FPO AP address shipping hassles – Vera Bradley to the rescue.

Now that Michael and I have been here for (gasp) 15 days and Michael is working full time, we are starting to establish a rhythm. It hasn’t been easy – we still sometimes struggle with the time difference, the culture difference, and the location difference, but we are getting there.

So, my goal for this week is to workout everyday. When he leaves for work, I eat breakfast, lounge for an hour while I digest, and then go for a 3-6mi walk (with a little bit of jogging thrown in for good measure). As I was walking today, I realized that I need a lanyard with an attached card holder.

Now, if you live in the US you are probably thinking to yourself, “Oh, no big deal. Run out and get one!” Alas, I am in Japan and acquiring most items involves a process. After my walk, I showered, had lunch with a new friend (btw, you should totally check-out her blog!), and headed to the NEX (the Naval Exchange on base). I could not find a single non-Navy lanyard or card holder in the NEX! Yes, I could get a Navy one, but I’d like to use it when traveling abroad and I don’t want a big target sign on me.

Since I couldn’t find a lanyard on base, I immediately tried Amazon.com, since we have Amazon Prime. Word to the wise regarding Amazon Prime – they DO NOT make it easy to ship to FPO AP addresses, and RARELY have we found an item where our membership actually paid off. So far, we’ve ordered at least $200 of items from Amazon, and we’ve had to ship all of them to our parents’ homes so that they could then ship us our items. It’s awful. Don’t expect any kind of descent service from Amazon if you’re stationed abroad. I may have mentioned this before, but Amazon is not military friendly.

The next place I checked was the official Naval Exchange website (www.mynavyexchange.com). Here, military personnel and dependents can buy items at a discounted rate. It’s a great website if you don’t have something specific in mind, but they, of course, didn’t have any non-Navy lanyards or card holders. As a side-bar thing, they ship items for a $5.95 flat rate. I will definitely buy things from them in the future!

The last place I looked was the Vera Bradley website. Now, I am not the biggest Vera Bradley fan, as I think that some of their things are ugly (I’m just not a crazy pattern person). However, I love the Camellia pattern, and I have luggage pieces from this line. So, on a doubtful whim, I decided to try buying a lanyard and card holder from the Vera Bradley website.

Lo and behold – Vera Bradley ships to FPO ADDRESSES!! I was thrilled. I bought a lanyard, a card holder, and a zip-around wallet. Going forward, I may buy more items from Vera Bradley. Today I discovered a few other patterns that I like, notably the Summer Cottage pattern and the Paisley Meets Plaid pattern. Sadly, my beloved Camellia pattern was discontinued 😦

I’m going to post this before my internet disappears again. We are really, really struggling with the wifi here in the Lodge. Grumble!

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