Overwhelming, terrified, I’m going to live my life long dream. At the young age of only eight years old, my love for the country Japan was born. After another eight years of dreaming, my fantasy was now my vacation.
The flight from Phoenix to L.A. was the first flight of my life. My excitement was beyond the child in a candy store spectrum. Once landed, I continued to wait a three hour flight delay on top of the one hour lay over. Then Hello Tokyo! The sun had followed me to Japan. After landing, I reached customs; I was lost. I made my way through with little trouble then ran to my next flight. Once I took my seat, a new feeling had overtaken me. I was finally going to hold my darling whom I haven’t seen since his deployment for Iraq 10 months earlier.
Landing, taxing in, then waiting for my luggage on the carousel seemed to take an eternity. My feet walked a couple of steps, turned to the left a little and there he was. My legs were shaking as our eyes met. My bags hit the floor, then BAM! I’m in my marines arms. Tears hit his shoulder and our grip tightened. My dream of stepping foot in Japan, and my wishes to see him again was finally a reality.
We awoke at 0700, then started my mini tour around the base. At around 1930, Riley (my boyfriend) and I attended a “Spooky Sites Tour”. The tour started off at a light house with a few scary stories. Then the group was taken to Camp Kadena to take a look at a “cursed” house. The tour ended with a romantic tour through peace prayer park where I saw my first fire flies, 6ft wide bats, and family tombs.
The next day, we went on a Naha City tour. It had a great start with a maze like botanical garden tour that was shared with a down pour of rain, then followed by liberty on Kokasai St. During liberty, Riley and I ate at “Charlies Tacos,” and it was better than American Tacos by a long shot! Saw many Okinawa teenagers, and vending machines for everything, everywhere.
After a couple of wonderful days of nothing with my pookie, he took me on a walk outside of base through a couple of little alleys, streets, to a shoreline that took my breath away. We arrived at the perfect time then watched the greatest sunset ever, got lost in conversation, played on a pirate ship made for the children, then continued to explore the area.
The Okinawa Battle Sites Tour was the most brutal to my feet. Lasting 10 hours, we explored Hacksaw Ridge, heard a great deal of battle stories, then continued to Camp Kinser to tour a room specializing in the Battle of Okinawa. After lunch, we were taken to get lost in a Naval Tunnels tour. The highlight of the tour was saved for last, Peace Gardens. Thousands of names on zig-zagged marble walls, amazing shoreline view, worlds largest Buddha statue that was surrounded by beautiful pieces of art and offerings entirely made out of paper cranes, and butterfly gardens.
A few more days of nothing with Riley was what I needed. The uttered words I’ve waited so long to hear from this particular marine, “I Love You,” was finally shared between us. What a better time and place to fall in love. What more can I ask for?
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