Saturday, March 12, 2005

Uchi Sweet Uchi (Home Sweet Home)

I spent this past week in Okinawa for a work conference. The work part was just OK, but we had about three days of perfect weather -- 65 or 70 degrees and sunny. It was awesome. I rented a car so I could get around, and I ended up spending some time on the beach, and also had the opportunity to visit a great pottery village that is really unique. Truth be told, however, the trip was really about the food. A base in Okinawa recently got the American restaurant "Chilis" and my colleagues and I ended up eating there five times in four days. It was awesome. WOW, I've forgotten what American food portions look like. We were all really stunned with that. Maybe Chilis portions are larger than normal.

I visited two large American bases during my time in Okinawa and was just in awe of the whole operation. Having no prior military experience or any real knowledge of the military, I usual experience equal parts disgust and awe the deeper I go. The whole thing is an amazing set up, and I would like to say more, but I guess I should probably stop there.

It's almost decision time for me -- in a couple of weeks I will hit my 2 1/2 year mark in the Pacific. At that point I have to decide if I want to renew for another year. (The Company decides if they want me, too.) I wish I could just make a decision, but I can't help getting stuck thinking about the whole process -- I can't believe I've been here for 2 1/2 years, and I can't believe how fast time passes. I have been thinking about where I will relocate to when I'm finished here, whether that is later this year or in the future. It's going to be hard to not return to Portland. Portland is one of the best cities in the world. I just love how laid back it is -- it has a great vibe. After enjoying the weather this week in Okinawa, a friend encouraged me to consider San Diego, saying it has mild, sunny weather with no humidity year round. If that is true, that definitely puts San Diego on the list of cities to consider.

I have a busy schedule right now, with even more travel that I thought, so I have a lot of work stuff on my mind. I flew in last night at about 10:30 and went straight into the office this morning at 8:30 (yes, it's Saturday) and worked like a mad woman until 3:30. (Note to self: it's time to curb the OCD.) The level of productivity that I accomplished was almost sickening. And then tonight I made yet another trip to MUJI (a Japanese furniture/everything store that is kind of like IKEA), and my house is starting to look like a home. I have more work to do, but it's definitely comfortable.

So during the next week or so I hope to get ready to start my next Japanese class, and enjoy my time at home before I have to take off again. I cancelled a trip next week to Hong Kong due to some work issues, and I was initially very bummed, but I think it's going to turn out to be a good thing. I'm ready for the chillin.

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