Friday, November 15, 2013

Playing Catch-up (Part 4)

So in mid-June I put my better 2/3 on a bus to Narita to start her trip home via Meridian to find us a house.  Lauren and her Mom found us a house in just a few days and then continued on all the way back to PA.  Once she got there, she picked up the car I promised her 3 years earlier... any car she wanted after we made it back from Japan.  

After a few months on cruise, I finally finished my time in VFA-102 and got to return home to AMERICA!  A little over 3 years, 3 1/2 deployments, 9 countries and just under 18 months at sea.  It was a fantastic three years, but I was ready to go home.  Luckily I made it in time for the baby shower, got my truck and was still home when the little man decided to make his debut into the world.  It was a whirl wind summer, but its good to be in America again.

Playing Catch-up (Part 3)

As May approached it was soon time for me to get ready to leave again and for us to get ready to leave Japan for good.  We decided we would try for one last trip together and would head to Seoul South Korea to tour the DMZ.  In my infinite wisdom, I thought it would be fun to cross country a few jets over to make it an easier trip for us and get to take the jets on the road with a good friend in my back seat.  Unfortunately, great planning could not overcome terrible weather on the way and a flat tire when I landed at our intermediate fuel stop.  Long story short is that we didn't arrive in Seoul to see Lauren and Cori until 930 on Saturday night, 24 hours later than we were supposed to, missing the DMZ tour altogether.  We left to get back to Atsugi the very next morning.  A very painful trip to say the least, but the girls had a good time.

The last thing we did before cruise was Badman week.  It is the annual weeklong Air Wing sports competition which culminates with the Badman ball, where we all get together and have one last party before cruise starts.  It was a pretty good time, and it was a nice final event for us before leaving became a reality.

Next stop America and cruise...

Playing Catch-up (Part 2)

The spring of 2013 found us preparing for moving to America, showing Lauren's Mom and family friend Gail around Japan.  I also spent a month at Royal Australian Air Force Base Tyndal for an Air-to-Surface Detachment.  Dollie and Gail came to visit in April and spent a few weeks with us.  We showed them around Tokyo, Hakone, and Kyoto.

Tokyo Sky Tree
Golden Pavillion
Silver Pavillion
Fuji Safari Park

Imperial Gardens


Overall it was a very busy spring with my Det and the family visit and starting to get ready for a baby.

Playing Catch-up (Part 1)

So its been a long time since we updated the blog.  Lauren has been pretty busy for the last 9 months, so now that I am home, I will try and catch everyone up on what we have been up to the last year.

After we returned from China right before the holidays last year, we found ourselves getting ready for our honeymoon to the Berjaya Resort in Langkawi, Malaysia.  We had to postpone our honeymoon because I was in flight school when we got married, so we decided to take advantage of our location and our last big break while in Japan.  Not long before we left, we got some great news... we were going to be parents!  So we spent the new year enjoying the tropics of Malaysia celebrating a honeymoon and a future baby.

While at our resort, we had a little cabin over the water with a fantastic view.

The pool also had a great swim-up bar, where we spent a few afternoons enjoying a meal and the warm weather.

We were having lunch one afternoon when we saw a ship coming in towards the beach at our resort.  As it got closer it was apparent that this vessel was not in great shape and was overflowing with people.  When it got close enough, hundreds of people began jumping overboard and swimming for shore.  Once they hit the beach they raced into the jungle to try and hide.  

As we watched these people run, it was pretty obvious that they were refugees from somewhere in the region.  The resort told us that they were probably Myanmar refugees trying to reach mainland Malaysia, unfortunately they missed by a few miles and landed on the resort island.  It certainly made for an interesting afternoon.    

There was also a cable car that went up to the top of a peak on the island and gave us a pretty good view of the whole island.  Unfortunately, the weather was cloudy most of the week.  It cleared up on our last day...  

One other cool part of the resort was that there were a variety of wild animals that live on the island and roam freely...including monkeys like these two.  They would hang out in the trees near the pool and keep an eye on the guests. 

Overall, we had a great time in Malaysia despite some cloudy weather and an upset stomach that bothered Lauren for most of the trip.  Thats all for part 1.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

China- Xian

 After our day in Shanghai, we hopped a plane to Xian where the Terra Cotta warriors are located. This was by far our favorite part of the trip. The city still has all it's walls surrounding it and the warriors are really cool! There are 3 pits of warriors and they were discovered by a farmer who was getting water from a well. Each warrior is completely different than any other and they are still working on repairing all of them.

Being warriors.

This is the only warrior in all 3 pits that was found fully intact.

He is also the only one that has any of the original color left on him.

Pit 1...the largest pit.

These were still being repaired while we were there. As they are finished, they get put back in the place that they were found.

China- Shanghai

Over Thanksgiving, we took a 6 day trip to China with another couple from our squadron. It was a bit of a whirlwind since we did 3 cities in those 6 days, but we had a lot of fun and got to see a ton! We started our trip in Shanghai where we spent one day touring the city. We got to see a traditional temple, go to China town (yes, kind of ironic), visited a house built for royalty, attended a tea ceremony and went to a silk factory.  We took almost 1,000 pictures, so this is a very small snap shot of what we did.
Outside of the temple.

Ribbons inside the temple with prayers on them.

Outside of the house we toured.

China town

Tea ceremony. This is Jasmine tea; each tea ball blooms into a different type of flower.

Peepee boys. These were hilarious! If you soak them in water and then pour hot water over them, they pee. We got 3 of them for free when we left because we bought some other things from them.

These ladies were making a silk comforter.

It started to rain right when we got the Bund, which is a park where you can see the entire city. Picture of Shanghai.