Thursday, April 25, 2013

Food Trucks

The food truck scene is pretty big right now, especially in Portland.  There are several groups of them throughout the city and we tried one tonight for dinner!  We ate at the Venezuelan food truck and it was delicious!  This group of trucks had a BBQ truck, ice cream truck, Vietnamese food truck, Mexican food trucks, and a salon truck!  

Our delicious dinner.

Japanese Garden

We've been in Portland almost a week now and have officially fallen in love with it.  We are in a honeymoon stage because Andrez hasn't started working and we've been able to spend the days together doing what we want.  I have been looking for a job and we found an apartment that we'll move into next week.  We have also been driving around the city scouting out areas we might want to live in and looking at houses that we were interested in from internet searches.  We have also been able to have a bit of fun, and today, we went to the Japanese Garden.  It was, like most things in Portland, beautiful and it was fun seeing things, like shisa dogs and pagodas, that we saw in Japan for the three years we were there!  

To be honest, I'm not missing Okinawa as much as I would have thought.  I miss my friends like crazy, but as for Okinawa itself, not so much.  I seriously cannot believe how much easier things are in the states and how much I used to take things for granted!  Living in Okinawa has given me a whole new appreciation for how wonderful America is and how easy we have it!  I feel like Buddy the Elf going to places because I am just so excited to see so many varieties of everything--chapsticks, mascaras, vitamins, candy, Popchips flavors--everything!  In Okinawa, you had one or two (maybe three) choices on things and that was it!  I'm not complaining and I think I will miss that simplicity once we get more settled and real life starts, but for now, I'm loving living in land of the free and home of the brave!

My favorite picture!!

Mt. Hood and Portland!  We can't wait to go snowboarding!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


One of things I knew coming to Portland was that the food was good, I just didn't know it would be this GOOD! Andrez and I haven't had a bad meal yet! We have everything from Mexican food, Texas-style BBQ, pizza, and sandwiches with freshly baked bread! Here are some Instagram pictures of our food from the past couple of days!

Stay tuned for more posts like these! I think there's more really good meals in our near future!

Downtown Portland

Here are some pictures from my Instagram of a sunny day in downtown Portland.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

...Hello Portland!

After a beautiful drive from Seattle and through Washington, we made it to Portland!  I can't begin to describe how exciting it was to arrive to the city that Andrez and I have been researching and talking about for months.  It is so pretty with tons of evergreen trees and so many cute houses!  We spent our first night walking up and down NW 23rd and 21st Streets looking at some of the shops and eating and drinking at a couple of restaurants.  My first impressions of Portland are it's pretty cold, the food and beer are top notch, and I know that we made the right decision to come here.  I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and continue our adventures of exploring our new home!

Look how pretty the drive was!

Adorable house!


Yummy Mexican restaurant called Matador.

Andrez drinking a hand crafted beer at The Ram's Head.
Look at all of those cherry blossoms!

The Journey

After we had our sad take off from Okinawa, we made a couple of stops to other bases (we took a military flight home) one to Iwakuni and one to Yakota Air Base.  We were able to take the pups on little walks for both layover before the 8 hour and 45 minute flight from Yokota Air Base.  It was nice have the shorter "test" flights for the pups to see how they were doing and to know that they were okay.  The flights went great, but I think that Willis and Lucy are happy to not have to fly again!  Once we arrived in Seattle, we were able to get them pretty quickly after getting our luggage and they both seemed to enjoy getting to stretch their little legs on a walk around the airport.  Once we got the dogs and pups, we picked up a rental car and were on our way to Portland!

Our last moments on Japan!

Goodbye Okinawa...

We officially said goodbye to our home in Okinawa two days ago.  I have been in a weird fog of excitement for our new adventure and sadness for closing out a wonderful chapter of our lives and I think it is because we are making such big life changes.  Andrez and I have been so busy our last couple of weeks in Okinawa selling our cars, checking out, organizing our house, getting our house packed out, painting our house, and trying to spend as much time possible with our friends that I really didn't have much time to take in saying goodbye to our little island.  Our last few nights we went to dinner with our closest friends and reminisced over all of our good times and memories, it was a nice break from our daily never ending to do's!  The saddest parts of leaving Okinawa were saying my final "see you later" to my friends and taking off at the airport and watching Okinawa disappear as we went into the sky!  BUT we left with our passports full and friends and memories that will last a lifetime!

Here are a couple of pictures from our last days on Oki!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I'm Going Through Changes

About 6 months ago, Andrez informed me that he wanted to get out of Marine Corps after 4 years.  We had planned on him staying in as long as he liked it and was happy, so I figured he would stay in a little longer.  He loved being a Marine, but he was ready to move on.  So here we are, less than a week left on Okinawa, Japan getting ready to transition from being a military couple living in Okinawa, Japan to a civilian couple living in Portland, OR--and we couldn't be more excited about it!  We have gotten several questions regarding the decisions we have made and about our move, so here are some of the most common questions and the answers!

Why is Andrez getting out of the Marine Corps?  The Marine Corps is cutting down in size, due to budget cuts and the fact that we are only in one war now, as opposed to two, and soon will be in none. After being passed on a board to stay in, he decided that it just wasn't meant to be and that he was ready to do something else.  He pulled his name from the next board he was supposed to be on to stay in the Marines and focused all of his energy on finding a new career outside of the Marines!

So, does he have a job then?  He does!  He will be a supervisor for the county in Portland doing distribution and logistics.  In the Marines, he was a logistician, and loved it, so it really helped prep him for getting an amazing career outside of the military.

Why are you moving to Portland and not back home to Las Vegas?  Once he decided for sure he was getting out, we realized that we had an opportunity to start our new life anywhere we wanted to!  We loved growing up in Las Vegas and used to think we would never leave, but after living in Virginia and Okinawa, we knew we wanted to live somewhere different.  We wanted to be close to our families, but did not want to live in a desert, super hot climate, or in California.  We got interested in the Pacific Northwest because it's beautiful, a more temperate climate, and it was close to the coast.  We debated about whether Seattle or Portland would be a better fit, and after some research, we decided on Portland.

We have actually never been there and are taking a huge risk starting the next chapter of our lives here, but we feel confident that we are going to fall in love with the city.  We imagine it's a city, but with a small town feel.  We like that there are farmer's markets, a river, snowboarding a short drive away (Mt. Hood), Seattle and San Francisco are close by, Las Vegas is a 2 hour flight, and it seems like it's diverse and a melting pot of different people and cultures, something we've become accustomed to being part of the military.

Are you nervous or worried about this transition?  We are both at peace with our decision, and especially since Andrez has a job, it makes this move fun, not scary or stressful.  Our biggest stress may come from house hunting and finding a home we can both agree on!  (He wants a fixer upper, I want move-in ready!)

Will Willis and Lucy get to come with you?  Willis and Lucy will both be on the plane headed to the states with us next weekend.  They are our family and we wouldn't leave without them!

Are you going work?  I would like to work.  I have the luxury of taking my time and finding something that I love, so I am going to do just that.  I would like to go visit my family and a friend who is moving to Seattle, so I'm not in a huge rush, but I would like to make some spending/saving money for us sooner than later.  I have applied for a couple positions that are similar to my job in Okinawa being a volunteer liaison and coordinator, but I haven't really heard back.  I think I will have more luck once I am actually living in Portland!

With this blog, I'm hoping to show our trials and tribulations of moving to a new city, buying a house, sharing our transition from living in a foreign country for 3 years, and give me an outlet and place to show and talk about all of the new things we learn and fun places we discover!  Here's to a wonderful last week in Okinawa, Japan!