Today marks one week out of quarantine. And what a week it has been!
Monday, I got my SOFA driver’s license and car.
Getting out of quarantine was one kind of freedom. Getting a car is another.
As I mentioned before, I bought a 2003 Subaru Impreza. I named her Sophie and she’s silver with a gray interior. A perfect size for Okinawa—small, but big enough in case I have visitors.
And so, with my new freedom and since I had been looking from afar at the sea for the last two weeks, I decided that the first thing I had to do was immediately head to the nearest beach (Araha Beach).
I may have been a bit over ambitious to drive in town so soon.
Let me explain.
I have driven for three-quarters of my life. And for the last 20+ years, I have driven nearly every day. Driving is as normal as anything to most of us. You get in the car, and you don’t have to think about each step. You just go.
But when sitting on the right side of the car and driving on the left side of the road . . . well, my brain might have fried a little bit.
The gas pedal and brake are still the same. The gear shift is in the middle, just like my last car. But when sitting on the right, I had to use my left hand, not my right, to change gears. First weirdness.
Then the turn signal and windshield wiper control are reversed from American cars. Luckily the person I bought the car from warned me about that one, so I’ve only turned on the windshield wipers a couple of times to make a turn. HA!
The challenge is the actual driving. I just have to keep reminding myself to keep to the inside line. On top of that, Okinawan roads are rather narrow and parking is not the easiest (as I learned). Needless to say, it took me three loops around to find the parking area, but I made it!
And it was worth it.
The rest of the week, I’ve stuck to driving around the base (wider roads). It’s good practice and also learning my way around the base.
I did get to go off-base on Wednesday for lunch (I didn’t drive). We went to the local mall that has an amazing food court. I had delicious teriyaki beef with rice. It was a hard choice since there were so many options (Korean, Hawaiian, Thai, Indian, sushi, tempura, Italian, and even pizza).
And I have been working all week. Although I don’t have computer access (yet), I’ve gotten to sit in meetings, listen in on calls, and start working on issues. I’m in an office with three contract attorneys. Needless to say, they were excited to turn over all the environmental issues to me.
The other best part of this week is some of my quarantine binge shopping packages have arrived. Shopping plus who doesn’t love getting mail?!
Although it’s still U.S. mail, the packages have had a bit of a journey and clearly got slung around. Luckily, I only ordered clothes.
Today I started officially house hunting. It’s a bit of a weird process here. But I’ve contacted several local rental agents and have gotten some promising leads. Of course, since I’m on an island, I’m hoping to be on or at least near the beach.
Tomorrow (Friday) is a holiday (or at least the day-off for July 4 since it falls on Saturday). I will attempt to venture off-base again and hopefully have at least a mini adventure.
じゃあまた (jaa mata = See You)