of creating change in my life by traveling or moving. Now those grand thoughts have given way to reality – I don’t like change! It’s funny, because God has a way of growing us whether we want to or not and He prepares us without revealing the story line. We moved a lot when I was younger – maybe God’s preparation for the military life that I would marry into. Either way, I have learned to cope with change through embracing it and realizing that it is inevitable. I embrace it because without change I wouldn’t have the fantastic friends I have because we move every three years. Without change, I would not have 15 years of growth in our marriage and I don’t believe our marriage would have survived my lack of growth. Without change I would still be in the 80s singing “I’ll stop the world and melt with you” while wearing high-wasted jeans and walking around with mall hair. Would that truly be a bad thing? I was skinnier back then!!!
Anyway, change is inevitable, especially as a wife of a Marine. I’m use to saying goodbye to other military spouses and we know that the same change that separates us may also, down the road, reunite us. Yet saying goodbye to my civilian friends is hard and that’s what I had to do this week. As you know, I am a member of the Okinawa International Women’s Club. Through this cultural organization I have become friends with some wonderful Japanese and Okinawan women. Three of the members on the Japanese side are moving back to mainland Japan for their husband’s jobs. It’s great news for them but sad news for us. Two of the Japanese ladies were willing to join Jennifer and myself for coffee at Starbuck’s so we could say goodbye on a smaller, more intimate scale. If you have ever tried to have a conversation with someone who’s first language is not English, in a group of over 13 women, you know that smaller groups are a must if you are going to really be able to talk. We met the Yukos, as we call them, at the Starbuck’s in American Village and spent three hours having a blast.
The first bit of fun was when Jennifer ordered water – who orders water at Starbucks? My friend, Jennifer, does. She usually only drinks water and since they didn’t have a sugar-free option, like you all do in the states, she opted for water. I had to take pictures of each of us with our yummy liquids – calories and all.
Yuko One, as we call her, is a mother of two and has a dog named March. She is a beagle and they call her March because that's the month they got her in. Gotta love the logic there!!! Her oldest daughter just graduated from High School and she laughed when we told her she didn't look old enough to have a graduating daugher!
Kyoko Two has been married for 13 years and will be moving to Tokyo at the beginning of April. She also has a dog but I can not remember her name for the life of me. It's Japanese and definately fits her personality as she is a tiny dog. She also has a great smile and a great sense of humor. We started calling the Kyokos One and Two because we were getting them confused. Kyoko One was in the group first so she earned the title of One and Kyoko Two was happy to be second as each time we called her name she held up her hand with two fingers - looking a lot like the peace sign they always use when we take pictures of them!!
Kyoko Two is one of our group's fashionistas and I couldn't resist taking a picture of her super cute shoes! She always dressed so hip and yet she is very humble!
Not only did we enjoy our coffees and water, we enjoyed some baked goodies, too!!
We spent the next few hours talking about where we lived in the states, where the Yukos were moving to in Japan, a Japanese wedding and the differences between our cultures. What makes conversing with them so funny is how long it takes us to answer some of the most simple questions. We ask them a question and it takes both of them, along with their electronic translator, to answer the question - usually several minutes later. Then I found myself always turning to Jennifer before I answered a question – as to get her opinion first. Our three hour conversation probably could have been summed up in an hour if we had been talking to Americans. I love how we laugh at everything that was said and we were a sight for all the other Starbuck’s fans who had the pleasure to visit that morning. I really could go on forever about the conversations we had but just know that we had a blast just getting to know these sweet women and we will miss them terribly!!!
Because of our time together I have a greater appreciation for the culture I live in right now and I will always have a special place in my heart for the Yukos and Okinawa! Sayonara my sweet friends!