Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Shaken Caramel Custard + Espresso // Starbucks Drink of the Month, Sept 2014

One of the things on our 101 in 1001 Okinawa bucket list was to try 10 Starbucks drinks not available in The States. When we first got here we went to Starbucks and were pleasantly surprised to see that while not all of the drinks we were used to getting in American were available, there were treats sold here that were new, exciting, and Japan (or greater Asia?) exclusive! We knew we had to make it a goal to try some of them! We have since learned they come out with a new drink EVERY MONTH, and so we have updated our goal to try the monthly offerings, every month! The saddest part of our goal is I can't use my gold card to earn stars on them! Everything else about it should be fun and delicious!
This month the drink was a shaken caramel custard + espresso drink. Pictures are good and fine, but when we realized there was no parking and we'd have to back on up and go through the drive thru, we decided it would be the perfect time to VLOG about our adventure! Here is our video of ordering and trying our drinks:
So, let me begin by saying I have no clue why in about 3 minutes I went from thinking it was a caramel custard to a caramel apple drink. I was pretty adamant about it, and gracefully acknowledge I was wrong. I have apologized to Gene. He deals with that quite often as I have really been struggling with short term memory lately!
I know this is the thumbnail for the video, but I like it.
Nails: Jamberry Happy-Go-Lucky
How cute are their order stickers?!
I'm pretty sad it's the end of the month and we just got there, because this drink was delicious. Mine, after all, did not have coffee in it, I think it was for sure just the caramel taste. I can't wait to see what next month has in store for us as we make our way down to trying it out! I tried looking online but couldn't figure out what it was going to be... if it's coffee, count me out, but if I can get it without coffee, count me way in!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Write A Letter To Myself To Open On Day 1001

I thought it would be really fun to write a letter to myself as I was just setting out on the journey that is our 101 in 1001 here in Okinawa. I wrote it to both Gene and myself. I'm going to wait to share it on the 1001st day though instead of letting you all know what it says right now!
I'll stick to telling you that I wrote about how new and exciting everything is in Okinawa right now. Every experience is new- going grocery shopping, going to a convenience store, even going to McDonald's is a new experience (and a crazy tasty one...). I remember reading what I wrote in a journal I was writing when I first got to California. Everything was breathtaking! There were palm trees everywhere and I remember being in such awe over that. Before we left, they had become just another tree on the side of the road- something we saw everyday, and the excitement wore away. I hope that doesn't happen to us here in Okinawa, and I am going to try my best to ensure it doesn't.

I look around here and the grass is greener, the sky bluer, the clouds whiter, and I never in a million years dreamed I'd live some place like this. We've been given the gift of three years here and I hope to make them three of the best years we have. I want to live everyday, and go through out list, making the most of Okianwa.

With that, we have the first thing on the list, donezo! Even though it was kind of an extra, haha! I plan on scrapping the entire list, and so right now I've got my letter tucked into the beginning of our album, waiting to be opened in 1,001 days!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Day The Tervis Died

I don't remember the exact date, but I remember the day like it was yesterday. Gene and I had just moved to Fallbrook, CA, a little town, just inland of Camp Pendleton, a HUGE Marine Corps base. Gene was getting ready to deploy on a six and a half month cruise with the Vinson. We were savoring those last few days together while also exploring our new hometown. We had stopped into a little stop on the ever so quaint Main St. Fallbrook has.

It was the kind of store I knew we'd go for gifts as it was a small town business offering a wide arrangement of little things. I remember seeing a few Tervis Tumblers, United States Marine Corps, of course. Then, there in the back, I saw it: a United States Navy tumbler tucked away, almost hidden in shame! I scooped it up and asked Gene if we could get it. I drank out of that tumbler all through his deployment and found an awkward comfort in it.

The tumbler then made it's way to Okinawa with us. Gene would be working with the Marines, but he is Navy- we are a Navy family, and this one little "moto" piece was going to see me through this green side tour. Then, just shy of two months on island, it fell off the counter this afternoon and broke.
I was devastated. I immediately hopped over to the Tervis website and looked at their "Made for Life Guarantee." I don't think breaking after falling off the counter meets the acceptable criteria though. It was with a heavy heart that we tossed our Tervis into the plastics bin, but we kept the patch for the memories of this tumbler! I think even if we replaced it, it just wouldn't be the same. It would never be the tumbler in a Marine Corps town waiting for a Navy family to find it and bring it home. I know that's a weird way to think about possessions, but it's the story this tumbler and I share.

Farewell, little tumbler- it's been a good ride.

Friday, September 26, 2014

I Wasn't Looking For A Job...

