Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Building a bunk bed in Okinawa and THE CUBE

I asked Jon to build us a triple bunk for the girls once we got to Okinawa forgetting we wouldn't have the truck anymore.  We thought it would be best to get it built before our things got here - only one problem with that our tools are in our household goods!  So Saturday we loaded up the car and headed to our local Makman (home depot) and spent 2 hours figuring out what we needed to buy.  Remember our plans are from America so the figures are in feet but we are in a metric world so I pulled out my phone a ton and did conversions (thank you smart phone).  I did conversions for the length of the wood and the size of the nail and then used my smart phone to ask where wood glue was.  I don't know how people survived before - but I know they did.  The store will cut the wood for you if you buy it there so we didn't have to worry about a saw but we did purchase our first ever Japanese drill set and don't worry we can't read the directions because it is totally in Japanese but the pictures helped explain things for us.  Jon has been working away at the bed and hopefully in the next few days it will be finished!
Missing the truck right about now

Hoping for a smooth ride home

Jon and his helpers

1 down 2 to go

1 frame finished now to make it a bunk bed!

Jon's CUBE.  Proud owner of a first generation 99 cube.

Good times and bad driving!

Here we are again with me trying to communicate in a positive light things that in the time made my heart race a lot.  I love adventure and new things but seriously this no street signs thing is killing me!!  I hear from all these ladies how grateful they are that people give directions by buildings and other random sites but give me a street address and my gps any day.  So with the no street names comes buildings with that's right no real address for my gps to plug into so I am required to go by turn at the Toyota dealer then look for the yellow house and take a right.  In the heat of the moment I am usually trying to make sure I stay in my lane since I like to veer to the left (a lot - hit a tree and curb so far) and use the blinker and not the windshield wiper since they are reversed from American cars.  But this week I have ventured out the last three days to find parks and potential preschools.  My navigator during the week is my friend Molly who is so very helpful in her nonstop talking and good old Riley who when I ask a rhetorical question (or any question) raises her hand and yells me all while I drive lost on the island.  Today I heard this from the back seat - I text daddy and find out where to go, hey mom dad says take a right then right and we will be there got it - thanks for that one we were only 9 km away from home and steadily driving the wrong direction at this point.  Did I mention the roads are so extremely small that they barely fit the 2 cars much less the crazy foreigner who needs to turn around so I usually drive a few extra kilometers to find a safe turn around.  Good thing they designate us foreigners with a Y on our license plate - Okinawans get a Japanese character so we can all know what we are dealing with on the roads:)
But for the good part we found a great park, found a preschool I hope Molly and Riley can get into and found a preschool I never want to drive to again if I don't have to.
Best part the island is only 2 -17 km wide and 67 km long so really I could just drive a big circle so at least I won't be lost for too long.  Oh yeah and the fact that I can plug in the Air Force Base and it will at least get me there if not to most local places!

They sure do love each other

This is what I get when I say smile for the camera.
Riley is explaining to Kelly what is required.

Calzones thanks to pioneer woman

Movie night in the fort.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Zukeran Egg Shop and Zoo

This is not a post about going to two different things in one day it is about an all inclusive trip to Zukeran.  This is a mini zoo with an egg shop attached to it.   I heard about it from some neighbors today and decided that we needed to take a family trip as soon as Jon got home since it was open until 7pm.  Let me say we were not disappointed there were both animals of all sorts and lots and lots of eggs and egg type things.  Jon was very sceptical especially since my directions were go out gate 3 then turn on 329 then look for 2 pakinco clubs and it is in between them.  We found it and enjoyed a tour of the zoo before getting some cream puffs as appetizers then coming home to enjoy a dinner of eggs and french toast made from the eggs we bought!  Jon still isn't too sure about buying local but since it costs about the same as the commissary I will probably be going regularly because the girls will get a free zoo trip and the farmers market is along the way.  So many fun things especially when you ask people what is something random they do here - thanks neighbors for the fun adventure!! 
OK and a disclaimer - by zoo I mean that in the loosest sense of the term.  They had parrots, pigeons, turtles, rabbits, guinea pigs, pigs, horses, squirrel monkeys, fish and a few other random animals.
 Now for the best part - pictures!
parrots greeting us as we pulled up

Riley wasn't afraid until I put her face near his mouth

Once again can't read the sign but the picture is pretty self explanatory

The playground at the zoo

Jon thinking we are buying eggs from this place - seriously???

