If you feel so inclined, I gladly accept cards, letters, e-books and care packages. Be warned: it can be expensive to send things to Albania; but, the good news is that things actually get here. (If paying a bunch for a package of stuff isn’t your style, I can always use Amazon credits for books for my Kindle!)
I have included a list of possible care package items, along with detailed, very important mailing instructions, below. My address, which should be used exactly as shown, is:
(069 702 9158)
c/o US AID PLGP
Rr Dervish Hima (3 towers near Qemal Stafa Stadium)
Kulla Nr 1, Kati 10
To send a package, use either the US Postal Service’s Priority Mail International Service or First-Class Package International Service. These options are much less expensive than UPS or any of the others and the package won’t get held up in customs.
Priority Mail International uses flat-rate boxes supplied by the Postal Service. Within limits, weight isn’t a factor – it’s simply shove as much stuff in the box as you can. There are three different sized boxes, all supplied by the Post Office.
- Small box: 8.5” x 5.5” x 1.5” (~$25)
- Medium box: 13.5” x 12” x 3.5” OR 11” x 8.5” x 5.5” (~$65)
- Large box: 24” x 11.75” x 3” OR 12” x 12” x 5.5” (~$90)
Delivery takes more or less a week. The Post Office tracks the shipment, sending you an email every time the package the package is scanned (it’s actually sort of fun to see it get to Greece, then Turkey and then Albania!)
First-Class Package International is more limited: weight is limited to 4 pounds and the accumulated dimensions of the box (which you supply) must be less than 36 inches. The charge for these packages is based on weight and these packages are not tracked.
You will need to fill out a customs declaration. Provide a partial list of what you are sending, all under the category of “Personal Items.” Values can be approximate and you want to keep the listed total as less than $100 (use an non-round number like $74.56, $82.50, etc.).
More details on forms, rules/regs, etc can be found at the USPS website (use the LEARN MORE button that applies to the service you are planning to use):
Things I would LOVE to get:
- Peanut Butter – either Jif or Skippy “natural” style (a small jar of American peanut butter costs more than $6 here)
- Baking supplies (Peace Corps Volunteers do a lot of baking for their Albanian friends – and other PCVs. The hot items are chocolate chip cookies, brownies and other such items. But, ingredients are not readily available)
- Chocolate chips
- Brownie mix or similar mixes (lemon bars, blondies, etc)
- Shredded coconut
- Brown sugar (Albanian brown sugar is sugar with molasses poured over it)
- OR…send me one of your favorite recipes with the appropriate ingredients!
- Pancake Mix
- Coffee Beans – anything other than Starbucks, medium or medium-dark roast. I don’t have a grinder so I would need you to grind the beans fine – espresso grind.
- Walnuts (they are available here but are very expensive and often musty or rancid)
- Kind bars
- Herbal tea – fruity flavors that I can use for iced tea. For example:
- Any of the Celestial Seasonings “Zinger” teas
- Anything lemon
- Anything hibiscus
- Anything berry
- Soft Scrub (can’t get it here and the dish soap is pretty weak on grease)
- Taco (or other) seasoning mixes (at home I don’t use Taco mix or other such “simmer sauces” but the food here is so lacking in zip that I will gladly take anything that helps me add some flavor to my food. BUT, please do NOT send spices! A friend with connections to the herb/spice business brought me a ton of spices when he was in Albania recently, so I am well-stocked.)
- (for people in proximity to a “Spice House” or Penzey’s) – Jamaica Jerk Seasoning mix
- Salsa – flavorful but not too hot (If you send something in glass, please be really, really careful!)
- Maple Syrup (Again, if you send something in glass, please be really, really careful!)
- Dijon Mustard (no where to be found in Albania and vital for lots of great recipes and salad dressings)
- Soy Sauce
- Popcorn (the old fashioned kind)
- Salad Dressing – I am making my own dressings, but a little variety would be nice. I like pretty much any dressing as long as it doesn’t have blue cheese or gorgonzola in it. If you want specific suggestions, here are some favorites:
- Annie’s Goddess Dressing
- Newman’s Creamy Balsamic
- Newman’s Ranch
- Brianna’s Champagne Caper
- Cookbooks for eggs or beans. Or, just email me some favorite recipes, particularly for non-breakfast egg dishes (eg casseroles) and non-soup bean dishes.