Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas in Thailand!

We had the pleasure of traveling to Thailand for our Christmas holiday. We had plane tickets and a hotel booked back in May when John returned from deployment, but there was civil unrest in the country and it was very dangerous to travel there, so we postponed our trip. The fighting has ceased and we got the "all clear" to hop on a plane for our exciting trip!
We started in Phuket, a small island in the southern part of the country.
Or hotel was beautiful, and our room had a beautiful ocean view!
I couldn't help but take a few pictures of the tree in the lobby made out of Santas dressed in typical clothing from around the world!
On the beautiful beach in Phuket
We spent our Christmas Eve eating good 'ol American burgers at Hark Rock cafe!
Walking around this touristy island was interesting to say the least. Lets just say areas that are similar to third world countries and a spring break mentality do not mix well.
It was entertaining for a while then we quickly hopped in a taxi and headed back to our hotel!
On Christmas day we spent a good part of the day with some of the world's largest, most fascinating creatures!
I am officially in love with elephants, but John says we can't have one!
These sweet "babies" were in training. The one in the middle is only 3 years old.
We were able to take a 30 minute ride on one. This big girl is 50 years old and weighs 3 tons!
We stopped on the top of a hill and had a beautiful view of Chalong Bay.
We had to say goodbye, but this was definitely the experience of a lifetime! Never in a millions years would either of us have thought we would be riding an elephant on Christmas day in Thailand!
We ended our Christmas day with a nice dinner at one of the best restaurants in Phuket with an incredible wine cellar!
The next day we got on another plane headed towards Bangkok. Be on the lookout for the second post of our crazy trip!

Madame Director

Early December I directed two performances for our church's Christmas Dinner Theater. My cast had been working for several months and all of the hard work paid off! We sold out both nights, so it was definitely a success.
Here is a photo of me with the cast of the two plays
And here is the choir
With some of our great friends!
Below is the link to the video if you want to take a peek. I won't be upset if you fast forward past the choir and to the places where I perform as narrator for both! Ha ha!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ok, I am a little behind on this post, but better late than never!
My dad and step-mom came out here for a visit over the Thanksgiving holiday. This year was particularly special. Last year John was deployed and I spent Thanksgiving in Japan by myself. Of course I had friends take me in but it wasn't the same. This year I was so thankful to have John home and having family with us was icing on the cake.
During their visit we were busy touring the entire island. I am pretty sure they saw almost all of the best sites on Okinawa!
Day one, we headed down south to Shuri castle, the former residence of the king of the Ryukyu Dynasty (just in case you don't know, Okinawa is part of a chain of islands called the Ryukyu islands).
John posing in typical Japanese fashion...
We took advantage of having a photographer with us (my dad) and got some fun pictures in. Be on the lookout for a great one on our Christmas card!
Then onto shopping on one of the most touristy streets here on the island. It was quite interesting, however after living here for so long, nothing surprises us!
We had tons of fun at the aquarium
Spent some time checking out the Christmas lights in American Village
Saw the Cape Zanpa lighthouse
I am still in awe every time I see how gorgeous and blue the water is here!
And of course we had to head to the beach a few times!

I was really sad to see them go but I am so happy they were able to come out here for a visit!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy 235th Birthday Marines!

Ok folks, here is your mini-history lesson for the day. Yes you read right, I (Andrea) am actually going to talk about history. My history-buff husband is apparently rubbing off on me! As many of you know, the United States Marine Corps was formed in 1775. In 1921 the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. John A. Lejeune issued an order to all Marines that on November 10 each year they would honor the founding of the Marine Corps. Soon, some Marine commands began to not only honor the birthday, but celebrate it.
Last night we celebrated the 235th birthday of the Marine Corps. Here are a few photos from our great night!
Here is John in the center with his Marines
The officers in our unit
And their wives...
With our friends Matt and Laura
Happy birthday Marines!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tadake Falls

Last weekend we drove up north with some friends to hike through a river to get to a beautiful waterfall. I have never done anything like this so I was a little worried about walking on rocks in the water, especially given my recent history with creatures that live in the water! Fortunately there are no jellyfish in rivers!
It was a fun hike and a pretty good workout!
Boys will be boys!
Someone wasn't thrilled that he wound up in waist deep water and his shirt got wet!
We made it after 45 minutes or so. The falls were more powerful than I imagined!
John and Matt decided to swim across and walk behind the waterfall. Of course they had to do their typical "battle" photo!
Then he and Matt decided to hike even further up the steep hill to check out the top while Laura and I had a snack and saved our leg muscles from being sore the next day!
After our hike back to the car we were ready to eat!
There is a popular blog here on Okinawa where people post about restaurants and things to do on the island. We read about a place called Beach Rock Village that got good reviews, so we went to check it out. It was interesting to say the least.
It was sort of a hippy campsite in the middle of nowhere, but they had food that you could order. They only had pizza left (apparently they only make a few things and once they are out, they're out!). We ordered food and climbed up into the tree house to eat.
By now, the most random things don't really seem to phase us anymore! Having to eat in a tree sounds normal after you have lived in Japan a while! Ha ha!
The food and drinks were put on a pulley system to make getting it into the tree a little easier!
The pizza was pretty good but I don't think we will make a special trip an hour north just to eat at this odd place!
All in all it was a great day with great friends! One activity to check off the list of things we should do before we leave the island!