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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

We all knew I sucked at keeping anything up to date....

Ok well I've decided to try to give this a go again. I was doing really well for a while and then it sorta all just went to hell. Meanwhile, I've been to Spain, the UK, and successfully managed to move back to the US. I know a bunch of you are like uhmmm WHAT?!?! But trust me the other plans were just really really bad situations. Have I mentioned how great it is to have Walmart, Birthday Cake oreos, and goldfish back? That being said I feel very much like a fish out of water here. This is the longest I've ever gone without diving and I'm not quite sure I like it!

Right so the story. How the hell did I end up in Vegas. Well this story starts about 6 months ago, as most of you know I had been looking for a job since about January. Well I know someone who is working in a shop in Cambodia. He convinced me to send my resume into his boss, but then left Cambodia a couple weeks later cause he decided he was moving to Malaysia. So I sort just wrote the resume off. Well he ended up back in Cambodia and about a month ago I got a call from him saying hey so you have a job here if you want it, we need an instructor that speaks Italian. So I talked to him and the owner a bit and was like ok it seems like a great situation. I have food and board provided and wages on top of that and I figured it would be a great way to save up for college again and I could easily build up my saving while I was working there. 

Well so I head off tho the UK for 3 weeks on a previously planned trip and I get back to Rome 3 days before I'm supposed to leave for Cambodia. Well the day I get back I get this obscure message from the guy there. "Just for you to know, the island is pretty much deserted right now. No customers and almost all of the instructors are leaving." My reaction is uhm ok that's great what the hell does that mean?! So I start asking him questions and all I get is rude answers and getting insulted and called a child an I'm just absolutely horrified about how he's treating me and I'm alos really confused about whether or not I have an actual job and I can't seem to get that answer out of him. So basically I've known for a while that I needed to come back to the US and get a real job and get my life together and truly I've just been using diving to prevent the inevitable. So I basically call dad crying. I was talking to him about finances and what to do with my life etc etc and I flat out asked him look dad without any prejudice or emotional baggage do you think I need to come home? And his answer was the fact that I am finally voluntarily putting that option on the table means yeah I should.

Now, the question of the year. Why Vegas? I was about to buy a ticket to CA, but then we discovered Vegas is about $600 cheaper and grandpa lives here and is attempting to sell his house. Well there's all sorts of things that he's just not able to do himself and he has 2 puppies and all sorts of other reasons that having me here is helpful. On top of that Vegas has a much lower unemployment rate. 

As it stands, I have just gotten a part time job and am still searching for a second part time job, I am starting a company and I'm pretty sure we have a solid business plan and if I can get it together it's a business niche that will actually be profitable and have the opportunity to expand in the long run, and frankly I'm loving living here. Also, it's Vegas so there are constantly friends of mine that are here every couple weeks. So looking forward I'm planning on being here a while.

If I missed anything let me know, I know there's details and other questions and such so just let me know and I'll do my bet to answer them!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

