Cape Zanpa (Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan)

cape zanpa zampa yomitan okinawa japan lighthouse
cape zanpa lighthouse

cape zanpa zampa yomitan okinawa japan lighthouse

fisherman fishing cape zanpa zampa yomitan okinawa japan ocean
catch fish, not feelings!

cape zanpa zampa yomitan okinawa japan cliffs water ocean
beautiful water

cape zanpa zampa yomitan okinawa japan cliffs
cape zanpa cliffs

I really love Okinawa and how beautiful this island is. It's truly a special place. It reminds me of Hawaii in some ways, which is nice, but it's also very different.

I live about 30 minutes away from this location, but only been here maybe twice? I only come here when people are visiting out of town. I like to take people to Zakimi Castle Ruins, which is nearby. The stones used to build the castle walls came from coral along the coast and you can actually see where they cut out the coral during low tide in some places in Yomitan! Also, Zakimi Castle also has a nice view of that side of the island, so it just makes sense to see these things one after the other.

Anyway, this day was particularly nice. The sun was out and it was hot and humid. The last time I came to Cape Zanpa was in December and it was overcast and cold. I guess it depends on your preference, but I actually live for hot and humid summers, even though I complain the whole time. I rather it be super hot than super cold. But I feel like I'm in the minority on that one. And on especially hot days, I find myself wishing for winter. Haha. Maybe I'm just a complainer.

In addition to the nice views here, there is also a small exhibit with goats and chickens and also a really huge Shisa dog that is good for photo ops! You can also go to the top of the lighthouse for a small fee.


kyoto japan nanzenji shoot my travel garden zen
At peace in Kyoto

So, I've been thinking a lot lately (if you couldn't already tell)! But I've been putting myself first lately, asking for what I want and not settling for anything less than what I think I deserve. Doesn't everybody though? At least I think that what everyone probably tells themselves. I'm not sure. I think I really became conscious of it when I was having problems in my marriage. I realized that what Dallin was asking me to be okay with would make me miserable. And it is the reason why we decided on divorce. Sometimes it feels like I'm being selfish. Like, maybe if I were someone else, she would be okay with it and she would still be married. But you know what? I'm me and I think I know myself best. Plus, I don't consider it to be selfish. I think of it more as an act of self-preservation or self-love or self-care. Whatever you want to call it.

I have actually never thought that Dallin was a bad person, but I think I did feel some anger. Wondering how he could even ask me to be okay with basically being in a miserable situation. Like, how could he? I understood where he was coming from, and I actually think his reasoning for it is commendable (even though I didn't agree with how he wanted to go about things). However, I still went through waves of sadness and anger, especially for the first month.

Anyway, it's still pretty rough on me even now. But I'm doing better. I recently just realized that sometimes two people are just on two different journeys. It is sad to ask for something you want/need and to get shot down, but to make it hurt less, and to let go of anger, it is important to realize that the other person has wants and needs, too. And in the same way that it's not selfish for me to protect my happiness, it is not selfish for them to protect their happiness, too. Dallin's main reasoning (I think) was to be a better father to his daughter. I didn't agree with the way he wanted to go about it, but it does not make him a bad person for trying to do what he thinks is best. He needed to do this for himself and I needed to leave the marriage for myself and my own happiness. And when I think of it in that way, it is easier to forgive.

And I think that was a hard lesson to learn, but so important. It actually took me a while to figure it out. Actually, I only figured it out after I stopped seeing someone that I met here in Okinawa (and who I really liked, but it doesn't matter any more). I was sick of the "are we" or "are we not" thing, and so I asked to be exclusive or to not see each other anymore and he was basically like, "it's gonna break my heart to never be able to talk to you again." And I was honestly so angry at first for feeling like I wasted all that time. But idk. I still don't know his reasoning for it, but it really doesn't matter because it's not my journey. I learned some hard lessons from that, for which I'm grateful. And I actually feel like he did me a favor when I think back on it. For peace of mind, it's better to try to understand and then let go and forgive. Because holding onto anger and the "should'ves" or "could'ves" is just torturing yourself. Take the lessons, forgive, and move on in peace.

