When you’ve lived somewhere all your life, there are certain things you take for granted. And recently I’ve realised that one thing I took for granted in New Zealand was NZ Post. I was pretty sure that when someone sent me something it would arrive and vice versa. Sure, if it was from overseas, it might take forever (we are practically at the end of the earth after all). And if it was international, it would likely cost a bomb (end of the earth again) unless you were lucky enough to find a website that offered free worldwide shipping. But basically, it was reliable.
My worst experience with the New Zealand Post was when I stupidly sent some concert tickets that I had sold on Trade Me by standard mail. It was Fast Post, but 3 days later hadn’t arrived. The concert was fast approaching, and I was about to leave New Zealand for Brunei, so tracking untrackable mail was the last thing I needed. It resolved on the fifth day, when they arrived safely. Overall, hardly an ordeal. You could say that NZ Post has been good to me.
When I arrived in Brunei, people warned me that the post here was not quite so good. I wasn’t sure what to expect. “I ordered something from the UK and it took FOUR WEEKS to arrive” someone told me. I scoffed, and thought “well, that’s not bad at all”. My first experiences receiving and sending post were positive. My letters and parcels arrived (albeit slowly). The letters I sent arrived too. “This isn’t so bad”, I thought.
Then I got cocky.
I ordered things to our home address instead of Damian’s work (I don’t actually know if the work address is any more reliable, but it felt that way). I bought books from the Book Depository. I ordered from Etsy. I gave out our address to people, who were awesome enough to attempt to send us gifts and letters. And now? Now I am waiting on (at least) five parcels and an air letter. Most of the parcels are without tracking numbers. But the one tracking number I do have shows the parcel leaving Los Angeles on July 17th, and hasn’t been seen since.
Basically, things aren’t looking good.
I gave them a pass, because it was Ramadan. But that ended three weeks ago now. So I really have no idea where my parcels are. I am hoping some are in the local post office, but for some reason my little notification has gone missing (really must follow that one up). But I’m also starting to accept that they may never arrive.
(Side note: when you get a parcel in Brunei, it never comes to your house. You have to go and collect it from a counter at the post office. Then you take it to another counter for a customs check, where you open it and show it to the officer. The officer charges you duty, you pay, and the parcel is yours to keep. I am somewhat tempted to order sex toys/lingerie/something else a bit risque, and see what the post office has to say about that. With my luck, that would arrive before all the parcels I actually want.)
It’s a bummer really, because I would love to have a post I could rely on. I would love to send letters that I knew would arrive, and I would love to know that if my friends and family are nice enough to send me a package that I would actually get it. I would love to be able to order things online, and not just be throwing my money away.
But, at the end of the day, it’s not too bad. It stops me shopping online, meaning that if I can’t get it here, I can’t get it at all (and there are quite a few things that I can’t get here). It means that when a package or letter does arrive, I am even more impressed and delighted. And when we eventually do go home, it will mean that I appreciate the relative reliability of New Zealand Post that little bit more.