“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies”~ Mother Theresa
Do you believe in miracles? Now I do! It came in a form of an envelope.
Back in the States, I avoided going to the mailbox like the plague. The mailbox was always full with bills to pay, unwanted catalogs (thank you Lane Bryant) and junk advertising. Not to mention, it housed a giant wasp nest that was my arch-nemesis. I left that “dirty work’ up to my husband. He could battle the angry wasps and sift through the pile of envelopes and meet the doomed fate of yet another tax bill or notice of payment. Yep, I had a quiet disdain for the snail mail.
On our new island, none of the homes have physical addresses, instead, we have cottage names. Ours is lovingly called “Sandy Feet”. Which is quite appropriate because we bring in mountains of sand via our feet daily. It is a constant battle of sand on furniture, sweeping up sand on the floors and the vacuuming sand that gets in every nook and cranny of the house. But of course, we embrace this annoyance because getting to walk the sandy seashore is such a beautiful blessing.
We were given a P.O. Box number to use:
P.O. Box AB 20677
Great Guana Cay, Abacos Bahamas
So when we were transitioning to the islands, I had to visit my bank and change my billing address. The personal Banker got a kick out the fact that I had no zip code or physical address. He was more stunned when I told him of ferry rides, golf carts and no retail shops. “Wow!” He said, “You don’t come across this everyday.” So he helped me update the change and hope it would suffice for the bank to accommodate as my new address.
Upon arriving in Guana Cay at the end of July, I realized that my debit card was soon to expire in September. So, I placed a long distance call to Chase to ensure my new card would be dispatched to my new address. Yes, they told me it is actually on its way. Phew. There are no ATMS on the island and on the main island you get charged several exorbitant VAT taxes and surcharges to extract your own money from the bank.
As the weeks went by, I didn’t think too much of my debit card, as mine still had a month to expire. I went about my business, but when I traveled home to the States in August for my obligatory visit for immigration purposes, my card number got flagged for fraudulent charges after I purchased concert tickets on Stub Hub. Ugh! This means the dispatched new card would be null and void and they had to re-issue me another. After agonizing with passwords and account numbers and verifying addresses with the bank my debit card was cancelled and they were to re-issue my new card to be sent to the Bahamas.
So, at this point there were two debit cards floating in the mail system both intended to arrive at the P.O. Box in Guana Cay. As they say in the islands… No problem! Well, until it was a problem. My cash stash had run out, and I was getting crazy over-seas charges for using a credit card. I needed my debit card for grocery shopping and ferry rides for both me and Wolfgang.
I went to the post office on Guana Cay on Monday afternoon. It was closed. Oh, I thought, I’ll try tomorrow in the morning. But Tuesday morning the post office was again closed. I tried Wednesday and Thursday too. Nobody was around. So I started asking around to the locals, “when is the post office open?” People didn’t know for sure but call this girl Charmain she runs it and she will tell you when you can retrieve your mail. So I called and called, but Charmain could not be reached. Jim stopped by the Post office and slid a piece of paper in the mail slot telling them to contact us if anyone ever decided to open the post office we would like to be contacted.
The wild goose chase ensued, as I needed to track down the mail. After numerous calls to the Postmaster in Abaco, the Postmaster told me there was a backlog of mail in Nassau. It could take up to six weeks for mail to arrive to Abaco through Nassau. She told me I could call periodically to see if any of my mail turned up. I laughed at the thought of my neurotic self calling daily to inquire the whereabouts of my debit card. Not to mention international calling rates, I was sure to be a pest to her. She laughed in her congenial Bahamaian way, “Sure,” she said, “you can call me everyday.” No problem.
I told my plight to the other American mothers living on our island, and one mother told me how she received a Christmas card from her friend in April once! “It would be a small miracle if you got your mail,” she sympathized. We all had a good giggle about the whole mail on Guana situation. Part of living on an island, is not having modern-day conveniences. Snail- mail took on a whole new meaning.
I had given up the hope that the mail would turn up. Perhaps I could fly to Fort Lauderdale Florida and request a card from the Chase branch? No, they told me, but I could have it sent to a friend’s address, they informed me. That sounded a bit crazy but looks like that was my last resort.
Then, the miracle happened, Jimbo called me and would you believe it? The Guana post office was open for the day! They had seen his slip of paper and yes, they have mail for the Snyders! Woooooohoooo! Jimbo said get to the Settlement pronto before they decide to leave! So,I hopped in my golf cart and floored it to the Post Office. The whole way I was praying my card would be one of the pieces of mail. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, because the Post Master told me there was a six week backlog.
I screeched to a halt and ran into the post office! “I’m Krissy Snyder!” I announced. “I think I’ve got mail!” The girl behind the desk looked at me like lunatic and said…”yes, you do”. Like a kid on Christmas I got so excited to see three pieces of mail on the counter. There was a letter from Jim’s dad (sent in June), a penpal letter from Wolfi’s friend, Liam, and my debit card from Chase! It was a miracle!
I never in a million years thought I would be excited about snail mail. But in island living, it is the smallest conveniences that become true delights.
“Success in life’s founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the everyday things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and common” ~ Booker T Washington