And forgiveness doesn't mean that you necessarily want to talk to them again. You can forgive someone and still let them go. It's really something that you're doing for yourself, in my opinion. I can't imagine holding onto all that initial anger/sadness from my divorce for years/decades. It's been so rough on me in just these last 7 or so months that I'm pretty sure I would be a completely miserable person if I didn't learn how to let that shit go. I mean, I still get sad about it when I think back on happier memories, but I think that's normal... And I think that it'll take time for those feelings to subside. I'm just so glad that I am not harboring hateful thoughts about it or resentment. I just want to move on and to be happy. Happiness will always be the goal.

I'm curious about what other people feel about this topic. Feel free to comment with any thoughts!

Break Up Essentials: "In my feels" Playlist

I think one of the upsides during this turbulent part of my life is that I'm finding a lot of good music! I love listening to music (though who doesn't?!) and will listen to anything as long as I think it's good. I guess sometimes that stuff can be subjective. Anyway, music has been helping me get through life lately. Haha. This playlist is a bunch of songs that I listen to when I want to get into my feels. I've definitely cried while listening to some (read: all) of these at one point or another. But sometimes I feel like I need to have a good cry though. Definitely let's me know that at least I'm alive and can feel emotions! There is nothing wrong with feeling strongly about things. Crying can actually be healing, in my opinion, as long as you're processing why.

Anyway, here's the list of songs that I listen to when I want to soak in my sadness after a break up:

Open Heart

urdhva dhanurasana, upward bow pose, wheel pose, yoga, backbend
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose)

Ever since I moved to Okinawa, I have only been practicing yoga 2-3 times a week, and almost always during my lunch break. Risner Gym on Kadena Air Base offers lunch-time yoga every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is super convenient. It is so nice to be able to take a break from work and do my favorite stress reliever.

Don't know if it's obvious or not, but I've been having a rough time ever since I moved to Okinawa. Work isn't what I expected it to be and be going through some real shit with my divorce. But even though I've only been going to yoga a couple times a week, I've actually never felt stronger and more open. Not sure if it's because I'm also working out through my issues. Haha. But hmm, yes, I feel strong despite practicing less. And the odd thing is feeling more open.

When I say open, I mean physically and emotionally. I tend to carry a lot of tension in my shoulders, so it feels really good to stretch and try to open my chest and shoulders. And I've been feeling really backbendy lately, but I feel like I'm not just becoming more flexible. I feel like I'm becoming more strong to support my flexibility. I don't know. It's probably something that's supposed to be obvious, but I'm really having a revelation here! Haha.

And in the other aspect of "being more open." I think I'm just trying harder to be more honest with myself and others lately. I mean, sometimes it bites me in my ass, but at least I can say that I was trying to be real. I think I'm just really scared of being in denial about important aspects of my life and people not being honest with me. I don't understand why people lie about some things, as if it will spare me my feelings. It would hurt less to just be told the truth up front in the beginning. Instead of beating myself up and getting more hurt later when I figure things out. So, I'm trying to be more honest with others. And also, I think I'm being more honest with myself. Haha.

For example, those personality tests that you take on your own? I think I used to answer the questions as how I wanted others to see me. So on the Myer-Briggs test, I would usually come up as INTJ or INTP. And reading the results, it was like, "oh, I guess some parts of that match me. In a way." Never really seemed to fit. Well, I recently took a couple different tests and came up as ENFP every time. And this time, reading the results, it's like, "omg, this is totally me!" Haha. So, I don't know. I'm coming to a lot of realizations about a lot of things in my life and it's kind of scary, but also exciting at the same time.

So, here's to being more open! Open to life, open to yourself, and open to others! May I accept whatever the universe has in store for me. And if it's unacceptable, may I have the strength to initiate change.

Peace and love!

Feeling Better!

kyoto japan flowers river sanjo
Eat, Pray, Love, Kyoto!

So, I'm still getting divorced, but I needed to "delete" a couple of my most "recent" posts. Will probably wait until it's official before I put them back up. I guess I got paranoid or something. I'm still keeping up older posts with Dallin in it because... lol idk. I'm okay with what is happening and even though it still hurts, I don't want to completely delete those good memories from my life just yet. I mean, they still happened... idk. We'll see how I feel in a year!

