Back in January, one of the fam, Sudoo, sent me a Christmas package. It arrived in March with chocolate cookies (or biscuits as they call them here), and chocolate chips, among other awesome things. Well a couple of weeks ago, Alison and I went to the post office to collect another package. These post office women either love me or love to laugh at me, I'm not sure which one it is. My name sounds a lot like the word for sour in this language, and so every single time I go in, they have this joke where they call me sour, and then I have to reply, "No, I'm sweet." And they laugh raucously and shout through the office what I had just said. I play along, because these ladies are in control of my chocolate supply.
When Alison and I were there, after the obligatory sour and sweet talk, they handed me my package, a great one from friends of the family. One of the women walked up to me, and said, "Why haven't you brought us any of your chocolate?" I was surprised, and am sure I looked confused, because she continued, "In your last package, you received chocolate biscuits and we want some!" I love how she unashamedly admitted that they rifled through my package and then insisted I share! So very South Asian. After a few of the ladies told me how much I needed to share with them, I promised that the next time I came to the PO, I would bring them some chocolate. Alison told me I had better share, since once again, these ladies are in control of whether or not I receive my great parcels.
Also this past week, I went to mail my mother's day gifts, and had to go to the main PO, which unfortunately is not the one with the friendly ladies. I don't know what they're doing at the PO now, something like cashing checks or bank accounts, but lately it has been beyond crowded in there. I think it looks a lot like what the Great Depression must have looked like when men lined up for jobs every day. No one talks to each other and there are no lines, just a horde of people. People will dart back and forth, looking for a window that has the smaller amount of the mob in front of it, and even if you've been waiting for a longer time, it doesn't matter. Actually, it seemed to not matter to anyone but me. I, the ruly American, was already prepared, in my limited language knowledge, to say, "Excuse me, I am next," or "Sir, the line is there." But like I said, it's pointless. Everyone looks around nervously and stressed, and just politely pushes their way through. It's in constant movement. Have I described it enough? Well I waited. And waited. And waited. The number of people didn't change at all, with men still bobbing around windows. Then finally a woman pointed me to the front of the horde and said, "Ladies." I walked toward there, and the man behind the counter called me forward, and I got to cut in front of all the people waiting! Apparently, in this man's society there are some benefits to being a woman. No wonder the "line" wasn't moving. None of these poor men would probably ever get to the front. I felt justified though - I was at the post office with actual mail.