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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

German Christmas Card Fail

This an apology to my family. I tried my best, but nobody will be receiving Christmas cards this year. Don't blame me, blame the strict German postal service (see below).

German Christmas card

I was so good this year. I bought a pack of Christmas cards just days after Thanksgiving. They were even the kind where part of the profits go to charity. I addressed the envelopes to all of my friends and family in the U.S. I wrote personal messages in each of the Christmas cards. I even drove (well, Marco drove) to the post office just a few days into December with the intent to mail them weeks before Christmas. 

But alas, no one will be receiving Christmas cards from me this year.

This isn't my fist time sending Christmas cards to the U.S. Last year, trying to be safe and fit within the post office's size limits, I bought mini-cards that were half the size of a standard greeting card. Imagine my disappointment when I got to the post office, and the man told me that "Oh, due to the miniature format, these don't fit through the machines. Therefore, postage costs €1.50 per card instead of €0.80. 

But that was fine. I was only sending about 5 cards anyways, and €1.50 still seemed somewhat reasonable.

Learning my lesson from last year, I decided to buy a pack of (what I thought was) standard-sized greeting cards this year. Well, imagine my disappointment once again when the women at the post office told me, "Oh... these are too big. It would be €3.45 per card to send these." What?! Since I had 10 cards in my hand (and not very much money in my bank account), I just couldn't justify it. So, I didn't send the cards.

Turns out, what the Germans consider "standard" is very specific. I know it is my fault for not checking beforehand, but it is also infuriating that these Christmas cards could be sent for just €0.80 each had I cut 1.5 cm off the bottom of each card.

For reference, here is the price list for international postage in Germany (2015):

International postage in Germany
I have learned my lesson. Since the measurements for "standard" are based on the typical business envelope, instead of Christmas cards, maybe I will just send New Year's letters.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Then and Now

In November 2011, Marco took me on our first weekend getaway to the coast of the Baltic Sea near Lübeck. We stayed in a little beach house (albeit not directly on the beach), where we cuddled up in front of a wood fireplace and made a short day trip to the Lübeck Christmas market.

Four years later, Marco planned another little getaway to the Baltic Sea. This time, we ventured a little further north to Kappeln, which is about 45 minutes south of Flensburg, and the house we stayed in really did sit right on the shore. In fact, we had amazing views of the Schlei from the back of the house and the Baltic Sea from the front of the house. Once again, we cuddled up in front of an amazing wood fireplace, and we took a day trip to visit the Christmas market in Flensburg.

However, there is one thing that made this trip much more special...

Marco asked me to marry him, and I said yes!

Funny how much, yet also how little, has changed in four years.
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