Thursday, May 26, 2016

25 May 2016 - Awesome and Long Day

We had our usual breakfast at the hotel, Bishop Igor picked us up at the hotel at around 1315 and we headed first to the town of Stara Pazova. It was a pleasant drive through Belgrade and the Serbian countryside. We first stopped at the market to get goodies and snacks for post service fellowship. We met a kid that Bishop Jerry knew his father, which was cool. We then headed to Slavisha and Maria’s house to meet with them and talk with them before the service began at 1700. Slavisha had been called away, so it was only Maria, her son Sasha and her daughter Ana and Slavish’s grandmother. 

It was very nice to talk with them and learn about them, and they got to learn about Bishop Jerry and I. We had many delicious cookies and pastries, with orange juice to pass the time away. Then at 1655, we got changed into our vestments and people started to arrive for the service. Bishop Igor briefed us on the order of the services, where the confirmation service would be held within the services, and when Bishop Jerry and I would read our sermons. The service went really well, and my sermon did too. I was a tiny bit nervous at first, but I was able to cast the nervousness aside, and preach the sermon. I had four pages written down, but because of translation, it ended up only being two, but it went over well. So did Bishop Jerry’s sermon, which was excellent.  Bishop Jerry confirmed about 6 people at this service and we had Holy Communion.

In our vestments, we were really hot and sweating and at the end of the service, I thought, finally, we can take the vestments off. No such luck, as there were photo ops to be had with Miroslav, Vera, Sara and the parishioners. It was a really good time though, and soon we had cookies and Pepsi. Vera helped me to pour a Pepsi, when I had almost knocked my cup off the wooden board, from trying to pour it. She held the cup for me, so I could pour it! 

The time flew away and soon we were on our way to Jhenko's, who was the former Chief of Police for Croatia. It was a very pleasant and scenic drive through the countryside, and soon we got to the house, which was called Etna, or Peaceful House. It was a beautiful Balkan style house. We were ushered inside by Jhenko, and he was very very nice. We met his wife Rima, and she was very nice as well. I believe she is the grand-niece or daughter of Mikhail Kalishkanov, but she was very nice. We were taken into the back room where there was a long table. First we had bread before our meal, but were warned not to eat too much of it. For the main course, we had goat meat, and other meats, and a wonderful soup and salad, that Rima had all made. I also had the chance to have some slevovich, a Serbian cognac and some Serbian beer. All was very delicious! And there were other guests, a policewoman, and friends of Jhenko and Rima’s, who were very nice, and Sara’s grandpa and grandma.

Then also I got to meet Jhenko and Rima’s daughter Alexandra, who is a couple of years younger than me, and a year younger than Sara. She was very nice and kind. I got to talk to her and Sara later, and we had wonderful conversations about ourselves, and it was a wonderful time! All too soon, Bishop Igor showed up and after we took some pictures, he announced we were going back to the hotel. We had arrived at Etna House at 1917, and we left Etna House at 2324! We did not get back to the hotel until 0015, but I got a nice 7.5-8 hours of sleep.

I had an awesome day, I think the best so far!  I love this chance to see Serbia and all the AOC Serbia people, especially Bishop Igor, Miroslav and Vera, and Sara, all of whom I consider family in Christ and they fell the same way.

Looking forward to seeing you all, but enjoying the remaining time here.

Posh Kandaroog out for the day!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 21 2016- A Day of Teaching and Learning!

Saturday was another wonderful day on this amazing trip. We got up at our usual time and had breakfast in the hotel at 0800. It has been a very enjoyable experience in Serbia thus far. I cannot remember the last time I had this much fun, laughter and learning on this trip. To actually meet the Serbian people and experience their wonderful country is a treasure that I will always keep me. Bishop Igor picked us up at 0910 and took us out of the Old Belgrade and into the newer part and out of the city, to the outskirts, where his flat is. This is where he holds services in Belgrade and teaches youth groups. It is a nice little apartment and he had drinks and snacks. The program would start at 1000, but it was nice to have fellowship with the attendees, which were Miroslav, his wife Vera, their daughter Sara, Milan, a theological seminary student, Jovan, the Biblical Culture Center Director, and of course + Igor, + Jerry an myself.

+Jerry started the program off with a prayer and then began talking about the history of first the Anglican Church from the very beginning, then led into a history of the Anglican Orthodox Church and finally talked about the differing bibles, so that his talk would dove-tail into my talk on the Received Text. After his talk, we had a fifteen minute break, and I had some drinks and snacks, and chatted with Milan and Sara, two very nice people. Sara has near flawless English which is amazing, and far more than I can say about my Serbian. ;) We talked about a wide variety of subjects, drinks, candy and caffeine. Then before I knew it, it was time for me to give my presentation.

The presentation went well and Milan acted as my interpreter. Occasionally I would have to stop my talk and re-phrase my sentence to make it easier to translate. The subject I was teaching about is a pretty detailed subject, so unfortunately I ran into time limitations, but I did have time to answer some very interesting questions from Jorvan and Bishop Jerry also helped me to clarify what areas of my presentation went. That concluded my presentation and I believe it was very well received. We then had snacks and drinks and had some more fellowship and also had some delicious pizza. Miroslav is quite a funny fellow. I was sitting in my chair minding my own business, when I hear him make some sort of a remark to his wife Vera.

