Now, you may be asking yourself, “Uh, what they heck does Löki know about care packages?” Well, over my 18+ months in country, I have received a fair number of said packages. I am still speechless as to the generosity, love, care, consideration...really all of the above, that goes into a care package. I have received delicious chocolate from Europe, a Black Bean soup kit, reading glasses for older people, vacuumed sealed bacon, expired canned food, toys for kids, dictionaries, A PASTA MACHINE!, young adult novels, computer cleaning cloths, gelatin...you name it, I have received it.
This stuff is great. It puts a smile on my face and gives me new ideas. I love care packages....and I think with all the ones I have opened, I know a few things.
- Diversify. Novels are great, but sometimes a little light reading goes a long way. My ma sends crosswords, which keeps me entertained, but doesn't weight down my mind.
- Maximize space. My friend Troll is a pro at this. She uses tea and chocolate like packing peanuts.
- A taste of home goes a long way. My bestie’s mom sent me all the ingredients to make a black bean soup. I think I cried between spoonfuls.
- Holiday candy. I am not sure how that is a bullet point, but my aunt sent me a couple packages of Cadbury eggs and I LOVE[D] them.
- Don’t give up. At first, it was ridiculously hard for me to ask for things. From a PCV perspective, it's a little weird to pass out a list of “demands” (I think my ma would cringe at how some of my manners have just gone to the wayside). Care packages are amazing, but PCVs are overly aware of the huge costs that go into shipping things overseas. For us, a $50 package is equal to our monthly stipend. Unfortunately, you are gonna have to poke and prod your PCV until they tell you what they really want.
- Listen to the subtleties. PCVs talk about care packages a lot. Mostly, it is about how to ask for something without actually asking. The general consensus? We expound on the things we liked and barely mention the things that weren’t useful. It sounds weird, but that’s what most PCVs do. [Löki specific note: This does not apply to me.]