This morning I set out for what should have been a short 4-stop errand trip. But as we always tell people new to the Island, figure out how much time it should take and then at least triple it and be ready for anything along the way. I was glad I had remembered that piece of advice myself.
Stop One - Post Office in Yigo (northern most village). I have a small package to mail and take it to the counter. "I'm sorry but you will have to take your package to Payless (the grocery store?) to mail this package. We don't have any stamps." (This is the US Post Office isn't it?). I find out that he means the private mail box shop next to the grocery store. I decide not to go there because they charge extra for their stamps.
Stop Two - The gas station. (Easy enough right? ) I have a nice conversation with the attendant filling my tank and find out he is the son of one of our PIBC board members. Then I go to pay for my gas with the brand new credit card Steve just picked up from the bank yesterday. "Sorry, but your account is blocked." (Already? It was just issued yesterday. What could have happened? Oh well one of my stops is the bank anyway. I'll use an alternative payment now.)
Stop Three - Best stop of the day. I am taking something for Steve to his doctor (who is also a friend). I'm having trouble finding a parking spot, but find one and as I start walking towards the clinic I see his doctor walking across the parking lot from the hospital. Perfect! I can skip all the explanation to the nurses inside. Yeah!!
Stop Four - Bank. I explain that my brand new credit card is not working. She remembers Steve being in there yesterday and issuing my card. She checks. "Oh my. Your new card was blocked because of a breech on some of the bank's accounts sometime yesterday and yours was one of the cards frozen for security reasons. (Ok) We will issue you another new card and you can get it in another 3-5 business days. (The cards Steve picked up yesterday were to be done in 3-5 business days - and that only took 21 days!) I'm so sorry." (She is very helpful and it is not her fault, so I thank her for her help.) So now my 2nd order of business - new pin numbers for both of us. "I'm sorry but you can only order yours. Steve will have to come down or call in himself. (Can't we use the same pin numbers since its the same account? "No" is the answer.) And that will take 3-5 business days if you pick them up here yourself." (By this time I'm laughing and feeling more at home once again - believe or not these quirks grow on you.) Then we do the paper work to shut down my already stopped brand new card permanently. (I thank her again and head out, with "I'll see you in 3-5 business days.")
Stop Five (the extra stop)- another Post Office. All goes fine with the exception of a very long line that is moving very slowly. But that is ok too, because all in line are being entertained by a new born infant and another one-year old girl who is facinated by the baby and keeps calling out to the baby and saying "baby" at the top of her lungs.
I finally make it back to Yigo to pick up Steve after stopping at just about every red light coming and going. Years ago that would have been 3 or 4 lights. Today it was more than twenty!!! But I was greatful for the extra time to listen and join in the praise music playing on the CD as I made my way up and down Marine Corps Dr. (that's right, it is not just Marine Drive anymore). In spite of the challenges of doing the "dailies", it is truly a priviledge to be able to serve the Lord on this Island.