First 30 days in Okinawa, Japan

Konichiwa!  Hello!   Aloha!

Today officially marks our first month, or first 30 days, in Okinawa and the 2-month mark of moving out of our house in Bahrain.  A LOT happens in 2 months when you’re relocating to the opposite side of the globe.  A LOT.

I’m very happy to share that I’m typing this blog from our new home in Okinawa.  Yay!!!  Unlike Bahrain, where we spent nearly 45 days living in a hotel, here the housing department is nearly kicking you out of your hotel the minute you arrive.  “Welcome, now get out!”  PCSing (the military slang term for “moving”) to Bahrain definitely prepared us for this PCS/move.  Having been through one international move and experiencing how challenging, testing, and stressful it is, we were prepared for the same on this side, with a bit more optimism that the process would be a little more organized.  Sadly, it wasn’t more organized.  We were originally told we would be living on Base, only to wait a week later to find out we were moving off Base.  Having lost a week of house hunting we had to hustle like mad to find a house before they kicked us out of our hotel room.   Luckily, we found a place and moved out of our hotel on day 20 and have had the opportunity to begin settling a lot faster than Bahrain.

How did the kids do with this move?  I’ll start this answer off by saying they are 3.5 and 4.5 years old.  You can fill in the rest.  Haha.  No, really, all things considered, the 9 flights, 30 days living in two different hotels, a trip to Florida, Washington, and then adjusting to a new climate, language, and food while not really understanding WTF is going on, they did great!   Moving isn’t easy on a family but we all seem to be aligned for this type of lifestyle.  I’m so grateful to have such an adventurous family.  Also, god bless tablets and TVs that can turn Trace and Izzy into instant zombies.  It made all the plane rides smooth as can be and many hours of meetings and welcome orientations possible.  Again, for so many reasons this move to Okinawa has been sooooo much easier, smoother, and less stressful than our move to Bahrain.

My first impression of Okinawa: THIS WEATHER IS AMAZING!!!!!!!  Despite everyone telling us we arrived in the “hot” season, we think it’s pretty darn perfect.  After living in the Middle East, I will never again have the same perspective of “hot.”  When we left Bahrain the nighttime temperatures weren’t even as low as our highest temperature here.  It feels so freeing to be able to play and breathe outside again.

Here are some other first impressions of Okinawa:

TOTALLY OPPOSITE OF BAHRAIN.  In so many ways, probably worth a whole blog for itself, Okinawa seems to be outwardly the total opposite of Bahrain.  Climate, environment, people, food, garbage, the list goes on and on.   It’s so apparent to me that most of the day I’m giggling silently saying to myself, “You’d never see this in Bahrain.”  So unlike my motto of, “same same but different,” that I quickly adopted moving to Bahrain from the States, I will not be using that phrase here.  I don’t say this in a negative way to either place, they just are so opposite from each other.  I’m realizing I definitely need to do another blog on this.

Also…

I AM SO OKINAWAN.  For me, coming to Okinawa was more than just another cool place to live.  The Japanese side of my heritage is Okinawan.  Growing up I didn’t know much about Okinawa or that side of my family.  All I knew was that I was 1/4 Japanese (Okinawan), 1/4 Chinese, and 1/2 European mix.  When I visited Fukuoka, Japan in 2007, I fell in love with Japan.  Having not really learned the differences growing up (since I grew up in a very mixed culture home), I had always assumed my preferences for Asian style, food, and culture was more towards the Chinese.  Now I haven’t been to China, so I can’t say this with 100 percent certainty, but I’m pretty sure my assumptions were, and are, wrong.  I am much more Japanese in my Asian-ness.  Being here in Okinawa I am realizing even more of my tendencies, what makes me “me,” are closely connected to the Okinawan side of my heritage.  While I’ve been consumed with the never-ending to-do list that comes with moving, I’ve been very reflective.  I’ve been really taking it all in, observing, and inside giggling.  Giggling because I finally feel like I’m starting to understand where I get a lot of my tendencies and preferences.  It’s bizarre to be this age and to finally feel and witness these things but it’s also relieving and exciting.  If I ever find words to describe what I’m experiencing, I might do a blog, maybe not.

Alright, time to go.  Kids are screaming.   Sending you oceans of love from my heart to yours….

Aloha & Namaste

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