Dressed and ready to go, I opened the front door and for the first time ever I went to get the mail from the mailbox. My wife is used to traveling to the mailbox; she knows all the lingo, the people, the sights and smells. But by the time that I had arrived, I was hung-over with jet-lag. Cars were racing by and the locals were twittering and barking in a foreign tongue I had never heard before. My wife said that the locals are congenial here, but not a single one stopped to talk to me. They seemed so busy, so caught up in their own local lives and cars and trees and fences. I felt bad for the locals who were trapped by fences. Their big puppy dog eyes made filled me with compassion.

But I realized that I hadn’t eaten any breakfast before I left. My wife told me to stay away from the street vendors, but I took a chance and tried some of the dried samaras and raw acorns. I was sick for weeks. While I lingered at the mailbox to take in this new world, I was accosted by young children trying to sell me lemonade and cookies for 25 cents. I was stuck between crying, upon seeing something that I loved from back home, and trying to turn them down; I bought some of the cookies and shared them with some of the fenced in locals to assuage my guilt.

As we shared cookies, I realized that even though I didn’t understand their politics, customs or language, even though most of the food was rough on my bowels, and even though I had been attacked by vendors, I realized that the locals were not much different than my people.

As I traveled home, I saw the sun setting, and I knew that I didn’t have to travel to a mailbox and share cookies to see the world, I knew that it doesn’t take a journey to cause an epiphany, and I knew that I would be back someday, because I had learned to love the people and culture there. At home I handed my wife all the postal souvenirs I had collected on my travels and told her about my experience. She smiled and then asked me if I could go pick up some more diapers at the store.