Czech post offices have come a long way in the twelve years we've lived here. You don't need to use your elbows to keep your place in line any more - order tickets and clearly marked windows preserve politeness, as do the friendly twenty-somethings who speak Czenglish behind the counter. I might miss the quirkiness of getting to talk to someone named Pani Bezchlebova or Pani Bezvodova*, but I don't miss their personalities.
So when I took my package slip to the post office the other day I was surprised when the Hillfiger-clad clerk frowned at the slip instead of flashing his usual smile, and even more surprised when he disappeared from his window and didn't come back. Resigned to a long wait, I'd read halfway through my passport's "notable quotes" by the time he returned.
"Go west young man!"** I read as he slid back in front of his computer. But he only looked at me and shook his head, saying he was afraid the tower would be too much for me to grab home. I switched to Czech and promised that whatever tower he had to offer, I was willing to grab it without fail. Shaking his head again in a way that made me remember Mrs. Without-bread fondly, he piled twelve boxes on the counter, stamped my mail slip and let me go.
I staggered home happily. Who could resist an armful of books? One of my friends recently traded SEO advice for a big book order from the bookdepository, and Christmas had just arrived!
They're hidden away for the next few months, except the top two - early presents to myself for the SEO work, and for carrying them all home without dropping a one.
* Loosely translated as "Mrs. Without-bread" and "Mrs. Without-water," these two ladies worked side by side at the post office near our first flat in Prague.
** Horace Greeley, U.S. Passport
If I'm not working or hanging out with our 10 year old while a bouncy 5 year old dances around us, there's a good chance I'll be hammering away on our piano, reading a book or trying to sketch. I live in Prague, Czech Republic and hail from the U.S. South.