I rented a house, I have a car, I still have a job. I (mostly) furnished the house, have braved Japanese gas stations, restaurants, roads, and work is still going halfway alright. I have an ID – two in fact, though only one looks real (and not the one I need to look real), have talked to the military police two more times, and have managed to open a military bank account which was a long shot. I have stood with my hand over my heart at the movie theatre while the star-spangled banner plays with a Marine at attention by my side. I know what kind of sushi I like, what I want to try, and what I will never eat again. All of this begs the question:
So much of my time here has been consumed with figuring things out. Where to live, where to eat, shop, buy milk, exchange yen, which side of the road to be on, what the hell that animal is outside my window making noise at six AM. The list goes on and on. But now I have answers to all of those questions and my list of questions has finally been exhausted (for today at least). I have realized though, here, if I’m not on a mission to get something done, I’m a little bit lost. And today being one of those days where I woke up and my sinuses have attacked my entire head, I found myself wondering, why the hell am I here? Don’t get me wrong, I really love Okinawa so far. The people are incredibly nice, I feel much more knowledgable about the military than I ever thought possible, and I have always wanted to live within walking distance to a beach – and hey a 2 for1! I can walk to two different oceans if I wanted to take that on.
Part of the problem is that as my life goes on here, across the world from my friends and family, their lives go on as well. Is it selfish for me to want everyone at home to just WAIT until I get back to have babies, get married, experience love and loss? WAIT to see the new release movies until I can go with them (and not have to stand up for the national anthem)? WAIT to have Christmas and birthdays? Hell yes. Incredibly selfish. But at least I can admit that this is what I really, truly, on this day want more than anything in the world. I want to be able to CALL my friend to talk about religion and not be worried about the cost. Or better yet, meet and talk and have coffee. I want to be able to HUG one of my best friends on this earth when she is going through hell in her personal life. I want to fly to San Diego for Mimosa friday and go to a concert with Lindsey. And just to SEE my family. Is it too much to ask?
Oh, have I mentioned yet that my power cord for my computer broke? Holy. Frustration. I am typing this at the library here on base. The one upside to this current lack of technology is that I don’t sit in front of my computer for hours a day anymore, waiting to talk to my friends and family in different time zones. Pathetic? Perhaps. But I’m officially moving beyond the act of every thing is roses and cherry blossoms in Okinawa 365 days a year.
Not to worry, I’m not sad and mopey everyday. Just in particular this day. Just for affirmation of my non-depressed days for those of you that are starting to wonder about the state of my mental health, I have done several pretty awesome things since the last post. For starters I went whale watching yesterday. How wild is that? I went whale watching. It’s fun just to say. And to top it off, I actually saw a pack of whales. Pack? Group? Herd? I don’t know. But regardless, they were there, right off the shore of Naha. I could still see the city from where our boat was. It was such a crazy experience to see WHALES and so close to where I live. Why this effected me so much, I have no idea, but it did. And it would have effected you, too. Cross my heart.
I also braved the 67 km drive up to the Churaumi Aquarium. For all the nervousness that I was experiencing about driving 90 minutes north by myself, the signs directing you to the aquarium started about 3 km north of Camp Foster and repeated at least once every 5 km. I think the drive there was more beautiful than the actual aquarium. You know how you see postcards or pictures of oceans that have about 14 different shades of blues and greens? And you tend to think, if only this was real and not created in photoshop. Well, I’m here to tell you it exists. I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the road and not on the ocean. I had to remind myself on more than one occasion that I had actually planned this trip ALL the way north, not just halfway north to stop at a beach. Not to take away from the aquarium, it was great, pictures to follow soon. It was all quite Japanese and fabulous. While you’re waiting ever so patiently for the pictures, google whaleshark and think about being just on the other side of a piece of glass from one of these creatures. You won’t regret it.
What else, what else. I went out with a great group of people a while back. Remember the guy from new years that I made talk to me? Well, turns out he’s hilarious and so are his friends. Lots of laughter, lots of sarcasm, and a dance-off. If you know me well, you know this is my crowd. Who knew that the men of the US Army could bust out Menudo dance moves at the drop of a hat.
So, as you can see, all is not lost. I am still quite enjoying myself when my days off are pleasant enough to be outside and when I am feeling brave enough to venture out on my own or with people I barely know. These days are the best and I’m sure many of them will turn into blog posts in their own right. I find myself constantly thinking, “You gotta push all the doubt to the side of your mouth,” on days like I’m having today (that little quote was for you Copp). I’m here and I’m going to be here. The decision has been made, car has been purchased, and one year of living arrangements have been set, drawn up, and signed. Turns out this isn’t vacation and every day isn’t perfect. When Iwake up and look out across the town that sits at the bottom of my hill, past the “highway,” and can see the same Pacific ocean that my friends in California see, I will try and smile and remind myself of how truly lucky I am to have this insane opportunity. We’re working on these thoughts instead of just drawing the curtains closed again.
So suck it up sister, we’re in for the (semi) long haul.