Partying and Working: The Balanced Life of a DMT

Wow. It’s been far too long since I last updated, huh? I would say I’ve just been super busy, but I feel like that’s only half true. Although I have been doing quite a bit of work on my DMT course, I’ve also been having too much fun. Good thing that’s not possible. When I last blogged, I had just decided to stay for DM training and was beginning to get into the swing of things here. Since then, I have really settled in and made this my home. It occurred to me the other day that I’ve been gone for over a month (so crazy). At that point, I realized that I kind of live here now.  Perhaps it’s not how I thought things would go on my first stop, but I love it. These days, I think in Lempiras, rather than Dollars, and I now think believe that $25 is a shit ton of money. It is here. I can eat lunch (Baleadas or Pastelitos) for 20-30 lps, which is between $1 and $1.50. I am officially cheap…or just officially a backpacker. I actually spent $245 lps on dinner tonight and I’m still mad about it. I finally moved into a private room a week ago and it’s been so nice. My stuff is everywhere and I no longer have to share a bathroom. This is luxury in the backpacking world, friends. If I lived in this place back home, you would all ask me if I was living in a crack den. Down here though? It’s an upgrade.

View from the door. I know, I’m fancy.

The state of my room and things currently. Or every day. There’s no need for organization here. Suits me nicely, don’t ya think?We can call this my dresser, I suppose. The makeup I don’t ever wear (mascara twice a week is about it) and the jewelry that I wear daily is all kept here. I must say, I wish I would have brought more of it, actually. It’s the only thing that keeps me feeling like I didn’t “just wear this outfit yesterday.”

Since I moved in, I’ve felt so settled here in Utila. It was almost instant. It’s a good kind of settled though. I have this new life filled with new people and even a few new routines. Yep, I said the R-word. Depending on when I wake up in the morning, I go get a  gallon of water at the tienda we call “7-11,” grab a coffee at the (amazing) joint next door, do my morning message catch up on Facebook, then head back over to the shop to study or to just hang out.  I should probably admit that this is not true for the past several days or so, however. Holy Emily, friends. I’m not sure when I decided to party like it was my 21st again, but it happened. I don’t think I’ve been out that much since I first moved to Athens for college. Not only that, but I’ve been up late too. No really, I have. Me, the girl who goes home from bars by 11PM back home…has gone missing. I saw the sun come up the other day for crying out loud. Why? No good reason. Didn’t need one. On the other hand, if I’m on the morning boat, I reel it in and put on my responsible face. I have to be on the dock by 6:15AM ready to go. As a DMT or any other staff member, you’re required to be there early to setup gear for the divers, who arrive at 7.  I have no idea what’s in the air here, but somehow, we make it happen. We put the lack of sleep and hangovers to the side, and morph into professionals. Well, for the most part. I never could have pulled this off back home. I would have been fired from Moxie within weeks. Something about this island just keeps you going.

If I’m not on a boat and I’m not studying for a test, then I’m doing one of the other 900 things that are required to become a DM. I have a checklist sectioned into several different categories, which I live by.  I look at it every day, along with the dive board (more like a schedule) and figure out what I can get checked off the quickest. I have to assist X amount of courses, properly demonstrate 24 skills, swim a timed 400M, snorkel a timed 800M, float for 15 minutes, create an emergency action plan, map a dive site, lead a dive…the list goes on.  As of now, I’ve completed the first test and only have one to go. It’s heavy on the physics though, so this should be interesting. I was also evaluated on 20 of the skills, and somehow passed. I am currently assisting an Open Water course, so there’s another check. While all of this is going on, I’m also racking up dives. I have to hit 60 and I should be at 40 by Friday – that is, if my ears cooperate. The #1 problem here for people trying to complete their DM is ear infections that keep them out of the water for days at a time. It’s incredibly frustrating when everything you’ve got left to do is actually in the water. I’m diving for the first time in 4 days tomorrow for this exact reason. Oh, then there was the whole jellyfish thing. Apparently, I don’t react well to them. About 2 days after being at a site that was infested with these things, my legs broke out in an itch and an irritation that I cannot put into words. It was almost like having the chicken pox. It was horrible. I went to the Spanish-speaking “Nurse,” and gathered that I was having a reaction to some sort of mosquito on the island. I spent 375 lps (about $18) on “meds” and nothing happened. Later that evening, I realized that I was affected everywhere that my rashie didn’t cover. I remembered the jellies from a couple of days ago and thought I’d Google it. I was right. I was having a delayed reaction to them and a nurse on an island (as in, surrounded by water) couldn’t tell me that. A few days later, they’ve almost all disappeared. Clearly, I just react terribly to anything that bites or stings. If that’s my biggest problem down here though, I’ll take it! In order to prevent it from happening again, I will have to start wearing a full-length wetsuit. It’s not really an issue, other than the fact that I really enjoy not wearing a wetsuit at all. The water temperature is so perfect here, most people don’t need one. If it’s my only defense against those stinging bastards though, sign me up.

Minus the fins, this is what I look like all geared-up. Sexy, I know.

A quick view of the shop. 

Me and the girls goofing off during a photo shoot (ish) last week. This is the universal “I’m Okay” sign in diving. Lounging on Captain D Josh, our dive boat. Lounging is kind of stretch here though, given the 90-degree heat and the fact that I’m wearing a rashie and fins. You get the point though.