Enjoying cream puffs

Dinner made from local eggs
Hope they are chicken and not bunny, snake, lama, parrot, pigeon, or turtle!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pictures from the routine life

Breakfast at the house - oatmeal in our camp bowls.
Kelly's seat for 1 meal was the stroller then I went online and found a second hand high chair until ours come!

Will never understand the fascination of being together in the pack in play

BABY GATE!!  Spent more money than I wanted but well worth the investment with the steep stairs I caught Kelly on when I thought she was right next to me.

Game night!

Japanese McDonald's - guessing game since it was not in English and not many pictures.

Because who doesn't need a cup holder for fries??

This can opener failed me on the AK to NC trip and again on the NC to OKI trip.
Thankful for my leatherman and other random tool to pry open the can.
Investing in a can opener tomorrow.

Post dinner entertainment thanks to the 100 yen store.
Table tennis.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Moved into the house today!

We got the keys to our house for the next few years today!! While Jon had toured it with Riley this was my first time to be inside and let me say I was pleasantly surprised!!!  The house is so much bigger than I expected - our living room is a great size and so is the kitchen.  The girls loved being able to spread out their toys and played for hours in the room.  We ventured out to our playground a few times to pass the time away.  Then we had Jon take us to dinner and the PX when he got home from work so we could get the things on my list like toilet paper, hand soap, trash bags and pillows as I noticed throughout the day things we needed.  We have what will be the most awesome clubhouse under the stairs which will hold the girls toys. A gecko is already partying in the clubhouse and the girls enjoyed talking with him.  While shopping at the PX I noticed a sign that said FREE for 10 and under and figured whatever it is I am all for it with my 3.  So tonight we got their name written in Japanese and then since they were so nice I also paid and got our last name on a board as a keepsake.  And to end the night we got a water cooler off of bookoo.com which is craigslist for Americans in Okinawa.  While filling up the water Jon and I decided to try a HOT coffee drink from the vending machine.  You read right they have HOT and COLD drinks in vending machines which they have all over.  It was actually good and I will now be buying my 100 yen hot coffee drinks regularly I bet.
And once again I just have to say how thankful I am for the people God has put in our lives already here.  I made 2 phone calls after walking through our house and seeing that we had 3 beds (queen and 2 twin) and realized there was nothing for Kelly to sleep in.  Within a few minutes they had made calls and found someone willing to let us borrow a pack n play until our furniture arrives!
Posts will probably start to slow down as life sets into a routine but for now every day seems to hold some crazy adventure that I want to make sure we can read about later when I print my blog book! 
Playing in their room

A favorite spot in the room

My improvised bed for nap time.
She doesn't sleep if I hold her but slept 2 hours in the stroller

A little dirty after the playground trip but look in the corner to see our friendly gecko

Names in Japanese

Hot coffee from the vending machine - yummy??!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pedicure Japanese Style

Today for the final adventure of the 4 day Rachel (Jon's assistants wife) took me to her favorite local indulgence - Japanese pedicures!!  Let me say I got my first one after running my only marathon as a treat and while I gave up the running I did not give up the pedicures and this one ranked up there with one of the best.  I love to wear my sandals which means sometimes my feet get a little rough and having nicely painted nails staring at you never hurts.  Well where we went today they gave an amazing leg massage with oil and while they worked on prepping your leg and foot I looked though 22 pages of nail designs.  I might add that each of the 22 pages had at least 20 designs ranging from flowers to African art to Hello Kitty and even a hamburger.  After flipping through the pages for a good 10 minutes I decided on the design below and while I was tempted to change my mind I decided to stick with it and go back another time to try a different design!  Jon and Thomas got the joy of hanging out with the kids and enjoying a relaxing few hours while we were gone.
At dinner tonight we realized tomorrow is the day we move into our new house so we have to be out of the hotel by 11am.  That got us in a packing frenzy while the girls got to take an hour bath.
Pedicures come with amazing art work

The toilet which I had a hard time flushing

Last round of packing for awhile hopefully

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Indian Food and the Beach are today's adventure!