But oh wow. What a year 2017 has been. I'm so grateful I got to July relatively unscathed. I actually feel optimistic right now! About my present and future. It feels good. It's been a journey, honestly. I don't want to be dramatic, but May 2017 was probably one of the worst months of my life. There are just way too many "memorable events" in May (wedding anniversary, Dallin's graduation from college, and just basically reminiscing about our Cairns, Australia honeymoon). Plus, I had to present an ultimatum (I know) to a guy I really liked who turned out to be the biggest asshole on this island, so there were a lot of emotions. And perhaps starting on a new birth control pill fucking did it, too. Basically, May was a shit show. Like, what used to be one of my favorite months turned into a month where I could not stop crying. It got so bad that my supervisor actually noticed and I finally told him what was happening in my life regarding my divorce. I'm actually glad that happened. Even though work is supposed to be a professional environment, I was hanging on by a thread everyday. And after he found out, I felt that much better at work. So yay. Progress! Little by little. Haha.

Anyway, I feel like I've done a lot since then. It almost feels like May was eons ago. Like, who was that person who lost her shit?! Was that really me? I like to think that I'm a strong, confident person. But I feel like I was trying so hard to feel normal again that it kept blowing up in my face. I think part of that came from not knowing exactly why my marriage didn't work out. My homework had been to really reflect on it and do some soul searching. And I recognized the red flags, but couldn't quite put my finger on the root cause. And maybe it was a lot of little things. Maybe it was because we got so used to not spending time with each other (deployments, him going to evening school to get his degree, me choosing to move to Okinawa thinking that we would be okay) that it just felt normal to me. But maybe we were brewing resentment little by little. Lol. I don't know. The fact is that, in the end, Dallin wanted me to be okay with moving back to the states, but having our marriage be put on the backburner. And I needed the marriage to be kept a priority. So I had to walk away. I guess it does matter how things got to be that way. But I think the most important thing is that he actually asked me to be okay with it. And I actually considered it. And then I realized that I would be completely miserable. I used to be be angry about it. But I'm at the point where, like... I can't control other people's feelings and what other people want. But I am in control of what I put up with. And no thank you. I will be okay.

So, yeah. All this time I have been doing what I needed to do to feel peace again. And I've been super gentle with myself. Letting myself cry when I need to cry and just basically cutting myself some slack. I'm not exactly 100% okay yet. But I am so proud of myself for where I am now. I know that whatever happens in my future, I will be okay. Because I'm bad as hell, or at least I like to think I am. I feel like I am completely capable on my own; I've always been. And I'm comfortable with who I am and spending time by myself. And I think the universe sends certain people into our lives, temporarily, because we need to learn certain lessons. And I realized that I've been trying to learn the same damn lesson since 2011. Basically, I needed to stop bending over backwards for men who ain't shit. Like, as if I were scared of losing them, but why?! I feel like I'm more selfish now, but is it really a bad thing to think of yourself? I don't think so. I feel like there needs to be some compromise in relationships, both ways, but no one needs to accept being treated in a way that is unacceptable. And if it's only one person doing the compromising, then that's definitely not fair.

Anyway, just wanted to give an update. Yes, I'm doing fine. Yes, I'll be okay. I have a lot of things I want to get off my chest and a lot of experiences that I want to share! I just need to make time for it. I took 3900 photos during my Kansai + Hiroshima trip, soooo yeahhhhh. A lot of blurry photos to go through! Haha. But I'm super excite.d about some of the shots that I got! Kyoto was beautiful. I fell in love with the city and I fell more in love with myself. So hopefully I will be able to convey some of that magic in some of my future posts/ramblings.

Peace and Love!

