Postal Pity Party


When I saw this graphic, I knew I needed to post it because following my explanations of why I hate La Poste, more fuel has been poured on the flames of my wrath. Three very kind people mailed me gifts for my birthday last week. Now, remember how excited you were in college when someone sent you a care package? Well, after living overseas for five years, you realize how precious those little boxes of love really are. And we’re not in college anymore, so it isn’t something that I expect or even think about. You realize that when you make the decision to move overseas, you’re probably not going to be sent as many letters or packages. It’s just one of the tradeoffs. It’s a lot more expensive to mail things abroad, people have to fill out customs forms, it’s more of a hassle. So, when you know that three packages are on their way to you, it causes a raised level of excitement. And then when your birthday passes and none of the packages are delivered, you’ve adjusted enough to the unpredictability of life abroad, to just figure things will arrive the next day. Four days later when there is still no sign and you stop at the post office only to be told that things will probably be delivered next week. And then compound that with the fact that you get a notice that one package has been at your door twice but mysteriously not left with the concierge, and you realize that you’re dealing with a system where all reason is abandoned and chaos reigns the day. I mean, that’s what a concierge is for – she gets reduced (if not free) rent to look after the building, be there to accept packages in the recipients absence, etc. And knowing that you won’t be home next week when some of the packages may actually be delivered and you lose hope. And you feel like having a pity party. Because living abroad is exciting and it’s an adventure and it’s wonderful and sometimes it just plain defeats you. The struggle with unfamiliarity, the challenges of another language, the stupid little annoyances that creep up on you and suddenly feel overwhelming. Things like being unable to use bills at the laundromat and running out of coins. Forcing you out into the rain where you go to an ATM, withdraw some cash, make your way to the nearest pharmacy where you think you’ll just pick up a pack of gum, realize that a pack of gum costs €2.90 and abandon that idea. You go to the stationery store where there is a card you’ve been wanting to buy and pay with a €10 and are given a €5.00 note in return and the cashier refuses to change it for coins. So you go to another store, buy something for €1.00 and finally have your change. Or how you take a bike from the velib station, peddle to your destination only to find that the station is full, so you peddle to another station and find it’s not working, and then to another full  station and another. You’re suddenly pretty much back where you started and have wasted 45 minutes and are no closer to your destination than when you started. None of these are the sorts of things to leave one feeling unhinged but when they all happen in a matter of days, it becomes disconcerting and you realize that you are a stranger in a strange land.

Ah France. I love you, but you can sure be infuriating. The timing of our trip to Edinburgh is perfect. I’m ready for a break. Ready to be in a city I know well. Ready to speak English and if anyone asks me to speak French, I will probably start crying. Not really but I probably will refuse to oblige. I’m looking forward to seeing my old friends and going back to my favorite cafés and coffee shops. And I have full faith that when I return to Paris, I will be happy to do so. Sometimes a little break is all we need, right?

About Rebecca

Hi! After five years in Europe, I'm adjusting to life back in the US. I use this blog to record my adventures, post photos, organize recipes, and post about things that interest me.
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7 Responses to Postal Pity Party

  1. Mackenzie | Red Roan Chronicles says:

    I feel kind of guilty saying this is a lovely post, because it’s also sort of steeped in tooth-gnashing misery, but I’m going to say it anyway. This is a lovely post. :D I was similarly perplexed the first time I traveled abroad — to Edinburgh, as it happens — just because suddenly I had to *think* about things a lot more and it was a bit exhausting. (That trip was full of drama for other reasons, but I’ll spare you the details. :D) Would love to hear more about your adventures in Edinburgh, too… that’s an awesome city, I’d love to go back. I’ve subscribed to your future updates and I suspect I’ll have to read back through some previous ones as well. :)

  2. Nathalie says:

    Hurray for a week of non-stop native language everything! You definitely deserve a break and we can’t wait to see you!

  3. jeanne says:

    Ahhh…the postal service, infuriating and irritating!

  4. audrey says:

    Well said, sweet friend. I hope your time in Edinburgh completely removes these hard heartaches.

  5. orples says:

    Those knitted underwear look like just the ticket for a cold winter day. Who’d have thought? And the sweater reminds me of my old, now raggedy fisherman’s knit that has kept me warm for so many years.

  6. Pingback: Paris from Above – views from the Tour Montparnasse | Paris at my doorstep

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