I love juicing! Every morning I turn on our Omega 8006 masticating juicer, and minutes later we're sipping nutritious fresh greens, vegetables and fruits which we buy daily at El Mercado. We hand-carried our juicer and Vitamix all the way from Oregon, because we had no idea what was available here and what wasn't. Well, lo and behold, I somehow failed to assemble it correctly the other morning, and in the midst of juicing I heard a loud CRACK. Sure enough a main part busted. I was not happy! Now what? How in the world does one order and receive mail here? Being one-month new to Cuenca, it wasn't something we had investigated and tackled yet, nor did we need to - until now!
I e-mailed a friend who's lived here over 6 months, thinking she had surely been receiving mail by now, and she gave me a couple websites saying she, too, was going to be setting up a mailbox service soon. I randomly chose the mail-forwarding service through Ecuador Movers thinking it couldn't be that complicated. Well, since the entire mail service website is in Spanish, it was not going to be as easy as I thought - and I can read, speak, and write more Spanish than most ex-pats moving or living here! I signed onto the all-in-Spanish website for UsaCasillero (a casillero is a locker) and carefully read through and registered our mailing information. I chose a Miami mailbox address, and I felt pretty proud I had figured it out thinking that was all there was to it.
I then went to the Omega Juicer website and found and ordered the part, giving them the Miami address information I was assigned by UsaCasillero. I knew that by the time I paid Omega for their cost and then paid the mail-forwarding service their cost, this little replacement part was going to be a pretty spendy item. Oh well, I HAD TO HAVE IT!!!!
This morning I received an e-mail from the Miami mailbox telling me my package was there and I needed to identify it and myself for them to forward it to Cuenca. I had no idea what they were talking about. I thought I had identified myself when I registered. So, I began to read the UsaCasillero website's fine print and wade through the different links, using my Google Translate to help me along. I still could not figure this out. Finally, I e-mailed Eucador Movers and asked them to help me understand what I needed to do. Fairly quickly, I received a reply from Caty telling me I needed to e-mail UsaCasillero in Miami a copy of a utility bill from where we are currently renting showing the exact address I used when I registered with them, as well as a copy of my passport. This would be a one-time qualification, and from then on whenever I ordered anything from the states, they would have this on record and could forward my packages or mail.
This service is not for sending packages or mail, it is only for receiving. Oh, and the package cannot be more than a $400 value nor can it weigh more than eight pounds! Picky, picky!!! Also, every time I order something in the future, I have to immediately go into the UsaCasillero site and send an "alertes" (alert), letting them know what I've ordered, from where, the value/cost, etc. I hadn't done this either when I originally ordered the part, and that was also delaying the mail forward. How do I know all of this? I ended up going to the physical location of Ecuador Movers on Simon Bolivar after realizing it was only two blocks from where I live. Caty was very helpful, and she patiently explained everything to me and showed me how to maneuver through the website. Because I only had a rent receipt with the address on it, she is also going to talk to someone at the Miami location Monday and help to get my documents to them so they can then forward my juicer part.
Caty also explained to me that it usually takes two week from the time Miami sends my order to Cuenca, but there can also be another delay (up to two weeks) if Customs decided to hold my package. She said this happens "often." I could be looking at another month before that little $24 part arrives - which will end up costing another $20 or more by the time UsaCasillero charges their fee to forward it. Oh well! Once the package arrives and is free to be released, I will receive a phone call and/or an e-mail letting me know I can pick up the package at Hermano Miguel 10-32 Gran Columbia.
For now, I'm just trying to figure out a way to get my juicer part as quickly as possible. There may be a better mail service, and if any of our readers have any feedback about this, we would really appreciate your comments.
This is all a part of the journey - learning new things and figuring out how to live in a new country and still have access to things we can't find in Cuenca. Someday we'll be able to look back at all the things we had to figure out and say, "We did it! We figured it out and now we are paying it forward!!!"