Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah!
Our family has been on the go this Holiday Season, and I haven’t made it a point to sit down and write. It would be impossible to try to remember everything we’ve done and I even have one day left in Bali that I didn’t get a chance to write about; but I’ll do my best.
The day after I returned from Bali we hosted a Thanksgiving celebration with our sweet neighbors. It was so nice to have our friends gathered in one place to give thanks for our many, many blessings. It helped to take our minds off of being so far from our families this year.
After our Thanksgiving celebration we went with some friends down to the most famous street on our little island, called Kokusai Street. It’s a one mile stretch of shops, restaurants, etc. located in the Southern portion of the island. If you’re interested on learning a little more about the island and the history/culture, Anthony Bourdain visited and did a special here just about the time we moved here. If you have Netflix you can watch the special on his most recent season; the episode titled ‘Okinawa’. To be honest, I haven’t watched the episode in its entirety because I can’t sit still for longer than a few minutes, haha. But what I saw was interesting and he visited the fish market we went to with friends. He also talked a lot about what is considered Okinawa’s greatest ‘export’, if you will, Karate.
As you can see in the picture on the right, we purchased our fish downstairs. We then took it upstairs where they seated us and cooked our fish. We purchased a lobster, a parrot fish, and a few scallops. The kids had a great time at the Pokémon store as well, and they had their first Blue Seal Ice Cream cone, which is an Okinawan exclusive. It’s no Blue Bell 😉 but it’s not bad.
The kids finished up their last few weeks of school after Thanksgiving. They of course had Holiday Parties in their classrooms, and Brooklynn got to go on a field trip where she saw a Japanese play similar to Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Pigs (instead of the three bears). It was completely in Japanese, but the kids’ Japanese teachers did an excellent job of preparing them by telling them the story in English, and giving them some of the basic vocabulary words such as Little Red Riding Hood (Aka Zukin) pig (buta) wolf (okami) etc .(there were a ton more, but I can’t remember them off the top of my head). The stories ended a little differently than the grim (pun intended) ones we’re used to in American culture, with a stronger focus on forgiveness.
I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the education these kids are getting. Their ‘Christmas Around the World’ units were PHENOMENAL. In fact, we celebrated on Christmas Eve with our neighbors and friends, by doing an Italian style meal. Blake informed me that a true Italian Christmas would mean fasting all day before our meal at night, and that Merry Christmas in Italian is “Buon Natale”. We celebrated with Caprese, Lasagna, Antipasta, etc. but apparently in Italy they eat eel, lamb, and other fish…who knew?! I’m constantly humbled by what these kids are picking up culturally.
The kiddos have been out of school for the past week, and will be out the remainder of this week as well. We’ve had a blast, exploring and re-exploring places with our friends.
We’ve spent a lot of time in the Northern part of the island (which I personally think is the most beautiful). These are pictures of the aquarium, a beach called “Tropical Beach”, our visit to the lights at the Southeast Botanical Gardens, where we watched Taiko drummers and Eisa dancers, a view from brunch, seaglass beach, some pictures of a random shack on the side of the road we stopped at that served Ramen, and our neighborhood cat “Socks”.
Honestly, Garrett is WAY better about taking pictures than I am, because I get so caught up in the beauty of it all, in real time, that I forget to take pictures.
Brooklynn had a dance recital recently. She was part of the Nutcracker performance.
Christmas Eve day was nothing short of amazing. Garrett was so sweet to watch the kiddos while I went running/to breakfast with some girlfriends. (check out those massive pancakes in the pictures below) then we helped to celebrate a sweet friends’ first Birthday, then off to Christmas Eve Services at church and to our Italian Style family dinner with our friends/neighbors. We are SO incredibly thankful to have such amazing neighbors that feel more like family than anything. Our kids and animals are in and out of one another’s houses and it’s so nice to be living in such a safe area.
The kids had a wonderful Christmas. Thank you again to all of our family that sent gifts; I know it’s such a pain to make it to the post office, especially during this busy season but we are all SO thankful.
We wish we could have seen all of our friends and family back home, but we hope that you all had an amazing Holiday Season. Thank you as always for your continued prayers and support. We are feeling the outpouring of love and prayers even from thousands of miles away.
❤ The Butlers