The next thing I know, I hear the scraping of knife blades and I look up to see Vera scraping the knives together. Miroslav ran over and grabbed me and lead me to the door, all in joking of course, to get away from Vera with the knife. He did the same thing to + Jerry and it was quite hysterical. All too soon though, we had to move on to the next appointment, which was in downtown Belgrade. Miraslov and Vera joined us. It was about a 15 minute drive to the Cultural Center of Belgrade, and it was a bit tricky to find parking, but we found it.

We met with Sergei, who was the director of the Cultural Center and a very interesting fellow. He walked us through the various levels of the Cultural center and showed us the rooms where they had kids making comics, rooms where they could hold concerts with 500 + people and put on drama productions and read books. It was an absolutely amazing facility and we talked about the importance of culture to a national identity. Then he took us over to the Politika building, where his wife works as a journalist on the paper. This is the national newspaper of Serbia I believe. We went up to the 15th floor and went into a bar and ordered drinks. I had a Losak Czech beer which was pretty good. Sergei explained that only drinks were served here, no food whatsoever. It had an amazing view of the city.

We had a wonderful time chatting about our respective countries and I learned that the reason that Serbian people smoke so much was due to the influence of the Ottoman Empire. Before the Ottomans, they did not have tobacco and opium and after the Ottomans, they had tobacco and opium. Sergei is a very wonderful person to talk to. Then we met his wife Mili, who and I found common ground in discussing Prague. It turned out that her grand mother was from Prague, just like our Grandpa A.C! Very cool!

We eventually had to take our leave of Sergei and Mili and we headed back to Igor's flat to drop off Miraslov and Vera and said our goodbyes to them and Sara and then we headed back to Belgrade where we picked up Jorvan, who we had met at the meeting earlier that morning, and took him back to the hotel restaurant to have discussions with him. He showed us videos he made on the symbolism of the cross, as the Director of the Biblical Cultural center, and explained he was making children's stories based on Bible stories, which I thought was very cool. We had some drinks and this time I had a Felen beer, a Serbian beer, which was good.

We talked for a couple of hours, then +Igor and Jorvan said their goodbyes. It was sad to see them go, as we could easily have talked for days on various subjects. We had dinner at the hotel, and I had a T-Bone steak and + Jerry had spaghetti, which was amazing, according to him. This marked an end to yet another epic day in Serbia!

Over and Out,

The Posh Kandaroog

22 May 2016 - Trinity Sunday - Consecration of Bishop Igor Djurcik to be Bishop of Serbia and Macedonia

The consecration of Bishop Igor went very very well today. I got only a couple of pictures, which I will send tomorrow in the hotel breakfast room which has better wi-fi reception, faster for sending. Bishop Igor was only a few minutes late, a bit of a habit of his, but not too late. We went to his flat to pick up the snacks and food for the consecration party! Then we went over to the church and began to prepare and set up, and wait until it begun. The service went very well. I did the opening collect, the first gospel reading, the Prayer for the Confession of Sins and the first after communion prayer. Afterwards, we had a lot of food, and I got to talk with a new person called Slavisha, he was extremely funny and very nice. We got pictures with the orthodox seminary students who attended, met some of the youth music group. After we had the pictures, Mirasov’s wife, Vera came up to + Jerry and I and insisted we eat and drink. I think the Serbian Anglicans have got our concept of snacks down very well!

I talked with a couple of people and Miraslov and Vera’s daughter Sara, who is very very nice, about my age and pretty, about a wide amount of stuff. Her mom Vera noticed that I had eaten all of my snacks while talking to Sara, so she got me a couple of plates of snacks and drink. While she doesn’t speak much English, she has spoken all she knows. I told Sara I would work on my Serbian for next time.  Bishop Jerry and I had a very good time with everyone. We had dinner at the McDonald’s just near our hotel and I am getting ready for the day tomorrow, the flight to Skopje!

21 May 2016 - Day of Education

More will follow on this; however Jack and Bishop Jerry taught classes in Belgrade.

20 May 2016 - Trip to Niš

Today was the day that we would make the trek to Nis. Nis was the birthplace of Emperor Constatine and according to Bishop Elect Igor, it was the birthplace of Phillip, father of Alexander the Great. Our drive through beautiful Serbian countryside down to Nis took about 2 and a half hours with a stop for coffee at a local McDonalds, then picked up Igor's friend Nikola, a seminary student at a Orthodox seminary. We drove through a mountain village called Knel Kazlo (might be different, but from memory), a classical Turkish village. (This had been made during the occupation of Serbia by the Ottoman Empire.) We then went and saw an old church that had been there during the Turkish invasion I think during World War I or before. Then we went up to an old church that they believe dates from the 12th century, with a Byzantine dome, that had a high view. We saw a mountain in the distance that according to Igor, over that mountain was Bulgaria. Then we went back down dropped off Nikola, and went to Leskovac to meet the Serbian Orthodox Priest and the Baptist priest. We got a tour of the two Orthodox churches

