UPDATE 5/13/2014: I FLY OUT OF MONGOLIA ON 6/25/2014, LEAVING MY PERMANENT SITE A WEEK PRIOR. PLEASE DON’T MAIL ME ANYTHING STARTING NOW!! TO MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT, I’M REMOVING MY ADDRESS 🙂
For any Peace Corps Volunteer, going without comforts from home (i.e., making do with what we have) is part of the experience of integrating into the culture. So, while of course I would appreciate receiving a care package, I can certainly survive without one.
That said, here is a list of things I could use in order of importance to me:
Cards, letters, and postcards – Don’t underestimate the value of a card, letter or postcard. Everything below this will be used up at some point, but a written note from you will be saved and re-read for years to come. You know this is true! Also, since I am not seeing you as often, I am not talking with you as often, so I don’t know what is going on with you. A Facebook status update is not good enough, and I might have missed it anyway. Additionally, postcards showing where you are or where you’ve traveled will be shared with the Mongolian people (“This is what Boston, San Diego, Portland… looks like!”) and I will regale them with stories of us and it will make me smile all over again. This is henceforth known as the ripple effect of a postcard.
Emails – maybe you aren’t a letter-writer… or maybe you’re thinking “Love is probably really busy and won’t have time to read my email” or “I’m sure Love has tons of email, she doesn’t need one from me.” Allow me to state for the record: One, regardless of how busy I am, I will read your email and it’s more than likely I will respond; two, I am, in fact, not receiving a ton of email. Don’t know what to say? A simple “Thinking of you” would be nice to hear (er, read). Questions about the Peace Corps or life in Mongolia are also good, as are suggestions for blog topics–what do you want to know?
For those of you who have sent me food in a care package–THANK YOU! For those who are still planning to, you are too late. 😦 Mongolia is now restricting importing food into the country. We thought it was only large quantities for resale, but other PCVs have had their boxes opened and food removed. So, it was good while it lasted. Henceforth, I’ll only list borderline-food items that might be able to be sent inconspicuously in an envelope.
Chai tea – someone shared her special tea with me and it was a taste explosion. It made me feel wrapped in a hug. So, if anyone wants to send me some chai tea (simply throw them in an envelope), and I will feel your hug from home.
Yarn! – assorted weights, colors, etc. I’ve made almost 20 hats already–my yarn supply is running low! Remnants absolutely fine–hit up a thrift store for me–or find “recycled yarn” on eBay. (Note: because yarn is bulky, but not heavy, might be more economical to send in a USPS bag-type envelope, rather than a pricey flat-rate box.),
Gatorade powder (or REI equivalent) or energy gel like cliff mocha – for all those incredible hikes,
Dry beverage powder (such as Crystal Light) – probably any flavor,
Spices – chili powder, taco seasoning, salad dressing mix (e.g., italian or ranch)… Feel free to remove a portion from your own jar and put it in a labeled baggie, then send it off in an envelope (<– People did this! Brilliant!),
ADDRESS: Turns out the post office holds my mail, which makes including my office location unnecessary. Therefore, a simplified version of the address is:
Love Nickerson, PCV
Mongolia (via China)
Packages have arrived in a week or two. Letters/cards have taken about 2-3 weeks. Using just the English text is okay, but I will be impressed by those who attempt to write out the Mongolian 🙂 (Well-done, Priscilla!!!) And if you are copying and pasting onto a label, there’s no reason not to use it. The longer address previously emailed is, of course, valid so use it if you have it–I just won’t publish it for “security” reasons.
If you do decide to send something, use USPS, not courier services, because they require a visit to the capital for signature.