Life Changes

okinawa, ginowan, east china sea, sunset, sky, araha beach, japan, ocean
sunset, a day after a typhoon

When I moved to Okinawa, I never thought that my life would change as much as it has. I don't regret coming here, even though I wish I had done things differently and that my work was more fulfilling. In December, right before Christmas, I kind of reached a breaking point and it was suggested that I see a chaplain on base. I've never had counseling or therapy in my life, even though I can think of a few times where it would've been helpful. I guess I just figured that I didn't need it and that I could get through whatever it is that I went through or needed to get through. However, I've since realized that I was wrong! I've seen my chaplain several times. The first time, it was mostly about work and how to deal with my supervisor and work environment, but I hinted towards my relationship problems. He helped me sort through my thoughts and work through my issues. And eventually, I was just going to him for advice about my marriage.

I figured out that, when I got my job offer, I was so excited and wanted to take it so bad that I basically talked Dallin into agreeing. Even though he actually didn't want me to go. So, even though he "agreed," he didn't actually "agree." I guess you can get anyone to agree to almost anything if you are persistent enough. And I guess I also really believed that our marriage was a lot better than it actually was, even though deep down I maybe knew that it wasn't really. Because I really wanted to take this job. So, I sincerely apologized for doing it. It was really shitty. And I guess I also knew how it felt because Dallin did a similar thing to me recently. I don't know if he did it out of resentment or revenge. But the reality is that I think we both realized that we want completely different things out of life. At first I was super upset and angry because he wanted me to be okay with something that I knew would make me miserable. But he had his reasons and I understand them. And I even wished he would just change his mind. Maybe if I were a different girl, I would be okay with it. However, I have boundaries. And apparently what he wanted for us for the next 4-5 years is beyond what I'm okay with. And that's okay... So, we're splitting up. I never thought this would happen to me. And I am 100% aware that this might be it and I may never find anyone else again and I could be single for the rest of my life. And maybe I will never have a chance to start a family since I'm 30 and I feel like my biological clock is ticking. tick tock tick tock. But for me, I would rather be alone and childless than compromise my happiness, dreams, and preferences.

From the outside, people might think that we're both being really selfish. Sometimes even I think we both are. However, I think that we both changed too much and didn't communicate with each other properly about what our needs were. And now we found ourselves at this point where we were both asking each other to be okay with things that were outside of our respective boundaries. And I don't know. I still love him and want the best for him, but I also need to be happy as well. And I hope he feels the same about me.

I know this is both vague and oversharing at the same time, but ugh, I feel relieved anyway.

わわcafE (wawacafe) - Chatan, Okinawa

わわcafE, わわ cafE, wawa cafe, wawacafe, okinawa, japan, taco rice, wawa rice,
wawa rice set meal!

わわcafE, わわ cafE, wawa cafe, wawacafe, okinawa, japan, taco rice, wawa rice,
wawa rice is their version of taco rice. so delicious!

わわcafE, わわ cafE, wawa cafe, wawacafe, okinawa, japan, tora, cat,
first picture with tora-chan as santa

わわcafE, わわ cafE, wawa cafe, wawacafe, okinawa, japan, tora, cat,
with tora-chan in her new year's kimono

I found out about wawa cafE on facebook. I was intrigued and decided to make a visit once I found out that the owners have a cat! Cat lady status, for real. The first time I went here, one of the owners, Micci, talked to me for a while about his cat, Tora-chan! He showed me all the magazines that she was featured in. She even has her own calendar, scheduler/planner, and book! He bragged that the book was sold out on Amazon. Haha. It was so funny, but I totally get how someone can be so fanatical about their cat. I'm the same way, so I always have to remind myself to tone it down sometimes. But I loved looking at her photos because she's so photogenic. She also doesn't mind costumes, which makes me a little jealous because my cats will rip off any clothes within 5 seconds.

wawa cafE serves their signature "wawa-rice" which reminds me of taco rice. It's basically beef cooked with garlic and/or curry spice on top of rice along with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The sauce, instead of salsa like regular taco rice, is shoyu-based. It's pretty good! In addition to serving food, coffee, tea, and dessert, the cafe is also a studio for photography and a shop where they sell hand-made goods! The decorations in the cafe have a vintage/countryside aesthetic, so I can see how some photographers would want to do certain photoshoots here.

