When you arrive at Kadena, hopefully someone is there to meet you at the airport… with a very large vehicle.
First thing you’ll do is drop off your pet at the kennels (if that’s where they are staying), if they are staying with you in TLF… I’m jealous. If you flew the rotator in, you’ll be paying an extra $50 for a late drop-off..
Next, you’ll unload bags and stuff. Most TLF’s do not have elevators, be aware.
We had a fantastic sponsor and arrival experience. Our room was already checked into and had some snacks, a case of water, and some laundry detergent ready for us. We opted to skip the whole “go find food” thing that night, but if your sponsor asks and there is no food in your room, say yes or at least ask what delivers (just about everything before 10pm). Pizza Hut delivers until midnight and supposedly you’re supposed to tip them. I wasn’t sure so I asked the delivery driver if they took tips because it’s considered rude in certain places, he said yes. Either I was scammed, or they’re just used to receiving tips from us crazy tipping Americans.
Be prepared to sleep for most of the weekend. The jetlag killed us. The second night involved us falling asleep around 6pm, me ordering pizza at 9pm, it being delivered at 10pm and me realizing we hadn’t eaten it and it was sitting out around midnight. I put the pizza away and we slept until the next morning.
If you’ve never stayed in TLF before, you’ll get a room (we got a double room) with a stove/fridge/microwave and a kitchen table with 2 bathrooms, 2 beds, 2 tvs, and 2 fold out couches. No dishwasher. There is also laundry on each floor. Our TLF was directly across from the BX/Commissary, so that made life pretty easy. We walked over for lunch and our sponsor was nice enough to run us by there so we could pick up some groceries to cook meals with for a few days.
The best part of the whole thing… we arrived on a holiday weekend. Blah. I’d rather not do that one again. Otherwise, you’ll probably lose your military spouse bright and early on Monday for a gazillion meetings or something.
On the very first business day, go to housing. Kadena offers a shuttle from the main Shogun Inn dependent upon the mission and there are cabs. Just get to housing and check-in ASAP, even if you have to bother your sponsor. When they tell you that they’ll call you, don’t trust them. Follow-up and go back. We were told we’ll call you today or tomorrow (Thursday or Friday), no phone call. On Monday, we showed up at housing. She was going to call us that afternoon for housing and guess what time you have to have your keys back after looking? 1500. Yeah, we wouldn’t have made it that day. I’m not sure why we weren’t there sooner in the week but we would have missed the cut-off for looking at houses anyway and would have had to wait until the week we got a house anyway. We went to our housing briefing on Wednesday. Oh and when you meet your housing counselor, try and throw in all those requests you have right away and hope they remember a few and are actually trying to help you. Some times it pays, other times there isn’t much they can do anyway.
After you get your housing assignment, contact TMO about your UAB (ours beat us here) and they’ll probably tell you what they told me.. call the company yourself. Yeah, no joke. But they were accommodating and set up delivery right away and the same day as our move-in. We’ll have our stuff! (Well, at least some of it).