10 Things About America


While I admit I did not write this, a brilliant guy named Mark Manson did. I highly suggest reading his other stuff. The article appeared here and really really hit home with me. It is 100% true and pretty much sums up how I feel about the last 2 years. I've been struggling with how to put my feeling into words for a while now and this is brilliant. 
"Imagine you have a brother and he’s an alcoholic. He has his moments, but you keep your distance from him. You don’t mind him for the occasional family gathering or holiday. You still love him. But you don’t want to be around him. This is how I lovingly describe my current relationship with the United States. The United States is my alcoholic brother. And although I will always love him, I don’t want to be near him at the moment.
I know that’s harsh, but I really feel my home country is not in a good place these days. That’s not a socio-economic statement (although that’s on the decline as well), but rather a cultural one.
I realize it’s going to be impossible to write sentences like the ones above without coming across as a raging prick, so let me try to soften the blow to my American readers with an analogy:
You know when you move out of your parents’ house and live on your own, how you start hanging out with your friends’ families and you realize that actually, your family was a little screwed up? Stuff you always assumed was normal your entire childhood, it turns out was pretty weird and may have actually fucked you up a little bit. You know, dad thinking it was funny to wear a Santa Claus hat in his underwear every Christmas or the fact that you and your sister slept in the same bed until you were 22, or that your mother routinely cried over a bottle of wine while listening to Elton John.
The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it. Just like you didn’t realize the weird quirks and nuances of your family until you left and spent time with others, the same is true for country and culture. You often don’t see what’s messed up about your country and culture until you step outside of it.
And so even though this article is going to come across as fairly scathing, I want my American readers to know: some of the stuff we do, some of the stuff that we always assumed was normal, it’s kind of screwed up. And that’s OK. Because that’s true with every culture. It’s just easier to spot it in others (i.e., the French) so we don’t always notice it in ourselves.
So as you read this article, know that I’m saying everything with tough love, the same tough love with which I’d sit down and lecture an alcoholic family member. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome things about you (BRO, THAT’S AWESOME!!!). And it doesn’t mean I’m some saint either, because god knows I’m pretty screwed up (I’m American, after all). There are just a few things you need to hear. And as a friend, I’m going to tell them to you.
And to my foreign readers, get your necks ready, because this is going to be a nod-a-thon.
A Little “What The Hell Does This Guy Know?” Background: I’ve lived in different parts of the US, both the deep south and the northeast. I have visited most of the US’s 50 states. I’ve spent the past three years living almost entirely outside of the United States. I’ve lived in multiple countries in Europe, Asia and South America. I’ve visited over 40 countries in all and have spent far more time with non-Americans than with Americans during this period. I speak multiple languages. I’m not a tourist. I don’t stay in resorts and rarely stay in hostels. I rent apartments and try to integrate myself into each country I visit as much as possible. So there.
(Note: I realize these are generalizations and I realize there are always exceptions. I get it. You don’t have to post 55 comments telling me that you and your best friend are exceptions. If you really get that offended from some guy’s blog post, you may want to double-check your life priorities.)
OK, we’re ready now. 10 things Americans don’t know about America.
1. Few People Are Impressed By Us
Unless you’re speaking with a real estate agent or a prostitute, chances are they’re not going to be excited that you’re American. It’s not some badge of honor we get to parade around. Yes, we had Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison, but unless you actually are Steve Jobs or Thomas Edison (which is unlikely) then most people around the world are simply not going to care. There are exceptions of course. And those exceptions are called English and Australian people. Whoopdie-fucking-doo.
As Americans, we’re brought up our entire lives being taught that we’re the best, we did everything first and that the rest of the world follows our lead. Not only is this not true, but people get irritated when you bring it to their country with you. So don’t.
2. Few People Hate Us
Despite the occasional eye-rolling, and complete inability to understand why anyone would vote for George W. Bush, people from other countries don’t hate us either. In fact — and I know this is a really sobering realization for us — most people in the world don’t really think about us or care about us. I know, that sounds absurd, especially with CNN and Fox News showing the same 20 angry Arab men on repeat for ten years straight. But unless we’re invading someone’s country or threatening to invade someone’s country (which is likely), then there’s a 99.99% chance they don’t care about us. Just like we rarely think about the people in Bolivia or Mongolia, most people don’t think about us much. They have jobs, kids, house payments — you know, those things called lives — to worry about. Kind of like us.
Americans tend to assume that the rest of the world either loves us or hates us (this is actually a good litmus test to tell if someone is conservative or liberal). The fact is, most people feel neither. Most people don’t think much about us.
Remember that immature girl in high school, who every little thing that happened to her meant that someone either hated her or was obsessed with her; who thought every teacher who ever gave her a bad grade was being totally unfair and everything good that happened to her was because of how amazing she was? Yeah, we’re that immature high school girl.
3. We Know Nothing About The Rest Of The World
