Sunday, October 28, 2012

weekend recap (fish, dolphins, whale sharks-- oh my)

Oh my goodness. This weekend, on a whim, we decided to hit up the aquarium in the northern part of the island. We were on the fence about going because we just moved into our sweet little home, and have not even finished unpacking. Boxes are still full, and curtains have yet to be hung-- but an AQUARIUM! We couldn't pass it up.

So we set off early Saturday morning with some friends and really had no idea where we were headed. People in Okinawa rarely use road names or numbers, they prefer to give directions based on land marks and "drive until you see this" and "it's up north, you can't miss it." Luckily, if (when) you get lost, the scenery is breathtaking. Getting lost on this island is kind of a welcome treat.

Anyways, the aquarium! We found it. And it was awesome (trust me, I worked at Seaworld for 2 summers-- I'm a pretty big deal in the underwater world). Tons of awesome fish, a dolphin show that was completely in Japanese, and 3 ginormous whale sharks. I was in awe. So much so that we bought the annual pass-- that's commitment people.

And now here are a lot of pictures of fish that were shot in bad lighting through a foot of glass.. Enjoy!

Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, October 19, 2012

#hotelliving, no more!

So, yeah. I'm running low on inspiration these days. 5 months of #hotelliving has got me in a place of low creativity, but tomorrow, TOMORROW, we get a home! A real, live home! And we get to pull our musty clothes out of suitcases and walk barefooted on our own concrete floors and lounge on our government issued furniture. Glory be.

No but really, we are excited as all get out. Housekeeping and continental breakfast sounded promising 5 months ago, but I'm honestly just ready to clean my own bathrooms, ya know? Not cleaning or cooking any meals can make a jobless girl feel pretty lazy. I'm ready to cook my husband good food and invite people into my home again. Instead of like, "Hi friends, come over for dinner. We can all sit on our king sized hotel bed and eat in community." I'm going to have a table and chairs again! Yay.

And here are some instagrams that can mostly already all be seen on my sidebar right over there on the right. Low inspiration, remember? Stick with me.

There's our baby. Our Capa. Our minivan/station wagon crossover. We love him. 

Oh, yes. This girl is a legal driver in Japan. And now everyone on the internet knows how much I weigh.

This is our home. Not the softest on the eyes, but it works. And we have 3 bedrooms. So come visit!

We are really excited about Japan. Cant you see?

Clear water, pretty rocks, chippy toenail polish.

My options this week were 1) sit in the hotel room all day or 2) drive Brian around as he checked into his unit. So, I became a personal chauffeur. 

We found the golden nugget. I was in dire need of an iced starbees. 

This is my "it's so windy face." It was a blustery week. Lots of tropical storms and typhoons swirling out over the pacific.

Oh, the seawall. I love that we live SO close to water. And really, really pretty water at that. 

Some more water. Why not?

Curry pizza. YUMMM. I'm jealous of myself for eating this. And you should be too. Delish. 

So there is our week! 
How did ya'll spend your week? 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

naha tug of war.

The day after we arrived on island we kept hearing people talk about this huge tug-of-war in Naha, the capitol of Okinawa. We knew if we stayed in our hotel room we would probably just fall asleep, so we decided to cab it to downtown Naha to see what all this chit chat was about.

Yall. It was craziness. The largest tug of war in the world. They close down the main roadway in downtown to make room for the rope. We weren't actually close enough to participate, but I'm not sad about it because people were getting all kinds of sweaty and gross tugging on that rope. It was fun to watch and a good introduction to Okinawan culture for sure. There is a lot of history behind the tug of war that we didn't find out about until after, so we didn't really understand what we were watching-- but it was certainly interesting anyways. You can read more about the history behind it here.

It's also customary and tradition for people to cut off strands of the rope, as the rope is said to bring good luck throughout the year. There were literally elderly women with hacksaws and razor blades fighting to the front to slice off the biggest piece of rope they could find. This isn't an exaggeration. I sent Brian into the craziness to try and bribe one of the women to cut us off a piece-- he was victorious and miraculously returned to me unscathed!

There was also a parade through the streets of Naha before hand with all different types of cultural productions. My favorite part was the little ninja boys. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

This was the very middle of the rope, but gives you an idea of the thickness. It was huge.

 These are my friends Ashley and Sarah (look mom! i have friends! aren't you proud?), they are great. 

We also got our first daytime view of the beach! Beauty. 

We are kiiiiinda loving this place already. Except for the fact that it felt like a vacation until Brian left this morning to check into work. Then it felt like real life. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

one day in seattle.

That's all we had. Just one day. We could have spent a whole week in Seattle, easy. It's such an awesome city with so much to see and experience. Luckily for us, we had a sit down meeting while stil in Charlotte with our favorite ex-seattilite (although, she is still a seattilite in her heart) in which she pointed out the must sees and dos for someone that only has 16 hours to spare in the city. We truly were so thankful for the info we got and it allowed us to make the most of our time there. Plus, in the northwest you just never know what you are going to get, weather-wise. We could not have asked for a more beautiful, day. It was perfect. It was the best possible way to spend our last hours in the states.  

Indian food in the public market. Coffee at the first original Starbucks. Downtown view from West Seattle. Afternoon drive through Ballard. Dinner in the Space needle. Most beautiful sunset ever.

Friday, October 5, 2012

we have arrived!

Just a quick post to let everyone know that we have arrived in Okinawa, safe and sound! After lots of waiting, and flying, and getting off the plane, and reboarding the plane-- we are here!  Charlotte to Salt Lake City to Seattle to Yokota to Iwakuni to Okinawa. Bam.

Our sponsor (person from Brian's unit assigned to help with getting us settled in) has been so kind and helpful. She picked us up last night at the airport and is coming today to take us around the island. We are so thankful to be here and we are ready to get out and explore. We are staying in temporary lodging right now, but should be getting a permanent place by the end of this week. We are also going out today to look for phones and cars.

We don't feel super jet-lagged yet and got really good sleep last night, so we are praying that we can keep our eyes open today and fight off the sleepiness. From what we have seen so far, this island is beautiful. We have a view of the East China Sea from our hotel room and palm trees right outside our window. We thought it would be super muggy and humid and I'm sure it will be at some point, but the weather right now is really mild and comfortable. Thankful for that.

We will keep you all posted as we settle in and make this place home. Also, can't wait to write about our day in Seattle, it was perfect. Love you all. Thank you for the prayers, love, support, etc. etc. We feel so unbelievably blessed by the people in our lives.

Charlotte Airport-- definitely felt like people were judging us (like the guy in the background, for instance) for the amount of luggage we had. I felt the need to apologize to everyone about how much we had and to justify myself every chance I had like, "we really usually are simple, light packers.. it's just that we are moving to japan..."

Everything made it to Seattle (and Okinawa). Praise! 

Dinner in the Seattle Space Needle. 

Seattle sunset, seriously? Gorgeous.

245 AM airport picture. Strugglin.

Lots and lots of ocean. Pretty, but a little terrifying. I tried not to look that much. 

Ok, off to buy phones and cars and eat sushi. Lots of love from us to you.