what it felt like. I always found myself in a dangerous or fucked up situation. I stopped trusting myself. I miscarried when I was 19, in my mind that was my fault, I hated myself. I destroyed friendships that mattered the world to me. I went back to the one person holding me back over and over again because it was all that I deserved and I was scared of something better. This mentality ended up with me in the hospital the first time for my anxiety, the second time was because I overdosed on my newly prescribed anti-depressants. It was really really brutal and I really really needed help.

There had been so many times in my life that things could have changed if someone had stepped in and stood up for me when I was a teen. If I had even let them step in. The things I went through left physical scars on my body, self inflicted and otherwise that will probably never fade. People accepted what I went through, accused me of lying, asked me what I did to provoke it, told me and reminded me it was my fault over and over and over again. And that was all in a small town in the USA. Where we don’t have gangs or massive drug violence. I wasn’t stood up for when I needed someone to stand up for me, partially because the adults in my life really did have really difficult things to deal with on their own. I understood that. I want to change that.

When I think back about all of these things I want to change all of that history and give my teen self the information of what was happening, what rape actually was and how to get help after it happens, how to deal with depression and anxiety. I wish I hadn’t felt so alone and I wish I had the resources on hand to be able to change it. Then I think about my future and if I ever have children of my own, the information they will need to survive and how I can provide the best life for them I can and I look at our current social situation and I get worried. Rape Culture is so prominent and Women’s Rights are getting punched at daily. I still am scared walking down the street alone at night and I am a well equipped 23-year-old woman, what about my future 17-year-old daughter when she sneaks out of the house one night to go hang out with what’s his face? Will she have everything she needs to feel and be safe? Will she be prepared if something happens?

I do not want this future for my daughters or anyone else’s daughters. I want them to love themselves fully and without regret and have the resources to do so even when things go wrong. I don’t want them to be embarrassed to wear bikinis, or feel in danger wearing a short skirt on a hot day. I want them to be able to dance and laugh fully and often. And if I want all of these things than I need to be the one to change how women and their rights are viewed every single day. I model with my scars because they are a part of me, just like my piercings and tattoos. I write on here about all of my adventures because I fought like hell and goddamn it I deserve it. I will be damned if I let them win. I fight for Women’s Rights because we deserve them, we are human. We deserve to love ourselves unconditionally and to have the ability to take care of our bodies. I fight against Rape Culture because I have an amazing little sister who I love who is 14 now and if something were to ever happen I would want  someone to stand up for her. I want her to have those resources she will hopefully never need.

I hope this answered your question, K ❤

-NerdyGypsy

NOTE: PLEASE if you ever feel like harming yourself call the National Suicide Hotline, open 24/7! There is help and you are not alone, we care and we are here for you! Phone calls are anonymous or personal as you want them to be:

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

IF YOU HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED: There is help a phone call away, 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Please talk to someone, you are not alone ❤ Just like the Suicide Hotline all phone calls are anonymous or as personal as you want them to be:

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

https://www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline

The first lesson I learned when I left Vermont.

I made a few mistakes when I left Vermont, that although I learned some interesting lessons (often than not the hard way) I wish I could change some of them. The following story contains sex talk, cheating and possible triggers.

 

When I had envisioned my move out of Vermont and into the rest of the world I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I did however know that when I left Vermont I wanted to fall in love some way, somewhere, I wanted (and expected) some romance. After all I am a total bookworm and, even though I hate to admit it, kind of a romantic at heart so romance novels (I know, I know, shut it) have been a staple in my book-diet since I was 16. Wild traveling women who met a man to keep up with them? Who wouldn’t want that? I mean, when I was growing up my cousin K traveled all over the world. She even sent home a video of her bungee jumping from a cable car strung between two mountains. She found a love that not only traveled with her, but moved around the world with her. Really more than anything else in a relationship, I wanted that. Least to say K is part of the reason I travel as much as I do, she inspired me.

Back to the story,

So when I moved to Louisville I was on the prowl, I joined Plenty of Fish, proceeded to get thousands of creepy responses, I joined OKCupid, still thousands of creepy responses, and went out a LOT

In Louisville there is this strip of road that gets shut down on the weekends called 4th Street Live, basically it’s a giant fashion show for who can dress the skimpiest and attract the most women. I had a friend that I went there with semi-regularly and would play ‘who can get the most phone numbers,’ we’d tie out more often than not.

The way FSL is set up is pretty breathtaking when you first get in, perhaps mildly overwhelming for someone who has never clubbed before. There are six bars on street level and four large bars on the second level, the four large bars had different themes and large sky walks that would take you out over the street so you could watch the partying below, and that is where I met JW.

JW was in the military and based outside of Louisville when we met. I was standing over the Sky Walk, nursing my drink and people watching when he approached me. He was originally from Connecticut which really caught my ear considering I am originally from Vermont and boy was he a smooth talker. You know when you watch a TV show and the girl starts talking to the bad guy but has no idea the dude is a sociopath and you are just sitting there like: “Nooooooooooo!!!” Every time I look back on this event that is how I feel. This guy had me convinced that not only was he divorced (he wasn’t) but that he was a nice dude (again, wasn’t.) That night I got perhaps too drunk, but being the ‘gentleman’ he was he walked me home to make sure I got there safely although not without trying to convince me to bring him upstairs which I was most certainly NOT going to do.

He proceeded to text me and call me at weird hours over the next few days, usually with some good excuse as to the weirdness of the hour. One night he called me at midnight and tried to convince me to have phone sex with him, which didn’t go over at all especially when I had to work early the next morning. This pattern happened for a couple of weeks before I finally gave in and slept with him and not a day later my lesson came crashing in loud in clear when he texted me that not only was he back with his wife, he had never left her. I felt awful and betrayed but mostly I felt like the worst person in the world. I would NEVER sleep with a married person, regardless of their SO’s permission. That’s not comfortable for me. I was worried what she would think of me, what my friends would think of me. There had been many times late at night where my friends and I would sit there and pass judgments on the girls who slept with Married men and suddenly I became that girl and it was a whole lot less than pleasant.

