Saturday, June 28, 2008


Today we spent a good many hours studying for our Nihongo (Japanese) midterm on Monday. A couple weeks ago, I made the mistake of articulating out loud that I was really getting the hang of the language, and that it was starting to click.  Then something tragically unclicked, as I seemed to have reached saturation point.  I had to beg Miyagi Sensai to please stop repeatedly calling on me as I had no idea how to answer her socratic badgering, and the jeers from my 19 year old class mates did not help.

Mostly we are learning the types of things you would need to use in every day conversation... "John walked from home to work yesterday"  =  "Johnsan wa kinoo uchi kara kaisha made arukimashita."  But occasionally, there's the odd phrasing that has somehow slipped on to my vocab list... "Omikoshi o katsugite, kudasai"  which translates to "Will you please carry my portable shine?"  This makes me recall the portable training potty I used to use as a two year old, but I don't think this is what it means. Now you can understand why I'm at mental capacity.

After one too many flash cards this evening, we decided to take a stroll around the block... the seawall is lovely this time of night. And the locals are quite handsome....

You'd think we were in Mexico.....
Little buddy must have gotten baked in the sun.

John's mom and Maurice gave me a sewing machine for Christmas two years ago, and unfortunately, I hadn't gotten to use it much until recently. I'm teaching myself to sew which means no patterns and a lot of improv. I made some pretty curtains and two dresses so far. Project Runway here I come. You think I'm joking.

Our friend Clayton, the one who went to Korea with us, left on Wednesday (for good!)   I drove him and Homer, his dog, to the airport. It's sad, since he was one of our better friends here.  I guess this is how it goes in this lifestyle...but in a way, it's really amazing, because there are people that you meet, become great friends with, and then they go, and you always have a friend that lives in ... Qatar, in Clay's case.  Ok so I'll wait till he gets back to the states to visit.  Booster, who has graced the pages of this blog several times (so photogenic) has left us for Saudi Arabia, although he will be back in about 6 mos. 

I'll try to keep up on the blog more these days.  And more photos of Gunner for Captain Ron!
  Dewa Mata! (until Tomorrow!)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Taco Rice, Cosmopolitans and Political Incorrectness in the Jungle

Thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes!  On Sunday we went to watch some dragonboat races down the block from our house.  It was steaming hot out, and there was a festival going on. They had booths selling tasty sweet-potato flavored icies, and ramen.  Hot ramen.  I don't know about you, but when I think of summer festival in 90 degree heat, the last thing I want is to slurp some ramen.  But then, I'm not Japanese. 

Our motto on this island is, "Why not?"  Why would you put a car dealership on beach front property? Why not?  Why would you sell tacos in the form of sushi rolls, wrapped in seaweed and rice instead of tortillas? Why not? 

After the dragon boat festival, John and I had a little Cocktail party at our house and then about 10 of us dressed up in dresses and heels to go see Sex & the City the movie.  There were cosmopolitans. There were tears shed. Mainly female tears. It was a grand ole time. 

Feeling like crossing into a new decade is cause for reflection, I was looking for bits of wisdom in the subtext of the movie and came to a couple conclusions:
1. Laughter really can cure any ill. 
2. Loyal friends are truly a blessing and not to be taken for granted. 
3. Truly fantastic fashion, although superficial, really does make me happy. 
4. Life is not linear, it is wonderfully spherical. Life is wide open in ways you can't imagine if you just step from the path you thought you should be traveling 
5. 30 is soooo far from old. It's not even in the same area code.

We finished boot camp last week, and I can't believe I did it.  Final results - 1.5 mile run in 14:02 (and that was in asthma-inducing 85 degree humidity) - and I went from 35 push-ups in a minute to 80, brandishing me the PUSH-UP CHAMPION...ROAR!!  Okay, I admit these were girl-pushups (knees, not toes), but I can bust out at least 30 real ones in a minute, and that is better than my before-bootcamp number, which was zero. My victory won me a lovely Nike purse.  I loved my group and trainer, and we really supported each other a lot, which is the only way we made it through 8 straight weeks. I may have an athletic gene after all.

Our friendly neighbor Lauren was recently promoted to 1st Lieutenant, and she threw a fantastic Jungle themed party.  Relishing any opportunity to don some body paint, I did a cheetah/Wilma Flinstone combo.

John, preferring the thinking-man's costume, dressed as a traveling Mormon, tragically wounded with an native's arrow.

There was some debate as to where his costume ranked on the political incorrectness scale, but we determined that it was like the proverbial tree in the forrest - if no Mormon's were at the bar to be offended, it wasn't offensive.

1st Lt. Lauren Calhoun on the left.

We're off to the Tsuboya district of Naha to check out the Okinawan Pottery. Then perhaps some afternoon snorkeling at high tide. Cause why not?