Okinawa Hai fallback


 Most of the time I feel comfortable. I know my way around the island a bit. I have friends. My home is homey for me and mine. And then in an instant, I can feel like a seventh grader. My jeans are suddenly way too tight, my skin too greasy and my tongue won’t even consider pronouncing vowels. Usually I get struck with this nonsense when I’m at a military event for Joe. I get paralyzed by the rules and roles and start talking about dog poop to strangers. Literally. Like last week, I did that.

My flashback to junior high school was magnified, in a row of ten exclamation points kind of way, when I won the door prize. I was in no shape to walk in front of a room full of adults in my state of internal disarray so I begged Joe to claim the prize. He assuredly and coolly grabbed the pink bag with Kimora Lee Simmons slinking out ever-so-seductively.  I won the Baby Phat Golden Goddess Gift Set. Not at all designed for the crumbling, sputtering girl I felt like at that moment. But hilarious nevertheless.

On the drive home I re-lived my trespasses and humiliations of the evening. It’s a predictable routine that also predictably ends with me reminding myself that the world doesn’t revolve around me. And then I try to stop re-living the night but I can’t and then at some point I fall asleep and in the morning call a friend and confess and get my bearings again.

Except that I don’t think I have my bearings back yet even though I’m over the trauma of the deployment brief. After all, Baby Phat perfume is divine. And wearing it is about as close to a golden goddess as I’ll get but I’ll take it.

I think my bearings have been scattered hither and yon. Here are the big guns.

1. Joe and I pondered our choices for where to go next. That was about an hour of staring at a cryptic list of acronyms that were apparently job openings. Joe sometimes knew what they stood for. I wanted a job description for each of those acronyms and was silently floored that there was no such thing. We made choices for jobs in Arlington, Quantico and Beaufort. The monitor wrote him back the next day and said he could “certainly” get him a job in Arlington. So it seems that we’re Arlington bound. Was it that easy to get an answer? Too scared to get excited and have it taken away.

2. We’re on the brink of another deployment. I’m getting my game face on. I’m not sure what my game face looks like but it sure does smell nice. Baby Phat nice.

3. I need to make a list of all the things I want to do before I leave this island which could be as soon as the end of April. Gulp. And all I can think of is to spend the day souvenir shopping with Kelly because she has impeccable taste and I’ll just buy whatever she tells me to. Other than that what should I do before I leave? Talk to me.

As for your generosity, you all are winners. The tip jar is filling up. Thank you for giving us a chance and appreciating us and wanting us to stick around. We’re working behind the scenes to get set for a seamless transition as folks come and go. If you all had been at that deployment brief, I totally would have gotten up to get my Baby Phat Golden Goddess Gift Set instead of sending Joe in to do my dirty work. That’s because I like you and I’m thinking you might like us.


All the posts in Meredith’s “Me & My Big PCS” series: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX

For posterity’s sake we have left this universally euphoric, terrified, confused, “what am I doing?!” series on Okinawa Hai.  However, we have closed comments for future readers.  If there is relevant information for all readers to benefit from, we have taken elements from this series and created new posts, which we’ve linked to from the original text. Thank you for joining us on this ride.


  1. Tara & Pamela,

    You say me nice things! Thanks for your kindness. I love to be liked. Warm fuzzies back at you.


    A list! Thanks for this. And I’ll certainly have to show up somewhere along the marathon route to encourage Paul. Rumor has it that he did his 20 mile run! Giddyup!


    Good advice! I’ll have to start making piles of goodies to bring home. All I see right now is all the crazy amount of stuff that I have. I want to put my trash in the garbage. Argh.


    I’m wondering if I’m crazy to assume we’re in Arlington and to assume we’ll be home in April. Or maybe I know I’m crazy to pretend like I know what our fate is. I’m just going to roll with it and if the plans change I’ll roll in that direction! Either way we’ll see you next year.

  2. I can relate so well to the “think about it all night” syndrom that I wonder if it just wouldn’t be easier to not go into public places, LOL. But sending Joe up for the PINK bag of goodies…thats sounds fair to me. After all he will benifit right!
    As for Arlington and April, try to stop our excitement. You just may be here in time for a second cherry blossom festival in the same year. Who could dream of better.
    Spring 2008 is going to be the best ever…homecommings, babies, graduations, birthdays…the list goes on!
    EXCITEMENT for sure.

