Saturday, December 29, 2012

Post Office

Yesterday was another good day of vacation, albeit a slightly less active one. Erin and I needed to go to the post office, and decided to go together. I needed to send a few things back to my mom and Michael, and Erin needed to start shipping her things back to her family (namely, her clothes). After a relaxing morning taking my time getting ready, we met around 2:30. I had a bag of things to mail, and Erin had 2 suitcases.

We got a taxi since it was a cold and ugly day, and we both had a lot to carry. The post office is just down the road, maybe 3/4 of a mile, but we just preferred to pay for convenience. When we got there, it was pretty busy. I got to working on my 2 boxes, addressing them as I usually do (directly on the boxes). Erin got 2 slips to fill out, and we debated for a while which way was the proper way to send things. I had had success in simply writing the addresses on the parcels, so I did it that way, and Erin filled out her slips since she was sending such large boxes via ground shipping.

When we got ready to send them, Erin was told her box was 6kg over the weight limit for her box size. So she had to unpack and regroup with multiple smaller boxes. I got mine on the scale, and one box heading to Michael was fine (around $10 to send), but the other was overweight (I suppose; I couldn't exactly tell from the lady, but that's as best I can figure). So I had to fill out slips like Erin. I didn't want the box to take 3 months to get there, but it didn't need to go priority either. How I'd been doing it (address directly on box) had been taking just a couple weeks, so I wasn't sure if I should check "air" or "ground" on the paper. When I gave it back to the lady, she checked "air" for me, and filled out the other stuff.

When she gave me my total, I was in shock! It was $45 to send! I thought it would be around $25. I think it was maybe 5kg (not even sure the weight limit for that box size). I probably could have just taken the things out and split them into multiple parcels (like Erin was currently doing), but I was half in shock at the cost and half figured it was probably too late to change my mind now. I ended up paying almost $60 total for the 2 boxes home (including the box cost, etc). YIKES!

Once I was finished, I found Erin struggling to get her things into the proper boxes. What had once originally fit in one large box was now not fitting into two of the slightly smaller boxes. So the post office lady was McGuivering the original box into a smaller flat box by slicing the sides. She ended up with 3 boxes.

When she got to the counter (again) with her address/customs slips and the boxes, the lady behind the counter told her that they could not find that zip code in the US. She was sending it to an APO, and they were confused about which country to put on the address label. They said it was not a USA zipcode, and we tried to explain it was a military base in another country, but it had to be addressed to the US. After about 20 minutes of attempted explanation and using several pseudo-interpreters, we decided to give it up. We were talking in circles. I called Heather to see if she knew anything about sending to an APO from outside the US, but she wasn't sure. Ultimately, I think we might have to send the boxes from the base here, which will be a pain in the butt for everyone involved, but she's got to send her stuff home!

After we decided to give it up and head back to the apartments, we had to then get her 3 boxes and 2 suitcases back... we attempted to hail a taxi but they kept saying no after seeing all our stuff. I suggested we split up and each take a box and a suitcase (since 1 box we managed to fit inside a suitcase). I took 2 things and she took 2 and we went to opposite ends of the street. I got a taxi pretty quick, but he was not too pleased about having to help me get this box in the car. It fit just fine, but he was rude. We only went to the other end of the street, so thankfully I didn't have to endure him too long.

Once back at the apartments, we got all her stuff back into her room. By then we had spent around 2 hours on this post office expedition, and we were starving. We decided to try to find an Indian food place we had heard about in our neighborhood. Erin knew the general location, and we set out.

We ended up finding it nestled in a cute little side street not far from our place, and we were the only customers in the restaurant. We got some various curries and had a warm and delicious meal. Once we were properly fueled up, we headed to Myeongdong to get massages!

I took her to the same place I've been 2 times now, once with Tab and once with my mom. Erin has been having bad knots in her shoulders, so I promised this would help. Every time I've been I've gotten the basic $18 - 40 minutes full body package. We decided to treat ourselves to the upgraded $29 - 60 minutes package. I figured, I didn't go anywhere on break, and spent much less than I could have. It's my only vacation for a while, so I should enjoy it.

I am so glad we upgraded! We got changed, had a foot soak, and went into a different room than the one I've been in. This was much nicer with a good atmosphere and much smaller. It had 3 beds in it, but Erin and I were the only customers, so we basically had a private room. Since we couldn't  actually read what was included in the package we bought, we didn't know exactly what to expect. It was so nice! Not only was it a more relaxing experience with a more relaxing massage, we also got a foot massage with lotions and paraffin wax! It was great! I definitely think for $9 more it was worth it.

After our massages we were feeling very relaxed; it was a great improvement from our chaotic and frustrating experience at the post office! We stopped at a coffee shop and chatted and drank our teas for a good hour or so, then decided to head home. We had originally planned to see Les Miserables that night, but it was already 9pm and we were in such a relaxed state that staying awake and alert for 3-4 more hours (to include the movie plus travel) was just not in the cards for us.

We headed home and said goodnight. I spent another hour reading my Koreans book. It is very interesting so far. I am still in section one, which is about Korean culture. It is extremely interesting to read this from an academic perspective, since the book is written in that way, but also to see exactly what the author is talking about in my everyday life. Koreans are very complicated people, and this book is spot on in much of the assertions about their character and cultural mores. I'm really enjoying it, although it is dense material and slow goings. I've spent at least 3 hours on it (collectively) and I'm on page 40. Normally, in 3 hours, I could be at least several hundred pages into a fiction. But, this is the first academic book I've read this side of college. It's fun.

Today has been very relaxing and not much has happened, really. I woke up late, enjoyed my morning reading. Showered and continued reading. Erin, Casey, and I have plans to go to the jimjaebong later. We have to go around 8pm, so until then it's laundry and reading for me. :) The jimjaebong will certainly be an interesting experience... I'll leave you on that cliff hanger for now!

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