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:
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?