Friday, September 13, 2013

The Journey to Okinawa

**Disclaimer: This post is very wordy and might be boring for some. I know some people want to hear all about our journey, though, so here you go. 

After around 35 hours of traveling, we have made it to Okinawa! It was a pretty epic journey.

We started by driving up to Louisville, KY airport with all of Jake's family. We checked in our bags and then hung around the airport for awhile with the family. Around 6p.m. it was time to check Lexie in. Yes, I shed a few tears after they zip tied her crate shut and took her away. We said goodbye to our family and then went through security. 

The ridiculous amount of stuff we brought with us
Also, traveling in Maxi dresses is where it's at. It's like you are wearing a blanket!

Lexie getting excited to ride the airplane.

We boarded the plane and asked someone to let us know if Lexie made it on. Awhile passed and then the captain came on and said they had over fueled the plane and we could not take off. After about 30 minutes, getting off and then back on the plane, they found a solution. We were really worried because we had a short lay over for our next flight, which we absolutely could not miss! We were also worried about the dog under the plane. The captain himself sent under the plane and checked on her. He even took a picture to show us and said she was doing well. Thank goodness for kind hearted people. Finally, they fixed the fuel problem and we took off. 

We landed in Chicago with 40 minutes before our next flight. We ran across the airport and made to our next flight. Once we were on the plane, they told us that our dog made it on as well. Thank goodness! We were so relieved we made it, but then we sat at the gate for about an hour and a half due to maintenance problems. Yet again, we were worried about our dog. Finally, we took off and 4 hours later we landed in Seattle. We ran down to baggage claim to find Lexie. She was panting and thirsty, but happy as can be. She wagged her tail like crazy when she saw us. It was such a relief to know that it wasn't too traumatizing for her. We got our stuff and headed out to catch the shuttle to the hotel. This is where Jake and I had to say goodbye. He had to stay at the airport to catch his military flight and I headed to the hotel. It was 2 a.m. Seattle time (5 a.m. eastern) and Lexie and I were exhausted. When we got to our room, she jumped on the bed a fell asleep. I showered, ate some hummus and pretzels (since I hadn't eaten since noon eastern) and went to sleep. 

Jake excited about his own TV

Travel outfit selfie

Jake's flight left at 8 AM, about the time I got up. I got up, hung around a bit, ate a soggy bagel, then headed to the airport. This is where it kind of got real. I was by myself trying to manuver my suitcases Lexie, and her crate through the airport. I was a sight to see. After about 40 minutes (and arguing with United about the cost), I got Lexie all check in. It was hard saying goodbye to her, knowing she was going to be on the plane for 10 hours. I went to the bathroom and gave myself 1 minute to cry. I let it all out, about everything. Lexie, leaving the US, and then I wiped my eyes and got it together. I was fine from then on. 

I then went through security and boarded one of the largest planes I had ever seen. I upgraded to economy plus, no not first class, just like coach but with extra leg room. I mainly did this because I was at the back of the plane before. I wanted as much time as possible in Tokyo and I knew it would take me forever to get off the plane if I was in the back. I wanted to upgrade to a cocoon in first class, but it was way too expensive. I am so glad I didn't, though, because I ended up having an entire row to myself! My flight was seriously perfect. I got so lucky. We took off on time, I was able to sleep lying down, I had all of the free movies I want on the TV on my seat, and got tons of food! The time went by so fast and definitely helped the nerves. 

First real meal in 24 hours. Not great, but not horrible!
They also gave us a sandwich and gelato as a snack and noodles with chicken for dinner.

I got off the plane in Tokyo nervous but ready. I first went through immigration where they checked my passport and papers. It only took about 5 minutes. Then, I went straight to find Lexie. She was in her crate on her cart. She wagged her tail like crazy when she saw me! I don't think I was supposed to let her out, but I did and gave her food and water. She seemed perfectly fine, which was a relief. I took her over to the animal inspection counter. It took about 20 minutes. Thanks to all of my research and preparation, everything went as planned as Lexie was accepted. I had to leave her there while I picked up my suitcases. So there I am with a cart of three suitcases and a cart with my dog crate. Y'all, I was a sight to see that's for sure. Thankfully, the lady at the animal counter helped me through customs and to the flight counter. I checked in my bag and Lexie, and then they let me take her outside to take her out of her crate. I her around for awhile and then took her back. She did not want to go back in her crate, but it made me feel better knowing the journey was almost over. 

