So much has changed in the past 90 days. When we first arrived to Okinawa on March 18th I was nervous, confused, and scared. I had never lived outside of Pennsylvania nor had I ever even been to Asia, I had very few experiences being on a military base let alone living on one, and I had never been faced with the task of putting an entire apartment together from scratch without Target or reliable online shopping. My only real confidence came from the fact that after two years, Ben and I were ending our long distance logistical nightmare and our dream of living together was finally coming true... It just so happened that it would be on a microscopic Japanese island in the middle of nowhere. I guess beggars can't be choosers?
After two years of being a "butter bar" 2nd Lieutenant, Ben finally promoted to 1st Lieutenant. The ceremony took place at his battalion headquarters infront of about 20 of his colleagues. I had the honor of pinning his new sliver bars on and to follow with Marine Corps tradition, I made sure to "hit" his bars on after they were pinned. Apparently, in the old corps days Marines would get pinned without the backs of their bars or chevrons. The person pinning them would then hit the bars/chevrons after they were placed so the pin would go into the chest of the Marine... Some good old fashioned USMC hazing haha. In all seriousness though, we couldn't have asked for a better promotion ceremony. Unlike a lot of other Lieutenants that we know, Ben was fortunate enough to be able to promote by himself which allowed the ceremony to be more intimate and personal to Ben and I. I really liked how the Commander (Ben's boss) gave a little history lesson about May 23rd because he knew how passionate Ben is about history. I am also thankful for everyone who took tons of photos of the event, you all rock!!
Notable events in this past week in Okinawa include my 23rd birthday and a never-ending week long monsoon. It's unfortunate that these two events coincide, but luckily I was able to spend two sun soaked beach days last weekend so no complaints here. Ben and I also discovered the seawall, well, the good part of the seawall. The Sunabe Seawall down the street from AFB Kadena is the go-to spot for beachside dining, bars, snorkeling, scuba diving, and running. Needless to say, Ben and I were hooked from the moment we went! We ended up going two days in a row over the weekend and on Sunday we ended up celebrating my birthday a bit early since my birthday fell on a Wednesday. We started out with tropical drinks at the Transit Cafe. I wish I would've taken more pictures of the cafe itself because it had the most stunning view of the sea. We then headed over to Sidelines Bar and Grill to get burgers and brew. This place is perhaps the only sports bar on the island and unsurprisingly Ben was immediately a fan. My birthday celebration ended at the Shake Shack where we attempted to finish our monstrous "freak shakes". I've always wanted to try one of these insane milkshakes and now that I have, I think I'll stick to smaller desserts... They were delicious, but for the first time in my life it was just too much dessert 😂
Ben and I hope that we will be able to snorkel off of the seawall this weekend, but the weather forecast is looking quit grim with non stop rain for days on end. Monsoon season has got to go!!!!
To celebrate Kitsune's adoption officially going through after a two week trial period, I've complied a collection of his cutest/strangest sleeping poses (trust me, they're worth a peek). Although we joke and play that our little Kitsune cat is somewhat defective and a wee bit odd, we love our littlest family member more than words could ever describe. I can't deny though that I'm extremely jealous I'll never be as comfortable as this cat is....
So technically we didn't "hunt" for any houses here, we merely chose between two different options the military gave us. Housing on Okinawa for all bases and branches is a little unique because all service members and their dependents are required to live on base unless housing capacity reaches 98%. When we arrived housing was teetering around 95%, which meant that we would definitely be on base. We were actually happy to hear this news because even though we'd get more of a cultural experience living in town, it's honestly just way more convenient being on base. We wouldn't have to worry about utilities,BAH or a long commute for Ben. A number of different factors affected what houses we were shown including rank, number of dependents, and proximity to work i.e. the "work where you live" policy.
We're Kara, Ben and baby Zoe also known as the Lesniaks. We’re a Marine Corps family currently stationed in Yorktown, Virginia after a three year tour in Okinawa, Japan. Enjoy our adventures, travels, photos, thoughts, and life together!
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