Once a month, there is an organized get-together for all of the Navy Chaplain Spouses on island. There are something like 30 of us who choose to be involved, although obviously not everyone attends every meeting. When I first arrived in Okinawa, I found these get-togethers to be intimidating and strange – everyone was SO Christian, there was never anything I could eat (it’s always potluck and people have a really hard time bringing food that doesn’t contain meat), and there was a lot of spontaneous praying. Almost two and a half years later, though, I find these meetings to be fun and funny and, if not uplifting, at least something to look forward to. Sometimes we have an agenda and sometimes the meetings are purely social, but there’s always dinner involved. People have even (mostly) learned to sometimes consider cooking something (besides dessert) that I can eat. And they’ve learned to close their prayers with “in your holy name we pray” instead of “in Jesus’ name we pray.” Progress!
Last night was our April meeting, and the potluck theme was alphabet soup. We didn’t actually eat soup – rather, we were supposed to make something that started with one of our initials. I wasn’t feeling particularly creative, and I was trying to avoid too many dirty dishes, so I decided to make a salad – an Israeli salad, to be more specific. I love to make Israeli salad; weirdly, I find all the chopping and dicing to be soothing. I cut up my cucumbers and tomatoes, threw in some corn and hearts of palm for good measure, seasoned with salt, pepper, lemon juice and a little olive oil, packed the whole thing in a big glass mixing bowl, and was good to go.
My good friend Diane – a fellow chaplain spouse – lives in the same tower as I do, so we always ride to meals together. Last night we met in the lobby, as usual, and headed out to her car. I was about to get in when disaster struck. I don’t know if pregnancy is making me more clumsy (they do say that happens, though I haven’t really noticed it anywhere else) or I was just having an off night, but something about the way the car door swung open knocked the salad bowl out of my hands and it promptly went flying, landing in the middle of the road where (of course) it shattered. Bowl and salad were both a complete loss. Once we stopped laughing, or at least once we were able to talk again (the laughter hadn’t completely stopped), Diane and I weren’t really sure what to do. We couldn’t just leave all that broken glass in the middle of the road with kids running around and cars driving. We decided to try and gather as much of the glass as we could, which led to an exciting 10 minutes of crouching on the ground, searching for shards. [We did leave the salad. I’m guessing a lucky dog or cat went at it because by the time we got back a few hours later it was completely gone.] I was pretty bummed about the salad. I had tried not to eat it while I was chopping since I knew it would likely be one of the only things I’d be eating for dinner. Talk about an epic fail. At least I had a good story to tell when we finally arrived at our meeting, 20 minutes late and with only a plate of bread between us.