One of the orthodox churches was a chimney church, which was built in disguise during the Ottoman Empire's occupation as Christianity was underground, but the Turks never thought to look under the chimney. Then we saw their new church, which was very large and beautiful on the inside. We got to see in both churches where the Orthodox priests conduct their mass services and got an explanation of what is on their holy table. Then we went over to meet with the Baptist group, and have +Jerry preach and have fellowship, with a lot of wonderful snacks. We then went out to dinner with the Orthodox priest, the Baptist priest and Igor and us, and we had the largest hamburgers I have ever seen. And they claimed they were small!. I napped for about 1.5 hours on the way back to Belgrade and when we got back to the hotel, it was around midnight when I went to bed and got settled in the hotel room.

It was a very wonderful day.

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

Friday, May 20, 2016

20 May 2016 - Early Bird Report after Niš

I just got back into my hotel room after the three hour drive back from Niš. Niš is the city of southern Serbia and the third-largest city in Serbia. It is the administrative center of the Nišava District.

It was an incredible day, but I will make the blog post sometime tomorrow. We basically had a wonderful 2.5 hour drive through beautiful Serbian countryside down to Niš, then picked up Igor’s friend Nikola, a seminary student at a Orthodox seminary. We then went and saw an old church that had been there during the Turkish invasion I think during World War I or before. Then we went up to an old church that they believe dates from the 12th century, with a Byzantine dome, that had a high view. We saw a mountain in the distance that according to Igor, over that mountain was Bulgaria. Then we went back down dropped off Nikola, and went to Lscaboitz to meet the Serbian Orthodox Priest and the Baptist priest. We got a tour of the two Orthodox churches.

One of the orthodox churches was a chimney church, which was built in disguise during the Ottoman Empire’s occupation as Christianity was underground, but the Turks never thought to look under the chimney. Then we saw their new church and then we went over to meet with the Baptist group, and have +Jerry preach and have fellowship. We then went out to dinner with the Orthodox priest, the Baptist priest and Igor and us, and we had the largest hamburgers I have ever seen. And they claimed they were small. I napped for about 1.5 hours on the way back to Belgrade. I will be headed off to bed soon, because tomorrow is the day I will be giving the talk about the manuscript evidence. Because of translation, I will cut short the presentation. It will be an epic day tomorrow and I love you guys! Hello to everyone! 😊

Over and out for the night!

The Posh Kandaroog

Thursday, May 19, 2016

19 May 2016 - Today's adventures!

The Danube River

Today was a most wonderful and amazing day. I woke up around 0615 and got ready and dressed for today's events. Today was the first day of the trip I will wear my clerical collar! I hung out in the room for a bit, then headed downstairs to the first floor for breakfast. The Park Hotel in Belgrade has one of the most amazing complimentary breakfasts I have ever eaten. They had a variety of foods, that consisted of different kinds of sausage links, ham, fried broccoli, bread, pastries, eggs fried and scrambled, and orange and a dark berry juice of some sort. And of course, coffee. I got there at 0755 to have breakfast with Bishop Jerry. He arrived shortly and we had a most wonderful breakfast.

After which, we decided to wait outside and walk up and down our street, in anticipation of Igor's 1030 arrival. The city is amazingly beautiful! It is such a cool city, old and full of history. Just seeing the various people and activity that is happening in the city was cool to watch. The people, men and women, dress differently than those in the States. We have found they dress to a higher standard and dress really nicely. They also seem to walk with energy in their step.

We waited for about thirty minutes then we decided to wait in our room for Igor to arrive. So I spent the next forty five minutes in my room, listening to music and surfing the web, when I got a phone call at the front desk at 1000. Somebody was here! I wasn't sure if it was Bishop Jerry or Igor, so I went downstairs to investigate. It turned out it was Igor! We got in the car and headed towards Stara Pazova, our first stop of the day. It was about a 45 minute drive from Belgrade. It was where we would be meeting our first AOC people of the trip, Miraslov and Vera. It was a very, very wonderful drive, seeing the beautiful Serbian green country side, which was pretty flat, with some rolling hills, but still beautiful.

The drive went pleasantly, and after a few phone calls, it turned out our friends were in the next village over, so we went a few more miles to see them. They were in front of their local post office. Miraslov is a very kind man, middle aged, but handsome. His wife Vera is very lovely and beautiful and very kind. They were warm and welcoming, and Igor acted as translator during our time. They radiate warmth, though I can't understand what they say directly, I could tell they were very welcoming. Our first stop was a monument to the First Battle of Slankamen, the village we were in. This was a battle from the Serbian-Austrian and Turkish conflicts of the late 17th, early 18th century. The Serbian-Austrian army numbered about 10,000 and were outnumbered about 2:1 by the opposing Turkish army.

