I recently had the opportunity to ask Kara, blogger over at Ramblings of Marine Wife (RoaMW), a few questions relating to her time in Okinawa.
Kara spent two years living in Okinawa, although sadly she had moved before our family arrived to the island so I am yet to meet her in person, I do however feel like I somewhat know her through her blog which I read on a regular basis!
The first thing I noticed when I came across RoaMW was how much exploring Kara and her family managed to squeeze in during their relatively short time on island, which I absolutely love.
Enough rambling from me! lets get onto the good stuff…
What was your initial reaction when you found out you were going to be moving thousands of miles across the world to Okinawa, Japan?
My husband originally had unaccompanied orders. I was kinda indifferent. I knew it was overseas, but I didn’t really know anything about Okinawa or even where it was. We started the tour conversion a week after he got there. Then I started looking things up. Everything the Marine Corps had about the island showed sad pictures of beige concrete buildings. Due to the size of the island, I was thinking cars wouldn’t be necessary and we could just bike everywhere. I started thinking there wasn’t going to be much to do, but I was totally up for it! How completely wrong I was.
If you could go back to Okinawa for one (long) weekend, what would your weekend look like?
Don’t think I haven’t thought about this! The weekend would mostly consist of eating and spending time at my favorite places, which were mainly various beaches. Hamahiga is my all time favorite place. I could spend all day just exploring that little island.
I follow you on Instagram (@ROFAMW) and noticed you posted a picture of a CoCo’s mug….what was your spice level?
Ha! I don’t think I ever got past 2 or 3.
I am always stuck with ideas on what to feed our family during a typhoon…what was in your ‘typhoon kit’?
Typhoons equal junk food in my opinion. We would buy tons of snack food and munch on that for days. When the kids were little, it wasn’t a big deal, but as they got older, they loved that we would stock up on junk. We had a Coco’s convenience store right down the street from our house, so we got a lot of it there. We also had a Primo Kitchen close and we loved their pizza! We would get take out before we were totally confined to quarters.
Did you have a favorite Blue Seal flavor?
I’m a big fan of chocolate ice cream, so I didn’t really have a favorite. As long as there was some kind of chocolate in it, I was happy! You can’t really go wrong with Blue Seal though.
complete the sentence…if there is ONE thing you must do when you visit/move to Okinawa it is….
become an explorer.
What are some things you DON’T miss about Okinawa?
There really isn’t anything I don’t miss. I asked my oldest and he couldn’t come up with anything either. He came up with a lot that he missed though and I agree with that!
I think you & your kids hit up every park on island! I am positive there are a few you went to that sadly no longer exist. I managed to give myself a bruise on the backside last time I went down a roller slide! Did you or your kids ever have any roller slide injuries?
I think every adult has injured themselves on a roller slide. My husband hurt himself on the drop slide at the Civic Center Park. I can’t think of any one specific incident though.
Your favorite snack item from Lawsons/Family Mart is…
Grape Hi-Chews, the tuna onigiri, and the bakery section at Coco’s. Having the Coco’s down the street from us was probably detrimental to our waistlines. We walked down there all the time for stuff.
Was it an easy adjustment for your children moving back to America?
Surprisingly, yes. They were 4 and 7 when we moved back. The 7 year old had no issues, but he had spent summers in the States. My youngest was amazed by things since she didn’t remember any of it, but it was an easy adjustment.
Do they miss Okinawa at all?
My oldest does, but only because he remembers it more. I’m really glad I had the blog to help document everything. I also took tons of pictures and made photobooks, so I won’t let them forget.
I am not going to lie I am terrified of seeing a snake, we have been here 18 months without a sighting, I hope it stays this way! I recently read THIS post about the poisonous sea snake…was this the only poisonous beastie you ever came across?
I thought that thing was dead! I would never have gone near it otherwise. When we hiked to Hiji Falls, we saw a lot of snakes, but they were all sunbathing in the river far, far, below us.
For people who are about to leave the island what Japanese items should they be stocking up on?
Anything and everything they ever thought they wanted. I would see things and not want to spend the money, but I’m glad I did. I paid way too much for my Shisa dogs, but I’m so glad I bought ones I truly liked. There was some furniture I wanted, but didn’t buy because I thought we would be overweight (we weren’t and I’m still kicking myself).
Any other advice for people about to embark on their adventure in Okinawa?
Take advantage of every opportunity. I did everything on island I possibly could, but I wish we would have traveled more. Odds are, you’ll only get this experience once, so make the most of it. Also, try to be realistic about what to expect. You will be in a foreign country and far from home. While it is Americanized in ways, it is still foreign and things are done differently.
There are also many wonderful posts about things to do while in Okinawa; check it out you will be amazed by how much her family squeezed in during their time on island and her list of parks is amazing!
Kara and her family are now residing in San Antonio, Texas which I have only been to once where all I saw was the inside of the airport! Seeing all that San Antonio has to offer I am definitely adding it to my places to one day visit in the U.S.