Waiting and Waiting


One of the joys and frustrations of overseas life is waiting for mail to arrive.  Receiving mail, especially packages, is usually a pleasant experience.  It symbolizes a physical link to one’s home country and often contains items you’ve been waiting to receive.  It can seem like Christmas at any given moment receiving that box or envelope you’ve waited for with great expectation.  At the same time, the anticipation can be difficult.  If you’re waiting for something you ordered awhile ago, you may experience frustration waiting a month or more for it to arrive.  The moment it’s in your hands you might feel a rush of excitement, but the waiting is a grind. 

Living overseas, experiencing the haphazard nature of the mail service, makes one appreciate the convenience and reliability of the U.S. Postal Service (or domestic postal service in many other countries, for that matter).  While not perfect, it’s easy to forget how good it really is.  When you’re overseas, unless you’re lucky to have access to a U.S. military post office (APO), you’re usually subjected to the following inconveniences:

  • Mail that never arrives or arrives months after mailing via the local postal service;
  • Mail that is pilfered and plundered;
  • Mail that arrives broken, battered, or damp; and
  • Mail that costs a fortune to send.

It’s a constant reminder that although living overseas may seem exciting and exotic, it also has its fair share of challenges that are particularly noticeable in little ways such as the mail.

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