Thursday, June 27, 2013

Zip-lining through the jungle

A few weeks ago we spent an amazing morning at the Forest Adventure Park here in Okinawa. It's a huge zip-lining course where they teach you how to clip in and out, and then basically leave you to go through the course by yourself. Seems scary, but it was pretty easy. 

There's also a few obstacle course things, and a big Tarzan swing at the end. That freaked me out a little! That was the one time where there was a guy there to help you, and when he was telling me to do it, I was like "but it's scary!" To which he said, "just sukoshi scary!" (just little scary). He was right. Once you let go, it was pretty fun. 

Also, landings were a little rough. 
I can't wait to go back to this place. We had so much fun. This island may be small, but there sure are a ton of awesome things to do here. Love it. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tropical Dream Center AKA Orchid Heaven

Last week we spent an afternoon at some beautiful tropical gardens in the north part of Okinawa. It's hard to miss the spiral tower off the coast, and I've been wanting to go here for a while. I love that it's called the Tropical Dream Center. The gardens were absolutely beautiful. I would love to plan or attend a wedding here. It's perfect!

The highlight for me was all the orchids. So many different kinds and colors. 
An afternoon well spent. 
Love love love this place. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer, Sweet Summer

 This place is simply wonderful in the summer. Hot and humid: absolutely. Nasty bugs: check. Japanese schools that refuse to turn on the a/c, so I leave work sweating like a pig: yep. BUT the fact that I am surrounded by beaches makes it not so bad.

We have been soaking up these gorgeous days. And as I look at my many photos of what we have been up to, I realize full well that it looks like we're on a perma-vacation. And you know what? We kind of are! That's why we wanted to come here! We really feel so lucky we get to live in a place like this.
^^^one beach day involved just reading in these chairs all afternoon^^^
^^^another included paddle boarding^^^
^^^another included kayaking^^^
^^^and quite a few have included snorkeling!^^^
^^^this is from the aquarium, but if I had an underwater camera, this is what it would look like while snorkeling ^^^
 ^^^another beautiful end to a beautiful day^^^

Happy summer, everyone. Hope you're having a good one so far!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The State of our Union

So far our wedding anniversary traditions are these:
1. Take the above photo at the place we spend our anniversary (hopefully the beach thing will always be the place!)
2. Enjoy dinner together where we talk about our marriage year--the good and the not so good moments--and our goals for the next one. A state of the union or companionship inventory, if you will. I really like this part. 
3. Have a little getaway together. 

I am so grateful that we have been able to do this. Last year our little getaway on the east coast was fun and all, but man, this year was great. It was a second honeymoon for us. Victor took me up to a resort in the northern part of the island and it was gorgeous. I loved the time we had to be together in such a gorgeous setting. It was heavenly. I'm spoiled by him. 

^^^ I know this picture is extremely cheesy and looks like an ad for The Bachelor/Bachelorette. Maybe that's why I like it?? ^^^

And in other breaking news, my tan is back!! Honestly the last time I was this tan was in 2007 when I got back from Thailand. My time in Romania killed my tan. But it's back, thanks to Okinawa.

So, anyway, we had a very fine anniversary. Here's to many more!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

We'll collect the moments one by one, I guess that's how the future's done

Happy second anniversary to me and my sweet husband!
We made it another year! And looking back on these pictures, I realize that it's been pretty darn good. We've learned a lot and done a lot. I'm so grateful for my best friend who I'm married to. 

I thought about doing another post like last year with the lessons we have learned this second year of our marriage, but I realized I just very recently wrote about some of those lessons here so you can read if you care to, and when I asked Victor to give a few, he said, "still refining the lessons learned last year." Alrighty, then!

Last anniversary, we were in the Outer Banks in NC, and this year we find ourselves in Okinawa, Japan. I hope that every year on our anniversary we find ourselves on a beach. That would be wonderful.

I am so blessed to have Victor in my life. He makes me feel so special and loved, and he teaches me by example what kind of person I should be. He forgives me countlessssss times for my impatience and spazziness, and he puts me first in his life always. I really am so blessed.

Love you Victor, happy anniversary!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Remembering the Battle of Okinawa at Peace Prayer Park

We have more friends visiting this week and we are having a great time showing them around. It's been a beautiful week so far. 

Yesterday we went to the Japanese Naval Underground Headquarters, and today we visited Peace Prayer Park and realized that it was at this exact time of June in 1945 when the Battle of Okinawa was finally coming to a devastating end after brutal months of fighting. Today is the day when the Japanese commanding officer left his final words and took his own life in surrender. It makes me so sad to think of what the Okinawan people had to go through in those terrible months. 
 I was so touched walking around Peace Prayer Park today. There are many granite walls similar to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. that pay tribute name by name to those who lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa. There are so many of them. Those walls keep going and going. As you walk among thousands and thousands of Japanese, you arrive to the corner of the memorials and see something unlike all the other names: English names. Names of Americans, British, and Irish. Those Allied forces who also died in the Battle of Okinawa. The very people the Japanese were fighting against.

It's such a beautiful testament of forgiving and moving forward.

 I love what the Peace Prayer Park symbolizes. Everything there focuses on trying repent and forgive. "To console the precious souls of all  who were lost in the war and to pass the lessons learned from the tragic war on future generations."

I was touched today, and these events that happened on this island years ago have been on my mind. So I just thought I would share. I sound like a broken record, but I'm so grateful to have this time on Okinawa to learn these lessons as well.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mrs. Yohena's Hydrangea Gardens

Mrs. Yohena is a 96-year-old Japanese woman who turned her tangerine fields into an amazing hydrangea garden because she loves them so much. She opens her garden to the public so everyone can enjoy them as well. I love love love hydrangeas. They are always a special treat for me, because sadly they were non-existant growing up in Utah.

I'm still amazed at what a beautiful little island Okinawa is. What makes me love it more is seeing all the Okinawan people who are always out and about appreciating its beauty as well. They are such wonderful people. I love being able to have this chance to live here.

Okinawa, we love you!