Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Biggest Difference

People frequently ask me and Rico what the biggest difference is between life in Maputo and life in Cali. They want to know how the transition has been, if we've experienced wicked culture shock, if we are feeling like foreigners in a foreign land.

To be honest, the culture shock thus far has been minimal. The changes are obvious - we are talking about two very different places and lifestyles, of course - but coping with said changes hasn't been traumatic at all. What we most miss about life in Mozambique is our friends, full stop. The rest is incidental.

However, this evening Rico had a eureka moment. There is one really big difference that impacts our lives and the way we interact with friends, family and the rest of the world on a daily basis.

Any guesses?

I won't be dramatic. :)

The big innovation is that WE CAN RELIABLY SEND AND RECEIVE MAIL. Such a simple thing, but with such a huge impact. Being able to depend on the postal system (and not be at the mercy of terribly overpriced couriers) has made it possible for me to order gemstones and other jewelry supplies online, make custom designs for my customers and ship them within a few days, set up a website with e-commerce capabilites, send Christmas gifts to everyone in the family on time, send letters to friends, fill out and return assorted paperwork, subscribe to Vogue and other magazines, order shoes online and return them immediately if they don't fit, receive and recycle junk mail, pay bills by check, print photos online, order books from so much more.

I can't believe this didn't dawn on us earlier.


nola said...

So true! I remember when somebody asked why my (now ex)boyfriend didn't mail me a letter from Liberia. Umm ... do the words "civil war" mean anything to you? We just take things for granted!

And yeah - Carnival Volume II is my most frequently-played album (because it's on my little MP3 player for exercise). And still love it!

Ali la Loca said...

~Nola - Well Moz is years away from their civil war and still the postal service doesn't work. I wonder if it ever did...but hopefully things will get better in the coming years. I know they've tried to get some technical assistance to reform the 'correios', but who knows how that will turn out.

Carnival Vol II is currently at the top of both my and Rico's list of favorite music.

Meg said...

sometimes american convenience is the best. :-)