In case you missed the title of this blog, or maybe don't understand it: I'm a housewife, "retired" from the working world when I married my husband, to be a homemaker. I enjoy the life of leisure I live. I certainly know it's not for everyone, but I enjoy keeping house, being home when my husband comes home and letting him have my undivided attention. That works for us. So how in the world did I find myself double parked in the tiniest parking lot in Okinawa giving myself a pep talk for a job interview?
Real quick: there's no product in my hair. Some days, it just works with me! Hallelujah!
It happened rather easily, actually! When we got to Okinawa, I had heard about a military spouse run business: The Set Table. Christina started the business back in April of this year, providing families in Okinawa with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, measured out with a recipe! You can buy anywhere from one to four meals a week, and they come packaged with everything you need to make an amazing dinner. If you follow me on instagram, you'll notice most of the meals we've been eating are from The Set Table.

So I was perusing Facebook one day earlier this week and saw that she was hiring an assistant to help with the measuring of the ingredients, the preparing of the packages, and the delivery of the ingredients to those who ordered. I wasn't looking for a job, but I thought I would drop her a message and let her know I was interested. I believe in what she is doing and the service she is providing. I know it is a blessing so greatly appreciated by our family, and there must be other families on the island who benefit from it as well. I also thought we would work well together, based on the few times I had met her when picking up my orders.

So, this morning I drove down to a little cafe for an interview. Of course, I was early, which worked out since parking was a bear. I sat in my car for a few minutes realizing I was a little nervous. I hadn't interviewed for a job in something like 7 years! The medical assistant job I had when I married Gene, I started working before we even met!  I entered the cafe a few minutes early, ordered the most amazing mango smoothie I have ever had, and sat with her, chatting and listening to her speak about her vision for this company.

I wanted this job! I wanted to be a part of this movement of getting families back in kitchens and cooking homecooked dinners! I left the cafe almost 40 minutes later thinking of all the things I should have said! I should have mentioned I had 4 years restaurant and hostess experience in college. I should have mentioned that why I was so passionate about this opportunity. I should have mentioned that we have two cars, and so even if mine was ever acting up I could drop Gene off at work and used his to get to work on time! I should have mentioned that I'm a punctual person who lives by the motto "When you're early, you're on time and when you're on time, you're already late!" I should have mentioned I have a work ethic where I don't stop until the job is done! I drove the half hour or so back home with all these "I should haves" running through my head...

Then I sat and waited. She let me know she would message me sometime this afternoon, letting me know either way. I was on pins and needles. I couldn't tell you the last time I was as nervous waiting to hear about something. I knew I wanted it, but I also knew there were about 6 applicants and I really hoped they were all quality people who cared as much as I did, and that the decision was a little hard for her to pick someone to entrust her project baby with.

I guess what you're all waiting for is the point of the post: I didn't get the job. I didn't get a job I wasn't even looking for and it hurt like I was applying for my dream job! I maybe even got super excited when my phone dinged, and then cried for a minute or two when I realized what I was reading. On the plus side, I don't need to change the name of my blog as it turns out I am still "The Young Retiree" living the life of leisure and sharing it all with you!

An Okinawa Bucket List, If You Will // 101 in 1001

We are finally settling into life in Okinawa. We've been driving on the local streets, shopping at the local stores, and eating in local restaurants. We have our bearings, and now it's time to get down to business. Can you believe we've been here for fifty-five days already? I certainly can't! When we realized we only had about three months left in California, I had a little freak out! There were so many things on my "California Bucket List" that I wanted to get done, and I just didn't have enough days to do them! I don't want that to happen to us here in Okinawa! Our time on the island is limited, and I want to get the most out of our experience living overseas! It seems fitting and appropriate to me that I take our time and to try to complete 101 things in 1001 days. I've got my list all set up and ready to go, and I'm officially starting the countdown this weekend!
This list will carry us through to June 23, 2017. At that point, we will have one or two months left on the island. Hopefully we'll get to experience the island and use our proximity to some amazing foreign lands to travel while we're here!