For all of our talk about being global leaders and how everyone follows us, we don’t seem to know much about our supposed “followers.” They often have completely different takes on history than we do. Here were some brain-stumpers for me: the Vietnamese believe the Vietnam War was about China (not us), Hitler was primarily defeated by Russia (not us), Native Americans were wiped out largely disease and plague (not us), and the American Revolution was “won” because the British cared more about beating France (not us). Notice a running theme here?
(Hint: It’s not all about us.)
We did not invent democracy. We didn’t even invent modern democracy. There were parliamentary systems in England and other parts of Europe over a hundred years before we created government. In a recent survey of young Americans , 63% could not find Iraq on a map (despite being at war with them), and 54% did not know Sudan was a country in Africa. Yet, somehow we’re positive that everyone else looks up to us.
4. We Are Poor At Expressing Gratitude And Affection
There’s a saying about English-speakers. We say “Go fuck yourself,” when we really mean “I like you,” and we say “I like you,” when we really mean “Go fuck yourself.”
Outside of getting shit-housed drunk and screaming “I LOVE YOU, MAN!”, open displays of affection in American culture are tepid and rare. Latin and some European cultures describe us as “cold” and “passionless” and for good reason. In our social lives we don’t say what we mean and we don’t mean what we say.
In our culture, appreciation and affection are implied rather than spoken outright. Two guy friends call each other names to reinforce their friendship; men and women tease and make fun of each other to imply interest. Feelings are almost never shared openly and freely. Consumer culture has cheapened our language of gratitude. Something like, “It’s so good to see you” is empty now because it’s expected and heard from everybody.
In dating, when I find a woman attractive, I almost always walk right up to her and tell her that a) I wanted to meet her, and b) she’s beautiful. In America, women usually get incredibly nervous and confused when I do this. They’ll make jokes to defuse the situation or sometimes ask me if I’m part of a TV show or something playing a prank. Even when they’re interested and go on dates with me, they get a bit disoriented when I’m so blunt with my interest. Whereas, in almost every other culture approaching women this way is met with a confident smile and a “Thank you.”
5. The Quality of Life For The Average American Is Not That Great
If you’re extremely talented or intelligent, the US is probably the best place in the world to live. The system is stacked heavily to allow people of talent and advantage to rise to the top quickly.
The problem with the US is that everyone thinks they are of talent and advantage. As John Steinbeck famously said, the problem with poor Americans is that “they don’t believe they’re poor, but rather temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” It’s this culture of self-delusion that allows America to continue to innovate and churn out new industry more than anyone else in the world. But this shared delusion also unfortunately keeps perpetuating large social inequalities and the quality of life for the average citizen lower than most other developed countries. It’s the price we pay to maintain our growth and economic dominance.
In my Guide to Wealth, I defined being wealthy as, “Having the freedom to maximize one’s life experiences.” In those terms, despite the average American having more material wealth than citizens of most other countries (more cars, bigger houses, nicer televisions), their overall quality of life suffers in my opinion. American people on average work more hours with less vacation, spend more time commuting every day, and are saddled with over $10,000 of debt. That’s a lot of time spent working and buying crap and little time or disposable income for relationships, activities or new experiences.
6. The Rest Of The World Is Not A Slum-Ridden Shithole Compared To Us
In 2010, I got into a taxi in Bangkok to take me to a new six-story cineplex. It was accessible by metro, but I chose a taxi instead. On the seat in front of me was a sign with a wifi password. Wait, what? I asked the driver if he had wifi in his taxi. He flashed a huge smile. The squat Thai man, with his pidgin English, explained that he had installed it himself. He then turned on his new sound system and disco lights. His taxi instantly became a cheesy nightclub on wheels… with free wifi.
If there’s one constant in my travels over the past three years, it has been that almost every place I’ve visited (especially in Asia and South America) is much nicer and safer than I expected it to be. Singapore is pristine. Hong Kong makes Manhattan look like a suburb. My neighborhood in Colombia is nicer than the one I lived in in Boston (and cheaper).
As Americans, we have this na├»ve assumption that people all over the world are struggling and way behind us. They’re not. Sweden and South Korea have more advanced high speed internet networks. Japan has the most advanced trains and transportation systems. Norwegians make more money. The biggest and most advanced plane in the world is flown out of Singapore. The tallest buildings in the world are now in Dubai and Shanghai. Meanwhile, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
What’s so surprising about the world is how unsurprising most of it is. I spent a week with some local guys in Cambodia. You know what their biggest concerns were? Paying for school, getting to work on time, and what their friends were saying about them. In Brazil, people have debt problems, hate getting stuck in traffic and complain about their overbearing mothers. Every country thinks they have the worst drivers. Every country thinks their weather is unpredictable. The world becomes, err… predictable.
7. We’re Paranoid
Not only are we emotionally insecure as a culture, but I’ve come to realize how paranoid we are about our physical security. You don’t have to watch Fox News or CNN for more than 10 minutes to hear about how our drinking water is going to kill us, our neighbor is going to rape our children, some terrorist in Yemen is going to kill us because we didn’t torture him, Mexicans are going to kill us, or some virus from a bird is going to kill us. There’s a reason we have more guns than people.
In the US, security trumps everything, even liberty. We’re paranoid.
I’ve probably been to 10 countries now that friends and family back home told me explicitly not to go because someone was going to kill me, kidnap me, stab me, rob me, rape me, sell me into sex trade, give me HIV, or whatever else. None of that has happened. I’ve never been robbed and I’ve walked through some of the shittiest parts of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
