Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Feeling Inspired

Today I attended the first day of a 3 day course called Compass. Basically it is an in doc class for new Navy wives. Married for over 13 years to a sailor, I am not a new Navy wife. However, this class was NOT offered when I first got married. They just started Compass a few years ago I believe. I was inspired to take the class for two reasons. The first being that there is probably something or something(s) I can take away from the class. The second is that I am interested in becoming a mentor and would like to help teach the class. So far, my interest is peaked. The first thing they stress when the class starts is that there is no rank among us Navy wives. I think that is awesome because Lord knows as a new Navy wife many years back i was quite intimidated by the officer's and upper enlisted's wives. Not that there was anyone that treated me poorly- but still...

All this knowledge and experience I have must be put to use! Haha, I sound quite full of myself. Honestly, if I can help at least one new wife, it will be worth it. The lady in charge of the program is actually husband's boss's wife. She is a very very sweet lady who sent me many emails before I arrived- emails packed with loads of useful information and advice about moving here. She also wants me to be a mentor- how could I refuse her?

Today we learned some Naval history, about our benefits as Navy wives, etiquette, and resources that are available. Much of this would have been very useful to me when I was a new wife. Lucky for me I was resourceful and was brave enough to venture out and meet other wives. Some are not so brave. Some are scared away by rumors they hear. Believe it or not- there are some Navy wives that don't like Navy wives! They refuse to socialize with their own kind. Granted- the military brings on a mix of people from all walks of life, and many corners of the world. This can be a wonderful thing in that you get to meet some very interesting people. You can also meet some very strange people who think so differently from you that they might as well be from another planet. Well, maybe not that bad- but still... Some new wives are very young- I mean they just left their parents home for the first time and have never been on their own. They have an especially hard time. Many of them cannot make it without some sort of support system. It is awesome that the Navy has started to make an effort in the past few years to try offer new and better resources.

So what I am getting at is that I have a great opportunity here. The ladies that are presenting the class actually are coming from a different base. They want to start a program at the base at which I live at now. So here is my chance to really make a difference in the quality of life for the spouses here. And of course I will benefit from more than just the warm fuzzy feelings o having down something good- I will also have something to write down on my resume. So when I am asked- "what did you do while in Japan?"- I can say I did more than sight see and eats lots of delicious food.

It feels good to have a purpose here now. Hopefully this turns out to be a good thing!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I admit, one if the things I most looked forward to in moving to Japan is the food. I love food and my world revolves around it at times (as does my waist line- hah!)
So my biggest frustration arriving here was that buying authentic Japanese cuisine was harder than I had planned. It sounds silly- but getting off base to go buy food has actually been an ordeal for me.
First off- the food court on base is all American food. I think I may have mentioned it in one my previous blogs. When the locals are invited on base- they are excited to visit the food court and eat American fast food. We think yuck- but to them it is truly different than what they can buy out in the local economy. Even their McDonald's is different- serving the likes of Ebi-burgers (shrimp burgers).

As I mentioned before- my first meal in Tokyo was actually American style food- I was disappointed not to try the sushi. I LOVE sushi, and I could eat it every day for every meal.

There are three little Japanese restaurants on base that cater to the Japanese military we share the base with. They are only open at lunch so I did not desire to take the kids with me. I did order fried rice and gyoza a couple of time and take it home to eat. But I could not convince the kids to walk off base and find something to eat, they just would rather eat at McDonald's! That and they do not want to do the walking- especially sister.

The weekend before dad was due to come home I talked the kids into finding the sushi-go-round with me. We drove the gate and walked across. I forgot the map so of course we couldn't find the sushi-go-round. (Found out later we just needed to walk two more blocks!) So we stopped at what looked like a nice ramen restaurant. And it would have been good, if we had ordered the right thing! Brother had fried rice and gyoza (seems to be a safe choice and quite tasty). Sister and I ordered what we thought was yellow ramen noodles and broth. The noodles come in a bowl that has a sort of colander places there to drain out the liquid. I tried my noodles- they are cold. I touch the bowl for the broth- it is cold. What??$%$^!! I look around- to see if they are coming back to cook my food? Is the joke on me? No, I found out later what we ordered is called somen- cold noodles. I call them yucky. Sister said they tasted like a burp after eating too many Easter eggs- I agree! They were egg noodles- but not the nice rich egg noodles we use for chicken noodle soup- but nasty hard boiled stinky egg noodles!

