Leaving Okinawa, Part 5: Two Crazy, Busy Weeks

I said goodbye to Okinawa and hello to Washington, D.C. a smidge over two weeks now. And what a couple of weeks it has been!

The start of a very long day & I was already tired.

I left Okinawa on Friday morning and landed in DC on Friday evening. Isn’t crossing the international date line cool?

In actuality, I traveled approximately 26 hours including layovers and going through customs and immigration. I flew from Okinawa to Tokyo (2 hrs), Tokyo to NYC (13 hrs), and NYC to DC (1.5 hrs). So approximately 16.5 hours of flying and another 10 hours of waiting, boarding, sitting for take-off, sitting for taxing to the gate, deplaning, changing terminals, changing gates, and more waiting. My flight from JFK to DC changed gates 5 times. Luckily, all the gate changes were in the same terminal.

Before I go on, let me throw out a plug for the Global Entry program. It does cost money and involves an application and interview. But it’s totally worth it. With my Global Entry card, I sped through immigration. No lines for me!

The first two days in DC, I stayed at a hotel. On Saturday, I slept in then enjoyed some District Taco and generally took it easy. The one productive thing I did was connect with a real estate agent. And on Sunday, I started house hunting. I also checked into my Airbnb.

While my Airbnb (basically a furnished apartment in Northern Virginia) is okay, it does feel weird to live in a place that has none of your things. As of today, thanks to airtags, I can see that my things have not left Okinawa. Granted, the estimated delivery date is October 24, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. That’s 12 weeks, 3 months, without my books or puzzles or legos or sheets. It’s oddly sad. I miss my books.

And thanks to K.M. for recommending airtags. I purchased 8 and placed them in various bags and things in my shipment so I can track exactly where my things are.

Then on Monday, I started my new job. That’s right. I landed on Friday and started my new job on Monday. No rest for the weary!

Honestly, the first week of work was mostly administrative things. Despite I’m still with the same agency, it’s a different division, so it’s almost like being a new employee. New ID card, fill out paperwork, get computer set-up, get office set-up, meet people, talk to new boss, talk with new supervisor, do all the things. Thank goodness it was a rather easy first week because my brain was jet-lagged. It took me until Thursday to really feel back to 100%.

On top of starting a new job, I’ve been house hunting nearly every day. In these two weeks, I’ve seen somewhere between 30 and 45 properties. (I stopped counting.) So.many.properties. And always more being listed. The real estate market is a strange and weird thing. Thank goodness for good agents!

And so for the two weeks, I have been constantly on the go. I metro, work, work out, house hunt, repeat. Go-go-go.

I, of course, have also already squeezed in some time to visit 4 D.C. indie bookstores: Capitol Hill Books, Second Story Books, Politics and Prose (the Waterfront branch), and Kramers. Because books.

Yesterday (Saturday) was the first full day off I’ve had since I landed. No house hunting, no work. Just nothing. And I needed it. I slept in, did a load of laundry, took a nap, talked to my real estate agent, and took a walk. It was nice to do nothing but it also felt strange. I kept thinking there was something I needed to do, which is what happens when you’ve been going non-stop.

Today, my real estate agent submitted my offer on a condo. I don’t want to jinx it. And I will be disappointed if it falls through for some reason (and there are many reasons why it could fall through). At the same time, I’m excited. It’s a lovely condo. If all goes well, it will be mine on September 27 (~45 days). Ironically, if all goes well, I will own a home but will still have nothing to put in it as my household goods will still be a month out from arriving.

Oh well. I’ll live like a college student again with milk crates and a futon. HA!

And if it doesn’t work out, there are other properties. I have a list and there are always more coming on the market.

So I have officially merged back into life in the states. And while I do miss Okinawa (and clean public toilets), I’m enjoying all the bookstores, the cheese section at Wegman’s, and being able to read street signs again. I’m also looking forward to concerts at Wolf Trap, the National Book Festival, and revisiting my favorite Smithsonian museums.

This wraps up my chronicle of leaving Okinawa. If you missed it, catch up on Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.


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