On April 1 I mailed two things to Switzerland: a birthday card for Janet, and a Priority Mail box of books that she had ordered and had had delivered here, because she was planning to be here in April to receive them.

Perhaps mailing an important package on April Fools' Day was not the wisest choice this year.

Normally both items would have been delivered within a week, but what with the great reduction in flights from here to Europe, I was not surprised that the package was slow, even though it was sent Priority Mail. It did go promptly to Miami; on April 2 tracking results showed that it had been processed there and was "now on its way to the destination."

And there the status sat. Where the package itself sat I know not. Most likely it was at the Miami airport in some big pile awaiting an airplane to take it across the Atlantic, but for all I know it could have been sitting in a pile at Swiss Customs, because their system, too, was affected by the COVID-19 disruptions.

The days passed. The weeks passed. April turned into May, and as far as the USPS was concerned, the package was still "processed through Miami and on its way to the destination."

An then, on May 19, Janet reported the arrival of her birthday card! I'd had no idea that it also had been delayed. Frustrating as that was, it gave me hope, and I shelved the "lost mail" report I had been about to submit.

Six days later, the missing package cleared Swiss Customs, and was delivered the next day. The package and its contents were in fine shape.

Fifty-six days it took for those books to make the journey from Orlando to Switzerland. And yet I feel more gratitude than consternation, even though I paid airmail prices for slow-boat service. It's a reminder of how much normal international communication has changed since the days when transporting packages to far-away countries routinely took several months.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Edit
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