let me explain, my mom and grandma had sent some goodies intending them to be here around birthday time... but... well, you know how the mail goes. then we (i and the tax officer and julton) went through a fiasco trying to get the two (!!! - read: excitement) packages home.
it took three trips.
the first day i went to the post office, expecting everything to go normally, i've never had problems. of course the moment you are not expecting problems and are patiently awaiting your birthday package things blow up to remind you to stay on your toes. i gave up all my identification/paperwork, and signed all their forms. and just as they were about to bring out the boxes... .du du duuu. the tax man interrogated me and by interrogated i mean he was borderline put me in a chair in a dark room with one light over my head. i couldn't figure out what was going on. he kept saying, whats in the boxes? what did she send you? do you understand me? no, really, do you understand me? i got really annoyed with that question. i was answering his questions thoroughly and in complete sentences... obviously i understood him. but he wanted to make a scene.
end of the first day story: both boxes were marked with $100 values and he wanted me to pay uhh uhh 106 dollars (after he typed away at his calculator for a few minutes) in taxes! when i asked how long i had to come back and get them because i didn't have 106 dollars on me (to his surprise... apparently he thinks americans carry large sums of american dollars on them at all times... ) at first he answered dec 17th. which i thought was probable, around a month after.. but then he thought for a moment and changed his mind to one week. uh uhh sir, your story has a few missing pieces here, it looks a little shabby. i quizzically looked at him but confirmed a couple of times $ 106 by one week. trying to show him i didn't believe him, he didn't budge.
the next day i went back with Julton. after going through more of the "whats in here" and "do you understand me" same ol same ol... he looked over at julton and said "oh, you understand me.. then proceeded to speak to julton as though i didn't exist. i was not a very happy person. that day they actually opened the boxes (which the do anyway... and i always went along with but now that i think more and more about it it makes me frustrated... i wanted to say he thats miiine! who do you think you are? your name isn't julie rogers now is it?? i don't know if thats usual in any country when they receive packages internationally, but its starting to get to me. but i was also just agitated from the whole ordeal. end result: the looked at the packages and realized that they weren't worth what was marked on the front (which i tried to explain had been a mistake, that the employee at the US post office had written that in on assumption) and ordered us to get an official letter from my mom stating that they werent worth what it said.
finally yesterday i got to take the packages home! i have never felt so relieved. imagine going in two separate times to pick up something that is yours, knowing its there, and knowing you can't have it and instead leave without it. bummer.
lots and lots of fun things that are either impossible to or hard to get your hands on here. im very thankful for all of it. one of the many, best parts was the group of cards that i found! im not sure why, but I wasn't expecting cards, at least not more than one. so to my surprise i opened up one and nearly cried as i looked over all of the names of the congregation that had signed the card from my home church in WV! that absolutely made my day and made me miss home :) right along with the notes on a separate card from a couple of little girls from the church that were just fabulous "julie, how are you, are you good or bad?" i loved them!!!
so, happy tuesday, happy birthday to me, happy thanksgiving early (cranberry sauce!), and thank you to my mom, grandma, brother, and henry's fork baptist church for such a great birthday box!