Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Greetings from Japan!

by Pa Rock
Globe Trotter

This morning I sat down to create a newsletter to place in the few holiday cards that I send out - and since not that many people get an actual card from me during the holiday season, and since it is cold and rainy today on Okinawa and my creative spark has come, fizzled, and gone out - I am choosing to memorialize the holiday message in the Ramble as my daily offering.

Holiday Greetings from Japan

As hard as it is to imagine, another year is on the verge of slipping away.  2011 has been an eventful and satisfying time in my life.  The most important happenings this year have been the births of my granddaughters, Olive Noel Macy on October 12th in Overland Park, Kansas, and Willow Midnight Seraphina Files on November 30th in Stayton, Oregon.   Olive and Willow are both bright-eyed and healthy – really sweet additions to our family!

My friend, Valerie, arrived on island to work at Kadena in January.  She stayed at my apartment for a month or so while getting settled and finding a place of her own.   In February I made my second trip to Seoul, Korea – this time for training, but I was able to get out and explore Seoul some more.  It is unbelievably huge and modern.

March brought us the earthquake and tsunami that rocked northern Japan.  Although we did not get any physical repercussions down in Okinawa, that event stirred environmental and political issues that impact us to the present.  Tim and Erin were supposed to come for a visit in April – and also go to Tokyo, but they postponed their trip due to the radiation alerts in the Tokyo area.

Three friends and I spent Memorial Day weekend on Yoron, a small Japanese island that is about 10 miles beyond the northernmost point of Okinawa.  We stayed in a nice hotel and did a lot of exploring and bike-riding, and also weathered a powerful typhoon while we were there.  In September another group and I went to Tokashima, a small island in the Kerama’s that is close to Okinawa, for the Labor Day weekend.  That was also fun, and we didn’t have a typhoon to deal with.

Later in September I made my first trip back to the States since arriving on Okinawa in July of 2010.  I was there three weeks, got to see all of my kids and grandkids as well as my sister, Gail, and all of her kids and grandkids – and a few old friends, to boot!   One of the highlights was being able to be at the hospital when little Olive was born.

A couple of friends and I went to Guam for Thanksgiving week.  It is a small island also, about half the size of Okinawa, and we were able to see most of it in four days.  Christmas Day a friend and I will be leaving for a week in Vietnam, and we will return on New Years’ Day.  We will travel from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to Da Nang, and on up to Hanoi.  It should be very interesting.

So 2011 has been a year of travels and babies!  I have made it my mission while out here in the Pacific to have a good time and try to see as much as possible, and I think that I am being fairly successful in that effort.  I should be moving back to the States (probably Phoenix) this July and will hopefully see all of you in the weeks and months that follow.

You can see pictures of my travels on the Internet at:
My best to each of you for a joyous and happy 2012!

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