Before we moved to New Caledonia, 16 months ago I spoke with friends and family about the mail. If we need anything, it will be easy, just mail it to us! I had visions of care packages stuffed with our favourite “Canadian” things. I learned in a hurry, if you didn’t pack it, you might as well forget it. Usually when things are slow, or some what unreliable it has something to do with the island, but in this case it has everything to do with Canada Post.
My intrigue into what is wrong with Canada Post began early in our days here. I made a list, emailed to my mom and said these are things I need. She followed my orders, went out and bought the things I needed. My Dad headed to the post office with the box and returned home with the box. Why, you ask? Well Canada Post was looking for a mere $207 to send a medium sized box of things! What? I discussed with my Dad, no, no don’t send it priority! That isn’t priority he told me, just regular mail. I couldn’t believe it! I revisited the list, narrowed it down to bare essentials, a mere shoe box of things. Once again, my Dad walked to the post office and returned with the box in hand, this time a mere $75! In the end we were lucky enough to have two offers from men that do fly in, fly out to Bathurst. They brought me back things many times; birthday presents, Christmas gifts, little things from home, baby clothes etc. it was always greatly appreciated.
But the mystery of Canada Post was only beginning. I ordered things from the UK and they arrived in 2 weeks. I ordered things from the US and they arrived in 10 days, a parcel shipped from Thailand 19 days. Then my sister decided to ship a Christmas parcel last November. This is when things got really fun. Canada Post assured her it would arrive in 30 days. It sounded reasonable, that would be the beginning of December lots of time before the holidays. Well Christmas came and went and no parcel came. In the meantime having been warned of Canada’s slow mail I mailed cards on Halloween day to ensure arrival before December 25th. My cards arrived alright, most of them within 3 weeks!
January passed, February ticked by, my sister’s frustration grew each day. Canada Post told her, it was definitely the postal service in New Caledonia. But suspiciously I received none of the Christmas cards people had sent me. Finally, on the hottest day in February, the 28th the parcel arrived. About two weeks later, 5 Christmas cards, and even after that, more! In the meantime I have ordered things from the US and have had them arrive in 9 days! So, it has now become a game. I check the mail religiously wondering when the next Christmas card will show up. Will it be in April? May?
Today I mailed two parcels to Canada. I wondered to myself as they were tossed into the bin how long their journey will take. Will it be months? Weeks? Days? According to the post office here, 2-3 weeks. We aren’t like Canada she said! I will keep you posted.