Monday, September 26, 2011

The Two Year Mark

So, here we are again – another year down in Okinawa! I cannot believe it’s been two full years since we stepped off that plane and our lives were forever changed. Really, I’m not just being dramatic. Our lives really have changed. We’ve spent this past year enjoying life with good friends and exploring four more countries in Asia. We’ve seen and done things that most people never will. Our world views have been broadened to say the least. Okinawa no longer feels like a country we are visiting, (and I know our family back in the States isn’t going to like hearing this!) but it feels like home. Just like California grew on me in the couple of years we lived there, Okinawa feels the same only more.

What is so great about this island? The polite and humble Japanese people. The gorgeous turquoise ocean that never ceases to amaze me. The fun shopping at cute little stores in Depot Island. The delicious Crunchy Salmon Rolls at Sushi Zen. The adorable Japanese bakeries that seem to be on every corner. The random “roads” that take you on an adventure at every turn. The beautiful Cherry Blossoms in the spring. The fried rice and REAL ramen noodles. And my favorite – the incredible artwork in the sky we get to witness every time the sun sets – it is different every day, like nowhere else, and can only have been created by God Himself!

I know this island,I love this island, and I don’t want to leave it too soon…which brings me to my second piece of news – we are no longer leaving in September 2012! Our time out here living in Japan has been extended until August 2013 (when Matt will be separating from the Marine Corps entirely). No, I’m not joking – we will be living here until we are done in the military, and when we move back to the States, we get to live WHEREVER we want to! It will undoubtedly be a brand new concept to us as a married couple. At this time, we are both excited and nervous to separate from the Marine Corps and be regular civilians again, but fortunately,we don’t have to think about all that quite yet. I know this will be bittersweet news to some, but it really is a good thing. We have the rest of our lives to be in the States, we can continue to travel and spread out our trips a little more, we aren’t quite ready to have kids yet (sorry parents!), Matt can finish his degree without switching schools again, and we will get the most time possible with our friends out here!

Thank you all for keeping in touch with us these past two years through this blog! Our second year in Okinawa has been full of fun experiences, incredible travels, and amazing friends – we are so blessed. Here’s to (almost) two more!

Side Note: This is also my 100th blog post!!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Party in the USA

Okay, so we weren’t quite in the USA, but there were a lot of Americans at the party– that’s pretty much the same thing, right? August 22, 2011 is a big day as both of my best friend’s birthdays land on it –yes, BOTH of them! And to make it even more special, it was the big 3-0 for Amanda this year. Originally, we were planning on having a quiet girls night out to dinner, but that quickly changed when Amanda’s husband, Nick, asked us to plan a surprise party for her while he was away deployed in the Philippines. We love Amanda and were so happy to help, but as the time got closer and closer to the party, we (Lyndsey and I) got more and more nervous!

Fortunately, with the help of our other friend Johanna (as well as Matt), everyone showed up on time, and the surprise went off without a hitch (how’s that for an old saying)! It was an awesome night – we had the balcony patio of an amazing restaurant called Sea Garden that had a really modern feel to it and was right on the ocean. Beside a little humidity (that’s a given in Okinawa), the night was gorgeous, and the ocean and twinkling lights from Oki in the background made it even more perfect. I could have relaxed in that lounge seating all night if they would have let me!

Beside getting to hang out with great friends all night and see Amanda open our gift to her,I’m pretty sure Matt would agree with me that the food was the best part of the whole evening. Cheese fondue with bread, Lobster, Prosciutto Pizza, Sushi, Spring Rolls, Braised Beef… the delicious list goes on and on and on – all with gorgeous presentation. We had our own waitstaff that kept bringing it out, plate after plate – there was a TON of food! Oh, and I almost forgot the best part – the surprising and unusually delicious dessert! It was cinnamon rolls topped with some sort of heavenly sweet whipped cream, caramel and fresh fruit….mmmmm….so good.

Cupcake tree with Okinawa's lights in the background

These cupcakes were adorable & soooo sweet

Our gorgeous friend Amanda

Lyndsey, Amanda & I

Food, food & more food

Matt and our friend Andrez enjoying the festivities
The birthday girls;)

Our amazing dessert

Group photo!

- C

Monday, September 5, 2011

Just Another Weekend in Paradise

When you first move to a new place, it's only natural to want to get out and see everything there is to see, but give it a couple years, and it's easy to get stuck in the "same old weekend" routine. Over the past few weeks, Matt and I have really been making an effort to get out and explore new things on the island. One might think that we've done all there is to do in Okinawa, but we actually do still have a rather large list of things we'd like to see and restaurants we'd like to try - which keeps this little blog going - so stay tuned! As for the past few weekends, we've quite literally just been hopping in the car and driving anywhere and everywhere! Here are some random snap-shots that I think document our latest weekend adventures pretty well:

Shell-hunting on a hidden beach Matt found - I want a whole jar of these little black and white ones!

Feeding goats

View of Ginowan - an area near where we live in Oki

Bear Donuts from Mister Donut

A natural spring we found


It's starting to become normal to see things like this when just driving down some of the side-streets here

Mutant Mosquito Bites - lesson learned: never leave home without bug spray (you never know where you'll end up)!

A really cool park we came across - this is a GIGANTIC steep, concrete slide! (aka - you won't be seeing this in America)

Cute little Japanese girl at the top - she was too scared to go down!

Looking down at Matt - this thing was massive!

Check out these tiny video clips of Matt going down this concrete slide:

A late afternoon view of the East China Sea

Main intersection in American Village

Some very interesting fish we saw on a dive at Bolo Point (they were doing some sort of weird "flicking" movement with their top fins... kind of hard to describe)

A random crab we found

A newer area of Naha we found with a cute little river walk

Us at sunset

Futenma Shrine Cave - our local shrine cave you might say - is right outside of Camp Foster where we live, and it is thirty seconds away from Futenma Air Station where Matt works. It's odd to see a shrine and a cave right off one of our main roads here, but there it is! You can see how close the entrance is to the road:

Inside the cave

Small garden in the back of the shrine

Area to wash your hands I think...

A view of Okinawa's lights and stars in the sky from the Sea Wall at night

Me at one of our favorite burger places: Jetta Burger in Depot Island

Okinawa by night

Thanks for following along on our adventures!