What you’re about to read is an epic of Beowulf proportions. And my Grundel Grendel? Chilean customs. In fact, in keeping with the Beowulf theme, I even fought my metaphorical Grendel’s proverbial mom — an ongoing health department strike. And that third enemy? The magic dragon? Well, I suppose that would be my own damn self for trying to pull a fast one on Chilean customs in the first place. El zoinks.

OK, so you might remember me complaining incessantly on Twatter Twitter regarding the massive package my mom Fed-Ex’d me from the United States of God-Bless-It America. It got held up in customs because my mom wrote “cosmetics” on the shipping label in an attempt to cover up the real contents — drugs. (I can admit my white-collar crime attempts now having fled across the border.)

That’s right. I attempted to smuggle drugs into a foreign country. Now normally, I’d have done this using a balloon and my butt like any normal person, but considering the drugs I needed were located in the United States and me in Chile, I really had no choice but to depend on a third party, in this case FedEx. Unfortunately, it turns out FedEx doesn’t have a shipping rate for balloons in butts, so instead I settled for a box and some shipping peanuts. Not to mention, considering these drugs came in the shape of prescription caplets and not a fine powder, the balloons in the butt method probably would’ve failed anyway…

But moving on: In retrospect, shipping drugs illegally into a foreign country really doesn’t sound like as good of an idea as it did at the time, but in theory, it would’ve worked. The problems came, though, when the FedEx agent lied to my mother, who was trying to think of some benign, non-declarable items she could be shipping to me that would be the same size and weight as my drugs. The agent told her she could send “cosmetics” without dealing with customs, so so that’s what she wrote on the shipping label.

There was just one problem — THAT’S COMPLETELY WRONG.

Turns out importing cosmetics requires the same amount of paperwork as importing drugs. Go figure. Which means you have to visit the Department of Health, fill out a bunch of dumbass papers that no one will probably ever read, then go to the airport while the “officials” open your sh*t to make sure whatever you tried to smuggle in is street legal.

Of course, while that sounds like a reasonable request from any country’s government, the situation gets complicated when a key part of said equation goes on strike indefinitely.

That’s right. Because I’m the luckiest girl in the world, the Department of Health decided to strike just as FedEx delivered my “paperwork,” which amounted to a sheet of paper with “GO TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH” stamped on it.

And of course, this situation was further complicated by South American business practices, in that it took Chilean FedEx a good THREE days to get me the papers after the Web informed my mother that the package was being held in customs. I still contend that had FedEx done their job and actually delivered these papers in a timely manner as promised, I would’ve at least been able to avoid the strike debacle. Better yet, had they not straight lied to my mom’s visage, I probably would’ve succeeded in committing this crime.

But, you know, since I am the luckiest girl in the world and all, I failed. And so, I hustled down to the Health Department, armed with a Bic and a bunch of bribing money. But despite my bribe efforts, I was flatly informed that the Department was on strike and that I should try again tomorrow. The next day the same man told me that the strike was going to last at least another 3 days. Meanwhile, customs told me that I only had a week left to diffuse this situation as they couldn’t hold my package indefinitely, but for only 12 days — counting non-business days and FedEx’s giant f*ck-up. It was already day six.

So I did what any rational human being would do in this situation — I sat on the curb and whimpered, using my useless bribing money to wipe the dribbling snot from my sad, running nose.

Then I went to Pucón to climb a volcano.

By the time I got back, being the eternal optimist I am (wait, what?), I had given up any hope of ever seeing my box in all its glory again (tee-hee), as well as imbibing its contents (tee-hee, tee-hee). Instead, I began to view this as one giant clusterf*ck of a cultural experience. Hey, at least I was learning lots of new Spanish vocabulary…

But then a miracle happened. THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OPENED FOR A FEW SHORT BUT PRECIOUS HOURS! Just enough time for me to declare my drugs and explain why they weren’t “cosmetics:”

“My mom is foreign and doesn’t really speak English so she wrote ‘cosmetics’ instead of ‘drugs.'”

“That’s strange. Those words are pretty hard to confuse.”

“She’s also incredibly stupid.”

And maybe they saw a bit of that in me, too, because they didn’t ask any more questions after that. Instead, they just instructed me to wait in a few socialist lines, get a few Communist stamps (they were red in color!), and use my illegal bribing funds to pay actual legal fines. Just HOURS later, I received the go-ahead to pick up my package from the airport.

And what a glorious package it was when I finally saw it! (Four hours later because “that’s how long it takes” to move a 2 pound box 100 feet.) Sure, it had been rummaged through and greatly damaged, but all my drugs and stuff were there. Oh, indeed, I was a winner that day.

And unlike Beowulf, I didn’t even end up in a seaside tumulus (or prison). Although I suppose there’s still time for that…but at least I’ll be properly medicated!

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