A Trip to a Korean Post Office to Mail Christmas Packages to America

I decided not to go to the post office first thing this morning because I had a phone message from the Korean government yesterday saying there would be a big snow storm.  I know from experience the best time to go out when it snows is not first thing in the morning, especially in Seoul. If you go out in the morning in Seoul anytime, you will hit a traffic jam and a 30 minute trip might take you two hours.  If you wait until a little later in the day when it snows, the roads are more likely to be clear.  I left about noon to go to the post office, in Korean, Uchegook.

My apartment is small, so I need to get these in the mail because this is where I want to put my Christmas tree.
Looking from the window from the 9th floor where my apartment is, I could see there was snow, but the streets were clear.


I wore my coat, hat, scarf, and gloves because I knew it would be cold.  As I walked out of my apartment, I looked down to the street, and I had chosen right waiting.  There was snow, but the street were clear.  As I got in the elevator, a terrible smell hit my nose!  Some Korean woman was cooking!  She had used too much chili spice as most of them do, and I could tell from the smell.  The smell was so bad it made me kind of queasy, but I got out of the elevator soon and felt better.

I found my car next to the Taekwando van, and it was covered with snow. (Taekwando is a Korean martial art like karate.  It is more concentrated on kicks.)  These vans or small buses are very common here in Korea. Every private school or taekwando place has a small bus like this.

When I made it to the parking lot, there was still lots of snow everywhere. My car was covered with snow, and I had to take time to uncover my car before I could go anywhere, Thankfully, nothing was frozen. It was just snow, so it was easy. I got in the car and turned on my Bing Cosby Christmas CD. As I went down the street, he was singing Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. In my car, it was American Christmas, but out of my car, it was Korea.

Here is a picture of my apartment building from inside my car.
It was lunch time, but I didn’t want to stay at home and eat and nor did I want to go out to eat, so I took some cheese in my car to eat.

There is a post office closer to my house than the one I went to, but I am used to the one I went to because I have been going there ever since I came to Korea. It is over by the university where I taught several years.  It also has a parking lot which is unusual in Korea. Many places don’t have parking lots, and I appreciate this post office having a parking lot, so I really don’t want to change to one that might not have a parking lot. I actually took a picture of the post office, but I can’t find it now.

I just chose the size of box I wanted.
There is free tape for everyone to use.
I packed the Christmas presents into boxes.
Next, I had forms to fill out.

I didn’t bring any boxes with me, just the gifts and addresses.  I can buy my boxes cheap at the post office, and there is free tape to tape the box up. I got some boxes and began packing them with Christmas gifts. I was getting too hot, so I took my hat, my scarf, and my coat off. I had left my gloves in the car.  After everything got into boxes, I knew I had to fill out some forms, so I went to the place where forms are filled out and found the appropriate forms and filled them out.

These machines are every where in Korea. It is time to take a number and wait.
I sat next to that lady on the chair and waited my turn.
This is the lady in line before me.  The coat she is wearing is very much in style in Korea right now.  They all like long black quilted coats.  Long coats are a good idea in Korea because sometime the air is extremely cold in the winter.  This lady is dressed normal in other ways for Korea too.  She is wearing a baseball cap with a pony tail coming out the back of her hat.  If you look at her feet, there is snow on the ground outside, but she is wearing rubber slippers like you would wear at home or to the beach and socks, not snow boots, not even closed toe shoes.  That is normal in Korea. Most high school students go like this to school everyday regardless of the weather.
It was my turn, and this little lady chattered on to me in Korean. She couldn’t speak any English, but she could read English letters. She kept reading letters off to me to make sure she understood what I had written on the forms.  She went into detail asking questions about each package.

Next, I had to take a number and wait.  When my number came up, I went up to the counter, and the little lady behind the counter chattered on to me in Korean asking me all kinds of questions about what I was sending.  Finally, everything was finished, and I was ready to go home.

My car in the Post Office parking lot.
I saw these pictures on my way to the post office and thought they were interesting, so I stopped and took a picture of them on the way home to share with you. This is a restaurant.
I stopped to take a picture of this because the roof is cool. There were no signs, and it was empty, so I am not sure what is it, but it is open and has benches inside.
You can see the end of a red and white truck here. It is a Korean post office delivery truck.  You can also see a bus stop off to the left.  There are bus stops everywhere. Most people ride the bus or subway. The public transportation here is great!
At a stop light, these two guys pulled around in front of me to wait and talk as the guys on the motor cycles do here in Korea. They are boy delivery men from the post office.  Guys on motorcycles are downright dangerous in Korea!  They think they don’t need to follow the laws and dart back and forth in traffic.  I was at the front of the line waiting for the light to change when they guys came from in back of me and parked here.  Before the light changed, one of them left and took off on the side walk.
At one point, I saw a restaurant with boxes full of shells out front. There was snow in the sea shells.
These little yellow buses are so common in Korea. If you look on the window of this bus, in Korean it says “Children’s Zone.”  This is a bus from a private English school called a hogwan. Hogwans are everywhere, and so are these little yellow buses. Look at the beginning of this blog, and you can see another little yellow bus from a taekwando place.
The road leading up to my parking lot is lined with pine trees sprinkled with snow.
This is a shot from the first floor out the back door of my apartment building.  Next, I got in the elevator and went back to my apartment.

On the was home, I took some pictures for you of some interesting things I saw on the way thinking this is the kind of thing people from the west would like to see because these thing make Korea unique. My packages are in the mail, and my kids who live outside of Korea will be having a good Christmas from me.  If I can’t be with them at Christmas, at least I can send gifts.

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