So, that’s the latest from Utila. The course is a ton of work, but I think I’ve finally left the overwhelmed stage. I’m just “in it” right now. It keeps me focused and busy, but still allows for enough down time.  Life is still absolutely fabulous. Although I miss SO many of you, I can honestly say that I don’t really miss “home” like I thought I would. I really love the fact that I don’t have a permanent address or any return date. I was so fearful of that and so many other things before I left, but those fears have just disappeared.  For the past couple of years I’ve been preaching the whole “face your fears, you’ll surprise yourself” thing, and I must say- it’s been so rewarding doing it for myself. It’s kind of beautiful how that works out, isn’t it?

My next update should be coming from DM (or almost) DM Emily. Promise to update as soon as that happens. Once again, thank you for reading, commenting and (most of all) supporting. Tons of love from Utila! X

This entry was published on July 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

18 thoughts on “Partying and Working: The Balanced Life of a DMT

  1. Shawn on said:

    It looks like you’re having an amazing time! Good luck with all your DM work. You’re super smart, so I doubt it will be a problem. BTW- that’s funny about the ‘nurse’… I’m glad you figured out what was making you itch, since that is the fucking worst!

    • Thanks, Shawn! I keep meaning to photo-blog some food for you, but truth be known, it’s shit here. Aside from the baleadas, it lacks nutrients and culture. I’ll make up for it when I head south- promise! Hope life in the ATL is fantastic! Xoxo

  2. Tons of love to my oldest niece … you are enjoying yourself. Wow. Thanks for sharing your life with us boring people or let me speak for myself, me. Anyway, I am so happy for you and love that you are tackling a hard course like DM school… harder than graduate school I think! Anyway, keep on and stay in touch. – Auntie M

    • Thank you so much! Ha, don’t think it really compares to grad school, but it is hard work. Still having a blast though. So glad you are following along! Love hearing from you. Hope you are as amazing as I remember 🙂 xoxoxo

  3. Sandy Leon on said:

    Wow…..B, I am soooo proud of you. You didn’t let anything stand in the way of your dreams and look at you, you couldn’t be happier. Must say I’m pretty jealous of the kick ass beach life u have. Lol it just sounds amazing. love reading your blogs and just hearing about all the incredible things u r doing. Tale care girl. Miss and love you! By the way, can’t wait for you to meet Sophia Grace, my little angel 🙂

    • Awwww, thanks, B! I really appreciate that more thatn you know. Life is so so good, isn’t it? And is miss Sophie here already??!! I need photos! I hope you are so happy these days! Love you tons. Miss you! Give me details! Xo

  4. leslie on said:

    Tons of love to you my sweet. Again I’m so glad you know you’ve made the right decision. We all should be so happy in life. You look fabulous and personally, I LOVE the braid(s). So proud of you. Stella gives you a big “shout out”….

  5. Kathleen A. Walsh on said:

    DM Emily, Partying and working….what could be better than that? Especially when the work is something you so love and is in paradise! Happy for you that you have a private room now. Do I see an Alex and Ani bracelet on the dresser? I was so anxious to read another blog from you…..think I was having withdrawal pains. Keep them coming when you can….what a great addition to Barnes and Noble travel essay section this will be! be safe,Love kathy

    • Thank you Kathy! And you DID see A&A bracelets! Funny you noticed because one of my fellow DMT friends recognized them the other day. She has a few too- you can let your people know that 🙂 So happy you’re enjoying the reads. That makes me feel pretty awesome. I will keep ’em coming as often as possible! Love from Utila X

  6. Crystal on said:

    Oh Emily…I love reading your blog! Makes me want to pack my shit and head down there! haha! I need to have my morning smoothie while you have your coffee…and I think Utila would be the perfect background for a chat! 🙂 I’m so glad you’re having such an amazing time! Keep the posts coming! Miss you!

    • Crystal….one of these days you are going to write: “I quit my job and I’m headed to (fill in the blank) tomorrow!”…..and I’m going to be so proud. 🙂 So glad you are enjoying the blog. Thank you for always being such a fan. I can’t wait to catch up with you in person….we’re going to need at least a bottle of tequila. Tons of love to you from Utila, my dear! XO

  7. Its good to hear that you’re settled in and living all “fancy”. Love love love everything your
    doing, keep it up.

  8. Monifa on said:

    My sister heard about you and your blog from one of her friends… maybe a North Atlanta High School classmate. Now we’re hooked and officially two of your biggest fans with a copy of The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost in tow.

    Following your adventure and how you’ve faced your fears has been pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing! ~Monifa… a fellow ATLien 🙂

    • This comment really, really made my day. This is what makes telling the story so worth it. Thank you (and your sister) so much for reading, Monifa. I forgt what a small world Atlanta is 🙂 It’s fun knowing that you heard about me from someone else, and so on. I hope you and your sister stay inspired and maybe even make the big jump one day soon. It’s quite a ride….and worth every penny saved and moment worked. Hope to hear from you again soon! Until then, happy planning and best of luck!

  9. I love it! You are right where you should be. So happy for you and so proud that you took this step. Miss you and am keeping you in my prayers while you’re away. Loves Xx

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