Monday, August 18, 2014

One month in Paradise

Wow, have I really been on island for one whole month now?  I've been so used to saying that "we just got here," but I guess I can't really say that anymore, can I?  It's been an experience, for sure.  It has been an amazing experience so far, but it hasn't been all roses and sunshine.  Here's my take on the pros and the cons of island living in the Beautiful Okinawa, Japan.

Pros:  Umm...this Midwesterner is no longer land locked!  It is less than a ten minute drive to the ocean.  The ocean!!  I have never experienced being this close to the water before.  I am such a beach person, and although we've been busy doing other things, I have really enjoyed being able to take an impromptu beach trip.

Cons:  The tides and crazy weather!  So, I had no idea the tides and such could be chimed, so Joel and I had a beach fail last weekend.  We went, literally, at the lowest tide of the day.  It was barely to our ankles!  We decided to wait and try again another day, obviously.  The next day, it was gorgeous!  We ran errands to escape low tide again, and then went home to pack up and it started storming.  For hours.  It's hard to plan for beach days sometimes.  Or anything, really.  When the rain really falls, no umbrella or rain jacket will keep you dry.

See the people wading in their ankles?
Pros:  The delicious food!  Ramen takes on a whole new name here, and it is so delicious.  We also have tasty Hawaiian restaurants,  sushi places (for Joel, not me), and many, many other delights.  I am going to have to hit the gym hard here.  Plus, dining with a view isn't too shabby.

Cons:  They Japanese aren't always the best when choosing things to eat.  They sure have some disgusting things on the menu.  I am so happy when they have pictures on the menu to help us figure things out, because I sure can't read Japanese.  It's been a very hard hurdle, and I'm still pretty uncomfortable with not knowing the language, although I have learned a few key phrases.

I'll definitely have more observations as time goes on.  Right now, it feels like I am just on a really long vacation.  We have a house, but not our stuff (still have another month on that) and I haven't started work yet (tomorrow is the big day).  The weather is always hot and humid, which is a pro and a con (my poor curly hair!), and Joel's working weird shifts at the moment.  It's not our "new normal" yet, but I'm enjoying it for the most part.  I think month two is going to be very different.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Monday, Monday...

I realize that it is still Sunday for most of my friends back in the states, but it is Monday morning here in Okinawa.  I am still trying to fully adjust to the time, but the real test will be next week when I have to start back at work.  Right now, I'm sleeping until about 0830, and it is truly glorious.  Next week?  Back up at 0545.  I'm rather enjoying my life of luxury at the moment, but I know it won't be long until I go stir crazy, so I am happy to be rejoining the workforce less than a month after I left it.

We have started to make our "home" feel as much like home, without our stuff, as we can.  After so long living in a hotel, I am thankful to have a home to go to.  As I said before, I'm not super excited that it's on base.  Right now, they have a "live where you work" policy.  What that means is, that if the base you are stationed at (for Joel it is Kadena AB) is less than 98% full, you have to live on base.  If it's over that, then they look at a secondary location and it has to be below 98%.  If they are both above, then you are able to move off base.  For us, Kadena was pretty full, but our secondary base was only at, like, 70%.  We were told at first we would be placed there, and then magically they found a place for us to live on Kadena.  I would have rather gone to the other base, because it is closer to where I will be working, but there's no arguing here.  It is what it is, much to my dismay.  So, may I present our home to you during our time here.  It's not much to look at, but it does offer a view of the beautiful sunsets from the living room.  Inside photos to come when we have our stuff.

Monday, August 4, 2014


Hello, everybody!  I've officially been in Okinawa now for a little over two weeks, and a lot has happened in that time.  We have new cars, a new house, and new jobs.  Eek!  Yes, you're officially looking at the newest Special Educator on the island.  That job that I interviewed for and was less than confident about worked out for me.  I little shout out to the Man upstairs on that one.  He was really looking out for me.  And look at my new car!  Isn't it fun?  Where else then Japan, no?  I named her Rizzo, as she is a pink lady.

While we are all moved into our house, and although I am glad to have a place, I didn't exactly go willingly.  Currently, the base we are at has a mandatory "on base first" policy, and anyone that knows me knows I am not a fan of base living.  When we were in Germany, I really feel that the main reason that I became immersed in the culture and learned so much of the language is because we lived in the local community and NOT on base.  Here in Japan, I wanted the same kind of experience, but because there was availability on base, we had to take it.

We got the choice of a newly renovated four-plex, or a single family home stuck in the 70s.  While I loathe the interior of the single family home, it made much more sense to take it versus the town home.  It is much larger and has an open floor plan, plus the dogs will be able to make as much noise inside as they want without bothering anyone.  And, we have a nice patio and yard for them.  Oh, did I mention the home we didn't choose backed up to the youth center?  Yeah, it was pretty much a no-go at that point, anyways.

We still don't have our stuff, but we have a loaner couch and bed from the base until it arrives.  Which is hopefully sooner rather than later.  And, of course, Joel found the move a perfect opportunity to upgrade to a bigger and better TV.  Other than that, we are pretty empty in this house, but I am doing my best to make it "home."

I have so much more to say, but I'll save it for a different post.  I took my first Japanese lesson yesterday courtesy of the base, and have a lot of studying to do!  My German is pretty good, but my Japanese?  Not so much.  Back to the language drawing board, so to speak.