Wow have we been busy - househunting, mainly. But also a newcomer's brief (it was hardly that) and car shopping.
Monday we saw a lovely house on the ridge with a view of Kin Bay on the Pacific side, but alas, the driving range going in next door was a big drawback, with 40 foot high metal poles with net strung up and stadium lighting. Honestly I can't remember if we saw another house that day or not.
Tuesday, we tried to check into medical/dental without the proper forms, we'll have to make a return trip for that. Then Tim went car shopping, but he and the guy driving him got lost, so I don't know how much they actually saw. An appointment at 4pm with Hitomi, my favorite Okinawan housing agent. We saw one house with between-the-buildings type water view, but I think it was a modular home, three bedrooms downstairs and an open plan living/kitchen area upstairs, all American style, no Japanese charm. Then there were two apartments in Yomitan, which is west coast, one was too small (but how cool it was to stand on the balcony and hear the neighbor playing sanshin and the music wafting across the street) and the other too old. The owner of the house that we like very much, which we sent out the pictures of, has refused to allow the dog. The tenant before us had a barking dog which caused the neighbor to complain. Our agent seems upset, she very much wants to help us, and she knows how much we like that house. It was perfect in every way. Hitomi-san is a gem, she has been very complimentary of our children and of Tim and I as their parents. The last email I got from her was more apology for that owner not accepting our application. She called me Jackie-san Luwis-San. We have spent many hours with her and the kids adore her, as she adores them. While in the States I might be suspicious and pass it off as just doing her job, the Okinawan people are very earnest and sincere in everything they do, and it's so real that it is hard not to notice.
I don't know if any of this is coming across as well as it could. We are exhausted from the newcomer's brief. We were told to be out in front of our hotel this morning at 605 am to catch a shuttle, not the regular shuttle, this one would be different. When the regular shuttle came by, we asked, to be sure, but the driver didn't speak enough English to help us. So we called our sponsor about 30 minutes later, who came to take us to the brief on another base on a different part of the island. We had the kids with us, because the brief was supposed to be only half day, we figured they could hang out that long - I packed busy bags and snack etc. Come to find out, not only was that the bus we were supposed to take after all, the class was an ALL DAY thing. So we had to send our kids off with our sponsor, a co-worker of Tim's, to spend all day at their house. We had spent some of Sunday afternoon with his wife, so she wasn't a complete stranger. But nonetheless. Add to all this the fact that half of the briefing was completely non-specific to the area - like Equal Employment Opportunity and Sexual Assault Prevention, Counseling and Advocacy, Family Team Building. Why do I care? A waste of time!! At the end we sat around for 15 minutes waiting for the Base General to show up and give his little pep talk and closing remarks. Apparently they used to do half day briefing, then driving tests in the afternoon. Now we have to go back on Friday to take our tests to get our licenses, and find a car and the money to buy it before Golden Week (four Okinawan holidays within a week - nobody works). Tomorrow - Thursday - should be more house hunting. We are so discouraged that we have lost an entire day that we could have been looking for a place to live. We have declined the base housing they offered, on the basis that they do not allow pets in the apartment towers they have available. So they say we have a week to find a place before they cut off the funds for the hotel. Don't worry, they won't put us on the street. We can request an extension with proof that we have been trying to find something, or request to stay longer on our own dime.
So the hotel is freezing cold, they run the air conditioner constantly to control the humidity, the bath tub faucet is leaking and the hot water handle broke, so you ave to muscle it to get it on and then again to get it off. The offered another room, but it's so much work to move, and they would just put another family in here anyway. There is a work order in to have it fixed, but this is a government agency we are talking about here.
So it is tough here, but we are surviving. The kids have been awesome - I can tell, though, that Mia really missed us today. Tim went a few minutes ago to get a cab over to the cell phone store, and she was just in tears. Last night we had dinner alone in our room while he went in search of groceries, then they were away from us all day today, and we came back to an empty room, while Tim went to the grocery store again (it was open this time). But he cooked us some dinner tonight, so nice of him.
So tomorrow after lunch we'll all go together to look at cars. I don't want to drag them around town, but it beats staying in this freezing hell hole and they want to be with their Daddy.
So you see - we are busting our tails trying to get things lined up, so forgive me for not posting for a few days (plus the hotel's wireless signal disappeared last night). If I have missed anything, lacking in explanation or important details, please leave me a comment, I'll try to clarify...