When the dust settles, and you have had enough time to lick your wounds and wallow in self pity and self doubt (oh god… what have I done?! is it too late to go back?), it’s time to get your shit together, mentally say goodbye to your previous life, and get on with the story. Because if you don’t get up and go explore your new surroundings, how will you ever start to have fun and meet people and… well… move on?
Of course, it helps when you have a visitor to both pass the time and go out exploring with. Enter my dad, who lives in Thailand, and flew all the way from Koh Samui to keep me company and give moral support. And beers, naturally.
Keeping busy is a good thing when you’re somewhere new. And on top of the list of things to do in Naha is to visit Shuri Castle, up in the hills overlooking the city.
If you’re going with kids, be sure to pick up a Stamp Book (free) at the entrance. Each gate has a stamp that you can put on the map in the book, and it’s a good way to keep the kids occupied and excited about visiting a castle!
After Shuri, we visited Tsuboya, the pottery district. Yachimun Dori is a windy one-way cobble stoned street, with old shop houses lining the road, traditional Okinawan architecture, and beautiful hand made pottery for sale. Expensive, though.
We’ve done a lot of driving around, trying new restaurants, exploring new parks, consulting maps, getting a bit lost and then finding our way back, and doing just fine, in general. Showing my dad around has also forced me to use my very limited Japanese skills, like reading menus and maps, and trying to use the GPS in the car which for the life of me I cannot switch to English. I feel like my brain has been doing mental gymnastics for the last 10 days.
Actually, in a few days, I would have been here a month. I can’t quite believe it. And though the first week or two were especially hard and painful, it’s getting better all the time. I suppose this is the phase of life in Okinawa becoming the ‘new normal’. Slowly I’m learning my way around and figuring things out. And thanks to the internet, I found an ‘Okinawa Caribbeans’ group on FB, and even chatted on the phone yesterday with a Trini woman who lives on one of the US military bases here. So, a lime is imminent. (Thank goodness for the internet. What did people do before!?)
So, life is getting better day by day, and no doubt will continue to do so. It just takes TIME. And patience. And a dash of faith and hope that more good things are coming my way.