During this time, not one person spoke English. Somehow though, the language barrier did not end up being a problem. We communicated through hand signals and pointing and it all worked out. Everyone was SO nice and helpful. I was so thankful for each and every person who helped me out. 

I then had to go back through security and wait for my flight. Another large plane and 3 hours later, I was in Okinawa. Flying in, we flew over the island. I was so mesmerized by is already. We landed and I went straight to pick up Lexie. I then got my suitcases and someone helped me outside. There was no wifi at the airport, which was how I was going to communicate with Jake and our ride. I panicked for about 3 seconds. I finally asked someone if they had the free texting app I was supposed to use and they texted my ride and told them where I was. About 4 minutes later, there he was with Jake. I was so excited and relieved! 

We loaded up and hit the road. I was immediately amazed by everything around me. It is so beautiful and there seems to be so many interesting things here. As exhausted as I was, I could not help feeling super excited about everything. We went to our hotel and got settled in, while our sponsor took Lexie back to his house since the kennel wasn't open. Jake and I hadn't eaten in quite awhile, but our sponsor had food for us at our hotel. So nice! We ate a bagel, showered, and got into bed. It was 11 p.m. on Friday at this point ( around 10 a.m. on Friday eastern). 

Our hotel on base is great! We have a small kitchenette, bed, desk, chair, T.V., table, and bathroom area. It has wifi in the lobby and free breakfast. It will be a nice place to stay until we find a place to live.

It is now 9 a.m on Saturday morning here. We are excited to get out and see the island during the day time. We are already impressed by the beauty just looking out our window. It is extremely hot and humid here, though. We will run some errands today, like getting cell phones. Our sponsor is also going to take us to their favorite sushi restaurant. We cannot wait to start getting settled here!

All in all, I think the journey went as well as we could have asked for. It ended up being a blessing that I flew commercially instead of with Jake. The flight was more comfortable for me and Lexie had to spend less time on the airplane. Crazy how things seem to work out in your favor even if you don't know it at the time. Lexie was so great through the whole process. She didn't seem to be too traumatized from the process, just extremely tired. It was an exhausting journey, but we are so glad to be here.

Until Next Time,


  1. Wow! What a trip. At least you guys are all together now, and the real adventure begins :)

    1. I was so happy to be reunited with J. It was the longest trip ever! I did get very lucky, though, with how smoothly the second half went.

  2. Isn't it a crazy ride? The ride from the airport to the hotel (which by the way it looks like you're in the EXACT room I was in on arrival, haha) I was GLUED to the windows of the van so I can could check everything out. Have fun in Okinawa!!!

    1. Really?? We have enjoyed staying at this hotel. It is really nice. Thank you!

  3. What a journey! I'm glad you three made it safely. Have fun exploring and good luck finding somewhere to live. I look forward to reading more!

  4. Glad you made it there safely with very few hiccups!! Your dog is a trooper :)!!

    1. Our dog has been amazing through this whole process! She is staying at a kennel right now and they say she is doing well! They all know her name and say she is very sweet. I guess she is the popular dog at the kennel haha

  5. Wow, what a journey! Glad it worked out! I was always worried if we got somewhere international, especially about travel and our pets. I don't know if I would have handled it as well as you though! So exciting to be in your new home!

  6. Oh my goodness, what a trip and what a move!!!

    So great to hear your dog did well on the long trip. It always adds another little piece of worrisome to any trip when bringing along a pet.

  7. Hi Mackenzie! A mutual friend (Rachel Baird) introduced me to your blog, and let me just say now how grateful I am to have this information! My husband and I will PCS to Oki in September, and I love that I have a wife's first hand experience to draw from while planning. We also have a pup to bring over, so it's reassuring to hear that Lexi handled the journey just fine.


I'd love to hear what you have to say!