Saturday, March 10, 2012

Care Packages!

Hello folks! 

I've had a few people ask me about care packages lately, so I wanted to post the info in a central location, so that anyone interested has access to the process!  Not that I'm begging for care packages... or anything... I wouldn't do that... 

But... you know... if you want to, please send me uniquely American stuff.  I know I'll really be missing it soon, so if I know there are American things or better yet Texan things on the way, that will help with the culture rejection that I now is coming, scheduled to hit around month 3. 

But seriously...  I promise that you will get a super awesome Korean care package back if you send a return address!  I have access to lots of hilarious and/or amazing things here that you'd appreciate stateside.  I would love to have care-package-pals, like pen-pals! 

To send me a care package, first, you need the address.  You should send packages to the school, because mail is just left on the stairs at the apartment, where anyone can see and maybe even steal it.  Crime isn't very common here, not like in the states, but I wouldn't want to take a chance, so all the teachers receive packages at the school.  Message me on fb for my address and I'll be happy to provide it!

Next, you'll need to find some affordable shipping.  ***Fair warning: shipping internationally is expensive.*** I've looked into it and this is by far the best deal I've found, so I wanted to share it with all of you!

[Edited to add:  I've learned that if you're sending light weight stuff, there are cheaper options, so search around if you want to!  This is just the best deal that I found by surfing the net.]

USPS has international flat rate boxes in small, medium, and large.  I've found that the medium size is the best value!  Here is the link for the USPS international flat rate boxes:

The small box measures at 8 5/8'' x 5 3/8'' x 1 5/8'' and costs around $17.  You can ship up to 4 lbs. in a small box.   That's an ok deal, but there are better deals.  

**The medium boxes (there are 2 options) measure at 11'' x 8 1/2'' x 5 1/2'' and 13 5/8" x 11 7/8" x 3 3/8" and cost around $48.  You can ship up to 20 lbs in a medium-sized box!

The large box measures 12" x 12" x 5 1/2" and costs around $61.  There's also a "board game" size large box, measuring 23 11/16" x 11 3/4" x 3", which also costs $61.  You can also only ship up to 20 lbs. in a large box, so that's why I think the medium-sized box is a better value! 

Again, if you missed it, here is the link so you can see exactly what I'm talking about!

Now, as far as things that I miss and would love receiving in the mail, I've made a list:

Things that Zara misses and would love in a care package: [updated May '12]
--Texas-style food (Tex-Mex spices, snacks, anything from HEB or Buc ee's!)
--Stickers!  Little ones, approx. dime-sized.  Kindergarten students LOOOOVE stickers and they get them as rewards all day long.   A cheap book of a billion stickers would be awesome.  If they're larger than a dime, they won't fit on the sticker board reward charts, so I don't give those out.  [my kids have LOVED the stickers we've been sent already! Thanks!]
--Candy like Sour Patch Kids
--AMERICAN GUM!!!  Extra Polar Ice, Extra Dessert Delights Rainbow Sherbet, cinnamon, etc. [Korean gum is very different in texture and it's not usually sugar-free]
--Lucky Charms or Honey Bunches of Oats cereal [I'm serious on this one!  Cereal here is really high priced over here and they don't have those two faves of mine!]
--CD's - I always love mixed cd's burned for me.  I'm always down for new music!
--Photos of yourself for me to hang up on my wall :)
--Kindle gift cards
--Medicine, haha, I'm out of Pseudoephedrine and I could go for some Dimetapp or Robitussin, cause the level of allergies/common cold symptoms I've gotten in the first months is higher than I've ever had!  Darn new country with new germs.  

Please note: these are just suggestions if you had already planned on sending me some goodies!  You definitely should not feel obligated.  Really, honestly, I can find anything that I need to survive a year at the local stores.  Anything that you send would just be above and beyond the call of friendship.  Peanut butter must have just made it's mainstream debut in South Korea this past year, cause I was told I wouldn't be able to find it when I landed and I actually see it everywhere!  A good trip to Seoul will fix any Tex-Mex food craving I have, cause we found a pretty good Mexican place in Itaewon, near the Army base in Seoul. I like Korean food a lot, so I won't starve!  Also, there are plenty of western goods available if you know where to look and if you're willing to pay a higher price for them.  I was surprised to find so many familiar brands!  Cultural diffusion... ha! 

In summary:
If you send me an American care package, I will send you a Korean care package back!
Best value: medium-sized flat rate box through USPS (but if you find a better deal, let me know!!!)
Send packages to the school at the above address
Send uniquely American/Texan things please!

If you have any questions, please comment below!
Question: what's one product that you're curious about, as far as availability goes, in Korea?  I will let you know!

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