Saturday, May 23, 2015

And So It Begins...

Ever since Friendship festival the first weekend in May, there has been a constant dark cloud hanging over my head called deployment.

We were officially in deployment mode which meant shopping, Will destroying our guest room with all the packing, and spending as much quality time with each other as possible. With this deployment being our first one we honestly didn't know what to expect. Will is always cool, calm and collected so he handled everything like a champ, while I was the one constantly staring at him with sad eyes (making him very uncomfortable), randomly giving him the "I love you" speeches like it was going to be my last, and having mini freak outs every now and then. Its safe to say I have been a bit of an emotional mess, but in my defense this is in no way normal and you can't really prepare yourself for it. 

Luckily we have some amazing friends out here, who are deployment veterans, and knew exactly how to get my mind off Will leaving. May 10 we drove up towards the mountains to a city called Hakone. There is a Zip line and Ropes course we had signed up to do and to be honest it was way harder then we thought! Even though we had some rope burns and blistered hands, we had the best time and it was just what I needed. 

The next weekend was move in day on the USS George Washington, Wills home for the next 7 months. I got to see his room that he shares with 8 other guys and see first hand how they live. I am definitely not jealous of boat living, but Will seemed to think it was going to be fine which is all that matters. 

USS George Washington
Professional picture I grabbed off the internet 

The USS George Washington on its way!

Will got to fly a jet onto the boat so he didn't have to leave right away while the boat pulled out of port. I was more then fine with this because it meant more time together! Since we didn't know exactly what night was going to be Wills last, we had a "last date night" about 3 times. We had good ol' american food in Yokohama followed by drinks on the rooftop patio, amazing Ramen in Machida and a homemade southern meal right at home. The day before Will left we ventured up into the mountains to fish in the river. Will was in heaven fly fishing and I couldn't think of a better way to end our time together. 

Our first "last date night" in Yokohama

The day finally came when I had to drop Will off on base and say goodbye. I was really strong in holding back my tears up until that last hug before he walked away! I always knew this day would come and even when you tell yourself your ready…its not always true. Will and I had to deal with a lot of distance prior to being married, but deployment has added a new twist for me.

The moment I lost it...

Nothing makes me more proud then to be Will Cravens wife. He is so brave and selfless and is worth every sad or hard day I have in my future. We have put our full trust in the Lord and know that his plan is perfect no matter what hurdles we will face. 

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! This is definitely a new and some what uneasy chapter in our life but I have the most incredible friends and support system both in Japan and back home. 

My best friend Grace will be joining me in Japan in a few weeks and I will make my way to Australia to meet up with Will for a few days this summer! 

Love you all and thank you again! 


Caroline and Will 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Friendship Festival

So, when I said every weekend up until Will deploys is full…I meant it. After all the festivities of Badman week we had one more big event before the boat pulls out. 

Friendship Festival is a day where Atsugi base opens up to the Japanese public. It is a huge deal because it only happens 1 day a year and is always extremely crowded. There were over 40,000 guest and the line to get in the front gate was over 2 hours long. 

Most every squadron will set up tents where we sell merchandise we designed ourselves, so we can make money to use for other events throughout the year. Will and I were assigned to work the tents on the flight line all day. The flight line is by far the busiest area because there are jets parked all the way down where guest can take pictures and look at them. I have never seen such chaos, excitement and CAMERAS! Will made his japanese modeling debut as well…

Will on the Left and Jimmy on the right
This year was not only our first festival but also my first time being the merchandise coordinator for the Diamondback wives! I took this job at my first wives meeting back in January when we first arrived. My job was to design the merchandise we would sell at the festival in hopes we would make a good amount of money. 

Talk about pressure…

I did my research on the Japanese culture on the items that would be most popular. With input from some other wives, I came up with these pieces:

1. Umbrella 

 2. Sweat Towel 

3. Keychains

4. Hand Towels 
(used to dry hands after public bathrooms because they do not have paper towels)

5. Re-usable grocery bags
6. Canvas bags signed by the guys of the squadron

For the most part the items sold very well! The guys sold almost everything and watching people flock to them was so entertaining. 

Overall it was a fun day and interesting experience! The weather was beautiful and any excuse to hang out with the whole squadron is worth it. Crazy to think we still have 2 more of these festivals to go through! 

On a side note, Will and I went deployment shopping today and our guest room is now a boat packing zone. Seeing it has made me a bit anxious, but we are taking it day by day and enjoying every second we get until he leaves! Tomorrow we are going to do a ropes/zip line course with some friends so at least we have that to look forward to!

Love you guys and Happy Mothers day to all you incredible moms out there! 

Caroline and Will