According to Miraslov and Vera, the Austrians had the Serbians go first into battle, because in those times, the Serbians always attacked first. It turned out to be a major victory for Austrians and Serbians. The Turkish forces were defeated. We learned the monument was built on a mass grave of the Turkish dead. Miraslov also mentioned people have came up from Belgrade to find remains of the battle. He also mentioned when his father was farming the fields nearby, when he was young, he uncovered graves of Turkish soldiers from the battle.

Next we headed towards the Danube River, which was now in sight. We were specifically headed to an Orthodox church near the Danube. This was part of the Slankaman Village, which in the olden days, used to be a part of Hungary I learned. The villages we drove through reminded me greatly of the villages I saw in Germany, but I much preferred the quiet country feel of the Serbian villages we drove through. The road took us on a scenic route towards the Church, and as we got close to the church, we could see the Danube River, which was a gorgeous site.

The church we visited was built in 1486 and is dedicated to St. Nicholas. That is right, the man who inspired Santa Claus. He was a great man who was known as a protector of sailors and other people. I learned more about St. Nicholas, that he was a clergyman and wore red and a white collar. This is why Santa Claus wears a red suit and a white collar! The church was beautiful on the inside, but was undergoing renovation and we met the priest of the church. He was wearing overalls and was a kindly older man. He had a paint brush in hand and was working on painting outside of the church. We also met here Miraslov and Vera's daughter Sara who was very kind, nice and beautiful. She has a very kind personality and could act as a translator for her parents to us.

Then after we visited the church, we headed down to a restaurant on a boat on the river Danube to discuss the status of the AOC churches in Serbia with Miraslov and Vera. Needless to say it was a very productive and wonderful meeting that was interspersed with delightful chatter. We continued to learn about how the area we were in used to be occupied by Hungary, and also we learned part of Serbia where we visited the Battle monument had been occupied by Turkey. A lot of very interesting stories!

For lunch, we ate there and had fish soup, which was surprisingly very delicious. The only thing was we had to be careful and pick the tiny fish bones out of the meat! Then we had our meals, and I had fried fish and salad, while Bishop Jerry had fried chicken and fries. I learned the fish soup and the fried fish was a Hungarian staple food and this type of food is left over from when this area used to be part of Hungary.

After this, we headed to a older lady's house and had a confirmation service. She was a very lovely and kind lady, named Meranya, who was stuck in a wheel chair and was sick. But despite this, she was very cheerful and upbeat and had an epic sense of humor. She made us all laugh, and we had drinks and sweets. I had my first taste of Serbian beer and Turkish coffee, and these little square chocolate/frosted treats which were wonderful. Meranya and Miraslov and Sara exchanged a bunch of stories that were very funny and very interesting. We spent quite a few hours in the early evening there. Then we eventually departed and dropped Sara off at her home, then stopped on our way and met MIrasov's father. He was also very wonderful and very kind.

Then we said our good byes again to Mirasov and Vera, whom we will see later on this week. We headed back to our hotel and I am preparing to get ready for bed to get rest for tomorrow's adventures. Tomorrow we are headed to explore Nis, Emperor Constantine's birthplace, and see some churches and other features, then headed to meet another group of people the AOC in Serbia people know. It should be a wonderful day.

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

18 May 2016 - The epically long journey

Hi All,

I'm just checking in at the Park Hotel in Belgrade. So far it is really nice, the room is small but cozy. The hot shower works wonderfully and I am refreshened after our 14+ hour journey from San Diego, CA for me, and Enterprise, AL for Bishop Jerry. My day really started at 0230 when I awoke and got ready and left the house at around 0307. We arrived at KSAN around 0403 and I was checked in and past security and at the gate by 0430. So I ended up getting a White Mocha from Peet's Coffee to start off my day.

My first flight Delta 978 departed around 0615 for Salt Lake City. It was a hardly full flight, which was very nice, because I had an empty middle seat between my seat mate and I. It was a pretty uneventful flight and we got into Salt Lake around 0900. I was off the airplane by 0925, and had just enough time to use the restroom and then head over to the gate for my flight to Detroit, which boarded at around 0950. We departed around 1005 for Detroit and this time it was a completely full flight! Every seat on the airplane was pretty much taken.

This was a bit of a longer trek compared to the San Diego to Salt Lake flight, but I passed the time by surfing the internet on Delta's wi-fi and listening to music and eating snacks and drinking complementary soft drinks. Eventually, we arrived at Detroit at around 1525. I got off the plane and set off to look for Bishop Jerry. I found him at Gate A28 and it was a pleasure to meet up with him. We were soon talking the rest of the time before our flight to Paris away. Eventually, We boarded the flight to Paris at 1730, which would be my first flight on a Airbus A330. We were seated in the Comfort Plus row which was really comfortable and we had a very lovely meal of a vegetarian pasta, with a salad, and a small dessert for our dinner. I then got some shut eye and Bishop Jerry watched a movie. I slept about a couple of hours on this leg, and between the other legs, another couple of hours. This was a very pleasant flight!