In fact, the experience has been the opposite. In countries like Russia, Colombia or Guatemala, people were so friendly it actually scared me. Some stranger in a bar would invite me to his house for a bar-b-que with his family, a random person on the street would offer to show me around and give me directions to a store I was trying to find. My American instincts were always that, “Wait, this guy is going to try to rob me or kill me,” but they never did. They were just insanely friendly.
8. We’re Status-Obsessed And Seek Attention
I’ve noticed that the way we Americans communicate is usually designed to create a lot of attention and hype. Again, I think this is a product of our consumer culture: the belief that something isn’t worthwhile or important unless it’s perceived to be the best (BEST EVER!!!) or unless it gets a lot of attention (see: every reality-television show ever made).
This is why Americans have a peculiar habit of thinking everything is “totally awesome,” and even the most mundane activities were “the best thing ever!” It’s the unconscious drive we share for importance and significance, this unmentioned belief, socially beaten into us since birth that if we’re not the best at something, then we don’t matter.
We’re status-obsessed. Our culture is built around achievement, production and being exceptional. Therefore comparing ourselves and attempting to out-do one another has infiltrated our social relationships as well. Who can slam the most beers first? Who can get reservations at the best restaurant? Who knows the promoter to the club? Who dated a girl on the cheerleading squad? Socializing becomes objectified and turned into a competition. And if you’re not winning, the implication is that you are not important and no one will like you.
9. We Are Very Unhealthy
Unless you have cancer or something equally dire, the health care system in the US sucks. The World Health Organization ranked the US 37th in the world for health care, despite the fact that we spend the most per capita by a large margin.
The hospitals are nicer in Asia (with European-educated doctors and nurses) and cost a tenth as much. Something as routine as a vaccination costs multiple hundreds of dollars in the US and less than $10 in Colombia. And before you make fun of Colombian hospitals, Colombia is 28th in the world on that WHO list, nine spots higher than us.
A routine STD test that can run you over $200 in the US is free in many countries to anyone, citizen or not. My health insurance the past year? $65 a month. Why? Because I live outside of the US. An American guy I met living in Buenos Aires got knee surgery on his ACL that would have cost $10,000 in the US… for free.
But this isn’t really getting into the real problems of our health. Our food is killing us. I’m not going to go crazy with the details, but we eat chemically-laced crap because it’s cheaper and tastes better (profit, profit). Our portion sizes are absurd (more profit). And we’re by far the most prescribed nation in the world AND our drugs cost five to ten times more than they do even in Canada (ohhhhhhh, profit, you sexy bitch).
In terms of life expectancy , despite being the richest country in the world, we come in a paltry 38th. Right behind Cuba, Malta and the United Arab Emirates, and slightly ahead of Slovenia, Kuwait and Uruguay. Enjoy your Big Mac.
10. We Mistake Comfort For Happiness
The United States is a country built on the exaltation of economic growth and personal ingenuity. Small businesses and constant growth are celebrated and supported above all else — above affordable health care, above respectable education, above everything. Americans believe it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself and make something of yourself, not the state’s, not your community’s, not even your friend’s or family’s in some instances.
Comfort sells easier than happiness. Comfort is easy. It requires no effort and no work. Happiness takes effort. It requires being proactive, confronting fears, facing difficult situations, and having unpleasant conversations.
Comfort equals sales. We’ve been sold comfort for generations and for generations we bought: bigger houses, separated further and further out into the suburbs; bigger TV’s, more movies, and take-out. The American public is becoming docile and complacent. We’re obese and entitled. When we travel, we look for giant hotels that will insulate us and pamper us rather than for legitimate cultural experiences that may challenge our perspectives or help us grow as individuals.
Depression and anxiety disorders are soaring within the US. Our inability to confront anything unpleasant around us has not only created a national sense of entitlement, but it’s disconnected us from what actually drives happiness: relationships, unique experiences, feeling self-validated, achieving personal goals. It’s easier to watch a NASCAR race on television and tweet about it than to actually get out and try something new with a friend.
Unfortunately, a by-product of our massive commercial success is that we’re able to avoid the necessary emotional struggles of life in lieu of easy superficial pleasures.
Throughout history, every dominant civilization eventually collapsed because it became TOO successful. What made it powerful and unique grows out of proportion and consumes its society. I think this is true for American society. We’re complacent, entitled and unhealthy. My generation is the first generation of Americans who will be worse off than their parents, economically, physically and emotionally. And this is not due to a lack of resources, to a lack of education or to a lack of ingenuity. It’s corruption and complacency. The corruption from the massive industries that control our government’s policies, and the fat complacency of the people to sit around and let it happen.
There are things I love about my country. I don’t hate the US and I still return to it a few times a year. But I think the greatest flaw of American culture is our blind self-absorption. In the past it only hurt other countries. But now it’s starting to hurt ourselves.
So this is my lecture to my alcoholic brother — my own flavor of arrogance and self-absorption, even if slightly more informed — in hopes he’ll give up his wayward ways. I imagine it’ll fall on deaf ears, but it’s the most I can do for now."

