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June 17, 2008 Mail tips

I don’t know how many of you are planning on sending me mail (hopefully lots! :D), but here are some more things I’ve learned:

  • Nicknames confuse my bubosta. Writing out my full name makes his life simpler.
  • Titles (Miss, Ms, etc) confuse him, too. I explained what they mean, but he still looked a little glassy-eyed.
  • If you’re sending goodies:
    • Don’t send batteries. They show up when the package gets x-rayed, and they have a way of disappearing. Several PCVs have mentioned that batteries shipped from the US somehow never get delivered.
    • On chocolate: M&Ms travel well, as do Ghiradelli squares, foil-wrapped chocolate bars, and Hershey’s kisses. The one Lindt truffle I've been sent had melted a bit, though, so obviously I had to eat it immediately. (I mean, really, I had no choice, right?) :D
    • On the green international shipping slip, describe the contents as “used” whenever they might be perceived as valuable: (“used clothing,” “used book,” “used camera,” etc).
    • If sending something brand-new, take it out of all packaging. If the customs folks can tell it’s brand-new, I’ll have to pay customs fees equal to their assessed value of the item. Even if it’s marked as a gift. :(
    • Mark it as a “gift” anyway. It can’t hurt (and besides, it’s true!).
    • Round the “value” down. Way down. And never claim it as more than $50. Apparently, that’s a red flag for customs.

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Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps