Yoni and I realized last week that, while we’ve touched on a lot of big-idea topics on this blog, we have neglected to update you all on some of the everyday things that have been going on here. So that’s what I’m going to try to do here!
First things first: on Tuesday, we will be moving into our permanent lodging, an apartment on the second floor of the North Foster Towers. The apartment is located on Camp Foster, very close to the Jewish Chapel, where Friday night services are conducted. It’s a bit of a miracle that we were able to land this apartment. See, the housing office basically can put you wherever they want. The only rules they follow are these two: you are supposed to live close to where you work; and each family is supposed to have two options to choose from. If you don’t like one of those two options – too bad for you. They also don’t particularly care if you have pets or not, even though pets are not allowed in all forms of housing. Now, as many of you know, Yoni and I have a dog. We also (for obvious reasons) need to live within walking distance of the Jewish Chapel, even though it’s not Yoni’s primary place of work and so not the location the housing office is supposed to take into account. Luckily, the housing office was sympathetic to our cause, and did everything in their power to get us the housing we needed. Our new place has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen big enough for at least 7 people to stand in – not to mention our own washer and dryer! For Yoni and me, coming from our 1-bedroom Manhattan apartment, this new place will be palatial. We are very excited to move in and feel a bit more settled.
Second, we bought a car! It’s pretty impossible to get around the island without a car, and while Yoni’s fellow chaplains were very good-natured about chauffeuring us around, we couldn’t depend on them for too long. Our new (used) car is a bright blue Nissan Cube – not a car you would ever see in the states, but awesome in its funny-looking-ness. I like to say that the car selection in Okinawa is similar to the car selection in Israel; I think this will give many of you a pretty good idea of what kinds of cars you see on the roads here. Here is a picture of our new car, which we affectionately refer to as the Blueberry:
Third, on Thursday night we went to the Chaplain Corps Ball, celebrating the 236th birthday of the Chaplain Corps. We were pleasantly surprised that there was a viable vegetarian option for us, and we met many of the island’s chaplains and their spouses. (A funny side note: almost every woman at the ball was wearing a floor-length dress – prom dress style! I was certainly underdressed.) There was even dancing! There was also a bit too much invoking of Jesus for me…but that was to be expected, and that’s also something that will be hard to change. But overt Christianity aside, we enjoyed our night at the Chaplain Ball, and are working on making some friends here so that we can feel normal and settled.
Finally, my mom mentioned that some of you are curious about the availability of American food here on base (and off). Here is a brief (but not exhaustive) listing of American restaurants I’ve seen. On base: Popeye’s, Captain D’s, Burger King, Subway, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, Charley O’s, Manchu Wok, Pizza Hut, Romano’s Macaroni Grill. Off base: McDonald’s, A&W, Starbucks. Hope that at least gives you some of idea of what is available here. If there are other questions you have about life here, leave them in the comments area, and we will do our best to address them!
Shavua tov to everyone; have a wonderful week!