Okinawa, I can’t wait to…

When you live overseas, you spend an awful lot of time lamenting the usual comforts of home. How often I have heard my friends say “Gee I can’t wait to shop at Target (or Ross, Barnes and Noble, etc)” or “I can’t wait to be stateside again so that I can eat Mexican food, be near family, go on road trips, not have to travel 24 hours to get anywhere…” I’ve enjoyed being stateside with family for a season and I’m giddy about moving back to the states after three years away. But for now, I can’t wait to go back to Okinawa for the final part of our tour because:

I can’t wait to walk on the Seawall as often as I like. I can go from my house to the coast in about three minutes just to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. If I forget to bring water, there is a soda machine around just about every corner.

I can’t wait to get my toes pampered at Cocok’s! Where else in the world do you get a full pedi treatment complete with canvas worthy, hand painted designs on every tiny toenail while sipping tea and looking out the window at the ocean with the ultimate 90s ballad playlist in the background?

I can’t wait to have another round of Sushi-Go-Round with an all you can eat sushi belt conveyor-ing it’s way right to my table. I can’t wait to kick off my shoes to properly sit at a low table and sip green tea between sushi servings!

I can’t wait for some girl time at Coffee Casa! I’m so ready to order a latte and have the delight of finding out how they designed the frothy foam on top, then eating breakfast that is as pretty as it is delicious!

I can’t wait for sakura season! It’s already started but soon I can enjoy it. When else in my life will I be in Japan while cherry blossoms are in bloom?

I can’t wait to go back to the new mall–mainly for the food. There is so much Thai, Hawaiian, and Japanese food there and my husband claims, “The best steak I have ever had!” The new mall has American, European, and Japanese stores. Normally, a trip to the mall is something I could “take or leave” but this one I will take week after week!

I can’t wait to get our favorite take-out from Nepal Spice Kitchen every Sunday! All week I cook and then Sunday my husband provides curry. It is wonderful.

I can’t wait to explore some of the places I haven’t made it to yet, to practice conversational Japanese, and spend time with the locals.

I can’t wait to shop at the 100 yen store for random treasures, kitchen goods, and unique keepsakes!

I can’t wait to hear my friends tell stories like this: “I was at the post office and I left my cell phone on the counter and forgot about it. I drove off to run other errands and 30 minutes later realized I was without it. I went directly back to the post office and there was my phone, on the counter, unmoved, and untouched even though it had busy with people while I was there.” I heard those stories–all the time!

I can’t wait to see how kind the people are there to mothers of young children–giving us preferential seating, helping us with luggage at the airport, loaning us strollers, letting us go to the front of the line, and providing “nurseries” in almost every public place for mothers to feed their babies.

I can’t wait to see the sunset over the ocean–something I didn’t get to do this last year. I want to take lots of pictures, sit in the sand, and collect lots of shells and sea glass!

I can’t wait to takes lots and lots of pictures everywhere! I want to take pictures of our family, the island, the food, and the little things that are unique to Okinawa.

I can’t wait to make a few more memories that I will cherish for a lifetime!

When I first moved away, Texas was home. Now, home is wherever my husband, daughter and I are together. Right now it is Okinawa, and I can’t wait to go home.

Bible Scholars Needed… help from home!

This post was written by a friend of mine and I love what is being done through this organization. Please read this:

Language of the Heart

Today an unprecedented strategy is underway to provide open-licensed resources in dozens of languages for Bible translators worldwide. Open licensing allows anyone, anywhere, unrestricted access and use of these tools to advance Bible translation in their language.

We are working with existing copyright owners in an effort to release existing resources in a way that serves the global Church more effectively. But in the meantime our team is pressing forward to create new resources that will be available to the global Church immediately. Bible Scholars Needed

We are recruiting Christians with seminary training in Hebrew or Greek, Old or New Testament, theology, or hermeneutics to expand our team and speed these resources to Bible translators. We have a particularly immediate need for Old Testament scholars.

This is not an exclusive offer. We are looking for dozens of people willing to collaborate in this effort as part of a decentralized team. Location is not…

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DIY Natural and Delicious Sugar Body Scrubs and Printable Label

I love homemade gifts like this–making them and receiving them. Thank you Poppy’s Patisserie! It’s a privilege to give you a reblog!

Bunny Kitchen

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It’s that time of year when I start thinking of all the homemade, kind and natural homemade gifts I can make for Christmas. With my 2 big sisters’ birthdays in October, it was the perfect opportunity to do some recipe testing!

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Sugar scrubs are the one of the most easy homemade gifts to make, yet a beautiful gift that is indulgent and special for the receiver. For a basic scrub you simply need 2 ingredients, oil and sugar, but I like to add in some extra little luxuries to make the scrub smell good enough to eat and leaving your skin extra soft and vibrant.

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In the coconut and lime scrub, coconut flour adds extra gentle exfoliating properties and adds to the delicious coconut fragrance. In the cinnamon spice latte scrub, the coffee granules add gentle exfoliation and along with the spices, make the scrub smell good enough to drink…

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Persevering for Peppers

Perseverance  – a lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious  success.
Ambrose  Bierce

 

Some of you, who have been following my blog a little while, may remember my post titled Behold Our First Pepper. It was an account of the unfortunate discovery that my first pepper plants bought here in Okinawa were not the Jalapeños I was expecting. My husband and I love Jalapeños; but when we find them here, they are priced at almost a dollar a pepper! It isn’t just the overpriced produce that has me disappointed. In a previous season, my pepper harvest from a single container counted to the hundreds (literally). That taste of success has me longing to recreate a wonderful bounty that not only enriches our cooking but impresses my husband to no end. Who wouldn’t want that right?

So what was the problem that held me back? I could blame several factors but the most significant was timing. I moved to Okinawa and started my garden in April whereas normally I would have a window sill garden in January and be ready to transplant outside in March. Then the plants became scorched by heat and bugs before they could properly take root, we had a drought this summer, and my Jalapeño seeds were unwilling to germinate. My determination did not waiver and I acknowledged these challenges not as my personal failures as a gardener but rather an opportunity to learn more and persevere. I ordered seeds online from Baker Creek Seed Company and pressed on.

I started new seedlings, I protected them, I waited, I uprooted the disappointing pepper plants (I’m sorry, it was hard but I did it), and I transplanted my heirloom PURPLE Jalapeños. Today they are a little bit taller and two gorgeous blooms have set.

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How cute are they? Normally, most pepper plant flowers look like these:

DSC03206English: A recently blossomed flower on a Quad...

But sometimes heirlooms come in different colors. Don’t you love how pretty a vegetable plant can be? I certainly do!

Sometimes when it doesn’t look possible to have success, if you continue to move forward you may be surprised at what can happen. The year that I had the very successful Jalapeño harvest, I also had several other peppers growing at the same time. I remember thinking that the Bell Pepper plant died while the hot peppers thrived but I ended up reaping Bell Peppers late in the season. It seems that as the fall weather set in, the bell pepper plant was much happier and started setting a lot of fruit. The hot peppers had already been setting for months. If I had given up on the plant when it didn’t produce like the others, I would not have harvested 20 Bell Peppers. This isn’t to say I haven’t had my failed attempts in my garden–because I certainly have–but often times there is hope when you don’t realize it.

Here’s to hoping for the possibility of a late Jalapeño crop on an island that has the potential for a long growing season. The air feels cooler now, but it’s still quite warm. The sight of the lovely purple flowers lets me know that there is hope after all!