I think the first Tour of Homes that I ever attended was on Okinawa, and it was December 2019. I had heard of Tour of Homes. They have them on most of the bases, but I was never in any of the clubs that hosted them, and I never felt like I was missing out. (Why I wasn’t in any of the clubs is another story for another day.)
I had a few good friends from my husband’s military unit, and they asked if I was interested in going to the annual North Island Officer’s Club Tour of Homes. Since I had never been, I didn’t really care about going or not, but a girls-night-out was definitely something that I was highly interested in doing. My friends are busy mom’s. Some work full-time managing their households. Others have traditional jobs and manage their households too. Some work traditional jobs. Some actively volunteer. You get the picture. These women were BUSY, and seldom did they get to go out with friends. The fact that they wanted me to join felt like such an honor. These women were fun, and I knew that I would have a great time if I joined them. Little did I know HOW MUCH FUN IT WOULD BE!!!
We pre-gamed at one of my friend’s houses. This means that we had some light snacks and a glass of wine. (We should have avoided the snacks. There was a ton of food served at the event.) After the pre-gaming, we were taken to a starting point for our tour. The weather was terrible, but we didn’t care. We visited homes. We had drinks. We laughed more than I can remember laughing. The homes were beautifully decorated, but to be honest, I was MUCH more interested in the food and drinks. I think that’s one of the special things about tours like this. If checking out a General Officer or Colonel’s house is your thing, this is your opportunity to be a looky-loo. If you love decor, you get to see how people decorate their homes which could inspire your own decorating. If you want to get into the holiday spirit, there is no better way than to check out homes that are decorated for the holiday season. If you are like me and you love to eat and drink, then this is the event for you! You get to go to a few different homes that each have food and drinks curated for the event. One of the houses was alcohol-free and vegetarian. It was actually one of my favorite stops. Like I said, there is something for everyone!!!
Fast forward to 2020:
Covid had struck. It had essentially ruined my holiday spirit. For the first time in twenty-two years, I would not be going home to Texas to spend time with my family. I was devastated. A pandemic had killed millions of people, and countries like Japan were not allowing travel in or out. We would be staying on Okinawa for the holiday. Because I was stuck, and because I was sad, I was determined to do ANYTHING I could do to make light of the situation. One of the things that I could do was volunteer to support the event that had been such a wonderful experience for me. I signed up to work at a general’s house, and my good friend, Chanda, and I cooked all night. Because we were under strict covid protocols, food had to be prepared and plated a certain way. We worked. We laughed. We may have even sipped on a holiday cocktail. We helped to create a night of fun for the spouses on the island, and we had a ton of fun doing it!
Read my “Marooned on Yokota” blog to see why I was not able to attend or work the event.
This year, I am on Okinawa, and I get to travel back to Texas for Christmas. There are no words to express my excitement! This year, I am not working extra hard to “get into the holiday spirit”. I am just happy to have had the opportunity to help with the annual Tour of Homes. One of my fondest memories while on this island was that rainy December night in 2019. If I could do my part in creating a night that may be one of the fondest memories for another military spouse, then I am happy to help.
Some of the highlights from this year’s experience include:
I got to see friends from my husband’s military unit and so many other friends too!!! What a treat!
I got to help serve delicious Thai food, that I didn’t have to cook.
I got to bring home a drink so I could taste what we had served. It was sweet, strong,
and so good. I couldn’t have a sample there because “not one drop.”
I got to volunteer with two amazing military spouses. Spending the evening with them was a true gift.
Some of the highlights from the other homes included beautiful decor and other culinary
If you missed the NIOSC Tour of Homes this year, I highly encourage you to look into the event taking place in the south next weekend. MOSCO is doing a similar event. I anticipate that the houses will be beautiful. The food will be delicious, and who knows – it could be one of the fondest memories of your time on Okinawa. (I am not volunteering at next week’s event, so I don’t know a lot of the details, but I know IT WILL BE A GREAT TIME!)
I cannot NOT thank the military spouses before us who worked so hard to create this annual event. I am eternally grateful for the ones who creatively worked to create a small, safe event in 2020 to keep the tradition alive, and I am in awe of the spouses who stepped up to the plate once again to ensure that the Tour continues. Observing your creativity and seeing so much of the behind-the-scenes planning was impressive, and a very special thanks to all of the military spouses who so generously open their homes for events like this. The Tour of Homes could not be done without the homes, so THANK YOU!
For tickets to the MOSCO Tour of Homes: https://moscoki.wildapricot.org/event-5031257?fbclid=IwAR0njcjyKPmkfbs1ugoPNlrxCoUn8ccifPRkRJozPwlDGLI0RlcZ2O6F9UI
For my “Marooned on Yokota” Story: https://mondaymorningwithmona.com/2022/11/30/marooned-on-yokota/?fbclid=IwAR1uuF4aG8vx2Ro6Onq6sSFdnCk8tAGFPhHZfavNIo_809bzWlCO2fShkos