We got into Charles DeGaulle Airport at around 0725 the morning of Wednesday May 18. Except, CDG airport is a very large and sprawled out airport, which meant it took time for us to taxi to our gate. Then we had to get out and find out where our flight to Belgrade was at. We found it was in Terminal 1D, which necessitated we go through a transfer security, which was quick and efficient, then take a shuttle bus that seemed to take us all the way around the airport until we got to Terminal 1D. Once inside, we found very nice and clean facilities, a wonderful little coffee shop where we had coffee whilst waiting for the check in agents, so we could get our boarding passes for our Air Serbia Flight 311 to Belgrade.

We passed the time away drinking our coffees and chatting, but soon we saw the ticket agents walk up and we went over and after waiting in a line, we got our boarding passes. This was a strange boarding, as we did not hear them call the boarding, but just saw passengers being allowed to board, so we quickly got in line and joined the boarding que. We were seated in seats 4C, and 4 D, which were aisle seats just across from each other. The AirSerbia crew was very polite, attractive and all very nice.

It took a while to get ready, but once we did, I was excited about the trip onto Belgrade. Once in the air, we had a meal which for us consisted of, fresh fruit, Serbian cheese, beef ham and smoked chicken filet, served with fusilli pasta salad, which was epically delicious. Then we had a unique Serbian treat of a Sesame bar, which had a rich chocolatey taste to it!

It was a 2.5 hour flight to Belgrade and both Bishop Jerry and I were extremely pleased to be on the ground at our final destination. We then got off the plane and headed to passport control which had a bit of a line when we got there, but then it grew. Luckily, for both Bishop Jerry and myself, it was pretty quick and painless. We then headed to the baggage claim and claimed our luggage, which was relatively quick to appear. The next stop was the customs stop, which went smoothly and then we were out of the area and in the meeting area. Igor met us there and helped us take the luggage to the car. We then started our drive towards the Park Hotel. The airport is about 20 km from downtown Belgrade, so we got a beautiful view of the Serbian countryside and cool views of the city coming in.

We got to the hotel and are checked in. I just took a shower and got everything all settled in, power wise. The wi-fi works, but is slow, so it may be tricky to post photos. But this has been such an epic trip so far. I look forward to posting more about it. I think we have a couple of hours to ourselves, then we are not sure what the plan is. Just turned on Bob, so you should be able to see our location now.

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

17 May 2016 - On the way to CDG! Onboard DL98 w 6 + 40 to go!

You can track them HERE!

17 May 2016 - Enroute Paris!

Dynamic Duo joined up in Detroit and are now aboard Delta 98 bound for Paris!  You can track them HERE!

17 May 2016 - Onboard DL 1794 SLC-DTW

17 May 2016 - First leg of trip! Onboard DL978 in 22C to SLC

17 May 2016 - The Saga Begins

Jack arrived at SAN airport at 0403, even though it looks light out, it was not.  However, he was wide awake and ready to go!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Journey to AOC Serbia, Macedonia and France

On 17 May 2016, Jack and Bishop Jerry Ogles will start on their epic IG Inspection Tour of AOC churches in Serbia, Macedonia and France, returning on 29 May 2016.  They will start very early in the morning of Tuesday 17 May 2016, from their respective homes, joining in Detroit (a Third World City, if ever there was one).  Assuming they make it safely out of there, they travel to Charles DeGaulle Airport near Paris, change planes and fly to Belgrade, Serbia.  They are there about a week, then fly to Macedonia, back to Belgrade, then to Paris.  There are many parishes to visit and people to meet with.  Stay tuned!



Sunday, April 17, 2016

17 April 2017 - The Traveler Returns

Another Epic Journey draws to a close.

17 April 2016 - Sunrise on United 33

This is almost real time as Jack and UAL 33 cross into the light of day for 17 April 2016, for the second time.  Only fair since he missed last Friday almost all together!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

17 April 2016 - At Gate 37 at Narita and beyond!

This is Gate 37 at Narita while Jack was waiting to board United Airlines Flight 33, with a scheduled 1700 JST push which can be tracked HERE.  Sadly, the were an hour late, getting airborne at 1802 JST for an estimate arrival in Los Angeles at 1116 PDT, with any luck.  On the other hand, he has a fairly long layover before the flight to San Diego, so no worries.  The biggest news of the flight is just ahead of him boarding was the creator of Star Wars George Lucas.

17 April 2016 - The Epic Return Journey Begins!

Jack is safely airborne out of Naha, more or less on schedule.  Looks like he will be in to Tokyo - Narita a couple minutes early at 1401 JST.  He is on All Nippon 2158, which can be tracked HERE.

The next leg will be United Airlines Flight 33, with a 1700 JST push which can be tracked HERE.  That puts him in to Los Angeles at 1259 PDT, with any luck.  They have been getting in about 30 minutes early this time of year, so we will see.  Given the push time is 0100 here at Current Operations, unless Jack posts something, there will be no update until after mid-flight.

