Upwardly Dependent » walking the delicate balance of absolute truth and overwhelming grace.

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I Just Wanted to Go to the Post Office

We have the pleasure of receiving mail in this fine, beautiful city. Our post office address is surprisingly straightforward, and we have already enjoyed some pretty amazing care packages in the short months we’ve been here!

I’ve done a terrible job of giving you actual details about our life here, but today was one of those days I just had to share. So here’s the saga of what it takes to pick up a crazy-wonderful-this-is-not-a-complaint-fantastic package from the US of A.

Yesterday, Michael went to check our box, and saw that there were three packages waiting on our team. Unfortunately, the pick-up place was already closed. So Kris and I volunteered to make the trip downtown after language school to pick them up today.

Since neither of our families have cars yet, this entailed quite a few steps. Here we go.

We walked out to the street from language school and crossed traffic to wait on the right side of the road. We waited in the sun, me with an umbrella to shield the heat and Kris letting the sun’s rays lighten her golden curly locks.

Don’t worry. We didn’t stick out at all.

We waved down a jumbo. This is like a tuk-tuk mixed with an open-air bus. There are two rows of seats, but you are close enough to the others riding that you touch knees and smell what they ate for lunch. It’s the local way of cheap transportation {~$0.40}, and the drivers typically don’t speak English.

Don’t worry. We never stick out on a jumbo.

I used my very best language skills to make sure we were headed the right way to the pai sa nee, and the lady across from me replied in perfect English. Turns out she was also going to the post office, lives in Illinois, and was just here visiting her mother.

Anyway, we made it to the post office, which is a huge orange building. But don’t be confused—the place where you actually check your mail is out back in a little shack full of tiny boxes. I felt like I walked straight into the WWII era. It was creepy in there. And hot.


We found another golden ticket in our box so we were excited to pick up FOUR packages! Then we made our way to the pick-up counter. By counter I mean a folding table with the numbers 16-20 posted on the wall behind make-believe stations. We handed our tickets to the lady helping us, as well as the PO Box ID.

I don’t even know how to put into words the confusion of us sitting there with our male friend’s PO box ID, our Texas and Tennessee licenses, and our limited language skills. But ten minutes later we had all of our boxes and were walking out of the big orange building.

Now, outside the post office, there was a tuk-tuk. This is like a rigged up motorcycle with a covered cart for around four people. These tuk-tuks have become a necessary evil in our lives. Because 1) our skin is screaming rich foreigner and 2) they cost $5-$10 USD to get anywhere.

Kris and I looked at it, but decided to woman-up, save some money, and make our way down the road to find a bus.

A mile later, with each of these boxes still in tow, along with our bags and notebooks from language school, we finally walked into the bus station. We asked a few people which bus to get on, and then plopped down in the lovely air conditioning and waited. About fifteen minutes after this, we were joined by a load of locals and all of their stuff.

Hmph! That wasn’t so bad! We thought.

We rode and rode and looked out the window as the bus drove right past our village, going nowhere near our home. At this point, Kris and I began assessing the faces of everyone around us to discern who was the nicest potential English speaker around.

No one spoke English.

So we broke out our mad language skills and explained where we were really hoping to go. At this point, the entire front of the bus broke out in a range of giggles to belly laughs.

They told us we were on the wrong bus. SHOCKER. And then came a few minutes of everyone exchanging jokes about the falangs that didn’t know their way around the city.

We figured we couldn’t stick out any more than we already did, so we took a selfie to commemorate the experience.


We rode through another bus station we didn’t know existed, a university campus we did know existed, and then the bus came to a stop.

In what we understood through our limited vocabulary, Kris and I were to get off the bus and wait for the next one to come along. That bus would take us home.

So, then we were stuck, once again, on the side of the road with our four boxes. It had to have been at least 103 degrees.


We waved down the next jumbo we saw, hopped on with more locals, and prayed to be on the right road home.

A few minutes later I was paying my last driver for a ride and made my way down the road to my home. The redeeming factor of the day? My neighbor {that I had never met before} stopped on her motorbike and carried me the rest of the way! And her name is Poo. So there’s that.


If I wasn’t already hunting hard enough for a practical vehicle, believe me—THE SEARCH IS ON.

Also, we love getting your packages!!! Gina Burke and Rhonda Elkins—we can’t tell you how much you have made our day. Check out our amazing loot!


Trips to the post office won’t always be this difficult, and in the meantime it makes for quite an adventure. It’s definitely an adjustment taking three hours out of our day to visit the post office, but your pick-me-ups are more than worth it!

Thank you to everyone who has donated to a box, packed a box, shipped a box, or plans to do so. It makes us feel so connected to you and brings a joy to open such happy things!

P.S.  I try to keep our Amazon Wish List updated, so you can check it out here. If you’re not into shipping packages, there are kindle books selected that are all emailed to us wirelessly! Thank you for the love you have sent us in the form of words, ant poison, gift cards, and more!



Jane Edwards BooneMay 27, 2014 - 11:22 am

It will be a funny story SOMEDAY! God bless you all!

Amber Curlee BarrettMay 27, 2014 - 1:22 pm

I want to know how much that giant box Kris is carrying cost to ship.

April CheathamMay 27, 2014 - 1:41 pm

Wow! So interesting to see how you all are living over there. Keep these posts coming. Also, can you give us readers some insight into what the work is that you all are doing? Is your husband serving in a hospital over there? I just wasn’t sure from the past posts. Also, what is the name of the church that sponsored you all to go over there? I would love to send you a package of things that you or the people you are serving may need!

Lola-Margaret HallMay 27, 2014 - 4:10 pm

Love your adventures.

Kimberly Rowe WasherJune 3, 2014 - 3:43 pm

That is genius that you have that Amazon Wish List for people to see!