Well, it’s OFFICIAL! We have landed in Japan! Our first night…was HORRIBLE…ok, not all was horrible. We met some pretty awesome people. So we had two stop overs, on our second we had been delayed due to engine and hot breaks. We got to Okinawa and Kikko had to be taken to the emergency vet because she was excreting blood. She was throwing up and blood…so much blood. The vet ran tests because she thought it was a virus…it wasn’t. Here I am telling Ali that its dehydration and pancreatitis rather than a virus…few minutes later the doc says the same dang thing…The vet also said she might have muscle loss due to the dehydration…I guess you could never be too careful and want to run the initial tests. All I know is that I want her to recover. We will go see her tomorrow….our first official day in Oki and we end up almost losing our eldest…we are off to a FANTASTIC start…insert sarcasm here.
The time has come my friends to talk of many things! Of beaches, sea glass, food and historical things! So while the tea is boiling hot! And whether the pigs in Oki have wings…here are the 101 places to visit in Okinawa that I have found on an amazing blog right HERE ! I will update this as the years progress….I hope that we are able to visit all 101 things!
HISTORICAL/CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS: 21
Okinawa Prefectural Museum
Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum
Peace Prayer Park
Himeyuri Peace Museum
Naval Underground Headquarters
Tomori Stone Lion (Oldest Shisa Dog in Okinawa)
Tsuboya Pottery Museum
Nagagusuku Castle Ruins
Katsuren Castle Ruins
Nakijin Castle Ruins
Zakimi Castle Ruins
Tamagusuku Castle Ruins
Agena Castle Ruins
Naha Fish Market
Sefa-utaki (sacred site)
PARKS AND GARDENS: 17
Southeast Botanical Garden
Shikina-en Royal Garden
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Ryugujo Butterfly Garden
Tobaru Koen Park (Roller Slide Park)
Yohena Ajisai (Hydrangea) Garden
Kijoka Iris Field
Kin Town Cosmos Field
Bios on the Hill
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS: 18
Cherry Blossom Festival
Tug of War Festival
Naha Dragon Boat Race
10,000 Eisa Festival
Shuri Castle Festival
Tsuboya Pottery Festival
Shi Shi Mai Festival
Uruma Sparkling Festival
Summer Festival at Ocean Expo Park
Orion Beer Festival
Ginoza Strawberry Farms
Ryukyu Kings Game
Okinawa Food Flea
HIKES / OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: 8
Stairway to Heaven
Ziplining @ Forest Adventure Park
Camping at Beach Rock Village
Tsuken-jima (Carrot Island)
BEACHES / CAPES: 10
Sand Dollar Beach
Ride a Flyboard
Snorkeling or Scuba Diving
Swimming with Whale Sharks
MISCELLANEOUS / SHOPPING + EATING: 15
Coral Dying at Shuri Ryusen
Tsuboya Pottery Street
Yomitan Pottery Village
Ryukyu Glass Craft Village
Okinawa Rycom Mall
Minatogawa Stateside Town
Sweet Potato Factory
Orion Beer Factory
Blue Seal Ice Cream
Daiso ¥100 Store
Okinawa Soba Factory Cooking Class
Like many other people, I have a ” Places to Travel” list. I have decided that whether I have been there or not I would redo my list and add places that I have already traveled to. I want new eyes and perspective on things, gain something new from places I have been hundred of times. I do not know when I will have the chance to visit all these places, but it would be an amazing adventure! Where have you traveled to? What MUST SEE places do I need to go to?
So with us moving overseas in six weeks I have contemplated on writing and updating a series of blog posts about cities I have visited with and without the husband. It allows me to remember all the fun times and allows me to see how beautiful and vast this glorious world is. I would love suggestions of things to visit from various areas (bonus and mad props if you could add food places too!) Being a milso has taught me to value the places where we live and gives me the ability to adapt to my surroundings. As I embark on these next few blog posts I hope that it fuels others to travel to a city less known. There are tons of hidden gems that have yet to be discovered and I hope that where ever you may find yourself, that you feel a sense of wonder. I believe that as a species we have forgotten to accept the simplistic beauty the world has to offer. From sitting in a coffee shop downtown Sioux Falls or at the beach in La Union, Philippines, I wish safe travels to you and a sense of calm serenity.
As I drive down the side roads near my home, I find myself in a sort of calm sadness. We are closer and closer to our move date, and I feel a bittersweet excitement. In a few short weeks I will be jobless, having applied to a few places but only to have them say to apply once I am in country. I understand their need for me to actually be in country, but I would rather have a guaranteed job rather than heading their without my own source of income. I have never felt so vulnerable…until now.
The idea that all I will have is my husband and the girls is a SCARY thing for a woman like me. A woman who has never known what it feels like to be a “stay at home”. Ali suggested that I take the time to just go to school…but I can not just let me career go…it is not that easy. We do not have children, just dogs. As the days get closer to us moving I am starting to feel like a cornered animal. I am running out of options. So many people are telling me it is difficult to find a job on the island….GREAT.
