Well it’s been an eventful month, but now things are beginning to settle down again and I am back in the arms of my love, my Okinawa.
So, I was back in the United States for two weeks, one week for training and one to see a few extremely important people in my life. The training was at Camp Pendleton between San Diego and Los Angeles. I had never been to California before and I have to say, the culture shock of the states was a bit overwhelming.
I think being outside of San Diego during the week of Comic Con was not the greatest introduction to the city…that and the driving. Firstly, I was scheduled to attend a training in Quantico, but then the Marine Corps said no…I hate it when they do that and sent me instead to Camp Pendleton. I ended up getting my orders on Friday at 17:00 and I was flying out on Sunday morning!
I was traveling with my Okinawa PIC (partner in crime) Amanda, so I knew I would have good company and a traveling companion who knew her way around. We arrived at the airport after a nice long journey from Naha, to Tokyo, to Denver and on to San Diego. We realized we were used to the lovely reserve of Okinawa at the moment when Ian, our Enterprise Rent a car guy, got very close, very loud and had his hand out to shake vigorously. I don’t know which of us backed up first but we sort of looked at each other, like whoa…you need to give some distance.
We had a nice dinner in San Diego, where it was hot but nowhere near the humidity that we’ve become so accustomed to. Other things I was not accustomed to was the aggressive traffic, holy cow, what a difference. Let me say that I will not be driving in California again for a long time. We got to our not so lovely accommodations settled in for the night. It was a sketchy neighborhood, again, so different from the gentle lifestyle I am used to.
I can say that the training was phenomenal and I am looking forward to more training and future certification.
So, being back in the states again, I had forgotten a few things…refills on soda (which I don’t drink, but refills on the iced tea were nice), ridiculous amount of room in the aisles of supermarkets, the Baconator and Son of the Baconator at Wendy’s! And oh yes, that everyone can understand me when I’m talking. I was rattling away in the Camp Pendleton Exchange about how fat Americans are when Amanda pointed out to me that people could hear me….and understand me! Oops, I was the ugly American, in America.
So, a week of training and off to upstate NY. I apologize to everyone that didn’t know I was coming, but I have to say I had limited time with extremely limited planning. I still want to recruit Dave and Paul over here, you too Amanda F! Sarah, Rebecca and Lynn, so sorry I missed you, but I want to recruit you three over here also!!! And David V. , I loved our philosophical conversation! If I didn’t see you, it wasn’t because I wasn’t thinking of you.
It was important that I see my family and my former dojo (it will always my home dojo). How exciting, what a thrill and absolutely w0nderful thing to spend time with Nancy and John Eccles! For those of you who don’t know, they are my senseis that inspired me to look to Okinawa for a position here. It was great to see my dojo brothers and just spend time with Jerry, Jacob, Dave and Michael. It was so much fun to spend time in the dojo, passing along some of what I’m working on here with Taira Sensei. Nancy looks fabulous by the way, you chose well John!
I had a lovely surprise in seeing my brother whom I haven’t spent time with in too many years. Of course, my best friend since I was 11 was the oasis in the swirling chaos that characterized the week. My mother, sisters and my niece were the highlights.
I also had a chance to understand that I am internet -addicted, and it is something I need to work on, but needing the internet took me over to Stamford, the little library there and to the Little League field of my childhood. Back then, yes I’m going back a ways, they were integrating girls into Little League. I was the second girl allowed in, Heather Wilkie (whose parents owned the Montgomery Wards catalogue store in town) was a year older than me and the first.
I also ran around like a crazy person with little or no sleep, spoke in broken English, completed Japanese language assignments and tried to fit in as much training as I could.
I finished my week and headed back to a kerfuffle of gigantic proportions orchestrated by United Airlines, but eventually made it back to Japan. Tokyo, in particular, where my heart and love lives most of the time.
I was able to give the cab driver directions to my house, in Japanese without one wrong turn and returned to Isa in Ginowan.
I realized how foreign America has become to me and the sense of homecoming upon landing in Tokyo.
I have found my home here, it was like slipping on a pair of comfortable old slippers when I got home, opened the door and said ‘tadaima!’