A few days later, despite my better judgment, he invited me out again to FSL and said that he wanted to apologize and that there were no tricks up his sleeve. When I got there, there he was. With his wife. I was horrified but I pulled her aside to tell her what had happened anyway, I didn’t think he did. His wife, now to be referred to as M, was understanding and informed me that this was not the first time to happen. The rest of the night we had teamed up and we were going to bring this sucker down a notch by the end of the night while he stood around ‘sulking’ like a puppy who had been swatted on the nose.

The way this story ends is not nearly as satisfying as I wish it could be, she ended up staying married to him despite the fact that later during the night he demanded a threesome because he felt like it would ‘even the playing field.’ I dropped contact with both of them the next day and only saved his number so that I knew who it was that I was ignoring. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the first thing I learned when I moved out of Vermont. 

Question 1:

Question 1:

So the other day I asked my followers on facebook what they would like to see me write about on the blog and what questions they had for me, so now I am taking the time to respond to them … Continue reading

Roofies, let’s talk about them.

*** TRIGGER WARNING!!!!!*** This post talks about Abuse, Violence and Drug Use.

Least to say my first New Years in San Diego was a little interesting, as most of you know I work in the service industry as a host and lo-and-behold I was closing New Years. For most people in retail working New Years Eve isn’t the most terrible thing on the planet, generally you get to close early and really you can still go out for at least a little while even if you have to work early the next morning. In the restaurant when you work New Years you generally are gong to be at work until 3-5 in the morning depending on the laws regarding bar closing times in the area you are in. Also on how fucked up the Bar got because you gotta clean it.

So it’s was a pretty insured bet that I was going to see some shenanigans and sure enough they started creeping in slowly which more than quickly escalated into fully blown dance party. With in no time the DJ had the place bumping, people were REALLY getting into the dancing (if you can call some of it that *cough*TMI PDAs*cough*.) Mostly it was just a lot of “Yes you can order drinks at the bar or with a server”, “no you cannot bring your drink outside,” “No, I don’t mind working New Years Eve.” “Yes, I am being sarcastic.” But soon things started getting a little *too* exciting when a girl suddenly collapsed at the bar and became completely unresponsive. Then another girl dropped, also unresponsive. My mind of course automatically went into wonder wonder woman mode, getting someone to get water, bringing the second girl a puke bag (at least she was puking,) and taking every ounce of self control I had not to kick her boyfriend out of the bar for disorderly conduct. That self control got seriously tested when he started yelling at her and slapping her cheeks to try to wake her up, I completely lost it after I watched him pick her up from the chair and drop her on the floor. The police stepped in and dragged her away and then he had the nerve to tell me what was going to happen. I promptly told him off, and felt rather okay with the fact that he promptly got arrested for grabbing an officer and trying to rip her out of their arms.  Now as a few of you know when I was living in New Orleans I was roofied and it was terrifying, but it also gave me some insight into what roofies were and what they looked like but more importantly how to deal with them.

When I was roofied in New Orleans it was intense, but thankfully I am really in tune with my body and could tell within ten minutes that something was very, very, wrong. I took a sip of my Redbull and Vodka and cringed, it tasted salty which no alcoholic beverage should taste like unless salt or olive juice or something similar is used in the making. My first reaction was to ask Brian if it tasted funny to him, he took a super small taste and didn’t really notice anything unusual, I took another sip and put my drink on the bar. Within five minutes (now up to 15 minutes after the initial dose) of placing the drink on the bar it felt like my entire world was falling out from under me. There was absolutely no way one drink had gotten me that screwed up, I had only had two drinks at the previous bar. I immediately told Brian we had to leave, that something was wrong, and within two blocks of the bar we had been laughing in not 15 minutes ago my entire world dropped for three full days. It took me almost a week to fully physically recover, I have still not emotionally gotten past the experience.  Thankfully I had Brian there who fed me, forced me to drink more water than my body felt like it could handle and held me as I tried to get control of my body back.

These girls did not have the luxury of having themselves so in tune with their own bodies, or the understanding that this isn’t something that will never happen to you. It’s very real, very scary and shouldn’t ever happen but it does. You could turn away from your drink for just a few seconds and never know and you may not have friends near by to help you. Thankfully the first girl had her best friend with her who had no problem calling 911. The second girl was not so lucky and her boyfriend (abusive ass) was promptly arrested for his actions.  As far as I know all the people who were drugged are safe and were taken by ambulance to the ER. I really, genuinely, hope that these people are okay. I hope that girl 2 ditched the douche in red plaid, I hope that the BFF’s keep their buddy system just as strong as it was this NYE, I hope the third party got just as much help as the two girls did.

Now on the road safety is always a huge concern, after I was roofied I realized just how far I needed to take that. Since that night I have carried test strips with me to every bar I go regardless of who I know and who I am with. The thought of someone taking that kind of control from me again terrifies me, but not nearly as much as my concern that it will happen to someone else when there are ways to ensure your safety more so than if you had nothing at all. Below are a couple of links to items you can buy to test your drinks:

Color changing Straws and Cups

Color changing Test Strips

I hope everyone has a safe 2014!!!

Love always,

-Nerdy Gypsy

Blog Of The Week!!!

Blog Of The Week!!!

So a close friend of mine from Louisiana has started an incredible new blog and it really deserves to be mentioned. L (Not sure if I am allowed to use his first name or not) is in a wheelchair and writes about life from his point of view. L’s writing well worth the read for both the humor and the reality check.