Just let go and let God Lahaina….LET GO AND LET GOD.
God has a sense of humor, or He simply heard my cries yesterday…I’ll tell you why.
With the days going by faster than the bullet train, I have started to get more and more stressed out with the idea that we are moving. THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO and SO LITTLE TIME! I had a mini melt down last night with Ali, telling him that I am just one person and I needed help with this whole moving process. I know that he has been busy with work, but when I get home and not only do I have homework, but I have house chores to do, I admit I crack just a little more.
Passport still needs to get ordered, dental work, down sizing…how do I pick and chose what memories I want to keep with me, and how do I choose which ones to throw away? The idea that I have to pick and choose memories to fit inside a book size box, can be daunting to anyone. The idea that we are limited in the number of pounds we get to pack up and ship out, can even be more stressful…the couch? How much does that weigh? Do I REALLY need all that yarn?
Well, I get an email from Ali this morning and I instantly start to tear up after reading the first few lines. The chaplain of the squadron sent it out THE DAY AFTER my mini breakdown…it reads as follows:
“Lots of moving… Moving… Moving… Moving far from home… Moving two cars, three kids and one dog…all riding with the military spouses…of course. Moving sofas to basements because they won’t go in THIS house; Moving curtains that won’t fit; Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours. Moving away from friends; Moving toward new friends; Moving the most important luggage: the trunk full of memories.
Often waiting… Waiting… Waiting… Waiting for housing. Waiting for orders. Waiting for deployments. Waiting for phone calls. Waiting for reunions. Waiting for the new curtains to arrive. Waiting for the military member to come home, For dinner…AGAIN!
They call them ‘Military Dependents’, but they know better: They are fiercely In-Dependent.
They can balance a check book; Handle the yard work; Fix a noisy toilet; Bury the family pet…
They are intimately familiar with drywall anchors and toggle bolts…can file the taxes; Sell a house; Buy a car; Or set up a move…all with ONE Power of Attorney.
They welcome neighbors that don’t welcome them. They reinvents their careers with every PCS; Locates a house in the desert, The Arctic, Or the deep south. And learn to call them all ‘home’. They MAKE them all home. Military Spouses are somewhat hasty… They leap into: Decorating, Leadership, Volunteering, Career alternatives, Churches, And friendships. They don’t have 15 years to get to know people. Their roots are short but flexible. They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after them.
Military Spouses quickly learn to value each other: They connect over coffee, Rely on the spouse network, Accept offers of friendship and favors. Record addresses in pencil…Military Spouses have a common bond: The Military Spouse has a Companion unlike other Companions; their mate’s commitment is unique. He/she doesn’t have a ‘JOB’ –it is a ‘MISSION’ that one can’t just decide to quit… on-call for the country 24/7. But for the military spouse, their confidant can be the most unreliable person in town! Military language is foreign TDY PCS OPR SOS ACC BDU ACU BAR CIB TAD EPR And so, a Military Spouse is a translator for the family. They are the long- distance link to keep them informed; the glue that holds them together.
A Military Spouse has moments: He/She wants to wring necks sometimes; Dye uniforms purple; Refuse to move to Siberia; But they pull themselves together. Give them a few days, A travel brochure, A long hot bath, A pledge to the flag, A wedding picture, And off they go. They pack. They move. They follow.
Why? What for? How come? You may think it is because they have lost their minds. But actually it is because they have lost their hearts. It was stolen from them by an citizen soldier, Who puts duty first, Who longs to deploy, Who salutes the flag, And whose boots in the doorway remind them that as long as they are military members, they will remain the military spouse. And would have it no other way.”
THIS. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL. It gave me comfort that I am not the only person that feels this way. It made me feel NORMAL. It isn’t easy, but yes, we wouldn’t have it any other way. So to the military spouses just like me, who are worried about what can and can’t go with you to your next duty station….WE CAN GET THROUGH IT.
So, I have started going back to the gym with my best friend, trying to prep myself into shape before moving overseas to a country where the ideal size for a woman is a zero….Side note: I will NEVER be a zero….Anyway…This is how our conversation went with my bestie Jen
Me: Yeah, my butt is the first thing to come back when I start working out my boobs are the LAST thing to go. I lose it in my hips and everywhere else but the boobs ALWAYS are the last to go…
Jen: Thats good though right?
Me: Yeah but at least let them go down to a B! Geez….these kill my back
Ali: WAIT WHAATTT??? A B? Ummm I wasn’t informed of this….
Me: *laughing* Yeah honey I want them to go down to a B! Plus I thought you were an ASS guy?
Ali: I am…but a B? I wasn’t consulted on this. We will talk about this later
Apparently my husband does not want me to lose my boobs….who knew? haha
My husband (bless his heart) everyone. He loves me and it is moments like this that make me smile.