It’s hard to write when there isn’t much going on. Well nothing that an audience would be interested in reading, at least. This blog is mostly for myself and for family and friends who want to keep up with me though.
I definitely feel like I am doing better. I still hate the cold, and every time I think it is done snowing, it snows, but I am hopeful that it will warm up soon. My last post sparked some people to reach out to me and it really helped talking to them. One woman is in the same situation that I am in, where she moved far away from home to be with her boyfriend. What helped me the most is when she told me not to be hard on myself for being homesick, and homesickness is a real thing. Also that it is going to take a long time for me to feel completely ok. There isn’t anything wrong with me for being sad. I think there would be something wrong with me if I wasn’t sad.
Today is the 17th for me. It’s almost 0500 (yeah I’m super cool with that military style time now). I think I was supposed to be born on this date, but I came ten days early. Is it St. Patrick’s day today? I would know this if I were home because the town I lived in was filled with Irish people and it has the second biggest parade in the country. First being NYC. There isn’t anything here indicating that this holiday exists. Or I just haven’t noticed. I have noticed that the stores on base are preparing for Easter though. Anyway, I celebrated my birthday on the 7th. I turned 25. My friends (Dan’s coworkers), Dan, and I were planning to go to a pizza place that apparently has the tastiest pizza, but it turned out being closed. So we went to a Japanese BBQ place in Hachinohe called Super Vikings. On the way over, I cried a little bit because I missed home and because I was feeling loved by the people back home wishing me a happy birthday. Super Vikings is an all you can eat place where you have a stove sort of thing at the table and you have 90 minutes to eat whatever. There’s rice and vegetables and such, but there is raw meat that you bring to the table and cook yourself. This place was pretty magical. It had a cotton candy machine that you helped yourself to, a ramen bar, a crepe bar, an ice cream bar, and a bunch of desserts.
I had mentioned in an earlier post that the server does not come until you press a button and “call them”. It turns out that this is a thing in every restaurant here. There’s a button that looks like half of a plastic coconut with a white circle in the center. It calls them over for when you are ready to order or when you are ready for the check. Most of the time if you want a drink, you just go to the drink bar and help yourself. I like the idea of the button. It makes sense, instead of trying to flag down your server whenever you need something. I would say that this should be in the US but I can imagine kids and teenagers taking advantage of the button and being annoying about it. Kids here don’t do that kind of stuff, it seems. I have said it once, and I will say it again, Japan is a bit better than America. The people here are very polite, the kids are well-behaved, and the way they do things here seems to be much more efficient than in America. One example is that when you are paying with cash, you place the money on a little tray, avoiding dropping coins and such. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it’s just another small thing that makes life easier. Other cool things in Japan and not in the US… the toilet seats are heated and instead of a paper seat cover, there is a hand sanitizer looking dispenser where you take a piece of toilet paper, put the sanitizer on it, and wipe the seat. Also, at least at Super Vikings, there were these toy dispensers and the things in them were cool! I got a little plastic cat that is a flashlight. And it’s a good flashlight! AND the gum ball machine has you guide the gum ball throughout a maze, using the handles on the sides, which moves the whole platform. I thought that was much more fun than watching it roll down in a spiral.
So we went to that restaurant for my birthday and then the hookah bar afterward. Dan’s coworkers are all a lot of fun and I think I fit in pretty well with them. I had been quiet for a little bit, but I feel like I am acting more like myself around them. I really like the one other wife that we hang out with, Demi. She and her husband Edison are the ones who have the two huskies, one being Kumo’s sister. We both like the same kind of music and she’s funny and super nice. She got me a birthday gift! I really wasn’t expecting anything, and I was just happy that people joined me for my birhday, but it made me feel special and as though they really like me! I know, I’m such a dork. I am just so insecure about other people liking me. That insists that I don’t like myself very much. That has been true in the past, but I have come to notice that I am a pretty likable person, as long as you give me some time. People have told me that I seem very standoffish at first. I don’t mean to be. It was mostly that I didn’t expect that people wanted to talk to me, so I just kept to myself. Anyway, I am happy to have people here that enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs.
