JoeToday I mailed my grad school application, so now I proceed to the final stage: keeping my fingers crossed for two months. In the meantime, I've had my first encounter with the Swedish postal service, Posten. Like the USPS, Posten is not quite a private company and not quite a branch of the government. In the mid-90s Posten started a process of "rationalization." I don't know what exactly they mean by that, but I do know that while there were post offices in Sweden when we visited in September of '06, they are all gone now. Yup, they closed all the post offices. To buy postage you can go to a bunch of different places, mostly newsstands and tobacconists in the city, or gas stations and grocery stores in the country, who happen to have a little blue and yellow post sign hanging out front. The tobacconist I picked had a few envelopes, a postal scale, and a box of stamps, which was plenty for me today. After selling me the envelope and weighing it with the contents, he sold me some stamps and pointed me to the post box out front. Very low key. There seem to be plenty of postal employees still though, many of them pedaling around town on Posten bicycles with baskets full of letters.
I can hardly wait to go and pick up some mail at the local gas station.