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Countdown Blog...

Well it's been an interesting couple of weeks. Giant life fail in the internet department. Thank you Italy...I'm so glad that when I have 3G service skype doesn't work but as soon as I run out it decides to actually work perfectly...yeah that's really awesome thanks. Also, I have survived a bus strike, 2 rainstorms, and just the general stupidity of Rome, so that's looking up. My apartment has however been taken over by ants. Stupid little bastards they get everywhere and like honestly they're in my bed too. I get that we like this whole exploration and pioneering new frontiers thing, but honestly there is no food to be found here.

On the awesome countdown front, there is officially 15 days until by birthday...for those of you who want to send me a card...hint hint...you should probably get on that. I'm not particularly sure that being 22 is really going to be any different than 21 but hey here's hoping for a great and slightly less emotionally traumatizing year.

As I'm sitting here on Amanda's bed stealing internet I find myself thinking through all the exciting stuff I have coming up and everything that I plan to do. So first is Mallorca. Little island off the coast of Spain. Plan is to get in as many dives as possible for Amanda while we're there and I'm planning on screwing around with carrying a stage cylinder. I think it'll be super fun and well get to have a beachy girls holiday....margaritas anyone? Right well it's only 24 days until that and then we've got Amanda's graduation when I get back. Wohoooo I get to meet her parents mwahahaha. (She should probably be afraid)

Ok so after that awesome and fun adventure I am off on my own personal adventure to the UK! And let me tell you after dealing with other people and their travel plans for the past couple months I am so so glad that I get to be in charge of my own adventure. AHHHHH this is so exciting. Pretty sure I already filled you all in on the Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, and best of all I GET TO SEE HELEN AGAIN!!!! Yes strange/bad things happen when me and her are together but whatever I GET TO SEE HELEN!!!!!!!! And go diving...I mean like diving is cool but HELEN!!!!! Ok right well THAT point is made....

And after that I'm headed to Egypt. Ok so maybe THAT plan isn's as perfect as I'd like it to be, but welllll I'M MOVING TO EGYPT!!! I'm so freaking excited about this and to get to go diving and work again. And it's the Red Sea and well frankly I can die of happiness.

Lastly as I sit here trying to figure out why my house is making funny noises. I just thought you should all know that Christmas is only 247 days away. And that might seem far away, but if life goes according to plan I'll be flying to Hawaii for Christmas to meet my family there. Hopefully it'll be fun.