Today our adventures included eating lunch at an Indian restaurant called Bollywood Dreams, walking around America Village and ending the afternoon with a beach trip.  Let me just say how much I love small bases and family feel on them.  We went to lunch with 3 families after chapel today and it was so fun to go and have some time to talk and meet with each other.  They took us to Bollywood Dreams which is a Japanese version of Indian Curry.  Since I have never really eaten much curry I don't have much to compare it to but I thought the meal was AWESOME!!  Riley loved her butter chicken curry and naan and Molly liked her rice and melon soda and Kelly loved everything put in front of her.   I will definitely be going back there since the naan was so good and the curry was amazing.  One funny thing about the restaurant was it was only foreigners in it and it reminded Jon and I of the Chinese restaurant we ate at in Sudan which also only had foreigners.  I have seen one restaurant I want to try, I can't remember the name but here is the slogan: Mexican cuisine, American portions, Okinawan hospitality.  That should be a fun one!!
Afterward we walked around America Village which my comparison is Okinawa's version of America like Chinatown is America's version of China.  It has lots of different restaurants (Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian), stores and attractions even a huge Ferris wheel!  I will be bringing the girls back to go an indoor play place I found.  It happens to be on the second floor and guess what - no elevator!  You pay to play for 2 hours so it is worth a shot.
While walking around we noticed the sign for a store I knew had lumber from my Internet research so we went inside.  It was like a Walmart and Home Depot on steroids!!  It had everything - couches, dogs, lumber, flowers, 100 yen section, anything for your house.  We scouted around for the supplies to make the triple bunk that Jon is going to make and then let the girls get a toy from the 100 yen ($1) section. 
Then we took the girls to Torii Beach to play around and show them we really are close to the beach.  They thought it would be water weather so they wore their bathing suits under clothes - that didn't last long.  And now we are crashing. 
Today Jon and I laughed at how I have made the family go from thing to thing nonstop but I know that weekends fly by and I refuse to not make the best of every moment we have here.  We have got to meet and be around many locals and see sights that we would never be exposed to otherwise.
McP's eating curry

shopping local

Excited to see the beach and be in their swimsuits

Better judgement ruled the day and clothes are back on

Swings at the beach!

Dinner tonight from the farmers market trip

Thought I bought them place mats - little bigger than I planned on.
Being able to read the language would be nice at times like this

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bios on the Hill

Goats and small kids - guess what is going to happen????

Today's adventure was Bios on the Hill with our friends the Jerrnigans.  Jennifer and I made a morning adventure to the local farmers market while her son was working on a boy scout merit badge.  The local market was eye opening as nothing was in English but at least numbers are the same!  I got some carrots, broccoli and corn on the cob because I was not brave enough to try things that I had no idea what they were except by sight and smell. 
Later in the afternoon we loaded up our cars with our kids and husbands and headed to Bios on the Hill.  It was a beautiful garden with tons of fun things to do/experience.  We are realizing that while on post we have land and playgrounds it is not the same for the locals.  There are over 1 million locals on an island that is 67 miles long so open areas are a rare commodity.  They had tons of orchids all over this place and while I am not a flower person even I couldn't deny the beauty of God's creation and how creative He is.  The orchids hang from trees as their roots get nourished through the air and it was interesting to see them.  The girls were more excited about the water buffalo, goats and swings.  We played around for a few hours and just enjoyed nature for a few hours.  The one scary part was the water lily bridge.  I like adventure as much as the next but something about my 2 year old independent girl wanting to walk made my insides cringe but I followed behind ready to catch her if need be.  We ended the day playing with the stilts and water guns followed by an awesome dinner at the Jerrnigan's.
Were are taking full advantage of Jon's 4 day with no responsibilities!! Tomorrow we have plans to check out America Village with another family after chapel.  
Bios on the Hill

Molly and J, Molly's new friend

Now that is a playground

Water buffalo cart rides

Tree swings

The girls and flowers

Lily bridge - just planks layed on top of each other over the pond

Just chillin

A little scary but we made it

Stilt walker

Molly showing me how its done

Japanese water guns