Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (NYC Trip 2016)

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Hello, Lady Liberty!

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View of Manhattan during the ferry ride

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Inside the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island

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Osprey flying around for fleet week. America!

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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)

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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.

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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. :)

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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!