The Post-Post PostJuly 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Bun, Transylvania | 24 Comments
Tags: Actors, Babies, Challenges, Expats, Food, Humor, Language, Mail, Post, Romania
The Post-Post Post: How to Receive Packages in Romania
1. Open your mailbox and pull out a slip of paper. Look it over and deduce that you have a package waiting for you at the post office. Hooray!
2. Attempt to drive to the post office where you have mailed packages to the United States before. Get a little lost.
3. Figure out where you are, and find your way again. Feel a little proud that you did this all by yourself, didn’t stall out, and didn’t get honked at.
4. Find a place to park at a grocery store. Unload the baby. Worry you might be towed. Worry even more about trying to parallel park somewhere. Cross your fingers and leave your car where it is.
5. Walk to the post office. Dodge buses, taxis, and crazy commuters. Sweat a lot. When your elbow goes numb, wonder why you didn’t put the baby in the stroller.
6. Go inside and wait in line. Watch somebody cut in front of you. Give him the evil eye, and hope the baby starts crying so he’ll be sorry.
7. Talk to the teller and deduce that you are in the wrong line. Wait in a new line. Sweat.
8. Get to the front of the line. Talk to the teller and deduce that you are in the right line. But you’re at the wrong post office.
9. Take the map she gives you and walk outside. Try to orient yourself. Curse. Sweat.
10. Using your limited Romanian vocabulary, rely on adverbs and prepositions such as “here,” “there,” and “across the street” to ask a series of random strangers where the heck you are going. Don’t be shy about jiggling and shuffling the baby on your hip so as to evoke sympathy from these strangers.
11. Arrive at your destination. Pull on the door. Curse when it is locked. Soothe your baby, who is now red-cheeked and cranky.
12. Ask the lady who walks up beside you where the post office is. Listen as she says a whole lot of stuff you don’t understand, but head in the direction she points. Sweat.
13. Find the post office! Open the door! Wait in line!
14. Get to the front of the line. Talk to the teller and deduce that you are in the wrong line. Curse.
15. Wait in a new line. Notice that the guy you will have to talk to looks a lot like Jean Reno from Mission Impossible. Fret that he’s going to be mean. Wonder if this will be your first opportunity to bribe a Romanian official, as is custom. Sweat.
16. Approach Jean Reno and hand him your package slip. Ask tentatively, “Aici? Here?” Wait for him to yell at you. Just about collapse to the floor with relief when he smiles instead and says, “Yes. Just a moment.”
17. Decide he must have taken pity on you, the pale American with sweat fogging up her glasses and making drippy splotches on the baby’s shoulder. Decide you are totally okay with being pitied.
18. When he comes back with a large U.S. Priority Mail box, realize you have never been as glad as you are right now to see that red and blue logo with the white eagle on it. Don’t even blink when Jean Reno says, “I need to open your package for a customs inspection.”
19. Imagine the M&Ms and pancake syrup inside the box and smile like a goofball as he rifles through your box. Set the baby down so he can crawl across the dusty floor eating bits of discarded packing tape while you fill out some forms you don’t really understand.
20. Happily pay Jean Reno the “customs tax” he asks for. Happily collect your package and baby. Happily head out into the heat to sweat some more.
21. Get back to the lot where you parked. Panic when you don’t see your car. Debate ripping into the M&Ms and eating the whole bag.
22. Find your car. Sigh with relief. Buckle in the baby, crank up the AC, and hug your box.
23. Find your way home (without getting lost!). Go inside and hug your box some more. Take some pictures of it. Wonder if you should wait to unpack it until Lollipop and Giggles get home from school since they love mail, too.
24. Catch a whiff of perfume-sample ads and realize there are back issues of People magazine in the box. Forget waiting for the kids. Dump it out on the table like it’s your stocking on Christmas morning.
25. Hug your M&Ms. Hug your black beans and syrup. Hug your fly swatter. Virtually hug your parents for sending you all this stuff.
26. Spend the day sharing M&Ms with the baby, catching up on celebrity gossip, and smacking flies without mercy. Make your favorite black bean soup for dinner. Debate putting your box under your pillow but settle for giving it one last hug before you drift off to sleep, dreaming of French spies, stamps that attack, and piles and piles of perfectly fluffy pancakes.
Have you ever had a post office fiasco? Played the “baby card” to get a little sympathy? Or received a package you wanted to hug?