Water, power, and the postal service are all wildly unpredictable here in Nicaragua. We are fortunate to have back-up power and a giant water tank in our backyard, so we rarely go without. Yet, when it comes to the postal service, we can pretty much bet on receiving birthday, anniversary, and other significant holiday cards about six months late or never at all. Last November, I received a birthday card from my grandmother 3 weeks after she passed away.
You can all but forget about receiving packages of any real size. Somehow, the sheer volume of the parcel makes the task even more daunting for UPS, FedEx, DHL [insert delivery service name here]. Even if they do make it all the way to San Juan del Sur, the post office often forgets to deliver said package to recipient. It can sit perched high on a shelf in their 5’x5’ office for months, collecting dust, until a friend goes to collect mail of her own and notices your quickly fading name on the shipping label.
There is little lost to the recipient when unaware of the imminent shipment. However, when a dear friend or Mom has gone to the arduous task of packaging up your favorite trashy mags, chocolate covered pretzels from Whole Foods, your favorite shampoo that you can’t find anywhere in Nicaragua, and a thoughtfully hand-written note, the care package is sorely missed, as are the comforts from home.
Needless to say, it is a challenge to get packages to us here in Nicaragua and a labor of love on the part of the sender. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when Justin came home from work last week with a poster tube, courtesy of UPS, return address: my sister. Lucy was just as excited so we tore open the ends…
In preparation for their move into a larger house, my sister and her husband were faced with the task of clearing out 4 years and three kids-worth of finger paintings. What would make the cut and what would end up curbside for Tuesday morning trash pick-up? No parent wants to make such a dubious decision, potentially derailing the prospects of a future artist. So, instead of sending anything to the curb, my brother-in-law packaged up tube after tube of his three kids’ artwork and sent it airmail.
Upon opening the tube, my eyes welled up… from the familiar gluey scent of kids paint…but more so from the sentiment. A quick glance at the label and I saw that they had spent nearly $10 just to send us a little piece of home. Though the package did not contain melting M&M’s and copies of US Weekly, it held so very much more.