After receiving our matches in early September, we have finally gotten around to shipping our boxes for the exchange. The families we were matched had agreed to ship the boxes in October so could have time to accumulate the materials. Initially, we were matched with four other families – U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, England, and Turkey. Sadly, the family from the Virgin Islands had to pull out so in the end we are exchanging with three other families.
Through our email exchanges, it was exciting to discover that our children have very similar interests. Buddy even wrote a letter to one boy in hopes of starting a pen pal friendship as their passions were so similar.
As we gathered the material to fill the boxes, we made an effort to find products that are made here in California (almonds, raisins, prunes, Ghiradelli chocolate, & Jelly Belly jellybeans) as well as southern Oregon (cranberries) as we have strong ties there. We also included several nuts and cones from local trees (Sweetgum, Walnut, Cypress, Redwood), a few postcards, a local magazine, a Disney lapel pin, cancelled US postage stamps and a couple first day issues (though not from the US, the covers we hope will inspire the other families to consider philately).
Already, this project has turned out to be very rewarding. At the post office, it took some time to fill out the customs declaration form. We hadn’t had to do this in the recent past (mailing only a letter or postcard overseas) so the kids were very inquisitive. Their knowledge of the postal service will soon surpass that of an adult.
Our boxes are on their way. We hope they enjoy their gifts. We are now stalking our postman in anticipation of the arrival of our exchange boxes.
November 8, 2012 at 12:49 am
I’m new to your blog. This culture swap sounds like a great idea but sending seeds etc overseas is not a good idea. I know my country’s border security does not want foreign species introduced. If seeds etc are declared the parcel may be confiscated at Customs. If they are not declared but are discovered the person receiving the parcel can be faced with a large bill and/or questioning by authorities. If they do make it through and the receiver unwilling plants them you can potentially introduce crippling disease into a country’s environment.
November 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm
OM Goodness! Sandra, you are so very right! As a science teacher, I generally keep this in mind .. I just wasn’t thinking through this time around. I am so embarrassed. I will write each of the recipients to inform them of my error and to implore them NOT to plant the seeds and to dispose of them by incineration. I did not note that these were enclosed on the customs form, so hopefully they will not be fined.
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