Happy New Year!!!

We officially celebrated our first holiday season here in Okinawa! It was a great time, though I must admit I felt the pangs of missing family and good friends. For all of us who are away from loved ones, I am sure you can  relate to that missing piece during the holiday seasons.

Our Christmas was spent at home together and it was one of the best Christmases we have had as a family. The kids had so many presents to open thanks to friends, family and Santa! Santa was even good to Brandon and I this year!

New Year’s Day we decided to just get in the car and drive! It proved to be a nice little adventure! We originally wanted to head up north but left the house way to late for that. The island is only about 60 miles long but it takes about 2 hours plus to get up there. We ended up just about 20-30 mins from the base in a town called Uruma. When  I opened iMaps and put in Agena, which is a neighboring town, directions for castle ruins popped up and we headed right over.

Before I post the pictures, to most this may have not been as cool as an experience as I felt it was, but my curiosity was peaked by the old stone walls, shrines and the one statue that Brandon spotted, failed to tell me about and took one lousy picture of; which I was butt hurt about! Long ago there was a lovely park  built around the ruins but had since been forgotten as its upkeep showed. There were a lot of broken benches, dilapidated canopy type structures, overgrown areas and the smell of sewage was almost unbearable in certain areas. There was a fountain there that appeared to be quite beautiful in its prime and a lovely old time dial which served as a history lesson for Jaiden.  There was an old man who was watering the plants and his care for the lovely forgotten area touched my heart. It was just a cool experience. My new found love for history was stirred and I cannot wait to visit some of the other castles one the island.

We ended our day at the beach! Enjoying the blessings of low tide!

Below are the pictures of our holiday season! Enjoy!

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Bowling with the Grinch!!
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Ready for movie night with our cool pajamas from Auntie!

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Best roller slide ever! Next time we will take a box to help us go faster.
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100 stairs to the top but soooo worth it!

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Hosted a Christmas party at the USO for the kiddos!
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Cookie decorating at a friends house!

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Christmas eve! I was stoked for Santa!
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Kamil is a pro!!!
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Ruins
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Steps that I imagined led to a lovers secret hideaway, typhoon safe place or even a dungeon for those who committed treason! 

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Sun Dial
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Sun dial 
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Shrine
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Though the park and ruins were grown over and unattended there were three little trees being watered by an older local. Not sure where he was getting the was getting the water from but he was walking back and forth with a bucket to care for the newly planted trees.It warmed my heart that someone still cared. He was seemingly friendly, we exchanged a warm and friendly bow. 
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Beautiful tree!! Not sure if my amateur skills capture its true essence or not 🙂

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This experience was amazingly beautiful! The tide pools were full of sea cucumbers, cute little blue fish, shrimp, hermit crabs, star fish and more! We had a blast.

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Beautiful sunset!

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A lot of the locals have carseats in the front or ride with their kids on their laps! Its crazy!

Our last few months!!!

We live our lives with the best of intent nowadays, but nothing ever goes as planned! This blog is something that I really wanted to do so that we could share our experiences with you all but I definitely do not make as much time for it as I would like. Even with my sporadic posts, I hope someone is occasionally reading!

With that being said… WE STILL LOVE IT HERE!!! The weather has just taken a turn and 70 degrees has never, ever, ever, ever felt so cold. People suggested, or we assumed, that it would take us a little more time to get acclimated to the weather but after a hot and incredibly humid summer; 60-70 degrees feels brutally cold. Brandon is in heaven and thinks that this weather is the best yet! And I think he is insane!

We are so excited for our Christmas here! I am hoping that there is a bit of chill in the air because for me cold means christmas!

We are still having fun, exploring, eating and loving one another! W e hope to check out the mall today, go zip lining soon, find another hike and start geocaching!

Here is a peek of what we have been up to these last few months! I hope you all enjoy 🙂

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Family + Food = FUN

We have been in awe at some of the layouts of the playgrounds here in Okinawa, so we decided to check out another one this weekend. The kids have turned our hotel room into a makeshift jungle gym so getting them out to play was much needed! As usual, we didn’t last very long due to the humidity but we did get to play a little and we also discovered an awesome little beach 🙂 The beach appeared to be a hidden gem-perfect for collecting water to make sea salt.

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There are vending machines all over Okinawa! Great for hot and cold drinks and this much needed ice cream machine!
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Coolest lounge chair swing EVER!!!!
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Millz in action!

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Arashi’s

After the park we went to American Village to have lunch and check out some shops. Lunch was not worth the mention but I did score a sweet bottle of sake and a sake cup! We decided to have ramen for dinner. I am quickly becoming addicted to ramen. Just talking about makes me want a bowl right now and I’m in bed so that is a problem. Arashi’s lived up to the hype with good ramen and yummy garlic fried rice!

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Fried rice came in a hot skillet with a raw egg to mix at the table!
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Order your food at the machine prior to being seated.
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Cute kids meal! I wish they gave me a cute little fork instead chopsticks! Lol

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After spending our life savings at the commissary the last couple weeks we decided to take to the streets in search of some local produce and meats! It was a sunday so the pickings were slim on where to shop but we stumbled upon (more like researched on Facebook) a farmers market in Yomitan near Torii Station, a army base a few miles north of Kadena. There was a lot of local produce that we had no clue what it was and a few things that we eat on a regular. We decided to be risky(not even) and try Japanese sweet potatoes and dragon fruit.

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Dragon fruit when googled is described as a cross between kiwi and pear. I would liken it to kiwi, not the exact taste but the consistency is the same especially with the littles seeds. Jai refused to try it and Milly spit it out which means more for Maddie and I!!!