Husband tells me he will buy me some good food when he gets home. And he does! Our first night together we went to a place called the Gyoza House. He has brought back to the states many times frozen gyoza from this place- we were excited to try it in person. Oh and it is so delicious!! Afterwards we stopped at a convenience store called Lawson's where we picked up Haagen Daz ice cream bars. It is a raspberry panna cotta I believe- so delicious. I have never seen it in the states- I had been missing out!
The next day the kids were at school so Husband took me to a ramen restaurant on base that I had no idea was even there. I had the biggest bowl of noodles ever- and it was the small size! very delicious- especially with the little slices of pickled ginger I added on top. After the kids were out of school we headed to Yokohama by train. (I have to add that even though I would rather she behave- I am glad Husband got to see how difficult Sister is on the train.) In the train station downstairs are many many restaurants.
We stopped at a sushi-go-round. It is my dream come true!! It may not have been a true sushi-go-round in that there wasn't any conveyor belt showcasing the freshly prepared sushi. Instead we were given a color picture menu (with the names in English). So we pointed (I tried to pronounce the names in Japanese) to the chef(s) who then prepared our sushi for us. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven! It was truly the best sushi I have ever had. We tried a good variety- including squid and salmon eggs. My favorite was the salmon and blue-fin tuna. I liked it all except for the salmon eggs. I couldn't get over the smell- I felt like I should be baiting a hook with the eggs, not eating them!
Leaving the train station Husband picked up some bread at the French style bakery. From there we headed into the city. Yokohama is very cool- much to do and see. We stopped at a place called Dipper Dans. I thought it was ice cream in large cones at first when we ordered. But then I realized they were crepes! They make them right there in front of you and very meticulously prepare them as ordered. I had a crepe with whipped cream, strawberries, kiwi fruit and mango. It was so simple and so good! Now I am inspired to make crepes at home.
Back home we dug into our treats from the bakery. I eat a croissant like treat with mocha whipped cream inside- yum! The next night we will enjoy the loaf of french bread that has some sort of cheese in it- very good toasted with butter!
So in spite of a couple of road bumps- I feel confident I will enjoy more delicious Japanese cuisine! I am learning the words for cold and hot- so that I make sure I will never order cold egg noodles again. But I know I can't go wrong with the sushi. Is it lunch time yet?

Friday, September 4, 2009

My honey is home!!

This is my happiest blog entry to date. My sweetie came home yesterday! I thought this day would NEVER get here!! If you are wondering why I am at the computer since he just got home- I am up early and just walked the kids to school. My honey is still sleeping- he was on only 2 hours of sleep the day before- so I am letting him sleep in!

The last couple of days have been crazy. We were all on pins and needles- so excited to have daddy come home- and the kids started school. Sister was not happy on the first day of school- she was scared. I was surprised that it wasn't Brother that was acting up- I was more worried about him. Of course the children tend to suprise me and reverse roles. :) School went off without a hitch. I think they both like their new school- I am relieved. They are not alone in being the new kids in school. Out of 500 students, 100 of them are new this year. Wow. It is a lot different than their school back in Washington. They line up every morning on what they call the "red top" (the courtyard next to the playground. It is concrete that has been painted red.) They say the pledge of allegiance together every morning. next week they will start doing their morning exercises- just like the Japanese schools do. There is a name for it, but I can't remember it. I'll post it when I find out. The school reminds me when I was a kid. I went to school in San Diego- we lined up on the "black top" every morning. Our playground was black asphalt- this is before they came up with using wood and rubber chips under the swings and jungle gyms (there were rocks if we were lukcy)- and no giant rubber mats. That asphalt was unforgiving, if you fell your skin was going to be torn up!

So this week was about starting school and getting ready for Husband to come home. I tried to get everything completely unpacked and put away. I came close to finishing, but in the end I just shoved the extra Rubbermaid containers in the closets and called it good. The kids rooms are not quite done yet either. I feel like I have been cleaning and organizing all year long! Frankly I am sick of it!! I DID make sure my bedroom was in order. Of course I just bought brand new bedroom furniture- so that made it easier. It is my first ever brand new complete bedroom suite! I feel like I finally became an adult. Haha. It is also a gift from husband for all my hard work this year. Damn right I deserve it!!

Yesterday I got the kids off to school, cleaned up after breakfast- folded the laundry and then proceeded to take a nice long hot bath (with a good book to read of course!) I did not realize that our tub is so big, I can stretch out almost all the way and it is nice and deep. I see a lot of bubble baths in my future. I can't find any bubble bath around here so I will have to get online with Bath and Body Works. Anyway- after my bath I headed out and picked up mail and bought the kids a new movie- Coraline. Since I didn't know for sure when Husband would get here- I figured that they could be distracted by a movie in case there was a delay.

No delay! I got a call saying he would be here in an hour. 30 minutes later he calls again and asks me to pick him up where the bus let them all off down the street. So I am running around trying to find my shoes, purse and keys when the doorbell rings. I open the door thinking it is my neighbor but instead in front of me is standing a very handsome guy in a khaki colored uniform. Its my honey!! He's here!! He didn't take the shuttle bus, but caught a ride with a friend. I can't remember his friend's name- I was in shock and forgot the name the moment he was introduced to me.

It was time for school to get out so I told husband to hide upstairs and I would go get the kids. At the school there are Dads (and some Moms) that just got home and are waiting to pick up their kids. There is excitement and joy in the air, its as if the air around is actually buzzing. I saw Brother first and he asked if he could go home because his friend that lives across the street was headed home too. So I let him go- I didn't tell him his dad was home. Sister comes out and I tell her we are going home to get ready to go pick up Daddy. Brother comes back to the school just as we are leaving, he is riding his bike. I know he hasn't seen his dad yet. So I tell him the same thing I told sister- but he doesn't want to come inside the house. He keeps insisting that he ride his bike down there. After much convincing I get both of them in the house and send them upstairs because I have a present in my room for dad. Of course the present is for them. I hear brother exclaim when he sees dad- he sounds like he is going to cry. Sister is up next and they both attack him. When I come up behind Sister they are all in a big bear hug at the top of the stairs. Talk about heart warming!

So for now I will let my honey catch up on his sleep. I think I will grab my book and go read in bed next to him while I wait for him to wake up!