Tuesday, June 26, 2012


You might have noticed that there has been a short hiatus from my blog posts, like over two weeks of silence.  And if you've been following this blog for any length of time, then you'll know that the silence is kind of unusual for me.  It's not that nothing has been going on in our lives - plenty has taken place.  No, I think my silence stems from a kind of grief I'm feeling over our life left in Okinawa and a struggle as we re-acclimate to the US. Yes, moving from Okinawa hasn't been easy, at least for me, and though they shall remain unnamed, I think other members of the Coats clan have also found it a wee bit difficult.

Don't get me wrong, we're glad to be back in the States, and we're especially glad to be back with family, and we'll be ecstatic when we actually get in our own home, but it's just that there is a multi-faceted loss that we're experiencing that I wasn't altogether prepared for.  Never fear, however, I am working through it and will soon be posting our adventures again.

In the meantime, I'm thinking I might need to conclude this blog (coatsjapanjournal) and start a new one as we move to the next chapter of our lives.  What do you think?  Any suggestions for names?  I was thinking "allweathercoats" - (get it?)  Let me know your thoughts, please!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

First few days in the US

Well, we're back and on the go - we had a lot to accomplish before the kids and I fly out to Grammie and Grandpa's house on Wednesday night.

Of course the first thing we did was stop by the house that we have a contract on to actually see it!  It is beautiful and the views are beyond compare.  We can't wait until we can actually close on the deal and move in.  There is a slight hiccup in that department as there was a problem with the appraisal, but we're working our hardest to overcome that and close on time.  (Long story, not blog worthy.)

After seeing the house we headed up the road to the Naval Base Kitsap where we checked into our hotel and wasted a few hours before all going to bed at 7:00 PM.  I woke up the next day at 12:40 PM!!!  That was one long night...

Our first priority was to get phones, so we are now part of the 21st century.  I feel like I need a college degree to understand my phone, or I just give it to Cannon and he has it figured out in a few minutes...

We also went to Barnes and Noble!!!!

And to a Mexican restaurant for Stevie!!!

The next day our mission was to find a car, which we did, a brand new Honda Odyssey which, despite being a mini-van, is really, really nice.  It's a pretty sweet ride!

Tuesday brought us looking at homes again with Heidi, our realtor.  This was just to be safe in case the original one falls through but after seeing a bunch more homes we all agreed that the one we have the contract on is our favorite.

The area around here is really beautiful and although it's rained some, it also tends to clear at some point during the day and then it's magnificent.  Stevie is in seventh heaven since the temperature is mid-50s to mid-60s, a little cool, but we'll adapt I'm sure.

The kids are funny as they re-discover America.  Emmy is the funniest as she really doesn't remember the US at all.  She was just 2 1/2 when we left so has lived half her life in Japan and half in America.  We were at one house the other day and she asked "What's that?"  It was a squirrel!!!  She didn't recognize it.  And her face when she saw the doors of the van automatically open was priceless!

Now we're at the airport again waiting for the red eye to Atlanta so we can spend a month with Grammie and Grandpa as we wait for the house to close and our shipments to arrive.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Traveling to Washington

Our 24 hours in pictures...

Joe and Dima dropping us off at the airport.

Coats clan + Joey

Saying goodbye to her "boyfriend", Dima
Good-bye Okinawa!

Emmy tucked in for flying.

Switching planes in Narita

Met with mortgage broker and saw house (beautiful) - no pictures, I was too tired to think straight.

Drove to Bangor (Naval Base) - kids cashed out in the back seat!

Stayed awake until 7:00 pm - lights out for the whole family.  Slept until 12:40 PM, Sunday!!!  Let the shopping adventure begin...

Back in the USA!

Yes, folks, we're back on 'Merican soil.  All went well, we're really sleepy, biding the hours until we can all go to bed.

More soon!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Our last day in Okinawa

Well, this is it, folks, the last day.  Pinch me because it still doesn't feel real.

We woke up to rain, of course, I knew it would, but that was ok because we had some business to take care of in the morning.  Once cleared of the last few necessary details, we piled in the car and headed out for one last adventure.  As we're getting on the highway, Stevie asked me north or south?  He looked south - black sky, he looked north - lighter gray sky.  So we went north.  We drove, randomly exited at exit 7 and then went west until we saw a beautiful looking beach.  And what was over that beautiful beach?  A blue sky!

We did our usual trick of driving through farmers fields...

...heading down an overgrown path...

 and ending up at yet another beautiful location!

There was a really great little island that I really would have liked to get to, but without a kayak or a swim, we were confined to our side of the inlet.

After leaving that location, we stopped for a last turn at a drink machine, finding yet another interesting, new flavor.  This is called "Skal" and it says, "Skal is our proprietary milk-based pop, the unique hybrid of skim milk and soda.  Just take a sip of it and you will find it so cool and refreshing.  "Love Skal" - always our pride."  It was actually really good - kind of like a creamy Sprite?

We ventured on to another small beach

Before stopping at a Family Mart for one last onigiri lunch.

We went back to the WestPac to clean up before heading over to our Hill for an evening of good-byes.  Ashley (9 months pregnant) and Eric were kind enough to have us over for dinner which gave us a great opportunity to say good bye to all our great friends and neighbors.

The guys manning the grill

The gals.
This included sad good byes between the kids and their friends.

Cannon and Marc

London with friends Aidan, Ben and Joey

Emmy and her prom date, errr, I mean friend, Ben
After dinner they fired up a fire pit for a last hurrah and then it was time for the final good-byes.  This has been the best neighborhood we've ever lived in so it was a difficult moment.  My only consolation is that I know we will see our Okinawa family again in the future.

Final sunset from the Hill