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