We are all here, we are all in one piece, we are all alive, and we are all driving each other nuts.
You guessed it, we are all still living in this wonderful place known locally as the “Hershey TLF.” To the rest of us that translates to the temporary lodging facility, aka: the hotel. Oh yes, and I must say that I am SOOOOOO ready for a house. Trooper and Rosco are living large at Gary and Shay’s house though!
We were assigned quarters on Friday the 9th but can’t sign the paperwork until the 14th. At that time they’ll tell us when we can actually have the keys to the place. After that we sit and wait for the ship with our shipment of household goods to arrive.
In the meantime here is what we’ve been up to: We arrived to Kadena Air Force Base on a Thursday night leading into the 4th of July weekend. The Army took Friday off (nice timing huh?), but the Navy and the Air Force took Monday and Tuesday off (even better timing)! So, over the long weekend we got aquainted with the air base and the central part of Okinawa and just about every used car lot known to man. Then, Bruce signed into the installation, the boys and I hung out with Shay and the kids, Bruce got sick and Gary had to transport him around to the various medical facilities, the boys and I hung out with Shay and the kids and did a little site seeing, Bruce inprocessed his unit, the kids and I hung out with Shay and her kids, Bruce learned how wonderful the humidity is here during PT, the boys and I slept in, Bruce reported to work and jumped right in, the kids and I hung out with Shay and her kids (you get the picture?). Then, Gary drove Bruce and I to Foster Marine Corps Base so we could take our driving test….thank God we both passed. We bought two cars to hold all 5 of us, which is no small feat here!
Shay and Gary took us to get a wireless card, God bless them, they sat in the car forever while we struggled through the language barrier and got one. The best part is that they give you a 3 day guarantee on them here because they can’t guarantee they’ll actually work. Hmmmm….good thing because it didn’t work. Shay drove me back downtown to return in two days later. Then I tried another carrier, which didn’t speak English. Fun times! Then I tried that carrier in the BX, where they don’t stock air cards (for wireless internet). Grrr….so we went back downtown, uptown, midtown, all over town tracking down wireless carriers. When we found one that spoke English it was like Christmas morning! But when we’d try the device and it wouldn’t work it was like waking up on Christmas morning and finding out that Santa didn’t stop at our house. Oh, the frustration!!
After many, many stops we finally found one that explained it like this: the air cards, or USB wireless devices, are made to work with Japanese OS’s. And, well, my computer OS’s are in fact NOT Japanese. All the software would install and after a reboot would fail to work. I was really starting to sweat it. What on earth was I going to do? On the Air Base they have a “fair use” policy regarding the internet. You are only allowed to download and upload a certain amount each month, per household. Yeah, I’d bust through that trying to download my inbox after being offline for a week….so it was essential that one of these wireless devices worked, none of that time would count against me.
Clearly we found a solution (or I wouldn’t be updating you). After two trips to the same store and one very frustrated Bruce later, the manager called him and agreed to come to us to test one last hail mary attempt at getting online. It worked! We jumped in the car, drove to the store on Camp Foster (about 20 minutes south of us) and bought one. It’s a pocket wi-fi device. I charged it up, loaded the software on my home laptop, set up my security settings and logged in. Then I logged in my other laptop (without getting up), Bruce logged in his iPhone, then he logged in his laptop. It works like a charm and isn’t connected to a computer, hence the reason it works with my non-Japanese operating systems. No joke, I can toss it in my purse and work while the kids are at golf lessons without missing a beat. And the download times blow my old Sprint wi-fi out of the water, even though the Japanese folks apologize for the slow speeds. It’s averaging about 7.2 mbps for me (well, for the last 30 minutes I’ve used it anyway)….but for the local folks they can get up to 40mbps, that’s insane!
Ok, so I have an insane amount of email and computer updates to download and install. But the good news is my iPhone 4.0 is on order and should be here soon (and it was way cheaper here than in the states)!
Please keep in mind that we are 14 hours AHEAD of the central time zone when emailing us…it’ll take some time to hear back when it’s day for you and night for us!