Then on Sunday afternoon, Jack boards United Flight 5416 which can be tracked HERE at 1526 PDT for his final leg into SAN, arriving in San Diego at 1737 PDT according to Flightaware.  On the other hand, UAL says the times are two hours earlier.  Guess we will find out tomorrow!

17 April 2016 - The last day on Okinawa for a while!

Beni Emo Ice Cream to cap off the Okinawa Visit at Naha Airport

Getting a nigiri and a drink at Naha Airport

Kurt, Jack and Mary at Naha airport!

On the way to Naha Airport, driving throughh the area of the Shuri Defense line.. This was where the Japanese Army made their defense against the American advance 71 years ago..

On the right of the photo where the water tank is, is I believe Sugar Loaf Hill, a major battle site during the Battle for Okinawa.

The start of the Shuri Defense Line.. Fighting went from ridgeline to ridgeline for as far as the eye can see.

The view out the window, different from home.  I am going to miss Okinawa and my friends there!

Friday, April 15, 2016

16 April 2016 - The Earthquake

Last night in southern Japan, on the big island of Kyushu, there were multiple earthquakes, the biggest being a 6.2 that struck at 9:26 PM. There is no tsunami danger resulting from these quakes, and Kyushu is about 400 miles from Okinawa. This means that all of you on Okinawa need to prepare yourselves for a massive tidal wave that will take place over the next 24 hours. This tidal wave will take the form of an enormous deluge of phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages from friends and family in the USA and elsewhere, all desperately seeking confirmation that you've survived the terrible earthquake and non-existent tsunami. To help everyone on Okinawa, OTPI is providing this handy graphic that will help to reassure everyone you know that there was no earthquake in Okinawa, that you are in no danger, and that this event has no connection whatsoever to Andy Richter (as of this time we can neither confirm nor deny that Conan O'Brien may have somehow been involved). On a serious note, our thoughts and prayers are with the all people in Kyushu who were directly affected by these earthquakes. We hope that the damage to their homes and businesses can be repaired soon and that there are no further injuries or fatalities. Whenever these sort of things happen, people always ask us where they can send donations. In this case though, none are necessary, as it seems that the Japanese government and their disaster response teams have the situation well under control. - Angie Gross

15 April 2016 - The Day's Events

Yesterday was a pretty interesting day. Got up around the usual time after a restless night's sleep and had my usual coffee and oatmeal for breakfast. 

We hung around the house until about 1000 and then went down the hill to near Naha for Jaiden and Emme's dental appointments. When we got down there, there were only three parking spaces in front of the dental place and only about the same in back. And the parking areas down there are limited to each business, so we couldn't park in the next door burger area for instance. We waited for a gentlemen who was finishing up his dental appointment to come out, move his car and leave, which he did.

We went inside and waited and eventually Emme and Jaiden went back. It turned out that Emme had gotten a tooth pulled, which meant that she would be having a liquid diet for some time, which meant we would have an ice cream stop! 

After we left the dentists, we went to this amazing shop called Don Quiote, which is like a Japanese Wal Mart, full of amazing things and it has a grocery store in there too! We were there to acquire some candy for me to bring back. I found a whole bunch of epic candy to bring back! I promise you it will be epically delicious! We drove back to Camp Foster to pick up Kurt and we went down to the Spot, which has a cleaners, a pizza hut, and a Baskin Robbins. We went to the Baskin Robbins and I had an Oreo Cookies and Cream Ice Cream which was delicious!

After eating our ice cream, we went back to Kurt's work to drop him off, then we headed home. We just hung out at home for the rest of the day, and I had delicious shasmi for dinner and rice and triple spicy wasabi. Little did Kurt, Mary and I know there was already a dab of wasabi on our rice, which was under our shisimi, so when we ate the shasmi, we got double spiced! And I also had some ramen for dinner! Then afterwards, Nyah, Jaiden, Emma and I played a game of Monopoly. After about an hour into the game, we were all fairly tied up in property/money value, though Nyah had the most money, so we declared a tie and ended the game. I went up and got ready for bed and went to sleep after another epic day at the Thomas household!

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

Thursday, April 14, 2016

14 April 2016 - A fun day at Fukushu-en Park!

Yesterday morning I got up at about 0645 and went downstairs and had my coffee. I had a breakfast of filling oatmeal along with my coffee. I then learned we were going to meet our friend Angie Gross and her husband Greg and her son Peyton at a ramen noodle restaurant near their house, then go to this cool place called Fukushu-En Park, which would turn out to be an epically beautiful place! We hung around the house until it was time to leave, then we we had to get gas and yen for Mary along the way, and hopefully delay our arrival until 1100.

We got to the restaurant sooner than expected at 1030 and sat in the parking lot and awaited the Gross' arrival. The time flew by and before we knew it, we saw Angie and her family drive up. The restaurant was very interesting with Japanese art hanging on the walls and it was a small restaurant, but there were quite a few choices on the menu. I ended up going with Angie's recommendation of spicy ramen soup, level 3 hot! It was sure very good for cleaning out my nose locker, that is for sure! It was extremely delicious!