Anyway, if you're ever in the Sunabe/Chatan area by Kadena Gate 1, I suggest checking this place out. If not for the food and coffee, then just to meet Tora-chan and maybe take a photo with her. The owners like to take photos of guests/customers, with their permission, of course, which I thought was kind of a neat way to document visits. :)

wawa cafE (わわcafE) info
links: location via google maps, websitefacebook, instagram
tora's instagram

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (NYC Trip 2016)

statue of liberty, ellis island, ferry, new york city, nyc
Hello, Lady Liberty!

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View of Manhattan during the ferry ride

statue of liberty, ellis island, ferry, tourist, new york city, nyc

ellis island, immigration museum, statue of liberty, new york city, new york, nyc, tourist, things to do
Inside the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island

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Osprey flying around for fleet week. America!

battery park, new york city, statue of liberty, manhattan, ellis island, ferry, nyc
Heading back to Battery Park

Dallin and I visited NYC for Memorial Day Weekend 2016 on a 4-day/3-night trip. It also happened to be at the tail-end of fleet week, so it was interesting to see all the sailors walking around in their dress whites. Haha. I thought it was cute and reminded me of when Dallin was on sea duty. He doesn't really wear the whites anymore at his current shore duty station.

Dallin had never been to NYC, so we did tons of the typical touristy things, including visiting the Statue of Liberty. Let me just say that I hate waiting in long lines and being in large crowds. I visited once before and I guess I forgot how long it took to actually get on the ferry. Haha. Anyway, the weather was pretty nice and sunny. Also, it was so humid, though you'd think that we'd be used to it coming from Charleston, SC. But it was probably just as hot in NYC. Must be all the concrete absorbing/trapping all the heat? I have no idea. But it also stayed pretty humid at night as well! I guess I'm just a big baby when the weather isn't perfect (I thrive when the temperature is in the 70's and sunny).

I actually just uploaded the pictures from our trip onto my hard-drive about a week ago. Procrastinator problems? My hard-drive stopped working on my Macbook because of the format. And I just recently took care of it and reformatted it. Blah blah blah. But it's nice to see these forgotten pictures. :)

Lately I'm into reminiscing being back in the states. But I'll be sure to start posting about some of my experiences here in Okinawa as well!

Camping at Keowee-Toxaway State Park (SC)

lake keowee, south carolina, state park, camping, hiking
View of Lake Keowee. Can kind of see the jump-off rock where the boats are.

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View of Lake Keowee from the Raven Rock Trail. Absolutely beautiful!

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A gaggle of geese swimming by one morning.

camping, lake keowee, toxaway, state park, south carolina, marmot, tent, trees, ts-3, ts-003
My campsite, TS-3. Right on the water.

In June 2016, Dallin went away for a three-day weekend without me. Instead of following him, I decided to do my own thing. I was thinking about flying somewhere like Nashville or Washington D.C. or maybe driving to Savannah. But in the end, I had this crazy idea that I would go camping by myself at one of the SC State Parks. Thinking back on 2016, even I'm like, "what the heck was going on, Cathy?" Maybe I was going through a third-life crisis or something. I just wanted to see if I could handle it by myself. Worst-case scenario was that I would get scared and drive home after a day. (Actually, I guess the worst-case scenario would be getting murdered, but I wasn't too worried about that for some reason). When I told the people at work, they kind of looked at me with a concerned look in their eyes, but I assured them that I would be okay and that I could handle it. Haha. I'm not sure if they believed me, but I wasn't concerned. I think Dallin thought I was crazy for wanting to do something like this, but he was also very supportive. 

I reserved a trailside campsite TS-3 at Keowee-Toxaway State Park, which had a beautiful view of Lake Keowee. TS-3 probably has the best view of the lake out of the three trailside campsites, since it's at the end/point. These trailside campsites are only accessible by hiking the Raven Rock Trail or paddling there via canoe/kayak. So, they're kind of secluded, but not really. There was a lot boat traffic since it was summer and the weather was so nice, but also far enough from the actual trail that I don't think many people walked through. It was secluded but I also saw people all the time. Haha! Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I felt really safe and I didn't feel like my stuff was going to get stolen when I was gone for the day.

