Friday, August 31, 2012

Our First Month in Okinawa

Hello! I know its been awhile since my last post but hopefully I will be able to make it up to you with this one! It has been one heck of a month! And things are still moving right along and keeping us busy as bees.

Before we moved into our apartment we stayed at the Marine lodge for about two weeks. 
During a majority of that time we didn't have a car and our sponsor Kenny toted us around taking us to all the places we needed to go to check in. Did I mention when we got here is was REALLY HOT!!
Oh my, we were all pretty unhappy any time we had to go outside. Now things have cooled off...or we have gotten used to the hotter weather.

Luckily while we were at the Lodge we could walk to the Macaroni Grill situated conveniently next door. 
Here are two pics I took from one of our visits.

 July 29th
 Our first time venturing away from the base! Chris has been here before and knew about a Mongolian Grill and after a bit of driving around we found it and enjoyed our first meal out in town!
We got our Japanese drivers licenses and driving on the "wrong" wide of the road and car has been an interesting experience although one we are getting used to.

Alison was busy looking at the other people in the restaurant 


I took a picture of my first "out in town" meal
You walk to the back of the restaurant and fill your bowl with what you want and then they grill it up for you while you wait.

July 30
Still in the lodge.
Alison is normally pretty good about not spilling things but every now and then...
Alison is frustrated about spilling the cheerios in our tiny hotel room kitchenette so she sits on the box!

July 31
Driving to go pick up our friends Mike and Rhonda to go out and eat at another place Chris knows about.  

A picture of Chris driving on the right side of the car.

The restaurant was really good and Chris was able to get some sushi. I had some noodles with chicken and Alison ran around the whole time, thank goodness we went kind of late so there was hardly anyone there.

Our dear friends Mike and Rhonda.
We met them in San Diego and so have known them for several years now.
We were really excited when we found out that they would be joining us on our Okinawan adventure! 

Alison looking out the window.

August 1st
Let me tell you a little about how housing works here.
If housing is 95% full you have the option of living off base. We weren't really interested in living off base so the fact that the housing we qualified for was not 95% full didn't bother us in the least. If you decide/have to live on base your given two choices of where to live. I have to say there is something to be said of limited choices. No shopping around for the perfect place or second guessing, one or the other and that's it.
I wish I would have taken a picture of our choices but at this point I am pretty darn pregnant and just getting around is enough to think about lol. 
We were given the choice between a multiplex (duplex house thing with about 4 houses in a row) or a 5th floor apartment. the multiplex was two stories and the stairs that went up to the second floor were what put us off. They were very steep and very scary. I looked at them and just envisioned myself and the kids breaking bones falling down them. Luckily the 5th floor apartment is one level and actually pretty nice. When we came to visit we bumped into a mom out with her two kids (we later learned her name is Lauren and she is in the floor above ours) she asked us if we were looking to move in and told us that it was a great place to live especially for people with kids. Well we were sold.
We don't have our home goods shipment yet and won't until late September but luckily the government gives you loaner furniture for as long as you want it. Its not the most comfortable furniture int he entire world but its in good shape and because of it we are out of the lodge and in our apartment.

A big change for Alison was the move to a "Big Girl Bed" Alison got her own twin sized bed, a night stand and a dresser in her room. We went to the exchange (store on base) and bought her some new things for her bed to make it extra special. Nice white sheets, a comfy pillow and a butterfly blanket that is soft and warm.
We might change things up when we get around to decorating her room but for now she seems to really like it and the transition has been a lot smoother than we could have hoped for.

We moved the mattress onto the floor to make it easier for Alison to get in and out of bed and also make it safer in case she rolls off, which she has done a few times.
Our entire apartment has linoleum floors. We are waiting for the Labor Day sales this weekend to buy some rugs, I am really looking forward to getting some rugs! We are also going to try and buy a recliner for the living room so I have a comfortable place to sit and watch Alison play while I rock her new baby brother and I'm sure her too. Alison loves to snuggle and be read to, tickled and just loved on.

Alison had a fussy time with the move. Most of her toys and books are being shipped and we are pretty bare bones around here with what we have. She has asked to go home several times but its starting to die down as we make new friends. Our building really is kid and family friendly and we have made some really wonderful friends already, Alison too!
In fact, had I known I would have brought my camera, the ladies in my building threw me a surprise baby shower! I was so surprised. For most of the people there it was the first time I had met them. I am really glad we decided to live in the apartments, its turning out to be a really great place to call home.

Aug 4
We checked out the only mall in our area, it was really interesting. 
The thing we have learned about living in Okinawa is that the shopping is limited and if you go out in town expensive! Still it was fun looking around the mall.

Alison had fun watching some of the Olympics "running girls" with daddy on one of the many TV screens.

The mall is organized more like a flea market. The stores kind of all flow together but they are each separate with their own employees and check out stations. You just don't always realize when you step out of one store and into another lol.

Vending machines! Everywhere there are vending machines with a wide variety of drinks including hot drinks as well!

It tends to rain a 'bit' more here than it did in San Diego, here is Alison with her hair all wet after we rushed (well as much as you can rush with a pregnant lady and a two year old) out to the car.

The street signs, most seem to have English as well as Japanese on them.

Aug 5th
Out for some Sunday brunch with friends!
I snagged this picture of Alison and Daddy


Aug 7th
There is a playground outside our apartment building and Alison really likes going there. 4pm seems to be when a lot of the moms take their kids out, its cooler and the kids are post nap and pre-daddy comes home.

Alison is being adventurous and climbing on some steps! 

Checking out the ladder
(love this pic!)

Aug 8
You tell that we have a LOT of humidity here from this picture!
I didn't notice that the humidity had fogged up my camera!
Chris has the same problem half the time he goes outside with his glasses lol poor daddy!

Alison and I like to spend a little time outside as much as possible, although since I am getting more uncomfortable in the family way we haven't gone as much as I would like to. Those benches are just not that comfortable.

 Aug 17
Ocean Breeze
we really like going here to eat, its on base and very reasonably priced. We have gone here several times and have not been disappointed yet!

Aug 18
When we go to the exchange on the air force base there is a food court and sometimes, if she has been a very good girl, we will stop and get Alison an ice cream from Baskin Robbins.

 Aug 31st
I know a big dry spell of pictures! but here is one of me about to go out to get a pedicure with some 2 lady friends while the dads watch the kids!

I asked Chris to take a picture of me, this is in our next door neighbors apartment.
Our next door neighbors are wonderful!! They are however moving in October and I am really bummed about that! We have eaten at their place several times and during the day Alison and I will just go over to hand out and play (they have a little boy about a year younger than Ali). 
I don't think I can say enough good things about the people in our apartment building. Right from the start they have embraced us and made us feel at home.

In Okinawa its really popular to get "fancy" nail polish done.
And here is what I picked out for my first Okinawan pedicure, which by the way was really wonderful. They gave me a foot and lower leg massage and they gave us tea and we chatted, its been a while since I have gone out for a ladies day like that! I was planning on taking pictures of their nail polish as well but forgot... but just so you know they looked really nice as well :)

Thought I would also share with you some of the little projects I am working on.
I really enjoy making things and I recently learned how to knit!
I am really enjoying it. I knit baby boy a little green hat and am working on a blanket, that might end up two toned since I don't think i bought enough green yarn oops!
I am also working on a little key chain doll from "Molly Makes" a crafting magazine that I really enjoy.

Anyways, things are going well. I am hoping the little boy makes his appearance any time now. Some other time I will have to tell you all about our first two typhoons! But my back is really starting to hurt so it will have to wait.

Warm wishes to you all.

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