Right and also on the list of important realizations for the week, I pity anyone who actually tries to date me. Frankly, I have no interest or energy in giving a shit about anyone other than Amanda, Helen, or Steve. It's just soooo difficult to expend enough energy to care. Maybe someday I'll find someone I care enough about but honestly I can't even be arsed enough to reply to text messages from guys more than a couple times a day...I can't imagine caring that much about someone right now. (Side note:not completely true but the only person I feel that way about is not someone I want to feel that way about)

Right and moving riiiiiiiight along...my FRIENDS marathon is progressing brilliantly. I am now on season 6. Mwahahaha. God I love this show. This is ALL Amanda's fault. Well cheers to everyone and the adventures will commence again shortly. Starting with Santa Croce with all the Italians this weekend. *Sigh* more Italian divers. You have no idea what it's like til you try it....but pictures will follow! Oh and I get to use my new princess crown hood!!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!

In case you were wondering the title is from Alice in Wonderland...fitting I suppose given my obsession with the book. This has been quite an eventful week. Firstly I've officially booked my trip to the UK! I'll be spending time in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, and visiting friends in Leicester and Whitehaven. While the real highlight is DEFINITELY Whitehaven to see the lovely Helen I am also going to dive Scapa Flow. If you are giving me confused looks that's totally cool. Scapa Flow is a body of water in Northern Scotland in the Orkney Islands. There's a super awesome site HERE that has 3D images and the stories of all the wrecks. See that map on the left and that little "A" point up there? Yeah that's Scapa Flow, and where I'll be spending a week. I'm obviously only a little excited. Also, on the calendar is a rescue diver course, 2 advanced open water courses, possibly a couple DSDs, and a trip to Mallorca! AND 4 days after I get back from the UK I'm off to Egypt. I'm super excited!

I am also a stressed out mess, par normal, and have managed to clean and completely rearrange my bedroom! I really need my maid to come though. I never realized how completely dependent on her I was until she left for 2 weeks....come back to meeeeeeee! Apparently, despite the fact that I hate the nosey chain smoking lunatic I need her. Also, it's 3:30am. Why am I awake? Oh yeah...I'm a stressed out emotional mess and I cure that with cleaning and organizing...plus I'm out of fins to draw on and dishes to do. Seems like a perfectly acceptable reason to me.
View from my bed....so pretty and clean!
And now for the slightly more serious side of this blog. I'm sure you've all heard about the Boston Marathon bombing. If you haven't by now, you're actually dug further under a rock than me and my mother are soooo you might wanna work on that. THESE pictures will throw you. How do you tell someone who has dedicated so much time to running that they might never even be able to walk again? But that's not even the worst part. The worst part was not knowing who had set off the bombs. Me and Amanda were talking about it, and we realized that at this point in the US's history it's a pretty fair toss up between terrorist and mental case. And I'm not trying to draw attention away from the pain or the loss that has been felt today, but think about it for a minute. The US has fallen so far to the point that we are sitting here discussing if the latest tragedy is a terrorist or a mental case. Our world is truly going to pieces and we can't do anything but sit back and watch. I can tell you God has a plan or use this as a threshold to launch on how the US is going to hell, but that just doesn't seem fitting. There's no soapbox to be stood on for disasters like these, and I think so much less of those who try to find one. I'll leave it at they families and friends and everyone who is some way affected by the events in Boston today are in my thoughts and prayers, but thats the least I can do for now. I'll just sit here and be angry at the assholes that are capable of doing this to people and feeling terrible for the victims and their families. What is the world coming to? Don't answer that...I don't want to know.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A legit cafe in Italy?

Ok so for the record, my lovely friends living in Rome, Fetrinelli has a almost Starbucks like cafe upstairs and its brilliant. It's ALMOST like being in a Starbucks again, sans functional internet and crappy music, but I'll take what I can get. And in return I am delivering a bit of a deep blog today with crap I've been thinking over for a while now.

I know I am really open about just about everything. You will find out anything about my life whether or not you want to know, but people who know me better know I glaze over sometimes. There are times when I'm content to just sit by myself, or stare out a window. I don't know how to cope or what to feel and I put up this impenetrable wall so I can sort out my emotions. Especially if you hurt my feelings, it's quite difficult to insult of offend me, but when it does happen it takes me a while to sort it out. I know why I do, but I'm not 100% sure that any of my friends understand. I can attempt to give you a bit of an idea, but really its such a complicated shit fest im not even sure a therapist could deal with this, oh trust me they've tried but there's bigger issues in my life that we're just not going to go near.