After we ate and talked a bit, we split up and Greg went home and Angie and Peyton went with us to Fukushu-en park. Fukushu-en Park was one of the most awesome parks I have ever been too. It is a large park that you walk through, around a large pond, which is surrounded by awesome towers and pagodas. It definitely had a bit of a feudal Japan vibe. The park is at least 600 years old from what I hear. We got to feed furtles, fish and pigeons with fish food from dispensers! It was pretty awesome! We spent about an hour there just walking around and looking at the fish and turtles. There was also two very cool towers, which you could go inside and look up from the bottom!!

After the park, we stopped by Angie's house to drop her and Peyton off and also to paint sand dollars for her to bring back to her house in the States when she moves this year. I also got to have my first Okinawan sea salt cookie, which reminded me of Walker's Shortbread! 

After hanging out at Angie's, we said our goodbyes and headed home to a wonderful dinner of stuffed shell pasta, with delicious meat inside the shells!

It was definitely a fantastic day!

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

13 April 2016 - A relaxing day!

Today was a pretty relaxing day, so this will be a shorter post than usual. I had my usual 0600 wake up and my morning coffee with Kurt and Mary. Mary made us eggs and toast for breakfast, which once again was epically delicious. Some of Jaiden's friends had spent the night, so they got up later and had their breakfast. Kurt left for work, and we just hung around the house for most of the day. I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich for lunch and played a Disney Movie song trivia game with Nyah, and had a lot of fun. When Kurt got home, he, Wayne and I had a walk on the beach while Mary was preparing our dinner. It was nice to have a walk on the beach in the evening, which was during low tide. Our dinner was ready when we got back, which consisted of mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and chicken. It was all epically delicious!

I am not sure what we are going to do tomorrow, but whatever it is, it will be epic!

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

addendum to an Epic Day at the Thomas Household!


One final note. I got to meet/see again a couple of the Thomas' neighbors. One of them, Bill, plays guitar/bass, but mostly bass. He invited me over to his house to view his guitar collection. He had among other guitars, a Les Paul, Gibson Flying V, Gibson Explorer and SG. It was awesome. He also invited me to come over and jam while I am here! So epic!

Posh Kandaroog

Epic candy!

12 April 2016 - Another epic day at the Thomas Household

This morning I awoke at the usual hour, 0600 after yet another restful nights sleep. I went downstairs and got my computer and iPhone and Watch plugged in and charging and checked my mail and sent messages to my parents. I also made my morning coffee and read my email. Then Kurt and Mary joined me for morning coffee. Kurt and I had eggs and toast for breakfast.

Kurt left for work, then we hung around the house for a bit. Then we left the house at 1130 to go and get Kurt lunch and bring it to him at the office. We stopped at a FamilyMart locally to get nigiri, our favorite lunchtime treat. Emme ate her nigiri before we got to Kurt's office. We got to Kurt's office around 1145 and we ate lunch and hung out with Kurt. After a while, we headed out and ran errands on Camp Shield, then back to Kadena, where among other things, I got some yen to buy more souvenirs. We headed back home, but stopped at the commissary to get taco materials for Taco Tuesday, and we got some treats as well.

For my treats, I got chocolate/graham cracker triangles which were delicious and we got this lemon/lime soda drinks with a marble inside. It was epically delicious! We had tacos for Taco Tuesday, which per usual Mary's epic cooking, was absolutely fantastic!

I am not sure what is planned for tomorrow, but it will be epic whatever it is!

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

Sunday, April 10, 2016

11 April 2016 - Ice Cream Monday!

Bright Sunny Day in Okinawa!
Today I got up at the same time as I usually have been getting up, at 0600, after a really good restful nights sleep. I went downstairs with my laptop and checked my email and made some coffee. Then Kurt and Mary came down and joined me, and we had some coffee. We had a walk on the beach to see what had washed up, and the only items of interest we had found were a couple of balls, one of which we brought back with us.

I had eggs and toast that Mary cooked for us for breakfast. They were extremely delicious! Then the girls were awake, and I played checkers/chess with Emme and Rae and other games. Then we went upstairs and played a bit of Jenga, then I did a drawing contest with Rae, drawing animals with our eyes closed. It was tough! Then after hanging out around the house, we left at 1300 to go to Family Mart to get some nigiri for lunch then onto Naval Base Kadena to shop around and look for tape and plasti dip items for Kurt, which we ended up not buying. Then after we had looked around, we went over to McDonald's to get ice cream. My ice cream cone was the largest I have gotten from any McDonald's in a while! It was extremely delicious! We then headed home, where the kids went to the park to run off their excess energy from their ice cream, and I went back to my room to rest.

I believe we are having leftover potato soup for dinner tonight, which should be extremely delicious!

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

11 April 2016 - Monday Morning in Okinawa!

From the Thomas home

Another bright sunny day in Okinawa!  It may rain later.

