Jim and I walked to the main post office after church yesterday to buy some Christmas cards. I just haven’t been able to get my act together to create the cards this year — and I didn’t want to go another Christmas without cards! (Last year we were in the throes of wedding thoughts during this time…so no cards…for the first time in almost forever!)
Only rarely have I bought cards here for any event. The first time Jim and I spotted cards for a birthday, we were surprised that the envelopes are not in the price of the card. But they DO have the envelopes under the counter.
So we weren’t totally surprised when we found the cards that we wanted without envelopes. I explained to the woman at the kiosk that I only spoke a little bit of Ukrainian, but that I needed “x” amount of cards. She smiled, and I pointed to the ones in the window that I thought looked oh so Ukrainian. PLUS I wanted the greeting to be in Ukrainian and not in Russian. Don’t ask me exactly why — both languages are spoken here.
She presented the cards and I inquired about envelopes. I have to admit that I WAS a bit surprised that I had to cross the lobby to the opposite side of the building to buy envelopes! She then proceeded to remove the shrink wrap and count the cards. (We were intending to buy the whole package, but she was confirming the correct number…) We paid and her and walked across the lobby. We entered the “card area” (as opposed to the kiosk where we bought ours) through a small gate and I immediately asked the sitting clerk about envelopes. Almost as if I were fluent in Ukrainian. Confidently spoken. And she jumped up and went to a drawer and handed us the envelopes.
She didn’t count them. Nor did the cashier. The envelopes were rubber-banded together. The clerks were both surprised that we weren’t buying stamps! There are some really beautiful stamps here, but this set of cards is being hand-delivered and THEN mailed in the United States. So US stamps will be necessary.
They both asked Jim and me to come back again. And to be sure to buy stamps the next time. They even smiled!
Life just may be getting a little gentler here…