At the Post Office, originally uploaded by bexadler.

Today I went to the post office to ship the last of my winter clothes and excessive shoe supply to Switzerland. It went much better than my first trip to the post office a few weeks ago, when I went with my friend Lacey. She speaks decent Chinese, but it still took us a good 30-45 minutes to send one box. First, we had to buy a box and then have all of the things we wanted to send inspected by the postal worker. Then fill out a bunch of forms, etc., etc. It was difficult with the language barrier. I was especially annoyed when the dude pictured above walked in with his addressed rice sack, secured shut with a piece of string, and was able to send it. Meanwhile, we had to go through this hullabaloo of unpacking all of our things and putting it in an official post office box that cost 14 yuan. Anyway, we were successful in the end, as we always are, despite the struggle. It is for this reason, however, that I have been dreading going back to ship the last of my things.

I finally got up the courage to go today, though. And it was easy as pie! What?! I know. The secret of this easy and successful trip to the post office was that the only clerk on duty was a man who speaks English. The gods were obviously shining down on me today. I went in there wearing a tank top and shorts because I tend to sweat bullets when I have to try to speak Chinese so I wanted to try to stay as cool as possible. But, alas, it was for nothing. I was in and out of there in 10 minutes flat. It was most definitely the easiest interaction I have ever had in China with both a government agency AND a Chinese person. I feel like that man deserves a huge raise and some baked cookies.

By the way, I know how much everyone hates that Americans (or English speakers, in general) expect the rest of the world to speak English. It is definitely annoying and sad that the rest of the world is losing their culture and language because of American songs and movies taking over the airwaves. I get it. But, dear god, if it doesn’t make my life easier sometimes. Anyone who lives in China, knows how difficult the Chinese language can be to speak and understand (even among the Chinese themselves). I have tried and failed miserably to learn this language. But I understand their annoyance at all of the foreigners who do not know how to communicate in Chinese, especially coming from a likewise proud and ethnocentric country where people talk about foreigners constantly and say things like “Why don’t they just learn to speak English?!” It’s not that easy folks.

Anyway, this is all to say that my departure date is getting close. I am both excited and totally freaked out about moving to Switzerland. First, I am totally stoked to be moving to a country where I speak the language! No more needing a note, like a 5-year-old, to go buy a train ticket or visit the doctor. YES! It’s also going to be awesome to be in a beautiful country (with a beautiful man, to boot!), where I can breathe clean air and go running without my hypochondria convincing me that I am getting lung cancer, asthma, or emphysema. However, not having a job is freaking me out beyond belief. Not knowing whether I will have enough money to survive through my 3-month stay (the length of my visa if I don’t find a job) is incredibly unnerving. I have been self-sufficient too long now to go back to being that irresponsible 25-year-old who has to borrow money from her younger sister to buy a plane ticket back to America. I will not do it! (OK, maybe I will, but I really don’t want to have to.)

So keep your fingers crossed for me! And send any job leads my way 😉