This morning I toddled down to the postal outlet at the university and plopped my box on the counter for shipping. It wasn't tiny, but it was fairly lightweight. The PO there doesn't have an electronic shipping system, so I waited for a moment while the postal worker calculated the cost and rechecked her results before giving me the bad news: the grand total was $305.
Let me repeat that: over.three.hundred.DOLLARS. For a box that weighed less than five pounds and wasn't being shipped express.
Then she informed me that Australia Post charges extra if you don't use one of their boxes (if you're wondering how I hadn't already learned this in over six years of residence: I'm lazy and I'd never used my own box before). That's right: if you don't buy an AusPost box to ship your crap, you will pay through the nose, because no matter what size it is, they charge you for the cubic weight of the item, not the actual weight - and when you're shipping overseas, this is REALLY bad news.
Naturally, I unpacked that bad boy right there on the counter, grabbed two padded bags, repacked my gifts and sent them off that way - you see, AusPost only calculates bags by actual weight. It still cost about $50, one of the gifts now runs a slight risk of breakage, they probably won't arrive before Christmas, and this pretty much summed up my mood for the rest of the day:
I strongly suspect my heart was two sizes too small.
And then I got to come home and bask in my favorite holiday tradition: Christmas carols. I love Christmas music. When I was a kid, I used to drive my family crazy by insisting that we play nothing but carols from Dec 1 - 31. Give me Bing Crosby, give me Dean Martin and Burl Ives, Judy Garland and Nat King Cole. I don't really go in for the pop singers - I know Mariah's Christmas album is still freakishly popular, but if I'm going to listen to All I Want For Christmas, I'd rather hear that kid from Love Actually (I can't begin to tell you how much I adore that movie). I guess I just don't truck with most of those young whippersnappers these days. *hikes up pants and yells at the damn kid on my lawn*
And this is my favorite carol of all time:
I've always been able to take or leave Charlotte Church, but I have to say that I really like her performance here - the drama and range of this song suit her. Fall on your knees...that is just my favorite part of the whole song. It's so powerful - it sends little shivers down my spine.
And just like that, I love this holiday again.
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Edit: On Dec 15 I finally received a response to the query I sent to AusPost about the cubic method of calculation, since I'd never seen it before when shipping overseas. This was their reply: "The international postage is not calculated by cubic weight, I apologize for the wrong information given to you. I suggest you to report to the manager at the post office." Teqz was right about them making up their own rules - and I will definitely be taking all my packages into the city Post Office from now on!