My sister, Meghan, mailed us a Christmas package from Massachusetts on December 12th and we were notified, via a little yellow slip in Kristoffer's mailbox, that it arrived on January 16th. Apparently, envelopes can go directly to Kristoffer's mailbox at the United Nations but we have to pick up packages at the post office in order to go through customs. On Friday afternoon, Kristoffer got home from work very early and we decided to try our luck with the post office.
We managed to take a detour from the usual city traffic to get into the city center in a reasonable amount of time (it can actually take hours!) but the place we thought was the post office was an office for the postal service, yes, but not the place where the mail goes. After stopping at a gas station, going back to the wrong place for more specific directions, and then asking a really nice businessman for help (he said Kristoffer's accent sounded American - HA!) we found that it had been right under our noses the whole time. It took a little while longer to find the correct part of the post office - the 3rd floor was not our initial guess, but that is where all packages are kept for customs. Lucky for us, there was not much of a line when we got there because we had no idea what we were in for.
First we brought our yellow slip to a man who gave it to another man who found our package in a large room of packages. Then we waited in line to open our package in front of a woman who would list its contents on our yellow slip as we revealed them to her. I will admit that some of my Christmas joy was diminished in having to hurriedly unwrap the gifts inside the box, because of course there was a line behind us. After she had written down all of our presents (Thank you, Meghan! We loved everything!) we had to reseal the box and take our yellow slip, which she had stamped and signed, to another room for another stamp. We were sent back to her for another stamp and then directed to the "Customs Window" with our yellow slip for another stamp and signature. Back to the woman, who I felt was holding our package hostage, for yet another stamp and direction to the man next to her. He took our yellow slip and gave us a white slip, at which point we went back to the woman and actually got our package. Before leaving the 3rd floor, there were still 2 more people with whom we had to check in before they finally let us go.
Kristoffer, the world's most optimistic person, was very cheery and friendly to everyone, wishing them all a wonderful weekend as we went along. I, on the other hand, was so frustrated and desperate to wring someone's neck, that I mostly stood still pouting while Kristoffer dashed about to all the different layers of bureaucracy required to bring our Christmas package home. Now, I am not telling you NOT to ever send us a package here in Kenya...but I do request that you make its contents REALLY worth all of the effort it will take on our end to bring it home!