I'm very excited to introduce Amanda Marshall who writes the beautiful, inspiring, (and sometimes jealousy-inducing) blog, Marshalls Abroad. Amanda's husband is in the military and they are currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan, which is a pretty idyllic subtropical beach setting, to say the least. They make the most their time there by adventuring throughout the island and traveling to nearby locations whenever they can. She is here today to teach us a little about Okinawa...
1. Explore, explore, explore. There is a new spectacular beach, hike, neighborhood or restaurant around every corner.
2. Most of the island is dense jungle.
But worth exploring!! It really does look like this!
3. Get scuba certified. Okinawa is one of the best dive spots in the world - for good reason!
4. English is NOT widely spoken here. The language barrier can be very frustrating at times. But this is actually a good thing because it is forcing us to learn Japanese -- as we should in our host country!
5. Goodbyes last a long time. They're wonderful: you're truly seen off - continuously waved at and thanked a hundred times until you're out of sight. This even happens when we leave a restaurant we go to regularly.
6. Bow with your head or torso. It's a respectful way to acknowledge someone's presence, to say hello, goodbye or thank you.
7. It is expensive to travel off the island. Do it anyways!! There is SO much to see in Japan and Asia.
8. Absolutely visit Okinawa's outer islands. We are blown away every single time we go out there.
9. Generally speaking, Okinawans are some of the warmest, kindest, most polite, hospitable people we've ever lived amongst. But they are terrible drivers!
10. There are so many festivals throughout the year, especially during the summer - many of which celebrate ancestors.
11. Lastly, we've learned to take advantage of every single day living here - time flies when you're abroad and I think it is one of the most rewarding experiences to have. We remind ourselves to enjoy it, travel, seize every learning opportunity while we can and to be thankful! It's an incredible blessing to get to live amongst another culture and travel in a new region of the world.
Thanks Amanda! I may or may not have looked at airfare prices to fly from LAX to Okinawa after reading this. :)
To read more from the "What I Learned In" series, click here.