When the postman delivered a package last week, jumping out of a beat up boxy green van, I was thrilled as I carried the box inside. My first foreign care package in a decade! (After the Mexicans pilfered all of the items in boxes, friends and family stopped sending them.) The post mark was from Hooterville, TN. KT had sent us a birthday/Halloween care package. I should not have been surprised that my first package came from her; after all, it was she who convinced me I could live in China. KT claims she had all kinds of things sent to her in Tsing Tao: Talbot’s clothes, books, holiday decorations, all the stuff MIC (Made in China) but not sold here. Although she claims the shopping is sub-par in Hooterville, she managed to find a host of goodies. Fearless in her ability to post boxes to foreign countries and turning a blind eye to the postal meter, the box was crammed with Twizzlers and Good & Plenty for Mr. Understanding, Nerds for Thing 2, and Kisses for the girls, not to mention all kinds of pink tchotcke for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Mr. Understanding was so touched by the gift, he almost cried, I kid you not. And I am still laughing at the birthday card! The box was posted on October 5 and arrived ten days later. KT used her own box and sent it priority via the US Postal Service.
Interestingly, or maybe not, my sister-in-law, a reknowned dermatologist, Dr. Skin also sent me a box, from her home in Florida to Sue B’s in Baltimore. The package, also sent priority mail, USPS, was posted on September 26 and arrived October 17, long after I was gone. Sue B tried to get a refund but no go. She has since forwarded the package to me. Maria, she of Carnaval fame, just received yesterday the package I sent her, also via the USPS (but not priority) at the end of July, at her home in Brazil.
So, if you are sending packages anywhere, keep the following in mind:
1) a flat rate priority box from the USPS to China costs $37 USD. (KT’s box was bigger).
2) there is no slow boat to China – all mail goes by air from the US; the shipping lanes are full of mail boats en route to Brazil.
3) delivery to China is faster than within the continental US.
We always hear how the United States Postal Service is nearing bankruptcy and how Congress needs to bail them out constantly. Now I know why. If you are shipping Christmas presents in the US, you’d better get your boxes in the mail soon. If you are shipping to Brazil, aim for Valentine’s Day. But if you are shipping to China (hint, hint) you’ve got some time!
Happy Birthday, Ryne!* I will get to the post office soon to send your care package but will skip sending you the seaweed candy.