From the title i know this doesn’t seem like an adventurous tale. And it probably isn’t if, I am being honest. But i felt like writing, so here goes!
I have been meaning to go to the post office to send a package. I had already sent an envelope and that had been easy enough. Admittedly, this still hasn’t reached its destination and I sent it a month ago, so let’s not hold our breath.
Ben went to work, and I set out to post the birthday present I had been collecting for my nephew. I wanted to give some insight into the daily happenings of expat life. So I am going to try and walk you through the process.
I got ready to leave the house and grabbed my bus card, the contents of the package and some cash. I put my mask on and grabbed a shopping bag as I planned to go grocery shopping afterwards.
The walk to the bus stop from our apartment takes about 10 minutes. It’s pretty. Now that Autumn has hit the trees are a various shades of orange and red. I walk past the kindergarten and along the road. My walk takes me past the lake in the UNIST campus centre with spouting fountains. There are some lily pads but otherwise the water is pleasantly clear. Geese are usually on the pathway. I am becoming less terrified of them each day.
I wait for the bus to take me to the Beom-sup Administration centre stop (about 5 mins). The post office is only a short walk from there. I boarded the bus to discover my bus card was near empty (despite charging it yesterday- so there must have been some error at the convenience store) and therefore at my next boarding it would be at 0.
This was stressful. I had never paid with cash before and I wasn’t even sure if I could. Alas, I decided it would be an issue for after the post office.
Korean post offices have a few different sized boxes which you can select and then tape yourself. I chose a size 2. There are so many little nuances in Korea. For example, at the post office there are various pairs of glasses with different lens strengths in case you need them. I figured out where to write the correct address and packaged everything up. I had to make sure I was writing the recipient and sender details in the right box.
I went to the counter and presented my package, I had even written Australia in both English and Hangul to make things clear. The attendant gave me an EMS form. EMS stands for Express Mail Service. I hadn’t asked for express and assumed this was the base option for sending. I started to fill it out and got told (with excessive gesturing) that I had used the wrong pen for the triplicate form.
I got given a new form and pen and started the process again. A second attendant then advised I had been given the wrong form and gave me another. So that’s three forms in total. For one package. I finally completed the form and a third attendant came to the counter. All three attendants studied my form and assured me it was completed correctly. This seems straight forward but in reality it was a stressful, 30 minute process where I was unsure of everything. I am learning this is part of the expat experience- you are unsure of a lot of stuff a lot of the time.
I had a beer at home and told Ben of my adventures and it all seemed much smaller and funnier after that.