Forgive my reference to the tacky, yet hilarious, 2000 movie staring Aston Kutcher. But just like the movie, my search for and expectation to receive packages sent from the U.S. are both futile and absolutely comedic. First, in order to get anything done in China, you MUST speak the language. There is simply no way around it. Well, I don’t speak the language. Therefore, I have to garner the assistance of Chinese work colleagues to assist me with things as simple as tracking down my packages.To date, I am waiting on three packages from the U.S. One was sent nearly two months, another about a month ago and another about three weeks ago. The first package was sent by a dear friend who has since passed away. Before she passed, she said that it had made it to Beijing, but there is no trace of it after that. Of course, now that she’s passed, I can’t get the necessary information from her regarding the package like…. the tracking number. And while I would love more than anything to receive my deceased friend’s package, I have made peace with the fact that it is probably in the place where all really good packages go, some greedy bastard’s home.

After the disappointment of not receiving the first package, searching for and inquiring after the other two seemed futile at best. However, I became curious about the China post experiences of other expats. The results of my brief and highly informal survey showed that the problem mainly seemed to be with packages coming over from Canada and the U.S., the latter is no surprise. I’ve heard stories of being charged upwards of $600 USD for simple care packages from the U.S.. One guy shared a story of how he was told his package was squashed by a truck and they wouldn’t deliver, but nor would they produce a picture or even a mailing label of said package. But I learned a lot of good information. One, never use China Post. Two, always include your phone number. And three, get the tracking number from the sender of the package.

But alas, none of that matters now. I haven’t looked into the inner workings of the China Post system, but I have my theories why so many U.S. expats in particular have issues receiving packages from home. All of which, I will keep to myself… for now. And ultimately, it really doesn’t matter because it’s just one more hardship, one more challenge, that makes it hard to adjust to life here and makes you miss home and the people you love even more.

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