Saturday, May 30, 2009

Camping and Hiking...

Last weekend we went up to Okuma, campground/resort for the military, with Lisete, Sage, and Gabby (another girl from church) but also met up with Rocky and Gina and the Rice family, from church. The plan was to do the real camping thing and sleep in a tent, but with the rain the day before and the morning of, we decided to get a cabin instead. It worked out great though cuz our cabin had a fire pit. I have been "craving" a bonfire for months! Smores were included in the fun!
Here's our cute little cabin...
Rocky working his Royal Ranger magic on the fire
my japanmate :)
Anita, Lisete, and Gina got into the chocolate for smores a bit early!
Rocky, Gina, and I...have i mentioned they're amazing people? cuz they are :)
Self timer skills :)
Here we are the next morning waiting for Rocky and Gina to head over to Hiji Falls
The start of our hike to the falls.....in the distance you can see Sage and Gabby
We stopped off the trail to feel the water...how cute are they?
This is the view from a bridge we crossed on the way to the falls
Here are some of the stairs we had to climb....I can guarantee that I was exhausted before even starting this set of stairs!
We made it!
Hiji Falls. check.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sayonara Dinner...

This week has marked the beginning of the end of my time here in Okinawa as school is winding down to the last 4 days, boxes are being packed, my classroom is being taken apart and is looking more and more like it did when I first walked in 10 months ago. I am amazed at God's hand in this last year and how he has guided and provided every step of the way. It is so incredible to see how he has used my job, the church, every moment of being in Japan, to provide growth in my life. I say it a lot and I will continue to say it, I am blessed!

Tuesday night was our Neighborhood Sayonara dinner at Kitakaisen. Jerard and Collen, Earl, along with Alison and I will all be leaving the island in the next 2 weeks. More than 50 people came as we shared in food and fellowship. These people have been more than just "people from church" to me this past year, they have been family! To be honest, I never imagined I would be a part of something so awesome while in Japan!

Gina's cake for us :)
Matthew, Samuel, and I
Sage and I
Benny and Pauline
My japanmate and I :)_

Monday, May 25, 2009

Long Weekend Fun...

Memorial Day weekend began with our church's picnic and water baptism service on Saturday. We went down to Torii Beach, on the Army base, and had a fantastic time with our church family. I attempted to play some beach volleyball, and was reminded why I play in a gym. :) There is absolutely nothing like the fellowship of this family! The water baptism time was great. Fifteen people were baptized! I have been and continue to be blessed by these people. I cannot say it enough!

Here is a group shot of everyone! Lisete and I
The best japanmate ever!!
I'm going to miss them!!
There was dancing....yes, dancing...A few of the high schoolers needed to make their own music video for a project for Chinese class, so they were looking for people to come dance for them. Josh, Jerard, and Cyndi agreed. This is what they got! Let's just say at the end of it all Pastor told Jerard he needed to see him down at the altar on Sunday morning. ;)
video
Following the picnic Alison and I went to Lisete's, showered, and headed out to pick up some chick flicks for later. We stopped by Rocky and Gina's to have some pizza then headed back to Lisete's for a sleepover. It was a fun night with the girls!
After church on Sunday, Alison and I spent a relaxing afternoon and evening at Kim's with her and the kids. We watching movies, ate steak, and I napped...of course :) Please keep Matthew, the youngest boy (second grade), in your prayers. The doctors found lumps in his neck/throat area and have been doing tests to determine what it is. The doctor's have not been positive about it, but God is good and he truly does take care of us! Matthew survived more tests today with flying colors and they will be awaiting the results.
On Monday, Rocky, Gina, Robert, Lisete, Sage, Alison, and I headed out to Forest Adventures to do some more zip lining. It was a beautiful day and we had a blast! I must say that I was much better with my landings this time around, apparently practice does make perfect.
Robert and Lisete making their way through the final course
Me trying to land gracefully....haha
Here is a video of the Tarzan jump...SCARY! (Still trying to upload this video...not going so well for me)
From Forest Adventures we headed up north a bit more to have lunch at Pizza in the Sky. We'd been once before but this was on the list to do again before heading home. Check! Here we are waiting to be seated. My japanmate and I again, this time with a special person peeking behind...
Gina wanted to take a picture with Rocky next to the sign for the restaurant on the way down the hill so we stopped on the side of the road. Rocky lifted the hood to make it look like we were stopped for a legitimate reason...I found that hilarious and had to take a picture!
The weekend was amazing and filled with lots of good memories. I can't believe these weekends are winding down already. I know I say this a lot but I am blessed!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spring Concert...

Friday night was New Life Academy's Spring Concert...The night began with 1-8 grade recorder recitals, followed by Preschool, Pre-K, and Kindergarten performing The Three Trees. The kids were all decked out in their tree outfits, and looked adorable! They did a good job despite their little nerves about being in front of all those people. I am continually touched by their voices and I absolutely love hearing them sing in Japanese.
This is the backdrop painted by the art teacher, Mrs. Wakita....She did an AMAZING job!
Here I am with a few of my little trees, backstage and ready to go out
More trees...
Here is my entire campus...my kids are on the right side of the picture. with a few preschoolers right on the end.
They were to hug their neighbor during one of the songs...
Not sure about the quality of this video but here is a small taste of the kids singing...
video
Here is a shot of the 1-8 graders performing "Roaming thru Romans" all dressed up in their togas...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Last trip down south...

