I was so excited that I already posted on Facebook that we received 4 pieces of mail a week ago – all on one day!! 2 of them were postmarked from mid-November, which means it took over 2 months for them to arrive. One was postmarked just before Christmas, and one was from early January. It seemed like such an extravagance of riches to receive all 4 at once – sort of overwhelming, actually!! Just in case you think I am over-reacting, I thought I’d explain why I believe my reaction was normal.
I think anyone who moves away after many years feels disconnected and isolated. No matter how eagerly anticipated, a move introduces a lot of change, and that involves not only household belongings and surroundings, but also friendships, routine, roles, the “known.” Finding a new grocery store, doctor, hairdresser, the way to work, buying “talk time” (recharging the phone account) from vendors on the street at traffic lights (“robots”) – the new experiences and challenges are exciting and stimulating and fun, but can also be exhausting.
In a new country, not only are the logistics all new, but so is the manner of living. Finding new friends to pal around with, someone to call with questions, or for help. From easily navigating daily circumstances, to feeling inadequate or ignorant. Tasks that I used to do without thinking are now researched, analyzed, planned, and painstakingly carried out.
One of our packages included a birth announcement, photographs, and a Christmas card. Another was a Christmas letter, and a letter about a ministry opportunity in Thailand. One package held some Christmas decorations, candy and Starbucks’ via coffee packets (“sachets” we would call them here!). And the fourth package holds 25 Christmas cards and letters from friends and family, organized by our dear son and daughter-in-law. The original intent was that they be a form of an Advent Calendar, and we were to open them one at a time during the month of Christmas. We decided that opening them one at a time now would prolong our pleasure and allow us to enjoy each one, better than just ripping into them all at once!
All of this means that a little touch of “home” is most welcome! Someone with whom I have a shared past. Seeing the name and handwriting brings back a flood of memories of when I was competent, known, and loved. That is the real significance of a care package – not just whatever “goodies” are included (photos, cards, candy, gifts, decorations, etc)!