Okinawa Hai fallback


I got a little glimpse into the future this weekend. We hosted a dinner party with an extra 4-year old, 5-year old, and 7-year old. That’s in addition to my nearly 3-year old and the two babies I neglected to mention. At times, chaos was not quite strong enough of a word to describe the scene. But it was definitely interesting to me to be able to see a side-by-side comparison of the girls (all 6 kids were girls!) in different stages of development. On one hand, the incessant “why why why” stage hasn’t hit here in full-force and I for that I am glad. Man, it gets tiring! My first “Because I said so!” escaped my mouth and I looked around in surprise expecting to see my mother around the corner. On the other hand, the more self-sufficient older kids were a refreshing change of pace.

My point, if I have one, is that there are always rewards and challenges at any age. One big challenge I imagine, is moving to Okinawa with a pre-teen. A tween, if you will. I remember moving across the country before the start of my sixth grade year and I was none to happy about it. What could my parents have done differently? If anyone has any ideas on how to make it a smoother transition for an older child, please share! A faithful reader, Ed, has an 11-year old grand-daughter coming to the island in July and he’s trying to do his part. Help him out won’t you?

(There aren’t any teenage lurkers out there who would want to share their viewpoints are there?)


  1. I had a tween-age stepdaughter come visit for the summer last summer and it didn’t go over so well. Their visit was actually cut short because her and her older brother were homesick and missed their mom. We tried to do everything to get them involved, including getting the 11-year-old in karate class, culture classes, the youth center, etc. But in the end, I think it’s the child’s personality that will prevail. My situation was unique because it was not a permanent move, so maybe those who are staying here fare differently. Good luck!

  2. Being a re-formed Army Brat and having moved 6 times before graduating High School I would say the biggest impact will be the attitude of the parents. I remember a move to California where the folks weren’t too pleased to go and didn’t have many positive things to say. Lo’ and Behold, I wasn’t looking forward to the move. Then when we moved to Germany and my parents were excited about the culture, people, food, etc and we were excited to go. A positive attitude goes a long way.

  3. I am coming there with 4 kids. the oldest are 11 and 12 (turning 13 in Aug) The oldest is so excited. The 11 year old, not so much. I see myself letting them have a little freedom. Well the older one maybe and then getting my hat/scarf and dark glasses and following them at a safe distance. All the while hiding behind buildings and cars when they turn around.
    I do realize that would be strange, but if you see some girls walking around and some strange woman lurking 50 ft behind them, stop and say hi.

  4. funny that you said that last part.
    lets see.. im a 17 year old man/boy(?). in texas right now for college but i moved to oki when i was what? 10ish?
    well my biggest advice is let them explore okinawa. ive seen a few families that won’t let their kids explore offbase sites and culture… let them. okinawa is way safer than the states.
    also she will probably be very emotional about leaving her friends. don’t restrict her too much until she has made some new friends.
    making new friends is the hardest part about moving around
    at first she will probably hate it here. i know i did. but she will learn to love it.
    wish i could give some better advice but i can’t really think of anything.

  5. Craig! Thanks so much for answering. I knew you were out there somewhere! Is there any advice that you would give Ed’s Grand-daughter herself? I know that I would love to hear your thoughts about your experience.