Last weekend Alison and I made our last tour book day down south. It was a beautiful day and we had everything all planned out...we'd go to charlies tacos for the last time, visit a banyan tree tunnel, see some castle ruins, and make a final stop at the glass factory...Well...it didn't quite turn out the way we had planned. Let me start by saying we have not had an unsuccessful trip yet and apparently it was time to make up for our other really successful trips. Let's just say I lost count how many full circles we went in and the amount of u-turns I made...some of which I am sure were illegal. Needless to say I have developed some bad driving habits this year! Anyways, at one point while we were looking for the banyan tree tunnel I made a u turn on a small dirt turnout and Thomas, our car, made an AWFUL noise! But it wasn't just for a moment, it kept going! Alison and I were just having a conversation on the drive up about how surprised we were that our car was still alive as we were sure it wouldn't last this long, now we found ourselves laughing so hard we were crying and also praying it wouldn't be serious since we weren't even sure where we were no less trying to tell someone where to come get us! So I pulled over and shut the car off...we walked to where we thought the banyan trees were, of course we were wrong haha, came back to the car, turned it on, and everything has been fine since. Praise God! whew!
This is where we thought Thomas was going to die!
We pulled over in front of this beautiful view to stretch our legs :) and get yet another pic together!
So we continued on our journey to nowhere....When we also couldn't find the castle ruins we decided to go to a cave site from the battle of Okinawa where over 200 school girls who were made to be nurses caring for the wounded soldiers ended up committing suicide after hearing rumors of what the American soldiers would do to them if found. It was more intense than anything I can describe! They had accounts to read that were in English and I read 2 and had to walk away, they were so graphic I couldn't handle it. From the cave site we headed to the glass factory, our second home, for the last time. Let me just say how weird it is that we are coming down to the "lasts." It almost feels like yesterday that we were having our "lasts" in California getting ready to board a plane to Okinawa. What a year!! :) Anyways, I've been waiting for a lamp to "call my name" and have been searching for a few months. This time it called and now I have MY lamp to bring home. So excited! I know it sounds weird, but it's the little things! :) Glad to have had another productive glass factory trip.

This was the really tough view we had for most of our drive around the southern tip of the island

In the end I was proud of how patient I was with the entire day considering how much I don't like not knowing where I'm going while driving. :) It was really a lot of fun considering our inability to find what we wanted. It's hard to imagine not having the beautiful ocean view surrounding me wherever I am. It is just as breathtaking now as the first time I experienced it almost 10 months ago!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Time continues to fly...

Last Saturday was our church's All Mothers and All Daughters Tea. Since Alison and I are both daughters, though we didn't get to be with our moms, we decided we would go for the fellowship. It was held on Camp Foster at Globe and Anchor Club. We had a fun time sitting with Kim and Emma, Cyndi, and one of the youth. There were A LOT of young girls there, being the military environment with lots of young families. They were really cute all dressed up learning about tea etiquette.
Kim did a short drama skit with a couple of the girls, cue cards included. It was quite funny!
Then we had a had making contest including a cat walk. Our table nominated Emma to have to wear the fabulous hat we made....NOT fabulous at all really. Ours was quite possibly the worst one there. I must the Japanese really know how to make hats. No exaggeration, their paper plates were turned into what looked like store bought hats! serious talent!
Here are the hat models representing each table.
Following the tea, Alison and I took Emma and Alisia for some hang out time and sleepover. We headed back to the apartment and changed to go to the beach since it was yet another gorgeous day! We hung out there for a bit then decided to get shaved ice, only the best ever! So much better than the states, finer ice and not so sweet syrup. Though I must say that I have never waited 30 minutes to receive my order of ice with syrup. Thankfully the weather was great and the company even better. from there we decided to make our way to American Village to ride the Ferris wheel, for the first time. It was most definitely on our list of things to do before leaving Okinawa. Check. It was a lot of fun and included some pics.
Alisia and I
The girls
After what was supposed to be a 15 minute ride, we thought it was more like 8, we headed back home to watch some teeny bopper movies, paint our nails, and eat mac and cheese and lumpia (Alisia's mom, Pauline, made it for us...really good!) We have a great time and learned some new things about these girls, like how they get when they're tired. Good times!
We started our 5 week countdown to our Cali arrival this Monday...Alison and I have been waiting to visit the Garlic House, a restaurant with anything garlic you could possible imagine, with Rocky and Gina, so on Tuesday evening, after a long day, we tried to make that trip. When we arrived after a 30 minute drive we found a sign on the door that said "Closed for extra holiday." Hmmm didn't know that was a normal thing, apparently in Japan it is. So instead we went to The Pizza House, formerly the US embassy, and enjoyed some good pizza and salad and some quality time with the Young at Heart, as Rocky refers to himself. I have been so blessed by Rocky and Gina, I can't even explain it. Alison and I laugh our heads off every time we're around them and always feel so much more relaxed afterwards. So after our long day this was the perfect way to spend the evening. After dinner we went to a different 100 yen store and ended the night with Big Dip Ice Cream.
Love them!
The week went on and my kids got more crazy. Being busy in the evening time really helped with my sanity. Continuing with the fellowship trend, which I must say has been completely amazing this year, Alison and I had Pastor Clay and Marlene Glickert over for dinner on Thursday night. We had a really fun time with them. After dinner we played cards. I learned how to play Hearts. They are an awesome couple and are just another reason I find it very difficult to say goodbye to Neighborhood.
So now it's Friday night, just got home from babysitting at the Love Dare meeting, and am preparing for what will be one of our final tour book days tomorrow. We're headed down south for the last time to catch a few more things...praying for a beautiful day!