I want to give an update on Kumo. I haven’t written about him in a while. He is now 10 months old and he is SO much better compared to when we first got him. At first he was very timid around people, barely walked on the leash, had no idea what to do with treats, never listened, and barely ate. Now he lets people pet him as long as he has met you before, he loves walks and treats, and he listens to us for the most part. He is very smart, just a bit stubborn. He knows how to sit, lay down, give his paws, come, and spin! He learned spin in like 10 minutes. He’ll do whatever for cheerios. We are still working on stay, but he is getting it. I know he loves me and Dan and I think he knows we really love him. Whenever he greets us, whether it be when we wake up or when we come back from being out, his ears go back and he wags his tail. He’s so freaking cute! Oh and he is peeing outside, just hasn’t figured out the other one yet, and he loves apples and eggs with the shell. And he has become very vocal. He still doesn’t bark, but I don’t mind that he doesn’t. He made a bark-like sound the other day when we were watching a friend’s corgi puppy that was barking at him. He needs to be taught things from other dogs I think. I really feel as though we rescued him. He had no idea how to be a dog when we got him. I don’t think he was taken care of very well before we took him home.
I will also give an update on what I do during the day (night for me, since Dan is still working nights). I pretty much do the same thing that I have been doing. The only different thing is that I hang out with people more while Dan is at work and I have started to draw a little. About a month ago I said I was going to volunteer as a social worker at the Red Cross on base. That did not work out, unfortunately. The hospital chairperson I had been in contact with told me that they only take LCSWs, not LMSWs, because they do not have anyone to supervise me and will not allow me to see clients alone. This is silly. To see clients alone all that would need to happen is for an LCSW to sit with me for at least 45 minutes a week so I can talk to them about what I am doing with clients. Apparently that is unavailable though, so I was offered to volunteer as an administrative assistant for 40 hours a week. I declined. I’m not going to file paperwork for 40 hours a week and not get paid. I would be much happier at home with my dog.
Before I found out how many hours I would miserably be working for free, I went to the Basic Life Support course I had to attend to volunteer. I struck up a conversation with the program director and told her my situation. She later contacted me saying that she spoke to other social workers and that you do not have to be an LCSW to see clients individually, but there are no positions available right now. She said she would give my resume to someone who was looking to hire for a federal position that needed to be filled at the Airman & Family Readiness Center (AFRC). It wouldn’t be a clinical job, but it would pay and I would be working with people. It’s been some weeks and I have not heard from anyone, so I do not think I got the job. It’s ok. I’ve only been here for about three months, so I haven’t lost hope yet. It’s just really difficult to find the right people to talk to because nobody knows how to get into contact with them. I went to the AFRC the other day to find out how I can look into clinical jobs and they said I need to contact a contracting company, but they do not know how to contact them. I had been told before by the hospital chairperson that I may not contact the contracting companies. Fantastic, thank you for the help. Dan has given me a couple of ideas to look into more things so I will do that. A big issue I have with the military is that one person will tell you one thing while another will tell you something completely different. I knew this about the military before I came here, and it frustrated me then, as it frustrates me now. It’s like nobody can give me a straight answer.
Anyway. Dan and I took Kumo to the beach the other day. We figured he would like the water, but it was wavy and very new to him, so he stayed away from it. The beach didn’t look like much, especially since it was very gloomy out, but I can imagine liking it there in the summertime. There were a couple surfers there. The sand is dark and extremely soft. I was surprised by how soft it was. It felt like velvet. Or like a puppy’s ears. There were all kinds of shells scattered in the sand and there were a ton of broken sand dollars. I had never seen one before, and there were so many here!
My friend Mike (see, you’re in here!), my photographer friend, has encouraged me to seize the opportunity of being in another country and take lots of pictures. I should take more, really. I think I will once it warms up and I am outside more. Here are some that I took at the beach:
As always, thanks for reading.