This is the Tundra

I haven’t written in a couple weeks. Mostly because I don’t know what to write about. I don’t talk about recovery here, and I won’t, but that is the most I have to something to say about. I’m just doing some freewriting here right now since I feel as though I have nothing to say.

Life on Misawa AB is ok. Dan has been on nights and since I have zero responsibilities during the day, I am on a night schedule too. I eat, watch TV shows and movies, wash dishes, talk to friends, watch Kumo blow bubbles in his water bowl, and lay around. Sometimes Dan picks me up during his shift and we go to the gym. Other than that, nothing is happening. The Red Cross volunteer orientation keeps getting rescheduled, so now it isn’t until the end of this month. I guess that will give me more time to feel comfortable driving on my own. It’s disheartening to think that I have been here for about a month and I’m still bored and uncomfortable here. Things don’t feel as new, mostly because I have been doing the same thing everyday. At the moment, what I mean by uncomfortable is that I don’t necessarily consider it home here. I suppose a month isn’t that long and I ought to give myself more time to adjust, but I’m impatient.

We have been making the apartment a little homier though. We got a TV stand and two chairs for the island that splits the kitchen and living room apart. They’re funky and red. I like them. Dan really wants to go with a fifties theme for the kitchen, so that’s what we’re doing. Except I am trying my hardest to make sure it isn’t tacky. Because Dan has shown me some really tacky stuff. He wanted to get stools where the top looked like a bottle cap. I said no, so we settled for a contemporary-retro sort of stool with a back on it. Still can’t wait for our household goods to come… Soon, hopefully.

I haven’t been getting out much and taking pictures of things. It’s so cold and windy outside. And it’s been snowing A LOT. It’s absurd. We live in the freaking Tundra. It still amazes me how the snow does not stop anyone here. Like the other day, Dan and I went to the mall in a blizzard. The roads were terrible and there was very little visibility, but there were still a bunch of people driving! No one cares! We kept commenting on how if we were back in NY/NJ, there is no way we would be going out in weather like this. Cricket is in no way affected by the snow, so it is easy for us to drive around in it.

Mall parking lot
Drive home from mall

Dan is upset that I think Cricket is old and rickety. But it is! It makes so much noise. I don’t want to drive a manual car. It’s loud and annoying. I would much prefer an automatic. I say this mostly because I can’t drive a manual perfectly right now, and it bothers me. I did drive a while the other day, and I was fine when we were on a road where I could go 60km, but that was after I yelled and almost gave up all together after I couldn’t get the car to go. It was really frustrating. And it makes a screeching sound. But Dan is going to have that fixed. He is always super patient with me when I drive. I get super angry, fed up, and blow smoke through my nose, while he just tells me to calm down and that I can do it. What a good husband. We completely balance each other out, but I don’t think my side helps him at all. He helps me much more since he is “a glass half full person,” as he says. I am more of a “glass inevitably going to be empty” person.

Since I am so pessimistic, every time I drive and don’t do as perfect as I would like, I picture my life doomed, always needing a ride to places and having to depend on Dan for everything. I feel this way when I get homesick too. I think about everybody back home and just start crying because I convince myself that I am never going to see them again and I will never feel like Japan is my home, ever. How dramatic, right? Well this is how my brain works a lot of the time. So when I actually notice what I am doing, I try to put my thinking to a halt and make an effort to focus on something else. I feel bad getting upset when Dan is around because I know it upsets him. I know he wants me to be happy and I imagine he feels powerless over the situation. It’s just difficult being on nights, because when he is off, we still don’t really do anything. I want to explore and do new things. He was supposed to be on days this month, but the schedule changed last minute so he is on nights instead. I was really disappointed when he told me this. I was so looking forward to daylight. But, to be fair, there has been little sun because of all the snowfall, and there wouldn’t be a whole lot for us to do during the day anyway, since it’s winter and terrible out. My friend pointed that out to me. It’ll be better when he is on days and it is nice out because then we will actually do things. I can’t wait for warmer weather. I just want to be outside and not be miserable about it. I think I will be much happier once winter is over.

Some random thoughts and observations about Misawa:

  • There are giant crows here. Like, they’re as big if not bigger than pugs.
  • The majority of  Japanese people are extremely friendly, smile a lot, and bow a lot.
  • Few people lock their car doors here because there is such little crime.
  • On base, everyday at 1700, the Japanese national anthem plays, followed by the Star Spangled Banner, and everyone stops walking and driving when this happens. Dan said it’s to show respect to the Natives here.
  • Something Dan loves: the fact that there are water dispensers in the food courts and restaurants here. He likes that you can just help yourself to water and never have to ask for it. AND they have pitchers. Goodness.

I’ve lost my momentum now. Freewriting is over I guess. Here are some pictures I took in the past 2 weeks. It’s all food…

Japanese Curry and Naan
My favorite, broiled eel
Food from Pepper Lunch




  1. Keep up with your writing it’s great. We miss you too. Keep your faith god doesn’t bring you to this place and drops you on your head. He is always with you 🙏😘❤


  2. It’s almost Spring the months are flying by. It will be a beautiful Spring with all the beautiful cherry blossoms just like your favors at your wedding. Things will get better each and every day will see. I know it’s not easy to get used to a different place and lifestyle but you can and will do this. Hopefully soon you can find a job that will help with your clinical hours. The apartment is looking great and Kumo is trying to cheer you up with his bubbles. Let’s see what else he comes up with to keep you smiling! This is all temporary so make the best of it abd before you know it you will be back at home after a beautiful four years of great opportunities and adventure. I love reading your stories and I am always here for you regardless of the time! Love you! Mom


  3. Keep hanging in there Filiz! I’m specifically talking about not letting Dan do a 50’s theme. Sounds suuuuppppeeerrr tacky, but isn’t that why we love him haha. Can’t wait to come visit. After reading these posts it makes me want to visit even more! If you need anything you can always message me and if you or Dan need anything from home I can definitely help in sending it over.


  4. Of course I’m digging dans 50’s theme and I’d be super tacky as well, so I’m no help there haha. I’m also the glass is inevitably empty person. Although I try so hard to at least find the middle ground of whatever’s realistic. Cause optimism hasn’t worked for me haha. Keep up the writing and of course photos! Say hi to dan for me.


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