Leaving Okinawa, Part 1

All good things must come to an end. And just like that, my time in Okinawa is drawing to a close.

One of my friends asked me the other day if I had given up my blog. I realized, I hadn’t written anything since April! And here we are three weeks into July. How is it nearly August?! So much has happened in the last 3 months.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up and tell you how I got to this point.

My last view of the East China Sea from my balcony and my lovely, but empty apartment.

In April, I returned to the United States for the first time in two years. For two years, my only contact with friends and family has been facetime, phone calls, and social media. That’s a long time to not see anyone you love in person. Mentally worn down, I started seriously thinking about returning to the states, and so I started looking for my next job.

Whilst I was in the states in April, I was telling a current colleague about wanting to return and starting the job hunting process. She knew her former boss (we’re all in the same organization, just different branches) was getting ready to hire, and so she introduced me to him. We chatted. I got back to Okinawa, worked on my application, applied, then interviewed, and I was offered the job.

I accept the job near the end of May. The catch? He (new boss) wanted me to start in 60 days. Target date, August 1.

Empty bookcases, so sad

Enter the chaos of the last 8 weeks.

And now I’m 9 days away from saying さようなら (sayōnara = goodbye) to Okinawa.

I moved here in June 2020 when everyone still thought COVID would only impact the world for a few months. HA! Two years later, COVID remains in the news and Japan is only open to tourists from 4 other Asian countries. And so while this experience wasn’t what I envisioned when accepted the job (pre-COVID), I have had an incredible adventure. (More on that in the next post.)

The movers came Monday and wow! are Japanese moving companies super efficient. They were done in about 6 hours. That includes packing. Packing and loading everything into sealed crates that will placed in shipping containers. I won’t see my things again until the end of October (it’s a long way from Japan to D.C.).

Then today (Wednesday) I handed over the keys to my lovely apartment and said aloha to the amazing view of the East China Sea that I have shared numerous times over the last 25 months.

My Okinawa airbnb

I’m now spending my last week in Okinawa in an airbnb because it’s roomier yet cheaper than a hotel and includes a kitchen and laundry. It’s also walking distance to American Village, which is full of shops and restaurants. And with the current yen rate, it’s too tempting not to buy a few last minute souvenirs.

These last days will be me running around like a mad woman doing check-out and paperwork. Like most government process, moving as a government employee is filled with annoying, overly-complicated bureaucratic paperwork.

Now that we’re all caught up on the craziness that has been my last 3 months, stay tuned for Leaving Okinawa, Part 2 where I’ll share the top things I will miss about living in Japan.

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