So for those of you who aren't aware I was raised in a cult, and when I say cult I don't mean like we believe in vampires and aliens and shit like that, it was a legitimately emotionally damaging situation. I don't blame my parents at all for this, in fact I think that it actually provided me with the structure in my childhood that I needed in order to function and there was a lot of great things that came out of it. The main problem though is that I was told during the first 14 years of my life that this was life and this was the way it was supposed to be. This controlling and emotionally manipulative situation was how the world is supposed to function. I was taught that all these other families and people had problems and that I needed to not go near them, that if you weren't 100% with us you were wrong and going to hell, and that personal thought was WRONG. There was a way it was supposed to be and you did not deviate from that. Ok that's great and all, but that doesn't really fit into any form of integration with the rest of the world so the obvious solution presented itself. We didn't integrate. We didn't have friends outside of church which was ok, we spent 5 or so days a week at church so it was essentially our life anyways. But the boundaries just weren't there. We weren't individual families, we were all one family and punishment could be administered by any adult. The goal was to teach me how to behave perfectly no matter who was around. Well if you are reading this I'm gonna assume you know me at least a little and are fully aware of the fact that trying to control me or even figure me out is a long lost cause. So while my mother understood me, as much as she was allowed to, that doesn't mean that any of the other adults did. I have a lot of really hurtful memories from that time in my life and honestly I still carry them with me and probably always will.

When the cult broke up I was left as an extremely confused 13 year old kid. Complete with braces and a perm and everything else horrible in the middle. I had no reference for emotions. Sure I knew people could hurt you, but I was also taught that I was supposed to allow them too because they knew better than me. The end of middle school and high school was one of the hardest times in my life. I wanted to be like everyone else and had no idea how. My mom told me I was normal, I was too young for the cult to have affected me. I just needed to get on with my life, make new friends. But it really wasn't that simple. I had no idea what normal even was! I could honestly be talked into ANYTHING because I assumed it was normal. I trusted everyone, I mean isn't that what I had been taught, that no matter who they were if they were in your life you were supposed to believe them 100%. This in turn led to terrible self confidence issues. Why was I never good enough for these people? Why would people want to hurt me? I didn't understand and honestly I still sorta don't. I still believe everyone has my best intentions at heart and occasionally do deserve a solid slap upside the head.

Well let's fast forward to present day. So so much of this part of my life affects me now. I gravitate toward teaching and kids because I understand them. They trust the adults in their life, and especially as a dive instructor I know that my students in the water trust me, and that in my mind is the hierarchy of how life is supposed to be. Everything makes sense to me in situations where there is control and submission. That definitely wasn't supposed to sound as bondage-y as it came out, but the more I think about it I think this explains why I'm attracted to the people and men that I am. To my fucked up mind every situation has a dominating factor and a submissive one. And given the fact that I'm convinced everything I do is wrong it sorta explains why I tend to just roll over and take whatever. Well that is changing. I am done making stupid decisions just for others opinions. Making decisions I know are wrong in order to get approval from those around me. I am constantly groveling for the positive opinions of others and that's not healthy.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Moving on from what you know

Where there is desire, there is going to be a flame. Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned. But just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die, you gotta get up and try, try, try..."

Just sorta summed up my sappy feelings at the moment and I had to post them somewhere. Definitely one of my favorite songs at the moment.

Right so as I believe most of you are aware, I am a proud holder of a one way ticket to Hurghada, Egypt. Ok I know you are all very worried, but I have a couple thoughts on this matter. Firstly, I don't settle well. I believe that most of you are aware of my inability to stay doing one thing for more than a year or 2. I think this has to do with the fact that I've never found anything that I passionately love, and that keeps me engaged. I believe that diving might be the thing that grounds me for the rest of my life I am never so happy or peaceful as when I'm diving, but I also think that it won't require me to stay in one place. Italy has been truly great, but it has been almost 2 years now and I am done. I have a love hate relationship with this dang country. And yeah my life would so not be complete without Amanda in it, but it's really time to move on. I read somewhere recently that it takes 18 months to fully adjust to a country and at that point you either love it or hate it and can decide whether or not you can hang in there for the long term. I have examined my life in Italy and frankly no, I cannot do this anymore. They are disorganized, inefficient, and as a majority downright stupid (I back up this thought with the proof that they actually re-elected Berlusconi). Ok ok I know what you are thinking, Egypt isn't going to be any better, but you know what? It is. Egyptians don't pretend they have their shit together. They know they're a disorganized mess and if they want something done they just do it, because frankly, no one is going to stop them.

