I hope that all of you have enjoyed seeing Okinawa thru my eyes. This has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my VA career. I celebrated my 29th anniversary of serving veterans on April 4th. I have worked over half of my life (a whole lot more than half - LOL) serving those that have made it possible to have the freedoms we have today. I am so thankful for each person that I have served. I still feel the same way that I felt on April 4, 1980, I want to treat each and every veteran that I serve the same way that I wanted my Dad treated.
I send a special thank you to everyone that made this trip possible. My family, especially Stephen, for loving and trusting me to be gone for almost five months! To Jennifer for posting her Facebook with how much she missed her mom! To Morgan who was always excited to talk to me and who made me smile every time I heard her voice!
To all my friends at the VARO that answered all my questions when I didn’t have computer access. To all my other friends that e-mailed and sent cards to let me know that they hadn’t forgotten me.
Last but not least, to Cheryl, my VARO Director and to Brad, Wes, Ed and all the staff at VA Central Office for choosing me to represent the Department of Veterans Affairs all the way on the other side of the world!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Yes, I got up at 4 a.m. on my last day, May 15th, to drive to Miyagijima Island to see my final sunrise in Okinawa. Remember I had to drive to Miyagijima Island because the sun doesn’t actually rise over the waters of Okinawa. Miyagijima is actually only about 10 miles from Kadena. It was a sad day, to know that I may never get to experience the sunrise at this exact location again. But, on the other hand, it was a great day because I get to see Stephen and the rest of the family today. I leave May 15th, at 11:50 a.m. and arrive in Little Rock about 21 hours later, at 6:30 p.m. May 15th.
My final sunset in Okinawa. I sat and enjoyed the sunset from Sunabe Seawall. This is located just outside Gate 1 of Kadena Air Base. Needless to say, I am certainly going to miss my daily ocean view. Even when it was raining it was wonderful!
Joe Catahay from Kadena Air Base. Joe picked me up from the airport and was brave enough to take me driving for a couple of hours the day after I arrived.
Danita, Tracy and Karen. Pam was the only one missing!
This most of my gang from the USMC. Dean, MaryBeth, Jennifer, Crystal, Jackie and Tony. We are missing Pam and Rahat! I am really going to miss this wonderful bunch of people!
Jusco is a very popular store in Okinawa. It would be like a giant Walmart Super Center. It is about four stories high, each floor has different things, the first floor is groceries and household type items, the other floors are clothes, shoes, etc. This is an example of how they have the meat laying out each day. Yes, those are marinated whole squid. They have very small refrigerators, so they basically buy small amounts of groceries everyday. That would never work for me, I HATE going to the grocery store!
Makaishi Public Market, this is where they sell fresh fish, shrimp, pork, etc. In Okinawa, they use every part of the pig. The fish are puffer fish, they love to eat these, but if they are not cooked properly, they are very poisonous.
This is fried rice from my very favorite restaurant. I didn't discover it until about mid April. It is a good thing, because with that big hunk of butter on this fried rice there is nothing healthy about this dish!
Another one of my very favorite restaurants is SuSuSoon - Pancakes and Sushi. I never tried the sushi, but the pancakes are awesome. My favorite is Maple Gorgonzola Pancakes
We went to an awesome Lily Festival at IE Island. IE Island is about a 30 minute ferry ride. The lily field has over a million, yes million lilies. They are beautiful, looking at the ocean over millions of lily plants. There was one area that had lilies of various colors, but the main field is all the white lilies that I know as Easter lilies.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I met a lady in the parking lot of my building this morning. She was looking for the exchange. I told her where it was and told her that I was going to the post office; she asked if she could follow me to see where the post office is also. So I suggested that she go with me. She was thrilled. She works for Human Resources for the Navy; she arrived on island Thursday from Yukoska. We went to the post office, the exchange, then off base to eat lunch and go to the 100 Yen Store. After showing her around, we went back to the room and I invited her to go with me to watch the sunset at Torii Station. She said she feels like she knows more about Okinawa than she does Yukoska, which she had only been there for five weeks before they sent her here. She will be filling in for someone down her for two weeks. It was fun to show someone a few of the wonderful places that I have grown to love here in Okinawa. I wish that some of my friends and family would have been able to share this wonderful experience. Hopefully seeing it thru my eyes will be enjoyable for all of you! Believe me; my pictures do not reflect the beauty that I see everyday. This time next week I will be home. Continue to pray for my safe return!