Today, as I asked our school office aid for a pair of scissors to cut the tape covering the package I’d just received in the mail, my co-worker announced “I feel like you have gotten a package every month since you arrived.” I laughed, explaining that in the last month I had not only celebrated Christmas but also my birthday and so it was just my receiving gifts from the two occasions.
But then I stopped and thought about it and realized that what my co-worker had said was, quite literally, true. I have received some form of mail every few weeks since arriving four months ago. It’s not a very common thing around here and so people have definitely taken notice.
I’ve always championed snail mail and have exchanged correspondence with various people for well over 10 years. My mother and I often write letters to each other (even though we still e-mail) and my friend Brett and I have been writing letters to each other since high school, making a pact to only use Facebook when letters aren’t an option (such as right now because while getting mail TO my town isn’t too difficult, getting mail OUT of my town is nearly impossible). And since my arrival in Sumatra, Indonesia in September, my incredible support system of family and friends have jumped on the snail mail train and made a priority of sending me various comforts from the United States.
I live in a part of Indonesia where we just don’t have access to a lot of things that are available in other parts of the country/world and so opening a package to find packets of instant mashed potatoes or English language magazines, books of crossword puzzles or comfy new pj’s, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or a handwritten letter is all the more exciting. In addition to not having much available in regards to goods and services, it can also feel intensely isolated here in the jungle. In fact, being here has made me fully understand the extraordinary importance of sending care packages to our servicemen and women overseas, because while the actual items that are sent certainly hold value, it’s the intention of sending them that reigns supreme.
So to my family and friends, THANK YOU. Thank you for the letters and the BUST Magazines, thank you for the baking supplies, the comfort foods and snacks, for the chocolates and the clothes, the holiday cards and the birthday/Christmas presents.
Thank you mostly though, for taking the time to compile things especially for me and reminding me all of the time that while I may be living on the other side of the world, you are thinking about me. It makes this jungle a heck-uv-a lot less lonely and for that, I cannot thank you enough.