Saturday, January 24, 2009

Video Update of the Kids

Make sure you have the volume up for this video. I say it in the video and let me say it again here: THANKS A LOT JESSICA!

People are always saying to us, "Well certainly Rana and Oscar are getting along by now; it's been months". So, here's a little progress report:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quick Picture Update

So, I haven't posted any pictures in a while because I was too lazy to download them off our 3 cameras. So, in no particular order, here are some pictures of what we've been doing the last couple months.

Here we are at the Mt. Yaedake Cherry Blossom Festival (sorry for the shadowing). We went to Mt. Yaedake (on the northern part of the island) this past weekend. This is the first cherry blossom festival of the year so it might be a little too early, but the trees were still in bloom. I'm not sure if the festivals on the mainland are different, but this one was not quite what we expected. There was a basically a street with tents of all kinds of fair food (both American and Japanese) and carnival games that kids can play to win prizes. There was a stage for performances and we heard the last couple minutes of some singing. I think there might have been more events (like a kite flying competition) on Saturday, but when we went Sunday it was pretty low key. I know it's a stereotype, but the Japanese really are obsessed with taking pictures. People either had huge cameras with massive lenses or would just take shots with their cell phones. After Chris had a corndog and I ate some squid (not as yummy as it sounds) we decided to drive up the mountain to get a better view and to try to find an organic bakery that I had read about. We found the bakery and I got a whole wheat roll with blueberry filling - it was delicious! It was part of an organic farm so we got potatoes, green onions, and oranges for way cheaper than we can get on base. It was an absolutely beautiful day and it was great to see another side of the island.

We don't actually know this guy, but he agreed to a picture - I love doggles! Don't forget to take time to smell the cherry blossoms!

Going back a little further in time... A few days after Christmas we went to the Southeast Botanical Gardens for their holiday light show. It was beautiful and I'm glad we went, but it was a little pricey for what it was. There was a pretty cool laser show as well though. Sorry some of the pics are blurry - it's hard getting night shots.

Since Chris had some days off around Christmas and New Years we explored the island by geocacheing and hiking:
So, once again we headed north on the island to do some geocacheing. This was a day or two after Christmas and we're in shorts - it was great weather. The more we explore the island the more we notice that there are a lot of signs that you can put your head through for a picture. This one is at the Family Mart, basically a 7-11. The next couple shots are the lunch that Chris and I got at this little cafe on our way to hike. Chris ordered the 'Big Sandwich'. It had vertical slices in it and was cut in 4 pieces. Each piece had a different filling. The last section (the far left in the picture) was the dessert part of the sandwich - whipped cream, kiwi, and a little chocolate syrup. So, you get a whole meal. I ordered the pizza and it came out with sliced hot dog, squid, and corn. I was a little leery, but it was yummy. The last picture is just the cutest dog in the world! Alrighty, that's enough to keep our throngs of fans happy for now. I'll try to get more posted within the next week.

Just call me sensei!

Woohoo! I found a job! Ok, job might be too strong of a word because it's only 2 hours a week, but I am getting paid for my time! That hasn't happened in about 15 months! Ashley, a spouse who was also at Mildenhall with us, is PCSing soon and she asked me to take over teaching her 3 Japanese students English. I sat in on today's session and know that I can do this. I thought the students were going to be younger, but one is in her 30s and I think the other 2 are in their 40s. They are all so cute! It seems like they start the session with Ashley asking them what they did this weekend and them having to answer in English and then there's a workbook that offers conversational and written lessons. I think it is going to be a lot of fun and I think it will be a good way for me to work on my Japanese as well.

I'm also looking into getting a job as a manager at a gift shop on one of the other bases. That would be for about 30 hours/week. The gift shop is really cute with items from all over southeast Asia. Most of the stuff is reasonably priced and all the profits go back to scholarships or other programs benefiting military families. The salary doesn't start off great, but there is room for raises and the best part is that I could get to go on store shopping trips around Asia to help pick what the store should sell. I know it's completely out of my field, but I'm pretty excited about it. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ooops, I haven't written in a while...

Well, no excuses here - I've just been a little lazy when it comes to blogging. So far 2009 is treating us well. Chris had a few days off between Christmas and New Years so we explored some of the island hiking trails and geocacheing. The northern part of the island is a lot less urban and it's nice to get away from the city for a while. We're trying to spend as much time together as possible because Chris leaves next week for Iraq. I thank whatever higher power there is every day that Chris is Air Force and he won't be gone for 6 months or a year. With his travel days, he should be gone just shy of 3 months. That is so much more manageable. I don't know how Navy, Army, or Marine spouses manage!

Well, I feel that things are starting to turn here on Okinawa. I've been trying to put myself out there more and am forcing myself to meet people. I joined a "Lunch Ladies" group which is open to anyone (or maybe just ladies?) living on Okinawa. They meet once a week at different restaraunts and just have a good meal and good conversation. I went for the first time last week and really enjoyed myself. Everyone was very nice and the conversation flowed very easily.

The other thing I've started this week is the "Extreme Fitness Challenge". This is a program that is offered through the gym where you have teams of 15 people, meet 5 times/week for 8 weeks, and have a different workout every day. Over the 8 week period you have challenges with other teams (maybe 8 teams total?), get weighed every Monday, have measurements taken at the beginning and end, do the Air Force Physical Fitness Test (PFT) at the beginning and end (sit ups in a minute, push ups in a minute, how fast you can run 1.5 miles), and just try to get stronger and fitter. So far I like it. There are a lot of nice ladies in my group - a few who are in my T/TH gym class. I wouldn't really say I have friends yet, but I feel like I'm on my way and I can't explain how nice it is to just hear, "Hey, Amy!" when I walk into the gym. So, onward and upward - except for my weight and measurements which will hopefully go slightly downward. :)

And one last thing... GO GATORS!! Woohoo - National Champs!