Monday, 11 January 2010

half my rent in shipping

yup.  that's how much i spent on sending parcels home to people:  more than half a month's rent.  that is just ridiculous.   i mean, i know that email and cheap phone plans have cut down on how much people use the postal service, but really?  we have to charge that much?  i live overseas from all my family and a lot of my friends.  i have to post internationally 85% (at least!) of my gifts.  i may never do that again, if they don't reciprocate and start sending me things.  they each only have to send one expensive parcel to me-- i have to send them to everyone.  it's just not fair.

so i could just send gift cards, or order online, or simply call.  but where's the fun in that?!  i love finding the perfect gift, and buying people things from the awesome places i get to travel.  but when i have to spend more on the shipping than the item itself is worth, how is that right?  it's not right.  but is there anything i can do about it?  no. 

because it's not just the specialty shipping folks who are outrageously priced-- it's the local post office.  surface mail takes two months to arrive for a slight decrease in price.  slight enough to make up for the difference in time?  not really.  i could just pack everything in my checked luggage when i go home... if i go home.  but since i have not been in more than a year, and have no idea when i might get back again, that doesn't even work.  gah. 

c'mon, shipping people.  give us poor expats a break!  this is flippin' highway robbery.  =(

Sunday, 10 January 2010

the cupboards are still largely bare....

because no one is open at all over the holidays.  not only are they closed on christmas, early on new year's eve and all day long on new year, then we have a stinking local holiday on 4 january.  seriously?!  we didn't just have enough days off?  and all the tiny wee shops in the tiny wee village where i'm staying just now are all closed.  because their tiny wee owners can do that, i guess.  but how am i supposed to buy groceries, especially when the co-op is out or ridiculously over-priced?  i don't have a car.  bus travel here is expensive and it takes a good while to get into a big enough town to have shopping.  and then i have to carry it all back on my aching back without falling on my back side in the ice and snow.  no thank you! 

so i just ended up carting back about two tons worth of food from my pantry at home, when i was back for two days' worth of appointments.  it nearly killed me, hauling that case in the icy snow all the way to the train station... but at least i'm not starving now.  because i'm not sure when or if i'll be able to order in groceries, because i had to spend my life savings on posting parcels home to everyone for christmas.  which, again, is another story in itself...

Monday, 4 January 2010

the cupboards are bare

so i'm flatsitting for a friend who is gone this month.  it's great for both of us... she's home, and i get a place all to myself for a while.  win-win. 

except that i got here late on 30 december.  and the cupboards were pretty well bare.  not that i expected her to stock up for me, but what kind of person doesn't have staples in the house?!  no bread and milk i can understand.  no meat or veg or fruit, no problem. 

but no canned goods?  nothing frozen?  no canned good?!

there were:  a few sauces and condiments.  garlic.  two boxes of mostly-eaten cereal.  flour-sugar-spices-the like.  gross health food like protein bars and walnut oil.  (what the hell is walnut oil for?!)  tea. coffee. both very good things, since it's freakin' freezing here.  a few oatcakes (but nothing to put on them). 

that's it.  not even things to cobble together some random weird meal.  again, who doens't keep staples like tinned tomatos, ramen noodles, tinned tuna, even just pasta, for crying out loud?! 

luckily i had brought a very few things with me-- some tortellini, clementines, pringles, mince pies.  not the healthies of combinations, but it got me through. 

did i mention i arrived late on 30 december?  because nothing was open for days and days... but that's another post in itself.