Because my mail has been almost not-existent at my residence or home, I received permission from our country director to have my mail sent to the Peace Corps office. However, for some reason unknown to me, they have decided that instead of going to pick up any packages for us as they have been doing, they will just give us the package slip and we then have to pick up the package.
So when the stamp album I ordered arrived in country, I received a notice that I could get my package slip. This was my first clue that something was different. I’ve never received a package slip before. So I went to the PC office and retrieved “the slip” and inquired about what I was supposed to do with this and where should I go to retrieve my much anticipated package. Boris informed me that I had to go to the main post office. “Do you know where that is?” Ummm–no! So after detailed instructions about where it is, I hopped on a bus and hoped I was headed to the bus terminal–the post office is apparently next to that. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later, I was at my destination. Now to find the right person/place to get my package. So I walked through what appeared to be the main doors and waved my slip at someone behind the counter. They proceeded to tell me that this was not the right place (of course! I couldn’t get that lucky on the first try) and I should exit the front door, turn right and then turn right again. In the meantime, I did learn that this was the place to return to at a later date to inquire about philatelic supplies and stamps. So not a totally wasted first step.
Out the door I went and about 100 metres down the way, there is another door so I went in there. I heard noise, I saw PO boxes but I didn’t see any people. After I yelled “Hallo!” a couple of times, a person came to a window. Nope, this wasn’t the right place either. Go out the door, turn right, go to the end of the building, turn right and go in the first door. Okay–I can follow those directions.
Out the door again. End of building, turn right and in the first door. Once again, I waved my little slip and they tell me, no–go down to the next door. Grrr. At this point I was tired AND hungry. I had bypassed lunch to get my package.
Finally! This looks like a package center. So I proceeded to the first window and they informed me, no–two windows down to the guy at the desk. I complied with the instructions and sure enough he took my slip and started examining it and then asked for my passport or identity card. I handed over the passport and another guy looked at it and then went back to where the packages were and retrieved my package. The first guy handed me a piece of paper and instructed me to go down to the cash window and pay 216 denar. I do as instructed, and receive a slip with paid marked on it. I took it back to the previous window and waited in line and signed the register. Finally! My package is released to me.
Lest this sound incredibly simple to you, please remember that my primary language is Shqip with minimal Macedonian and every person I spoke with in the Post Office did not speak English. So I’m pretty damned proud of myself and what I managed to accomplish. What I did not accomplish was getting lunch. I just went straight to my wine date from there. We take so much for granted in America. The simplest thing there turns into a major production here.