Secondly, Egypt is not as bad as you all think. In fact the whole of Northern Africa is muslim (in case you missed that) and the way western media portrays the issues there are SO exaggerated and at times completely untrue. When I went to Sudan earlier this year, we had a 24 hour layover in Cairo and so did the group of Romanians that were traveling with us. Supposedly the day we were there, there was some huge riot in Tahrir Square. The problem is, we drove right by it, and nothing was going on and the Romanians were there and actually have pictures of the empty square. I guess what I'm trying to say is that a large part of what you read isn't true. And I realize that a lot of people are fearful for my safety, but what you experience when you visit verses what the media portrays is just so so different. I'm not using this as an excuse to be stupid or make silly decisions, but I am also not an idiot and Hurghada is also a tourist city. I have friends there, and its not that difficult to buy a ticket out of there if I don't want to stay anymore.

On that note, it's been too long since I've been diving! It's been like almost 3 weeks...I'm starting to shrivel without water...save meeeeee....on the to do list for the next couple weeks: My Birthday! Amanda's rescue course, possibly diving at Tor Paterno, diving at Porto Ercole, maybe Santa Croce, Mallorca with Amanda!!!!!! Amanda's graduation, and uhmm I'm sure a couple other adventures!!! But for now enjoy my incredibly stupid scuba diving comics.....

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I think I suck at this...

Life, Love, Blogging, etc.

I honestly feel like a directionless mess at the moment. Ok that's not completely true, I do sort of have a plan at the moment. It all fell into place last night with Amanda and I'm so so excited about it. First off let me say that Helen being here was quite possibly the best weekend of my life. Sudan wins for best week, Easter wins for best weekend. I cannot even begin to describe the hilarity of what occurred  but I can officially say I made it to the Vatican for Easter. I also managed to get epically sick...I guess being out until 4 am in the pouring rain might do that to you. Right well I am now teaching an EFR/Nitrox course on Saturday, diving for May Day at Tor Paterno, piecing together a rescue course for Amanda between the pool and Porto Ercole, and Mallorca with Amanda at the end of May!!! After that it's Amanda's graduation and then off to Egypt.

Right see that's another point. I am now officially headed to Egypt. Sorry mom, sorry dad, hold onto your seats but this is happening. I am so incredibly excited and the ticket is getting bought this weekend. I'm going to go with, hey I could be telling you I was pregnant or had another tattoo! Ok I think I actually had something worthwhile to say here, but it eludes me.

Oh by the way can I please just add for the sake of my mother that I have no intention of dating and/or marrying an Egyptian. In fact at the moment I hate men in general. They are over dramatic children who cause problems with everything they do. I mean honestly WHY do I need them?! On the flip side can someone please maybe find me one that I don't absolutely hate and I can get married and have a cute little house and maybe a dog (me and Amanda are both really big fans of this dog thing) and maybe eventually a few little mini Jo's to terrorize the planet. But other than that MEN NEED TO DIE...I hate them...I'm done whining now.

OOOOOO in other news my apartment is being over run by ants. However, as Momo put it...I went all Jedi on their ass and cleaned my kitchen and they are going away. I was however about to die today because there's nothing to eat in my cupboard and I haven't been to the supermarket in weeks....and then I realize I have every ingredient for my favorite food on the planet!!! mac no cheese!!!! So I am now going to have a couple bowls of happiness and return to my cough syrup induced coma.

I am however noticing that I suck at blogging consistently. There's just so much going on!! I'm just sick and exasperated. So I will content myself sitting here with my new princess crown hood and drawing on my fins and BCD. Both of which by the way are now adorable.