  3. Shelly, thanks for mentioning the plastic bowls!! I will now go to the 100 yen shop and ETSW and buy some for my kids. I was at a 100 yen shop the other day and stared at those plastic bowls, but didn’t buy them thinking I will find something like that in the States. Well, better safe than sorry, so I’m going to get them!

  4. Meredith, some stuff to get you started on your “to-do before I leave” list…or at least get you through February! It’s taken from an e-mail forwarded to me by my husband. Don’t know where he got it from though. Hope it helps!

    Off-Base Local Events Schedule

    February (“Ni-Gatsu” in Japanese)

    2 – 3 Feb Okinawa Flower and Food Festival

    Enjoy all the Okinawa has to offer in the way of agricultural and seafood products. Flowers, fruits, vegetables, pork products, seafood, sugarcane, and many more items are showcased during the festival and are available for purchase.

    Event hours: 1000 – 1800

    @ Ohnoyama Athletic Park, Naha City POC: 866-2255

    * During the festival, shuttle bus service is available at NMP parking lot.

    2 – 11 Feb Okinawa International Orchid Show

    The Tropical Dream Center at Okinawa Ocean Expo Park will be filled with beautiful orchids from Japan and abroad!

    @ Okinawa Ocean Expo Park (Tropical Dream Center) POC: 0980-48-2741

    Admission Fee Adult: 670 yen

    Children: 340 yen

    13 – 17 Feb  Naha Cherry Blossom Festival

    Enjoy the magnificent rosy-pink flowers at Yogi Park located in central

    There will be booths selling plants, flowers, and food. For those who visited the event on the first and last days will be given a seedling (first-come-first -served basis).

    @ Yogi Park, Naha City POC: 855-2552

    23 – 24 Feb The 15th Yomitan Pottery Bazaar Festival

    Displays and special sales of Yomitan pottery.

    A great opportunity to see and purchase Yomitan pottery, where nearly 30 pottery workshops from Yomitan gather at once. You can also enjoy special 20 – 50% discount! There will be a program where you can actually experience pottery making.

    @ Zampa Cape Park POC: 958-1020

    24 Feb The 16th Okinawa Marathon

    This is the great event participated by runners from within and out of Japan. The course is set in the central region of mainland Okinawa, with two competitive categories (full marathon and 10km road race). The challenging Okinawa Marathon Course includes the beautiful avenue lined with palm trees, as well as the U.S. military base.

    @Okinawa Comprehensive Athletic Park POC: 930-0088

    Setsubun = Bean-Throwing Ceremony

    It is a festival held on the evening of February 3 to mark the beginning of spring and chase away evil spirits. People throw roasted soybeans inside and outside their homes. As the soybeans are thrown, good luck is invited in and bad luck driven out with shouting, “Oni wa Soto! Fuku wa Uchi!” (“Devils out! Happiness in!” It is also customary to eat the same number of roasted soybeans as one’s age and to offer a prayer for good fortune at home.

    *English speakers are most likely not available at the phone numbers listed. Please have your friends or co-workers who speak Japanese call for Information. If not available, call CRO at 644-5105/5133. Information obtained from OCVB and various local sources

  5. I would recommend going to ETWS and the 100 yen stores. Now that I am back in the states, I wish I had more of those cute 100 yen plastic kid dishes/bowls and I’ve started drinking hot tea…I know, a little late now that I’m back here; but anyway, wish I would’ve picked up more of the teacups and accessories! One thing we did do and I’m sure you have or will being the photo girl you are….we went and found some pretty spots on the water and took photos of the girls playing on the beach and in the water with their white sundresses. I love those pics we took, they take us back. (the photo on our welcome webpage is from that day)

  6. Meredith,
    I feel I have come to know you through your writing. I actually was a little sad to hear of a PCS and think I will not get the chance to really know you. The first posting I read on here was from you and was titled “Should it have stayed or should it have come.” I thought, a list! I love lists!! Then you said. “I inevitably pack for the perfect version of myself.” I laughed out loud. I thought this woman rocks. I totally do that.
    So I won’t get the chance to really know you, but your words will be left to lift us up, get us exicted about our new lives in Okinawa, and prepared for our 3 year run on that island.
    For that, I will always be grateful.
    Now go have a blast in the states. Arlington, baby! woohoo!

  7. I will miss you and I don’t know you!!! Is that possible? Can you miss what you do not have? Well I have your words and very funny, almost British if I may say, they are! And now I love your smell!!! LOL

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