I've changed my mailing address from the college to a PO box because there was a significant bottleneck while waiting for the college to a) go collect the mail from the post office, and b) finally sort the mail and then hunt me down to deliver it.
The post office is doing a fine job of keeping all of my mail in one place so I get it more quickly and more reliably. Also, the post office is holding anything addressed to me, whether it is addressed to the college or the PO Box.
Before I left for the most recent training, I received two packages from family members.
One was a package of herbs and spices, tea, dental floss, soap, and an always prized letter! One of the greatest ways I've treated myself is to ask for "favorite spices" from friends and family members along with a note of explanation on how the herb is enjoyed. For every meal, I have a different spice to look forward to. I remember thinking once, upon receiving some cinnamon, and sprinkling my oatmeal with it, "Does cinnamon always taste this good?” “Is this just exceptionally wonderful cinnamon?” “Or am I so taste-deprived, old mud would taste good at this point?"
This particular batch held a selection of whole spices: star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks and other wonderful herbs to add to my daily dishes. I'm a lucky, lucky girl!
Another family member sent along some more "underly things" with a big batch of peppercorns, (yay! can never have enough of THOSE!), soap, and family photos. I feel wealthy in peppercorns!
When I returned from training, I was delightfully surprised with no less than FIVE packages awaiting me! (I think that is a record.)
One family member sent along some batteries for my book light, a LEO (favorite local publication from my favorite city!), vegetable bullion, herbal tea, and a Wild n Woolly pen I'm supposed to have my photograph taken with. (Wild and Woolly is a local, independently owned DVD/video store specializing in "hard to find" films. Apparently, customers are encouraged to take their promotional pens to the far corner of the world and have their photos taken with it for their website: http://www.wandwvideo.com/.)
This same family member also sent along a way-too-nice tea strainer that will have me feeling like Queen Elizabeth drinking tea out of her silver-plated tea strainer in dirt-town, South Africa!!
This particular package had a note and a gift of gardening gloves from my friends at Bunton Seed Company. Thank you! My bleeding hands feel better already! South Africa has some determinedly sharp and prickly weed seeds, and I've had a hard time trying to find adequate gloves!! These new gloves will work perfectly!
I took a seasonal job at Bunton's the spring before I came to Africa. Gosh, I guess it was LAST spring. It feels like a gajillion years ago... I wanted to work there because it is a reputed seed company and nursery; is within walking distance of my Louisville home; I was hoping I could learn more about plants, vegetables, trees, herbs, etc., and I was hoping to do was make some extra money for my African trip. Of all those things I accomplished except earning extra money for my trip. I spent nearly every extra penny buying plants! Silly me! I had a great time planting that spring tho!!
So thanks to Chloe and everyone at Bunton Seed!
Another family member sent me a package stocked full of fun reading material: a book on the Greening of Africa, several publications on my city's parks and upcoming festivals, local neighborhood papers, a Nature Conservancy, and stickers for the kiddos.
I'm happy to see that the organizations begging donations have switched from return mailing address labels to stickers I can use for school children! Woo hoo!
And then I had family members send several packages of school supplies after seeing promotional shows on American television for "Peace Corps Week," which I didn't even know existed. Apparently, it is held in the first week of March. My family saw a clip from Good Morning America and sent me parcels containing all kinds of school supplies: maps, atlases, pens, pencils, stickers, dictionaries--all fun, fun, colorful stuff. I almost can't wait to get back to school! (We're on Easter holiday until April 12.) The kids will be delighted. I am delighted!
And always appreciated are the ever-coming notes and letters. I have one family member in particular writing me of local and national news and events. She even supplies news of happenings in the sports world. (I, unfortunately, don't have a sport cell in my body.) I love reading news from home, ALL news from home, because it helps me feel as if I WERE home.
I'm a lucky girl!
Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support!