Going Postal

For Little Man’s birthday (he’s one! Can you believe it?!), my mom sent a package from the US. This was not the first package I’ve received since being in Helsinki. Normally, if it’s too big for posti to deliver, they leave a post card telling you to pick up the box from the closest location. (It’s about a ten minute walk for me.) If they try to deliver it and you’re not home, which is usually the case for me, it’s the same idea: you pick it up when you can.


I knew this package was coming, and was excited to see the contents. (I knew what it was, I just hadn’t seen the finished product.) As my luck would have it, the package arrived the same day we went to Tallinn. When we arrived home, I saw the notice and couldn’t wait to get to posti the next day. This was not, however, the normal-looking posti notice. After examining and roughly translating it, it appeared that I needed to do something with customs. I went to the suggested website and found that it was all in Finnish. (Many government sites offer English pages. This one did not.) The Google translate feature is often laughable when it comes to this beautifully tricky language. So I decided to try my luck and see what posti had to say. Helpfully, the clerk told me to go to the same website I’d previously visited. Yep. Kiitos paljon.

After more digging, and much assistance on Husband’s part, we discovered that there were about three ways to pay the required customs fee without going to the service center. None of which I was able to do. At which point I wanted to scream, “WHY?!? Why is this so complicated?”

A few deep breaths, and a couple days later, I headed to the Tulli customer service office, near the airport. It’s notoriously difficult to find, and not very stroller friendly. It required a 30 minute bus ride, most of which was NOT acceptable to Little Man, who protested loudly, and a short, but very confusing walk to a loading dock entrance.


After stopping unnecessarily at the guard house, where I was told to simply walk through the open gate because of the stroller, I went inside and took a number. I took a number when the only other person there was clearly already being helped, and there were three available customer service agents. Because this is Finland and you always take a number.

The entire process took about 15 minutes. I estimated the value of the package at $50 US and was told that I did not need to pay anything. After all that, I was a little upset that that was the case. At least make it worth my while and take some of my money!


You’d think this would be the part when they handed over this long-awaited package, right? Oh no. I now had to wait for it to be shipped BACK to my local posti, have them bring the notice that it was there, THEN go pick it up. It took three days.


Of course, I wanted to go as soon as I possibly could, so I strapped Little Man into the stroller before his morning nap (we NEVER leave the house before his morning nap), and hiked my happy self to posti. The second the clerk asked for my ID, my heart sank. It was in the diaper bag, which I left at home since this was a quick trip. Oooh, the frustration! I kept it together as I told the clerk I would simply come back later, but by the time I made it outside, I was ready to throw something.

I did go back later that day, ID in hand, and finally, FINALLY got the package. Do you want to know what it contained? It seems pretty important, doesn’t it? THIS:


Little Man’s birthday quilt! Hand made by my mom. We picked out the fabric when I was pregnant because I LOVE dragons. You should see the back:


Adorable, right?! They’re such happy dragons! Mom even made crib bumpers with some leftover fabric:


Best mom ever.

As frustrating as this whole process was (and believe me, I hope it never happens again!), this was definitely worth the wait.


8 thoughts on “Going Postal

    1. Oh no, I’m sorry! I feel like I only have a few minutes each night to read blogs so I only scroll so far down the page. I haven’t seen yours in a while, I think the cherry trees was the last one. I do look forward to them, you share so much knowledge.
      Thank you for the comment. I hope you’re enjoying the summer so far!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I’m so sorry about Finnish “bureaucracy”. Well, it happens I can tell. Many years ago, I ordered French books, direct from Paris and occasionally I had to go to the customs to give explanation about the contents. We have a goddaughter in Peru and we send maybe twice a year something to her. We fill in advance customs declarations about the contents and the price. There have never been problems here and there.

        The quilt is well made and beautiful. Matti


      2. We always have to fill out a customs form and I’ve been told by various people that if the arriving package is above a certain amount, you need to pay a fee. I thought it was strange that I didn’t have to pay anything. (Not that I really mind!)

        Have you been to Peru? I get the feeling you have. I’ve always wanted to go.

        I thought your wife might enjoy seeing the quilt since she is so talented herself. Thank you.


  1. Yes Emily, my wife loved it. South and Central America are very near to my heart. I have been in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Brazil. In some countries many times. My daughter was working in 2004 three months in Chile and I visited to her with my granddaughter during two weeks. We had fantastic times. My daughter was teaching there one IT-program for locals. My first trip to Peru was something, which I never forget and due to it, my daughter is called Inca. On my trips I bought music called Cumbia, which yet popular in those countries yet today. In Brazil, we loved to visit Finnish colony Penedo, which is near to Rio. In Penedo You can buy Finnish handicrafts, maybe meet Santa and dance old traditional Finnish folk dances on Saturdays. Swimming in a pool in the tropics is an experience to be remembred and after swimming going to Sauna, is unforgettable.

    Have a nice day!


    1. Those all sound like wonderful travels! I hope to explore so much of the world in my lifetime. Inca is a beautiful name, and I’m sure holds special meaning for you.
      Is Penedo a common vacation spot for Finns? I heard there was somewhere that Finns like to go because you can speak Finnish, but I can’t remember where it was.
      Have a wonderful weekend!


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