Leaving Okinawa, Part 3: Top 8 Things I’m Looking Forward To

Five days until I leave Okinawa, say 元気で (when you won’t see someone for a long time, saying genki de is like saying “all the best”), and close the chapter on this adventure. But when there is an ending, there will be a beginning. So while I will miss Okinawa, I’m looking forward to the next chapter, new beginnings and new adventures.

Every thing must have a beginning . . . and that beginning must be linked to something that went before.

~Mary Shelley

If you haven’t followed along, catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.

And so here are the Top 8 things I’m looking forward to when I move back.

1. Adopt a New Fur-Baby

my bestest buddy

Around the same time I moved to Okinawa, I lost my bestest little buddy. We found he had a tumor that had punctured his liver. He was 10 and had been with me since he was a pup. We had moved cross-country 3 times and he went everywhere with me. I was mostly silent about it, not writing about it here or posting about it on social media, because it was extremely painful. I mourned for a long time. In some ways, moving to Okinawa was therapeutic since I had never been here with him and it gave me time to mourn, time to heal.

It has taken me nearly 2 years to be ready for a new fur-baby, but I think I’m ready now. I’ll always miss Lil D and it won’t be the same. But adopting a new pup will be a new adventure and I’m excited about finding a new buddy.

2. See My Friends

It’s been 2 years since I’ve seen most of my friends in person. Two years of only communicating via phone, text, facetime, or social media. It’s been far too long to be with people I care about in person. So far, I’m making plans to visit my peeps in SoCal, Washington (the state), and Texas, as well as catch up with everyone in D.C., NoVA, and the mid-Atlantic region.

Really, I should get a travel trailer, take a month off, and just do a round-the-country visiting trip, from Maine to SoCal, Florida to Washington.

3. Bookstores

Of course, there are bookstores in Japan. But since I cannot read Japanese, it wasn’t the same. When I went on a work trip to the states back in April, I went a bit overboard visiting bookstores in San Francisco.

I’m looking forward to going to a bookstore on any random day I choose. And there are some great bookstores in D.C. like Politics and Prose, Lost City Books, Capitol Hill Books, East City Books, Second Story Books, and Kramers. I’ll probably binge at bit at first since I haven’t had the joy in far too long. My time in San Fran was like giving a dehydrated person a drop of water instead of the whole water bottle.

4. Trader Joe’s & Target

You know what I’m talking about. Am I right? ‘Nough said.

5. Visit My Last 7 States

I have a goal to visit all 50 states. I’ve visited 43 and have 7 left to go: Alaska, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. After I take trips to catch up with my friends, my next trip I plan to knock out Rhode Island and Maine.

6. Receive Packages in Days

I’m fortunate that I work for the DoD and therefore still had a U.S. address and could receive USPS mail via the military post office. But even so, it took anywhere from 10 days to 10 weeks to get packages. That’s right. Ten weeks. No overnight or 2-day shipping when you live overseas and some items couldn’t be shipped for various weird reasons. And so I’m looking forward to quick shipping again.

7. Food Variety

Don’t get me wrong. I love Japanese food. And Okinawa has other restaurants, including Indian, Thai, Greek, and even a couple of Mexican restaurants. There are even pizza and burgers, at least the Japanese interpretations of pizza and burgers, which aren’t quite the same. And so, I’m looking forward to eating some American burgers, New York pizza, lasagna, fish tacos, and more.

8. New Job

Last but not least, I’m excited about my new job. I’ve not done litigation since my clinic experience in law school and since law school, I’ve primarily been in-house counsel. And so while I’ll still be focused on environmental law, it will be a fun, new adventure to learn the litigation side.

So while I will miss Okinawa, there are so many things to look forward to and new adventures to be had.

Part (but not all) of my April San Fran Book-A-Palooza.

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