Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mail Call!

First of all, Happy Valentine's Day to those of you who celebrate it. We call it Fish-N-Chips day and go out for fish (see here for why). We've been scoping out the pubs in Macau for months to find good fish-n-chips, but I got hit with the absolutely most miserable stomach bug over the weekend (truly horrible, I'm trying to block it out) and there was no way my digestive system was going to allow anything deep fried anywhere near it. So we made alternate plans for something a little more... bland. Not a huge loss, I get a date night with my handsome husband every week.

But here's the big news... on Monday evening, we checked the mail box and found FOUR package notification slips. This caused my mail-loving heart to pound like a cannon (though it may have just been dehydration from all the throwing up). Mail takes forever to get to Macau from the United States. We actually got our most recent Christmas card, which was mailed prior to Christmas, the first week of February! Granted, the week of Chinese New Year is a public holiday, so we lost a week of mail delivery, but that is still a pretty long wait!

Letters are delivered to our box in the lobby, but packages are not. We have to go to the post office to collect them. If they are small, they are sent to the Taipa post office which is about a fifteen minute walk away. If they are large, they stay up at the main post office in Macau, which is a ten minute walk to the bus stop, a wait for the bus, a bus ride, a short walk, a giant set of steps up, followed by a giant set of steps down, into a back entrance where packages are held. It generally takes about an hour and fifteen minutes from my door to package in hand, and then we have to lug the large and heavy package back home. Fortunately, all four package notification slips were for the Taipa post office.

On Tuesday we had a vet appointment for Lucy (guess what? The vet thinks she is closer to four months old than six months! But she is smart, sound, and sweet otherwise), and on the way home we stopped in to pick up the packages. We could barely wait to get home to open them! Betcha' wanna know what we got! Here they are...

Package number one:
Seven or eight years ago, my friend Amy got me a pair of slippers for my Christmas Eve birthday. I went pretty nuts over this gift, because slippers are something that I never think to buy for myself, but something that I use every day. The next year, she got me another pair. I was over the moon. Then the following year, she got me something else because she thought I was only being my typical over-the-top-dramatic self when I was telling her how much I loved the gift of slippers (especially the fuzzy, crazy ones that she gets which are sooo me). Since then, she's never missed a year of either my annual Christmas Eve birthday breakfast or giving me the gift of slippers. Until this year, when we're living on the opposite side of the planet from my dear friend. Evidently before Christmas she put together this little package and went down to the post office to ship it to me. But when she was faced with the cost to mail it to me ($25+ USD), she had to decide if it was worth it or not. She took a month to think it over. Amy, my dearest love: it was sooooo worth it. See the look on my face? Not just fuzzy slippers, but fuzzy slippers in my very favorite color! Plus Tangerine Jelly Bellies which are my favorite sweet treat, and a bag of assorted candy from the States for the boys. The very best (belated) birthday gift a girl could get, and arriving on Valentine's no less!

Packages number two and three:

These were both from the same people, my Mom and Dad. Our Christmas package arrived long after Christmas, so my Mom tried to pop these Valentine's Day treats in the mail as soon as possible with the hopes they'd get there in time. Well Mom, they came exactly right on time! Conversation hearts in both regular and tart, heart shaped marshmallows, cinnamon jelly hearts (just for me!), Cadbury Creme Eggs (just for Mike!), and some soft candy hearts. And she drew hearts on the boxes, which made me think of when I was in grade school and my fabulous artist mother would draw a different scene on my lunch sack each day. What a treat!

Package Number Four:

This one just might move you to tears, so be prepared. One of the very first people to comment on this blog is a woman from the States named Daphne. She and her husband live in two different states, so both of them can practice the careers that they are passionate about. I can't imagine how challenging that must be. It makes me grateful to be a writer, a very portable career choice, which perfectly complements my husband's very nomadic career choice!

Daphne teaches third grade in California, about 40 miles from where we used to live. When I did the post about the Dragon Money she asked for my mailing address because she wanted in. (Side note: I've received mail from Cezanne, Heather Y, Heidi H, JoAnn R, Lori R, Amy A, Daphne, and have something coming from Traci so you all get Dragon Money!) My boys have sent letters to another class in California, so I also suggested to Daphne that maybe the boys could correspond with her class. I left it up to her to decide what form that might take. And here is what we got: thirty beautifully handwritten letters, each one adorned with artwork and full of questions about what life is like in Macau for an 8 and 11 year old boy, a three page letter about what their classroom is like, and two hats each from In-N-Out Burger and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

Opening that package was like opening something sacred. Nathan and Ben were giddy about the candy from Amy and Grandma and Grandpa, but in silent awe about the stack of letters addressed to them. We read the big letter with photos of the kids as a family, and then the boys took an hour to sit and pour over the individual cards, with frequent statements of wonder and compliments over the drawings (Look Mom, Angry Birds! Mario Bros! Our family portrait in crayon!). It's true, I got choked up. It was all so heartfelt, coming from children we've never met, led by a teacher who has taken the time to show these kids where in the world we live, closing the distance between our two continents using the very slow postal system. That is no small thing in this world of Twitter and instant messaging.

Nathan and Benjamin will be writing back with a postcard to each of the students, and though we weren't able to get enough Dragon Money to get one for each student, we have been collecting other little surprises from Macau to send back to America for these amazing kids and their awesome teacher. Thank you, Daphne!  

We've heard from a few friends and relatives that they've posted some packages to us recently. So much to look forward to! Mail is the best, isn't it?


  1. Correction, when I first went to the post office they said it would be $50.00 To mail, it took me a month to find the brown paper, re-package it (so it would ship first class)and then decide when I can spare that extra 25.00 bucks, esp because it was Christmastime...I thought for sure you'd chose the check I was offering to send instead of the what was in the box. I am glad you like them and now I remember why I got you the smaller size, because they didn't have a 9 in GREEN! Love you!

  2. heather,

    I am so excited to show this post to my students. They have been anxious, wondering if you have received their letters.

    Thank you for the heartfelt message for us. Your happy faces express the joy of opening all the packages you've gotten.

    .. and thank you, for allowing us to take a peek inside your world...


  3. What a wonderful thing your teacher friend did with her class! So cool!


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