So, we moved in to our apartment on April 25th. We had been in the Lodge since April 6th. That doesn't really seem like a long time, but the room is only so big for a family of 6. We did have a separate bedroom, but the kids all slept in one room. Fro most families, I'm guessing this is the "living room." The kitchen was a tiny thing, with a table for only 2. I'm not complaining about it, because it was wonderful of our sponsors to line it up for us. It was on the base where Steven would be working, so that was convenient. There was a small playground by the lodge, a library, and a huge dip in the ground where we played lots of inventive games.
Anyway, for the day of the move, Steven was told that he needed to be there. This was extremely generous of his command, and doesn't always happen. Otherwise, it would have been me emptying the Lodge and greeting the movers with all 4 kids in tow. And when you're expecting movers, you better be there early. Steven planned on getting to the apartment at 8am, but the movers were there by 7:30ish! Our neighbor messaged me through facebook and let us know we were late! I am pretty sure that he showed up right before they were planning on leaving.
Luckily, our Express Shipment had arrived already so we had a few things from home. In our situation, we were not allowed to pack any furniture or mattresses for this shipment. Basically, it's the necessities: utensils, towels, sheets, blankets, pots, pans, plates, bowls, cups, etc. I am a part of a Chaplain Spouse group that offered their loan items to me. We went to the Kadena Air Base Loan Closet to get a few loaner items. We received a few more utensils, laundry basket, pitcher, and a toaster. This service is free and you can check them out for 30 days. We had to extend that by a few weeks, but that was taken care of with a phone call.
Another popular option is Okinawa Yard Sales or Okinawa Bookoo (they are one and the same). We purchased our van, our car, a couch and chair, bunk beds, and a loft bed through this. We don't need new items. We went to the furniture store on Foster, but it's just too expensive. I wanted to buy a nice rug, but ended up buying one that was stained just because I still have young children and there's going to be spills! No reason to buy expensive and new when cheap and used will serve it's purpose.
At the Housing Brief Steven went to, they sent home a list of government furniture we were allowed to borrow. (Here's a good link about what it looks like.)We are also allowed to keep whatever items we want for the duration of our tour here. We chose to keep a dresser, a dresser with a mirror, and a nightstand. The day that we met the movers, they also dropped off mattresses, a couch, chair, end table, desk, dining chairs, and a dining table. It is decent stuff. I was afraid that it would be gross and/or grimy, but it wasn't. I really think they must do a good job of cleaning stuff up. My only complaint is that the bed is SO uncomfortable!
We also had to borrow the fridge, stove, washer and dryer. We were not even allowed to bring our own appliances to Okinawa.
Finally, home! Well, sort of. Not all of our stuff was here, but it was still nice to be out of the Lodge, out on our own!