I feel like I am back in college when it comes to getting mail.
The Americans have a separate post office on the SHAPE campus. It is a room filled with those little mail boxes with combination locks. Unlike my college mail box, these don't have windows, so I never know whether or not something waits for me behind the little door or not.
The rate at which mail is delivered varies by a good deal. Sometimes it takes 3-4 weeks for a package or letter to reach the states and vice versa. Other times, it takes less than a week. Sometimes we get magazines in a timely manner, at other times we receive three issues of Newsweek or the Economist at once.
It is nice to open the door and find something waiting for us (other than bills). The best find is a yellow card. Yellow cards mean packages!
For packages we have to go to a window, give them our yellow card and our ID. The package room is an interesting study on the shopping habits of Americans at SHAPE. At this time Amazon boxes and Zappos seem to dominate.
It is a wonderful thing to have internet shopping and a US mailing address. There are so many things that are not available to us any other way - soy nut butter, dance shoes, guitar strings, and more. Not every country offers this service to their people serving overseas. I think Canadians have to use international mail to ship and receive. So yes, it it an extra errand but it's worth it.