Wednesday, May 14, 2008

care package + customs

We aren't always successful at receiving mail. Germany and the United States like to tell us that it's the other country's fault. Finally our packages aren't being lost into the abyss, although often times they aren't delivered to our door - we have to drive to the customs clearing to open them and determine the contents and it's value.

The trial and error issues are slowly decreasing as we learn what the parameters are. Today we learned that anything valued over 45€, even if it's a gift, we will owe a duty on. It's a good thing that exchange rate is working in our favor right now considering my parents sent things worth over $200.

Whenever I walk into the customs house I think this would be one interesting place to work. They have a glass showcase of their confiscated items, which includes a cobra fermented in alcohol, band aids made from leopard bones, counterfeit shoes, jewelry, and clothes, as well as animal pelts. I often wonder what happens when they see these items and if it's difficult to communicate to the recipient that these aren't legal for importing. When we went this morning, there were many exotic cars out front.

Our packages are exciting, although for different reasons. I was happy to wake up early knowing there were surprises sent for Stefan's birthday and of course a couple for me as well. Among them were Wüsthof paring knives, ironically made in Germany imported to the US and shipped back here, because during my parent's visit my Mom thought I could use them. Sometimes it's unbelievable how much things traverse the world and the sad part is these knives are undoubtedly more expensive here. We've seen the same thing for Stefan's adidas soccer cleats, which are made in Germany.

We also received a few more travel guides for upcoming trips - and my favorite... my München Munich book by M. Sasek. I can't stop looking at the beautiful illustrations and I love that I can read the German and double check it with the English.

It also states that the oldest surviving house in Munich is located at Burgstraße 5 and dates back to the 15th century. I pass by all the time and never knew!

Thanks for the package - we loved it!

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