Have we mentioned how much we like getting packages? Because we do! Have we mentioned what a joy going to the post office is? Because it's not! OK, in actuality I LOVE going there because it means I have a package to pick up! But, each time I experience some kind of culture stress that makes me grit my teeth just a tad.
Today I made the trip to the post office again. This time I went in before they closed for the August summer hours, and this time the package really was for me. Well, it was for Renae but my name was on the golden ticket!
I have to divulge just a little bit of a cultural insight here. You see, in the states, we really are a me-centered society. However, we usually pretend to be nice and to actually care about the other person. Here, there is no pretending. It really is all about you here. It's not rare to have someone cut you off when you are walking in the street, and it's not likely you will find someone who will help a young woman carrying a stroller (with baby in it!) down 2 flights of stairs to pick up her package. Now, I have had help on various occasions, but I don't assume I will receive help in times like these. So today I entered the post office and squeezed Renae in between the line of people and the wall. I made it to the flight of stairs, and hoisted Renae and her stroller up so I could carry her down the stairs. An older man was going down ahead of me. He turned and saw me and then started to go back up the stairs. "Hallelujah! Maybe he will help me!" But no. He had forgotten something upstairs and was returning to get it. Oh well. I do appreciate the muscle tone I'm getting from lifting Renae up and down various places.
Once I'd received my package (from Scott and Julie! Thank you!!!) I placed it in a sack, and headed back up the stairs. Keep in mind, today was a busy day at the post office and there were 2 very long lines of people both upstairs and downstairs. To go back up, I had to pass people waiting on the stairs. I approached the beginning of the steps and wondered, "Will one of these people offer to help?" Because like I said, it does happen. By the time I'd climbed the first few steps I knew the answer was no. Oh well. Once at the top of the stairs, I attempted to put the front wheels of the stroller down on the landing. However, the bag with the package in it was in that hand and it kept getting in the way. I tried multiple times to fix it. As I did, there was a bench full of people watching. And watching. I was tempted to say, "No no, don't worry about it. I've got it." But alas I held my tongue.
Ahh the joys of living in another country. It's times like this that I just have to laugh. So the next time you see an international walking by him or herself laughing, know that they may have just enjoyed some culture stress from your very own culture. Then go up to them, introduce yourself and invite them to your house for supper. It will make everything all better.
Oh . . . and incase you were wondering why I used the stroller and didn't just put Renae in my sling, it's because it's really hot here, and my little peanut is almost a year! I can only have her chubby legs in my sling for so long before my back starts to feel it.
Renae plays with said stroller.