It’s easier to navigate the world with sleep. Last night I got 18 hours of it. I’m not sure how but I went to bed before it got dark and I stayed that way until 8 am. When I woke up, I had no idea where I was and no recollection of actually going to bed. Perhaps my sleep drought is over.
Just in time, too. Our unexpected bank holiday yesterday pushed out some of the list of tasks we needed to accomplish and couldn’t. We went out yesterday hoping to go to the post office to mail our accountant payment for his services and the Correos was closed. That should have been the first indication that it was all down hill from there.
Then the Mercadona was closed and we had no food in the house. Crackers and cheese were pretty much breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not for me because I went to sleep, but for Jeff as he tried to make it to this morning when we hoped the grocery stores would open again.
Today, I was up ready to tackle it all again and our first stop was the Correos – Spanish Post office. We went in and discovered its also part gift shop. You can buy Barbies, Legos and books for both adults and kids. They have benches to sit on and an incredibly wide variety of boxes, envelopes and the like. What they don’t have is a line.
No line at a Post Office? – you might be thinking. I know. Unheard of in the US. It should be snaking around the building with people who are craning their necks to see how far it goes. There should be toe tapping, loud critiques of how ridiculous the system is, and heavy sighs. Employees who hate their jobs and cut you no slack. But not at the Correos near my house. It’s sleek and clean. And well organized.
We entered and I could tell Jeff was already on edge. He doesn’t like post offices at home so this couldn’t be good. We looked for the line but there was just a collection of people, some sitting and others just standing, just waiting. There was a screen they were looking at and I mimed to the gentleman next to me my confusion and asked what I should do – pointing to his chit. I had no idea how he acquired it.
He took me to the kiosk at the front of the store – we had missed it looking for the line. He asked me if I was sending or receiving mail. I pointed away from me and he showed me what buttons to push and out came my chit. Then we just looked up at the screen like everyone else and waited on a bench for our number to flash. Very civilized – no heavy sighs. And Quick!
I’ve notices that this is a common practice here. Get the chit, watch the screen until your number flashes. Easy. If you understand that this is the expectation. I’m starting to catch on.
The one thing we can’t seem to ‘catch on’ to and we’ve looked it up online in every conceivable way, is the bank holiday. Who has the calendar, how to people know there is one coming and what is open/closed when it happens? We’ve been fooled before and Jeff is now determined that we will keep food stocked up at all times in our fridge and pantry – like we’re waiting for apocalypse – as we might never know when we’ll be caught unawares by another bank holiday.
Yesterday, as we were walking back to our apartment, after getting nothing accomplished because everything was closed, we mentally tallied the number to days that kids have been out of school here since we’ve arrived. We’re pretty sure it’s been about two and half weeks of the 5 weeks we’ve been here. That’s a lot but perhaps its just that we hit it over the Easter/Spring Break and Fallas.
Either way, we’re good to go now. One more every-day-type experience I can check off my list. I can mail things now. Now if I can just figure out how we get a driving license place to take us (that is in English) and we’ll be ready to go.