10 April 2016 - Origami that I made!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

10 April 2016 - Sunday Funday!

Last night there was quite a thunder and lightning show. And I understand there was also a fireworks show going on at American Village. Despite all of the above, I managed to get a good restful nightsleep and got out of bed at 0600. I got dressed and went downstairs to have my morning coffee with Kurt and Mary. Kurt is recovering from a flu like disease and some of the kids are also sick. I had my usual oatmeal for breakfast, this time it was of the maple variety instead of the blueberry flavored one like yesterdays.

At 0930 we left the house to drive to the last day of the antique fair in Awase. Like yesterday, it was filled with a variety of interesting trinkets, though this time I did not see anything remarkable. Mary has suggested that we stop during the week at Pottery Village in Yomitan, which has some wonderful souvenirs of fine Ryukyu pottery. Kurt and Mary's friends Sarah and Mike joined us to go to the fair. It was a pleasure to meet them. We had a wonderful time at the antique fair, and then about after an hour there, we parted ways with Sarah and Michael and returned home.

We stopped at a FamilyMart, (like Okinawa's version of a 7/11) and Mary got us nigetti (a triangle seaweed wrap, with rice and mayonaise inside.) and drinks. I had apple tea, Kurt had a caffe latte, and the girls had apple juice. We then returned home and I started on my game filled day with Rae and Emme. Before we started on the games, we rode bicycles outside in the Thomas' driveway. It was so good to ride a bicycle again after not having ridden one for many years. First Rae and I played chess. This was the first game that I had played of chess in many moons, but I had a lot of fun. Rae and I had fun re-discovering the game of chess. Then we played a game of Clue with Nyah and Emme which was fun. After Clue, Rae showed Emme and I how to make some origami hats and cups! Very cool!

Then Rae suggested we watch a movie, so we went over to the Thomas' movie cabinet and I picked out Spy Kids 2, which was a very funny and cool movie. After the movie, we went back outside and rode our bicycles for another while longer. I am not quite sure what we are going to have for dinner tonight, but I am quite confident it will be extremely delicious!

Over and out,

The Posh Kandaroog

9 April 2016 - Today's Rainy Adventures

This morning I awoke after a wonderful nights sleep at 0555 and went down to the living room and had coffee with Mary and checked my emails. After catching up on my emails and charging my devices, I put my laptop away and joined Kurt and Mary outside on their porch, to watch the rain fall. It rained off and on during the day, but there was also thunder and lightning as well. I had oatmeal with honey on top for breakfast. At 0930 we left for the Antique Show in Awase, which runs for three days starting on Friday.

The antique show had a lot of very interesting and cool things. It was like a swap meet, but housed in a building like a general store. There were rooms full of interesting antiques, that dated from Samurai days, such as a pair of Samurai stirrups. Or there was also a neat vendor who had a lot of items from WWII, all of which had come from Okinawa. These were items such as helmets, canteens, dog tags, etc. These all definitely had a connection to the Battle for Okinawa in one way or another. There was also other vendors with interesting objects, what looked like an early pair of night vision goggles, a lot of zippo lighters, silver dollars, and a whole variety of cool little trinkets.

Canteen for Uncle Tuck

Canteen for Uncle Tuck

Japanese Soldier's Diary

Japanese Soldier's Diary

Japanese Soldier's Diary

After we browsed the show, we left and returned home. After staying at home a while, Mary asked me if I wanted to come run errands with her. I agreed and we took a nice little drive to Kadena for the first errand. It was pouring rain at Kadena like you wouldn't believe. Mary had to get out of the car, and in the ten seconds she was out of the car, she was absolutely soaking wet!! Then we headed to another location on the base and again Mary had to hop out of the car. We then headed to a FamilyMart and met another person who Mary had bought things from. Then we headed back towards Kadena, but took a shortcut, as we were advised there was an accident by Gate One.

After dropping off Jaiden and her friend at their friends house, we headed straight home. I hung out some more with the girls, and I also rode one of the Thomases' folding bicycles, and had a blast riding up and down their driveway with the girls. It was really great to ride a bicycle, after not having ridden one for a bit. I just had two delicious pieces of pizza.

Looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings,

The Posh Kandaroog

Friday, April 8, 2016

Arrival in Okinawa

Last night I arrived at Naha at 1820 local time. I made my way to the baggage claim area, and called Mary and let her know that I landed. I walked outside and crossed the street to the area where I would be picked up.

I soon saw Mary's Delica van and I was very happy and excited to see her. It was her and Emme that picked me up. On the way home, there was an incredible lightning and thunder show in the sky. It was constantly lighting up the evening sky and was a very impressive sight.

We stopped on Kadena AB to first get dinner, at Burger King and then to get medicine for Kurt, who is battling sickness. It started to pour rain when we arrived at the Exchange, so we dashed inside. We had burgers for dinner, then we went upstairs to the Exchange and got medicines.

Then we headed home and we arrived around 2020. I got myself settled into the room upstairs, which Mary had showed me. I took a shower and then went to bed at 2045 local time, this concluding a very long and epic day!

Sent from my iPhone

Okinawan donut!

9 April 2016 - In Okinawa!

It was raining and thundering and lightning all night last night!  Still raining this morning.  Awake after Epic Sleep!