I'm listing out, in no particular order, 101 things we (but mostly I) want to do before we leave Okinawa! If you want to follow along on the Day Zero Project website, you can do so here. In no particular order (and in a different order than the DZP site) here is our Okinawa Bucket List:
  1. Write a letter to myself to open on the 1001st day (this one pushes me to 102 things. I'm ok with that.)
  2. Collect a jar of sea glass (medium size canning type jar from Ikea)
  3. Collect a jar of sea shells (medium size canning type jar from Ikea) 
  4. Visit Tokyo
  5. Hike Mt Fuji
  6. Walk on the Great Wall of China
  7. Visit Shuri Castle
  8. Take a Battle of Okinawa tour
  9. Visit the Churaumi Aquarium
  10. See Sumo wrestling live
  11. Buy a Kimono or Yukata
  12. Spend a weekend at Okuma (a resort area the USAF has on the island)
  13. Book an off island trip all on our own (not an all inclusive tour, not to Mainland Japan)
  14. Spend a day at the Southeast Botanical Garden
  15. Go to the Lily Festival on Ie Island
  16. Visit the Neo & Butterfly Parks
  17. Visit the Mini-mini Zoo
  18. Spend an afternoon on Kokusai Street exploring 
  19. Go to the Naha Fish & Farmer's Market
  20. Hike Hiji Falls
  21. Go to the Urashima Dinner Theater
  22. Go to the Yotsutake Dinner Theater
  23. Go to the underwater observatory and do the glass bottom boat ride at Busena
  24. Ride the Ferris wheel in American Village
  25. Try sushi
  26. Go Snorkeling
  27. Attend the Sapporo Snow/Ice Festival
  28. Attend A Cherry Blossom Festival
  29. Get a piece of the rope from the Naha Tug of War
  30. Attend the Orion Beer & Eisa Festival
  31. Fly somewhere Space A
  32. Visit the Consulet in Naha
  33. Spend NYE/Anniversary at YYY Resort on Ie Island
  34. Take an Aerial tour of Okinawa
  35. Make a piece of hand blown glass
  36. Go to a Japanese sporting event (wrestling, basketball, soccer, etc)
  37. Travel to Iriomote Island
  38. Get a fish pedicure, as a couple
  39. Go to the sunflower festival
  40. See the 10,000 Eisa Dancers Parade
  41. Experience the Stardust Fantasia at Kanucha Resort
  42. Go to Mount Yaedake and Sakura no Mori Park, Eat at Yachimun Cafe
  43. Spend some time at Yohena Ajisai Garden
  45. Explore Yomitan Pottery Village
  46. Go to Shuri Ryusen to make our own Bingata
  47. Visit the Salt Gala & jar our own salt
  48. Visit the Pineapple Park
  49. Attend the ShiShiMai Festival
  50. Go Mikan Picking
  51. Experience the Yomitan Festival
  52. Visit an Art Museum
  53. Go to Kudaka Island
  54. Explore Bise Village
  55. Stay at The Ritz, Okinawa
  56. Have "Okinawa" pictures taken by a professional photographer at a fun landmark or beach
  57. Watch a Dragon boat race (maybe attend a festival)
  58. Complete the Disney Trifecta (Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong)
  59. Go on a fireworks dinner cruise
  60. Purchase & learn to play the shamisen (Japanese guitar)
  61. Visit Ryukyu Mura
  62. See the ancient stone cuttings at Madea Flats
  63. Travel to Taketomi Island
  64. Visit the Tamauden Mausoleum
  65. Water Buffalo Carriage Ride at Bios on the Hill
  66. Eat at 50 new restaurants
  67. Visit Cape Zanpa
  68. See Manza Mo Cliff
  69. Visit Shikinaen
  70. Visit Nakijin Castle ruins
  71. Have a picnic at the Nakagusuku Castle Ruins
  72. Visit Kyoto
  73. Visit the Katsuren Castle Ruins 
  74. Stay at 6 (as yet discovered/picked out) Okinawa resorts
  75. Visit every base on island (and hopefully get a coin at each. Gene wants to do this in one day)
  76. Visit Seifa Utaki
  77. Learn how to perform a Japanese Tea Ceremony
  78. Visit Toguchi Beach & Cafe
  79. Visit Kerama Island
  80. Go to a Japanese movie out in town
  81. Learn to write something in Japanese
  82. See a Japanese Band perform
  83. Go to a local KARAOKE bar and sing
  84. Take a ferry over to Tsuken-jima
  85. Acquire a painting of a Japanese landscape
  86. Go to an Okinawan Casino
  87. Go to Fruits Land
  88. Travel to Kathmandu or Bali... or BOTH!
  89. Try 10 Starbucks drinks you can't get in America
  90. Spend an afternoon at the Sunabe Seawall
  91. Successfully use a traditional Japanese toilet (hole in the ground squatty potty)
  92. Visit Fukushen Gardens
  93. Go to Miyagi Island
  94. Visit a tiny Ryukyu Island from our signed book about the Ryukus-(Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands: The First Comprehensive Guide to the Entire Ryukyu Island Chain)! Kassie talks about monkeys in Yakushima or peacocks in Iojima! We just have to read some more in our book to find which one we want to explore!
  95. Go Okinawa Strawberry Picking
  96. Visit the Kin Kannon Do Temple & Cave
  97. Go on a spooky/Halloween/Haunted Okinawa tour
  98. Get Lost. Make a maps pin for the front gate, get in the car early one Saturday morning, and drive. Take turns we've never taken before, stop on the side of the road to enjoy the view, and don't worry about getting too lost- the island really is only so big, after all! 
  99. Buy a Japanese bicycle
  100. Eat sitting on the floor at a restaurant
  101. Fill our hutch with sentimental souvenirs (happy cat, shisa dogs, 7 gods figures, meaningful pieces of Okinawa culture & art!)
  102. Get a picture with the winning heavyweight champion bull from a bull fight

I can't wait to start checking things off the list and planning for the trips! Hopefully we get everything done! Then of course it will be time to successfully PCS from this beautiful island and take with us the memories of this list (and so many more experiences) as we prepare the list for our next home. I hope you continue to follow along as we check things off and I share them all with you! I feel so blessed to be living on this beautiful island, and I can't wait to really explore it!

What's on your bucket list, short or long-term?
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