Farewell to Okinawa

So, we left Okinawa two months ago. I’ve been wanting to write about my journey but it’s been really hectic here! We just got our household goods, and have officially moved off of the air mattress. Praise The Lord. However, our stuff being here further affirmed that we officially are no longer residents of Japan. We had to say a few very hard goodbyes. While living in Okinawa I became a babysitter and a food blogger. Both of these activities came with the joy of meeting wonderful people, who I had to say goodbye to. One of them was Ito, owner of the delicious vegan cafe I’ve written about before, Cafe Sprout. Before I left she gave me this hand painted bag and a hand written card. I had so many wonderful conversations with Ito, who is a funny, surfing, well traveled, cat loving, awesome vegan chef who I will always cherish my times with. The bag she have me will remind me of her and her adorable cucumber-eating cat, Moana.

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I want to post about our last night in Okinawa, because it was an incredibly special night full of vegan food, vegan (and non vegan) friends, and lots of tears. I partly haven’t wanted to write this because I’ve been in an eight week long daze thinking I’ll suddenly wake up and be back in my house in Japan. But alas, all good things come to an end. And Okinawa ended on a beautiful, bittersweet note at my favorite place in the world- Dechibica.

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As you know if you’ve become familiar with me, dechibica is my home away from home. I went there at least once a week, I spent my birthday there, shared tales of the incredible food and even more incredible owners with every person I know, and shared photos on Instagram of them constantly accompanied with many hashtags. So naturally, what better place to have our farewell party?

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I approached the owners, Kiwa and Taku, about the idea and they were gracious enough to accommodate us and 10 of our friends. They offered to have a buffet style dinner with all of our favorites, plus a few special extras they threw in! There was of course taco rice, Singapore fried tofu, and vegan pho. A full drink bar with so many juices, teas, and coffee with soy milk.

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Shizuka, who works at dechibica, went to our going away party and made us a raw vegan mango cheesecake for dessert. I love Shizuka’s food, her raw desserts are always delicious. She always said hello to me every time I came to Dechibica, and I was so happy she was there to say goodbye to us.

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There was also tofu cocoa cake, which Kiwa gave me the recipe for (yay!). I love her tofu cocoa cake, it was a staple for me every time I ordered an iced coffee there. I plan to make it at home soon, along with Kiwa’s vegan pho.

I was so grateful to our friends for being there. We had such a wonderful time with lots of laughs, I couldn’t have asked for a more special evening.

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One person was especially difficult to say goodbye to. My vegan partner, my favorite blogger, my yoga inspiration and the woman who’s photos will always far surpass mine, Carola. Carola and I went vegan together. She was with me through my husbands deployment. She is so dear to my heart, she inspires me, makes me laugh, encourages me, sends me grumpy cat memes through IMessage, and I miss her every day. I’m thankful to have been able to share my time with her in Okinawa.

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Finally, sadly, it was time to say goodbye to Kiwa and her husband Taku. It was very difficult. For many months I had spent hours and hours with them, talking and laughing and sharing food. I never expected to have such a close relationship with Kiwa, but she became one of my very best friends in Okinawa. I appreciate her friendship, her talent for cooking, and her generosity. I was blessed to have her in my life in Okinawa. I am forever grateful. So thank you Kiwa for your kindness, all of the mango lassis and taco rice, sharing recipes, vegan donuts, the hugs. And thank you for hosting such a beautiful goodbye party. I can’t express to you how thankful Carlos and I are to you and every one at Dechibica. We miss you every day.

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So, my time in Okinawa is over. But I have many adventures to come. I plan to get back in the swing of blogging frequently throughout the week. Getting the “Weekly wishes” going again (although don’t be surprised if my wish is to go back to Dechibica). I will always remember the experiences and people and food in Okinawa. All of which have made me who I am today.

Forever grateful.

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