I returned tonight from three days in Okinawa. The work part sucked, but the personal time was nice. It was between 80 and 85 degrees the whole weekend, which was a big improvement over the 95+ during my last visit this past summer. I shopped in Naha and spent some time at a new beach -- Sunset Beach. Okinawa has never been my thing, but I have to admit it has some rad beaches and awesome pottery shops.
I spent most of my time on an Air Force base, and I really noticed that AF people are so much nicer than Marines. I'm sure other factors come into play (like what rank AF or M's we're talking about -- my home bases are filled with very, very young service members) but I enjoyed the kindness of other Americans, and that is something I haven't been able to say often in the past three years at my own bases. I spent some time wondering if my location (the branch of service) contributes to my loneliness. There's a job open on Okinawa right now but I just can't bring myself to apply for it. But I did think about it several times this weekend.
One highlight, of course, was Chili's. Black bean burger with cheese, please. The other highlight was pottery shopping. I went at it alone this time (without my friend who always gets us the good discounts), but I did ok. I ended up having six tea parties, four of which included the crappiest candy you've ever eaten. I'm always overwhelmed by the kindness of the Japanese. Anyone -- when was the last time you bought something from an American store and they invited you to stay for treats to thank you? That's what I thought. I bought $285.00 worth of pottery at one store and the owner only charged me $200.00. We sat and "talked" for about a half an hour and it was a total pleasure. The Japanese know something about being kind hosts. It was a great time.
Back to reality now. It's going to be a long week, and I'll have to use my memories of warm, white sand and yummy burgers to keep me going.