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Then we walked across the street to the grocery store called Aeon. As long as time and weather permits most of my meats and veggies will likely come from off base. Prices are high at the commissary due to shipment costs and they know some people will not venture out to save. Also, the ground beef looks like potted meat. This grocery store was fun with lots of fresh looking meat. I think I only took one picture (posted below)due to not wanting to be “that tourist.”

Week 2 was fun here and we explored a bit. I hate not being able to communicate so I hope to get a Japanese tutor soon. I can say a few words/phrases- hello, good morning, thank you, please, sorry, have a good day, excuse me, yes and I can count to seven. So, basically I have manners and thats all. 🙂

Here are some random pics that I snapped along the way!

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The grocery store fast food section. Fried eggplant, chicken, littles balls of bread filled with jelly that Jai loved, chicken on a stick that all the kids enjoyed, lots of fresh sushi, salads and full little meals. So fun and the fried chicken was not bad!
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Family Mart which is a seven eleven but cooler! Lots of snack options and necessities.
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Maddie loving dragon fruit!
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Family Mart
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Family Mart
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Pink one is a hand washing station and the other is free water! Lots of restaurants have hand washing stations for customers. Most are sinks but this eatery is a small little shack shop. I appreciate the option! Weird though bc a lot of restrooms don’t have hand soap!
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Public mens room at the park. Happy the man using it kept his pants up! It was definitely a different experience. I hear a lot of places have squatter holes…..
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Check jai out! Her Sensei is world known! http://www.kenshin-kan.com/instructors/hanshi-fusei-kise/
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Community puzzle at the library. We were no help at all :/
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Kadena Marina! My pictures do no justice in capturing the true beauty of this island. It is truly amazing.
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Night picture of the commissary of the third floor in lodging.

We all love it hear. Its simply beautiful and very functional. The Japanese utilize space so well, I can totally understand why our vehicles are not welcome here. We will eventually get rid of our stroller bc most places it will not fit!

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Thanks for reading y’all! We love and miss you all(most of you hahahaha) and hope that this blog makes you all want to visit us!

Oh- and we got a house!!! But that will have to wait until next time!

 

WE MADE IT!!!

The last few weeks for us have been extremely busy and unorganized. After staying in sunny California with family and friends for a month, we headed to Seattle the 21st of July to catch our flight to Okinawa on the 23rd. After being delayed for three nights due to Typhoons (which I recently learned is just another word for a hurricane that has crossed the international date line) we arrived in Okinawa July 27th! In between, we did get to see a bit of Seattle but not much because the flight delays had us woooorrrrrnnn out!

 

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1 husband, 3 kids, 3 carseats, 2 play pens, 1 stroller, 6 bags and 3 carry-ons. Bringing that load back and forth to the airport wore me out! 🙂 

The flight went surprising well. Even Brandon, whom we all know is afraid to fly behaved accordingly. Under the influence of drugs (prescription of course). The twins barely whined and Jaiden was unusually calm and collected.

When we landed I was hit with some serious separation anxiety, I could literally feel the distance. The first night I was home sick and almost in tears. That lasted less than a day. I am already in love with this island and all it has to offer!

Hopefully all my next post will explain an event or two at a time but for now here is a quick recap!

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***8/2015 Araha Beach***

Here is our very first beach adventure! The kids had a blast and so did Brandon and I. We were so ill prepared for the beach, not having our belongings and such, but that did not stop us. The water was soooo warm and clear. 

 

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We ran into a family at the beach that flew in on the same flight as us and they recommended a restaurant. As an amateur explorer, I forgot to take a picture of the outside. It was a hidden gem! The sushi rode around on a conveyer belt! Can you imagine a revolving table side sushi buffet?!?! It was so yummy! This picture is so crappy due to my fear of disrespecting the Japanese culture. It was our first sit down experience in Okinawa and we did not know what was acceptable. 

 

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Then there was Tenkaippin, a ramen spot. The twins were so destructive, I couldn’t take pictures lol. The language barrier made it difficult to ask questions about the ramen, but I do know that I will not be ordering Kotteri Ramen again!  Maddie obviously loves Ramen, which we discovered at a Japanese restaurant in Seattle. I know, why visit a Japanese restaurant in route to Japan? Jaiden was persistent about getting sesame chicken and we stumbled into one.
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Japanese fast food. So much better than mall food court asian cuisine but not the culinary experience we desire!

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This park was soooooooo cool! Check out the slides!?! Most of the parks in Oki have crazy cool character to them and we cant wait to see more! 

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The humidity is brutal. It was only @10am! 

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Hot teas and coffee out of vending machines! 

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Our new ride and the new driver sticker! We also have a second car now, I will post pics later:) 

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I think that covers it y’all! The last couple of weeks have been busy and fun. We had to get licenses, vehicles and we finally viewed houses today. Hopefully we will have a home soon. I think this island is gorgeous and as you can see, the sky is simply amazing. We can hardly wait to explore more this weekend. There are restaurants galore, beaches, farmers markets, parks, hiking trails, shopping, and more. The bases always have something going on as well! The options are endless. This is going to be nothing short of awesomeness!

Please ask questions and comment!

Hello world!

Hey y’all!! The next four years in Okinawa are going to be a real adventure for the five of us! We are so excited to explore this beautiful island and feel extremely blessed to have received this opportunity. We decided to start this blog to share our experiences with our loved ones that are soooooooo far away. We want you all to continue to be a big part of our lives. Check out this page periodically to see what we are up to! Be sure to comment and stay connected! We love you! Jai, Millz, Maddie, Korrelle and Brandon!