Monday, December 10, 2012

naha tug of war

My personal experience with tug of war has always been pretty limited. A few times at summer camps here and there. 

Honestly? It didn't hold much appeal after I got my first dose of rope burn on my tender little hands. Ouch. No thank you.

Now, imagine the biggest game of tug of war you've ever seen. Like, close down the highway, block traffic kind of big.

Crazy, right?

I've been dying to go to the tug of war since...well, the beginning. I've missed it every year. 

Not this year. I sent the Mr emails, I nagged a little, I mentioned it every few hours.

Finally, we went.

The Naha Tug of War originated sometime in the 1600s. From what I gather, it's a parade and festival meant to commemorate the competition between two rulers in Naha from "days of old". It's essentially East-vs-West.

For those who don't mind being smushed, elbowed, and stepped on, I heard there was fan dancing and a sword contest. I'm not tall or brave enough to know for sure.

What I do know is D and I cut some rope for ourselves at the end. It's supposed to bring good luck and fortune. We'll have to see.

crazy amount of people in the crowd

I love this shot.

cutting some rope to take home

he's so handsome

kimono sightings make me happy
oki street food...which also makes me happy
our view from the train. adios, naha!

Another wonderful adventure.

xo, katie

Boracay Bound: Welcome home, Douglas!

Douglas came home from Afghanistan at the end of the summer. 

It was possibly the best day of my life. I love that guy. I like having him around.

To celebrate his return, we decided to take a little vacation to Boracay, Philippines.
  After many months apart, we finally were able to relax, rest, and reconnect

The island is lush, green, warm, and welcoming. It's hard not to fall a little bit in love with Boracay. We caught ourselves saying more than a few times how we wish we could just stay there forever. Wouldn't that be lovely? 

 And the beach? Don't get me started. The ocean is a piercing shade of blue and practically beckons you to come swim, explore, and take a smallish nap or two on the soft white sand.

We were professional vacationers. We sunbathed, ate amazing food, napped, read books, swam, snorkeled, and had an overall excellent week. 

off we go!

we finally arrived!

some much needed r&r


leaving boracay sad

 It was a wonderful adventure.

xo, katie  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Okinawan Visitors: Kay! :)

 I hadn't seen any of my huge, crazy family since I left Richmond. When my stepmom, Kay, said she'd be coming to visit too - I was both shocked and thrilled at my good fortune.

 Kay is easily one of the most positive and caring people I've ever met. Having her stay with me for a little over a week was wonderful. It was good to hug her, to be able to sit down to talk and eat with her, and wake up to having family in the house. The longer I've been away from family, I think the more appreciative I am to have them in my life.

 While Kay was here, we hiked Hiji Falls, explored Okuma, visited the Churaumi Aquarium, and went to go see the Dragon Boat races. 

 Putting her back on the plane was very hard, but I consider myself extremely blessed to have such wonderful people to miss.

 Iove you very much, Kay, and I am SO glad you could come visit! :)

 Here are a few pictures of her trip: 

   (Dad, are you proud that I actually posted pictures or what?!?)

Get it! The hike up to Hiji Falls was mostly tiny, grueling stairs...

...but the view was awesome!

Cooling off at Okuma

Hunting for hermit crabs. :)

Dolphin show at the Aquarium. This little guy (err...big guy?) is a wholphin. He's a whale and dolphin hybird and was precious. I'd like one for Christmas, if anyone's wondering what to get me.

Entrance to the Aquarium

Photo op with Melissa's sweet boys.

Sarah! It's a stin-gray! :)

Aquarium fun.

Boarding the dragon boats!

Getting into starting positions...

...and they're off!

So cool!

Katniss freaking Everdeeeeen!!! Okay, maybe not. Zip lining was AWESOME, though. I loved it!
Get it, girl! You do what you want! :)

Kay seriously has a gift for finding butterflies anywhere. Even by the portable potties! :)
Yummy, yummy yakiniku!

As mentioned before, no trip to Oki is complete without a pedi (and mani!) from Cocok's. Kay's butterflies turned out amazing!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Okinawan visitors: Davies :)

 Deployments are sucky.

I figured I'd start this post out by stating the glaringly obvious. Being away from your husband is lonely and, more often than not, kind of boring. 

So, when my friend Sarah (Davs!) called and told me she could come to visit, I was completely THRILLED. I didn't expect to have a whole lot of visitors because flying halfway around the world? Kinda pricey.

Picking her up at the airport was the best thing ever. I don't think I realized how long I'd actually gone without seeing one familiar face. I must've told her about twenty times on the way home "I just can't believe you're actually here!" Also hard to believe? We've been buddies now for TEN YEARS.

We had a good visit and I was sad (and so jealous!) to see her head back to the States. Anyway, below are some pictures from our fun Okinawan adventures! :)

Featured: Glass Factory, Pineapple Park, Fruitsland, Shuri Castle, Bios on the Hill...

So glad you could come, Davies! :)

Davies almost ready to hit the kiln. Making glass cups! :)

The whole operation. It wasn't very glamorous, but their work was intricate and beautiful.

At the butterfly section of Fruitsland. Before it got weird...
I convinced her to feed the birds at Fruitland. She got the most homely, diseased looking little guy they had. I think she's scarred for life. :)

Pretty much how I normally drive, right? Actually, the cart moved at a glacial speed on its own track. This rendered the steering wheel, and me trying to steer it, completely pointless.

We're pretty good at this pose.
Pineapples. Growing in the ground. Huh. ;)

Orion Beer Factory. Great tour, but they didn't allow photos. (Lame, right?


Shuri Castle. Apparently, I was so self involved that this is the only picture of our Shuri Castle tour I took. Sorry...
Headed for our River Tour to see the water buffalo at Bios on the Hill.

Everybody has a water buffalooooooooo!

Davs ordered Takoyaki. (fried octopus.)

Try some takoyaki she said. Be an adventurous eater she said.

No trip to Okinawa is complete without a trip to Cocok's. This is my bangin' pedicure.

"Toes in, everybody!" :)
Possibly the greatest photo from her trip. Sarah can't ride the bikes in sandals. Sarah had to wear Crocs. There are few things in life Sarah hates more than Crocs. I mocked her relentlessly. And documented it.
Biker babe Moriah.

Biker babe Davies.
We biked to the beach for pictures and to beachcomb.

beach buddies
slice of heaven

Sarah and Moriah hunting for coral. I was waaaay behind them picking through the sand looking for sea glass.


Amazing color, right?