Last Days of Our Adventure in Okinawa, Japan

We have left our beloved little corner of the world behind as we traveled across the globe from Okinawa, Japan to Northern Virginia.  So many days it has been on my heart to post to my blog, but the craziness—physical, logistical, and emotional– of moving has made it hard to post.  Some days I am pretty sure half of my brain is still packed in one of the boxes in the garage.  Since we have several months to catch up on, and in so many ways, I lack the words to adequately express all that is in my heart, I am going to share a picture update.  So let’s roll:

Graduation

Let’s start back on Graduation Day—a big day in the Harrington family.

Graduation Day

Congratulations Caleb!  I remember Back to School night his freshman year as I heard, “Welcome Class of 2011!”  Four years to graduation seemed both light years and mere seconds away.  I couldn’t yet picture all of the growth that these high school years would bring in my son’s life, but I knew it was going to go quickly!

                                          Not to be outdone on the celebrating, my daughter graciously shared her sixteenth birthday with her brother’s graduation. That’s just a little more celebrating in one day than a sane person will schedule!  However, Kadena High School did not consult me about the date of graduation.  My girl took a rain check and opted to celebrate her birthday the last day of school.

One way to not worry too much about making an overseas move is to keep yourself so busy that you don’t have time to think  about it!

On to the next big thing…

The Pack Out

Moving is part of military life.

Moving Day cometh…like it or not.

On the day of our pack out, we waited and waited. And waited for our movers to arrive.  They pulled up at 3:30 in the afternoon–never a good thing for a whole household move!  We were the second pack and load of the day for these amazing guys.  The day was long and hot–with a final loading of the truck and checking of  the inventory at 1:30 in the morning.

 I was amazed at their stamina and commitment to finish the job well!  Our final housing inspection was scheduled for the next day, along with a scheduled power outage to start at 8 am.  This meant that between 1:30 and 8:00 am we had to have the house clean and ready to vacate.  Three teenagers, two adults, and every borrowed vacumn cleaner in the neighborhood enabled us to finish up about 3 in the morning.  This was not the way they depicted moving in our Smooth Move workshop!

Things don’t always go as planned, but one way or another it all gets done.

Moving in military life

Empty. Just like the day we moved in four years ago.

There is something forlorn about an empty base house.  I remember the first day I saw this concrete box and wondered how in the world was this house going to be home for the next several years.  Funny how life, love, and some creative elbow grease can make a place like this a home.  The day we moved in, I had no concept of the amazing blessings God had in store for me.  All I could see was an ugly, empty duplex that was probably built right after World War II.

  Oh me of little faith, as I struggled to acclaimate to life overseas.

Base housing and military life

We don’t live here anymore…

I know it is hard to believe, but I came to love my life in this funny little house in my corner of the world.  After our final inspection, I reluctantly closed the door for the last time.  As I heard the lock click shut, I knew God was completing this chapter of my life.  With tears in my eyes and a tug in my heart, I wished that I could close the door on all the emotions that come with leaving.

I knew that in the days ahead I would unpack not only those cardboard boxes that make me feel nauseous, but I would also struggle to unpack the feelings that are an unavoidable part of leaving.  It is relatively easy to decide where to put the toaster or your favorite chair.  Figuring out where to put your heart when you need to let go of what was and get excited about what is coming…a much more difficult task.

One Adventure in Military Life Comes to a Close

Packing out and closing the house is a crucial part of any move, but the one thing that can’t be overlooked is the actual leaving.

Seriously, you can’t move if you don’t actually go anywhere.  You can’t get there if you don’t leave here.

On June 27th, we loaded our six suitcases into a friend’s van and headed for the airport in Naha.  Al Nippon Airways, here we come!  In true Okinawa style, friends came to the airport for those last goodbyes.  The hardest part of moving is saying goodbye to friends you have come to love.  It is at the same time some of the best and the worst of this crazy lifestyle of moving around in the military.

Here is my last look at Okinawa.  What a blessing these days have been. I wouldn’t trade them for the world!

11 Comments

  1. This brought tears, just reminded me of my move. The same feelings. Can’t believe that I would be happy in our little base housing but God always changes my heart and then it becomes hard to leave it. Of course it’s not the house of course but the memories that are created:) I have to keep pushing myself after each move to be open to making new memories and new friends and not shut out feelings and harden my heart because I know that this place will not be forever too. God wants us to engage and participate in His work here but we know in our hearts that this place(earth) is also not forever and we will soon be with Him. I pray that I will continue to be open to His calling even if it forces me to not stay in my little bubble and knowing that I will experience hurt. Love you Ginger, thanks for your willingness to share your heart.

    • Angel, We have all been through it, but somehow writing about it is cathartic. You are so right about the new blessings in new places! I am so thankful that no matter how many times my address may change, God never changes and He is always with me. Hope you are doing well!

  2. Wow Ginger… this brought unexpected tears and emotions, as it brought back many of my own emotions that come with leaving home behind for the next one God has in store. Sometimes closing those doors, physical and symbolic, and walking toward the next adventure takes a lot of courage. Thanks for the update on your family and your meaningful words.

  3. Oh Ginger, this made tears prick in my eyes too. The image of finally closing and locking the door for the last time. Been through that so many times.The friends coming to the airport…. and of course “Things don’t always go as planned, but one way or another it all gets done.” So true. I know that soon you will begin to feel right at home where you are, I only wish I was still there so we could reconnect!
    Glad to see you back on your blog, I was waiting for that 🙂
    Love
    Sara

  4. Maybe because I am reading this at 1:00 AM, but it made me cry. We miss you all a lot. I have been praying for everyone’s adjustment but especially for the Sweet Young Man off to college! Let me know how you are!
    Love,
    Meg

  5. Yes, I remember being in your lovely home to visit and to stay! Do you remember you let us stay in your home as we were PCS’ing out. So your door was the last we heard click shut on Okinawa as well.

    Thanks for so eloquently putting into works what we all feel.

    Love you,
    Cynthia

  6. Great post as usual. You have so much to share. We will always remember the great friends and great Engrish adventures.

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