July 18, 2009 § Leave a comment
This Friday I turned 25. I can’t believe how fast a quarter-century has passed me by. I’m not thrilled that the 30s are fast-approaching, but I am remarkably excited for this specific birthday. The first reason is (and I’m saying this publicly so that everyone I know can hold me to it), the day I leave Phoenix for Boston (August 6), I am going to quit smoking. I want to leave that habit behind me so that I can start the second quarter of my life smoke-free and healthy. I am planning to live to 100, and if I’m going to do that, I can’t smoke. The picture above, by the way, was taken on Saturday, the day after my birthday (I’ll be posting about those adventures next!), but we didn’t take any pictures on my actual birthday, trying to focus more on enjoying the day and each other, so I figured I would start the post with another one of Bryan’s scenic beach shots.
The second reason I’m excited for this birthday is that a lot of changes are in store for me. In August I will be starting my first year of law school. I will be moving to Boston (brrrr!). I’ve already met the love of my life and we even though we are going to be parted for a few years, I am so excited for our future together. So this, my quarter-century birthday, was a pretty big one for me. Luckily, I got to celebrate it accordingly.
Bryan took the day off for my birthday, not an easy task given the ops-tempo here on Kadena (for all those non-military readers, he is really, really busy). The Thursday night before my birthday, he surprised me with a typed-up, official-looking itinerary for the following day. My day was to start with breakfast at The Rose Garden, an Italian restaurant. Bryan had delicious-looking eggs benedict, and I had french toast with eggs overeasy, potatoes, and spicy sausages. Needless to say, I couldn’t eat all of my food, but the half that I did eat was delicious.
After that, I went for a pedicure at Cocok, the island pedicure place that is always full of American women getting their toes done. Cocok is a little different than “nail brothels” in the U.S., namely in that upon sitting down in your own recliner to get your toes done you are presented with an 80-page book of nail art that is complementary with your picture. In the U.S., most nail salons charge extra for one stinkin’ flower on your big toe. At Cocok (the k is silent, by the way), very intricate nail art is complementary. I chose red toes with a very “mod” white, black, and yellow flower. I was thrilled with how they turned out!
Even though Bryan’s itinerary had planned for lunch following my pedicure at my favorite Korean BBQ joint, we were too stuffed from breakfast, so we skipped lunch and headed straight to the Corazon Spa at the EM Hotel Costa Vista for my massage. This too was a little different than what I have experienced at spas in the U.S. We walked in and had to take off our shoes, which is pretty typical in Japan. The girls told me (they spoke a little English) that I was early, so I sat down and read for a few minutes until my massage therapist came to get me. She took me to a separate reception area further back, where I was presented with warm water to drink before my massage (I’m sure there was a reason for this, but I’m not sure exactly what it was). I had to fill out a detailed form about where I experience pain (lower back and feet). The therapist, who spoke very, very little English, asked me if I wanted the “Energy” massage, or the “Relaxation” massage. She described the Energy as “hardo” and Relaxation as “softo.” Given that my favorite masseuse in AZ has hands from God that can cure any muscle ailment, but is also pushes so hard that it’s almost unbearable (he is truly gifted though), I asked for the “hardo” massage. She then took me to the treatment room and explained (somehow, given that she really didn’t speak any English) that I should put on these paper briefs and lay face-down on the table. The massage itself was very vigorous. She was definitely stronger than any female masseuse I have had before. She karate-chopped me, kneaded the bottoms of my fight with her knuckles, and worked really hard to get the tension out of my shoulders. Even though it was so intense, I found myself breathing very deeply (think yoga breaths, noisy in and out of the nose) and drifting off. If I ever go back, I might try the Relaxation massage just to see the difference, but overall I was very impressed. After my massage I got to shower to rinse off all of the oil and sip hot tea to relax and rehydrate before Bryan arrived to pick me up. Obviously this picture isn’t me, but it does give you a good idea of what the place looked like.
After the massage I was getting a little hungry, so we stopped at Hotto Motto for a quick snack before heading home. Hotto Motto is a Japanese fast-food restaurant, but you won’t find any hamburgers or french fries. We got these little sandwiches that are basically like sushi rolls in sandwich form. The outside is wrapped in seaweed, kind of like a sandwich wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. On the inside there is sticky rice that is sort of like the “bread” of the sandwich, and then the filler. They come with eggs and spam (Bryan’s favorite), beef and onions, and potato croquette (my favorite). They are filling but not overly so, and we love them. After that, we headed home and relaxed (Bryan napped) to get some energy for dinner that night.
For dinner we went to Sam’s-By-the-Sea. I’ve already explained how amazing Sam’s is on this blog before, and Friday was even better. We both sampled various tropical drinks in funny glasses–Bryan got the “Tiki God” and I got the “Over the Rainbow.” As an appetizer we had cheese-wrapped shrimp with Thai chili sauce, and it was to die for. For dinner, I had salmon with mashed potatoes. Bryan and I have decided that the fish here is, ironically, not our favorite. It just tastes a little fishier than in the U.S. and we haven’t been too pleased with any that we have tried. Bryan had filet mignon and bacon-wrapped salmon on flaming sword, which is literally presented to you by the chef on a flaming sword before it is removed and put on your plate. For dessert we tried the fruit with ballerina cream, which was a fruit parfait with meringue and whipped cream…so delicious! We were both stuffed after dinner. Here is a picture of Sam’s during the day…it’s hard to tell by the picture, but the place looks like the inside of a pirate ship and the servers even dress like sailors.
All in all, it was the best birthday ever, and I have Bryan to thank for planning such a special day for me. Because I have a summer birthday, people are usually out of town, or else I am out of town. I have spent birthdays in Spain, Chile, and, now, Japan. This was by far the best, not only because of the thought that he put into planning my day, but because of who I got to spend it with and where. I also want to thank everyone for the birthday wishes from afar!