The hike to the campsite was rough, y'all. I think it's only a total of 2 miles to get to the site, but the Raven Rock Trail is described as "moderately strenuous," with a lot of ascending and descending. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't overpack. My pack was 50+ lbs because I haaaad to bring all the foods "just in case" and I brought a lot of other unnecessary things. Probably could've shaved off 10 lbs, at least! But I survived. And I think that if I can bring everything I needed to survive 2 nights and more, anyone can do it!

I really recommend camping at one of these trailside campsites at Keowee. Or even just day hiking the trail or hanging out on the lake. The lake is amazing for real. The weather was so hot and humid. Pretty miserable, to be honest. Haha. But the lake water is so cold and refreshing. Plus, it's very clean. I spent most of my second day swimming, after exploring the trail. Also, if you're feeling adventurous, there is a rock that people jump off from into the lake. It seemed pretty popular and a lot boats hung out near there. Fishing at the lake was pretty good, too. I caught and released bream, catfish, and bass. I even kept a bass and cooked it for dinner my first night. Two thumbs up from me!

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Proud AF of my bass. Haha.

Writing about this makes me miss SC even more. I think that if I had more time, I would've also camped, or at least visited, Lake Jocassee, which is a larger lake that actually feeds Lake Keowee (they're both man-made). But Devil's Fork State Park is apparently super popular and was booked solid! I have a lot of regret about not seeing more of South Carolina before I left. Haha... :( 

Does anyone else camping or hiking? Would you ever hike/camp solo? Also, what's your favorite trail? I'm so curious! :)

Happy New Year from Okinawa!

It's been almost a full year since the last time I posted. Haha. Crazy, crazy. So many things have happened since then, which is maybe why I kind of forgot about this blog. But I guess the biggest thing to happen was that I moved to Okinawa! Dallin and I had visited my parents in Okinawa in May 2015, which I talked about in this post, and I loved it. I tell everyone that Okinawa reminds me of a Japanese Hawaii. Hmm. Anyway, a job opened up here that was pretty much the same thing that I was already doing in Charleston. Thought it was fate. I decided to apply for it and got it. I've been here 6 months already, since July 2016! I almost can't believe it.

Honestly, it's been really tough. I left Dallin in Charleston. He's still with the Navy and also currently going to school to get his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. So, I mean, he kind of had no choice. We talked about it before I accepted the job offer and we both agreed for me to go. My parents are currently here and I thought it'd be so nice to be close to them for once. And it is! Also, I think that I want children one day, and I knew that it would be hard to do this overseas thing once they came into the picture. I kind of convinced myself that this was my perfect chance.

I have enjoyed my time so far here. Experienced a lot of cool things and ate a lot of food. Plus, I live by the ocean, which is a dream for me. Perfect. But I think that I had higher, and maybe unrealistic, expectations about how work was going to be. Which is probably why I'm so disappointed with my work situation right now. Lol. Sometimes I think about it and I think to myself, "I left Charleston and gambled my marriage for this?!" I don't want to say that I regret it, because I don't exactly. But it's been really fucking difficult at times and I have learned some really tough lessons. I didn't consider myself an optimist before or anything, but damn. I guess you can adjust and have low expectations and still be disappointed. I'm still learning to deal with that. :)

sunrise, okinawa, hamahiga island, pacific ocean, hatsuhinode, new year, japan

Dallin visited during the holidays, which I am so, so grateful for. We woke up early to experience hatsuhinode, which is welcoming the first sunrise of the new year, a tradition in Japan. Totally not a morning person at all, but it's supposed to be good luck and I'll take what I can get at this point. Haha. I drove us east to Hamahiga Island, which is connected to the main island of Okinawa by a bridge. I had no idea that this giant rock would be partially blocking our view. Haha. But I thought it was kind of funny and the view was still beautiful. As we watched the sky slowly light up from darkness, I thought about what I wanted for the upcoming year. By the time the sun rose above the horizon and the rock, I had set my intention, and it was simple: be happy.

Hope you all have a great year! :) We might not all get exactly what we want, but we keep on living!