Christmas Packages

Trip Start Jul 20, 2012
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Trip End Jun 28, 2013


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Flag of Germany  , Lower Saxony,
Saturday, December 22, 2012

Before I left to began my exchange year in Germany, I thought it would be wise to get another pair of glasses just in case anything was to happened to the ones I currently have. So sometime in the middle of July I had vision test. I waited for my glasses, but they did not come before I had to leave. This was partly my fault because I had waited so long to get the test done. This was no problem however, my parents could simply ship them off once I got settled in Germany. So after a few weeks here in Germany, my parents decided to send the glasses. It was the middle of August so sometimes I would wait patiently by the door, looking for the mailman, but he never came. I was only going to be with this family for the first month, so I was rather nervous it wouldn't come in time before the beginning of September when I was move in with my next family. They said when it was to come after I left, they would ship it to my new host family's house. It never came. I contacted my parents and they in turn contacted the post office. The post office said if anything had gone wrong, it would be returned to the USA in due time. How long is due time though? As it turns out, due time is 'round about four months because it was returned to my parents in the beginning of December. This was no problem however, because my parents were about to sent my Christmas package; just add it to the box! I waited just as I did before. This time it was even a little more stressful because my parents were sending with my things some gifts for me to give to my host family. I didn't want to be there Christmas morning without any presents for my host family (true, it isn't about the gifts, but I'd still feel bad). Then a whole week before Christmas the postal truck pulled up. The man went to the back of  the truck, opened the door, and pulled out a large box. I knew exactly what it was. But instead of just handing it over, he promptly asked for 110 Euro ($145). This was odd, I had no idea why he was asking ME for money. Typically in the USA we pay for the shipping beforehand, but maybe this was different in Germany. He then explained that the 110 Euro was for toll taxes. I told him there could not be anything in there worth that much, forgetting about the glasses. He pulled out the contents list and that was was when I remembered, the glasses. The poly-carb, transition, scratch resistant, prescription glasses. My host father and I told him there must be some mistake. He very nicely took time to explain everything he knew about the situation and said not to shoot because he was only the messenger. We were left with an ultimatum, pay the fine or he would take the box back to county headquarters where we would have seven work days to change our mind. After these seven days the box would be returned to my parents in the USA at their expense. Now what they are telling us is to simply pay the money and then we have four weeks to get proof that I do in fact need the glasses and a copy of the vision test. With these things I will go the a toll-tax court  and defend why I should be reimbursed my 110 Euro fine. We went to the post office, payed the 100 Euro, and I now have my Christmas box. Honestly, I think it sounds like something straight from a TV show or a movie. But after all, what is an exchange year without a little government bureaucracy for the holidays? Wish me luck in toll tax court! 
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