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News From Myanmar ~ The Post Office

Hello everyone! I have big news...It hasn't rained in 3 days! Not a single drop. I don't think it has gone three days in a row without raining since I arrived in Myanmar. An old man who works down at the jobsite told some of the guys that there would be one more monsoon and the rainy season would be over. The rainy season doesn't usually come to an end until around the end of October, however, this year the old and wise people have said that the rainy season is most likely going to end early because of the extensive amounts of rain we have already received. That's good news. I know these people need the rain because of the rice they grow but I'm sick of it. It's ironic that the states have had an unusually dry summer this year and I come here and have been in the middle of an unusually wet rainy season! Sure wish I could have sent you all a day or so of the rain I've seen!
On Tuesday, a little brown note was slid under my door here at the apartment. That's how we get stuff, they slide it under our door. It was written in Burmese all but my name and the date. I asked Jennifer to translate. Best I could understand, she said I had a parcel that needed to be picked up. She said I had to go downtown to their parcel pick up to get it. They don't call it a post office and I don't really know what they call it. I've asked several people but no one gives me an answer. It's just the place people go to pick up parcels. On Wednesday, I called the jobsite and had Charlie come pick me up. We got down there and the parcel pick up place closes at 2:00. So we went back on Thursday. It took about 30 minutes to get my package which, from what I understand, is record time. Most of the time, it takes hours to pick up a package. It was picking this parcel up that got me to thinking. There is absolutely positively no technology here. No high tech scanners, no little electronic box that you sign your name on with the special pen, no ATM/bank card slider boxes, no finger print scanners, no iris scanners, no computers....just mounds of paperwork and people taking care of business. It's amazing to me that a country can still operate in this manner. It's amazing to me that I get to kinda go back in time and see how things used to be done in the US before technology took over. I get to see the things that our mom's and dad's have told us about. The way things were back when they were my age. This experience has given me a small glimpse back in time! It made me laugh...I just sat there and thought to myself..if you all could understand southern I could probably show you a better way to get this done.
They had rubber stamps and ink pads and holy cow, if they stamped my paperwork once, they stamped it 50 times. And they didn't just stamp the paperwork, they stamped it with force. They were happy to be stamping. I think stamping made them feel important. I cannot really put into words the stamping that went on in this one building. Everyone was stamping something. I couldn't read what was stamped as the stamps were all burmese but I just know it was most important stuff. I, of course, had to sign my name bunches of times, sometimes near the stamped areas, being careful not to get my hand too close to the stamping process. At one point, the man flipped the paperwork over, stamped it with two seperate stamps and then told Charlie to tell me to sign above each stamp. Two times on the back of the same paper. I thought to myself, wouldn't one signature suffice but who am I to question the procedure.
So I began to sign my name. On the second signature on the same side of the same paper, I began to sign my name.
I got as far as Dannielle and he stopped me...said it was too long!!! WHAT??? I'll tell you, if I ever come back to Myanmar I'll be sure to bring a "stamp" with my name on it! Then instead of signing, I too would be able to stamp and maybe that wouldn't take as long!!! Now see, you all go to the post office regularly and don't have near as much fun as I have had going to this post office. I'll bet no one even stamped a thing and if you did get something stamped, I'll be they didn't slam that stamp down in the ink pad 3 times before you got that stamp!!!
If Charlie had not been with me, I don't know what I would have done!!! Most days, I couldn't function around here without him. I can't express to you what a blessing he has been for the weldon's (especially me)! AND incase you are wondering, I have Kim Kyle to thank for my postal experience here in Myanmar...she sent us "missing you" cards! The experience will be "stamped" in my mind forever!! ha ha ha ha ha ha Sorry!!!
Unfortunately, I do not have a single photo of my parcel pick up experience as this is a government office and no pics are allowed anywhere near anything owned and operated by the government.
I hope everyone has a good week! I've got big plans on Thursday. Danni introduced me to an Australian lady whose husband is a big something something (I don't know his exact job title) at the US embassy. She's hosting
a small coffee at, what I understand, her extremely large home on Thursday morning. She's inviting all the American wives whose husbands work at the embassy with her husband. She decided to also invite the harbert wives! Now that everyone is back in Yangon after their summer vacations, she thought it might be nice for all of us to get together and get to know each another.
Another big event this week is Friday night....MEXICAN NIGHT AT THE AMERICAN CLUB! All the americans are going to get together in the big room and have all-you-can-eat tacos and socialize a bit! YUM...can hardly wait!
I hope you all have a great week! I have to say that today, I'm especially having a good day! It's Monday and it's also a small milestone..Today it is only 99 days til I go home. 99 DAYS! I've broken into the double digits!!! YEAH!!! See you all very soon!

Dannielle

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