While we've been in Zambia, mail has become much more than just mail. It's been a transformative experience for us, two people who hate asking for help who were suddenly forced to rely on the kindness of other people for our dark chocolate, Skittles, People magazine and KoolAid fixes. (OMG, are we PMSing teenage crackheads or what?)
Without having to survive cancer, we've been able to experience the most amazing outpouring of love and care from people we never realized cared so much. Going to the post office has become our repeated Sally Field moment: "You like us! You really like us!"
It's been wonderful but not all that surprising to get thoughtful packages from old friends like Heather and Grace. But I was knocked flat the first time I opened an envelope from Lea, a pal from grad school. I was well aware of her generosity, but I never dreamed she would unleash the full force of it on us. Knowing how much love, effort and postage went into her mail to us (she once covered the entire surface of a giant padded envelope with Star Wars stamps) was sometimes the kick in the butt we needed to leave the house and face another day.
We were also pleasantly shocked by the ladies in my bookclub and people like Rebecca from yoga. Apparently for us slow learners it takes moving 10,000 miles away to appreciate much a part of the social network we truly are. Thanks to these caring souls, we feel more connected to our hometown than ever before, not to mention proud that we can be people through whom others can live vicariously as they drive carpools for the next generation of PCVs.