I woke up a few nights ago to the distant sound of a bell ringing a deep, slow gong… gong… gong… The sound echoed up the valley and into my ear drums, making its way to my brain. Slowly I opened my eyes and look around at my surroundings and realised, this is not my apartment in Hong Kong. A paper lamp hung from the ceiling. Sliding shoji doors on both sides, glowing ghostly white in the night. And tatami mats beneath me. It took me a few moments to remember I was in the Japanese room of our new home in Okinawa, and that from then on, that bell, coming from some nearby temple below, would be my 6am wake up call.
It’s an exciting time for my little family, because instead of being perpetual tenants, we have become home owners. After living in ten different apartments in five countries over the past ten years or so, we finally have decided to buy our own place, and can call it ours.
And of course, where else but our most favorite place on the planet – Okinawa?
The place is a little bit old, having been lived in by a family for 15 years and in need of renovation, but it has very good bones. Solid hardwood floors. A nicely sized kitchen. A traditional Japanese room. And two very big, accommodating patios with a view of the city below, where I fantasize about watching the sunrise with a hot cup of coffee, in my pajamas.
We’ve just spent three nights in our new place, mostly sitting cross legged on the floor and eating off of a fold up camping table, since we have no furniture. Well, we do have Japanese futons to sleep on, in the tatami room.
Over a four-day trip, you can’t exactly get everything done. But we did manage to meet with a contractor, choose wallpaper, set up a mobile phone, and buy a new fridge. The next time that we go in January, there will be a few more things that need to be done to make it inhabitable, like putting up curtains, and buying an oven. But so far, so good.
It’s winter in Okinawa, so it’s too cold for swimming, but it’s still a lovely 20’C so we could enjoy some beautiful parks and walk along the beach after a long day of house stuff.
Hopefully everything will be done early next year, including visas and so on. Moving is a lot of hard work!