While on vacay I had my mail held, and last night when my mail arrived with it came an unmarked envelope.
I opened it whilst mentally realizing I hadn’t ordered anything to be delivered to my house while I was gone. And then I saw what was inside.
This is a version of a shirt* I fell in love with at a boutique in Cape Town. More specifically in a window at a boutique in Cape Town. Because – despite my best efforts – the boutique was inexplicably closed the two days I tried to go there to buy this shirt.
(*The original version of the tank was just Africa made of yarn. No bird. So you know, they just added a bird and I just happen to like birds on things. )
I could see a bit of the tag so I came home and did some research. I found the company online, and emailed the guy.
We went back and forth on how to get me this shirt from South Africa. Every way we went it was going to cost more than the shirt was worth to get it to me. Like way more. I decided to get over it.
That was in May.
So when I realized what this shirt was you can understand why I freaked out. To my knowledge, maybe two people knew about this shirt. Was it a surprise? Was it a random find at a local boutique here in LA that someone had seen and thought of me and it just so happened to be the same shirt?
I went straight to my neighbor. She had been there in Africa. She told me she had nothing to do with it. But she was smiling so I wasn’t sure I could believe her. She told me she was clever but not like that.
I brought up that because I hadn’t had email contact with the guy since May someone would have had to go back pretty far in my email history or done a search. She admitted that, yes she could have done that, but she didn’t. (!) Don’t worry, we’re still friends. Friends that don’t go through each others’ emails.
We examined the envelope. There was no postmark or markings at all. Except for the stamps.com postage. We looked up the zip code. Irvine, CA. The plot thickened.
I don’t know anyone in Irvine. Who got me this shirt?! And where do I sign up to profess my love for them?
Excited and frustrated, I texted A who also went to Cape Town. She, too, had no clue and also wished she were that clever.
Take note, peeps. People LOVE secret packages. (Let’s not discuss the fact that I tear into packages whether or not I know who they’re from. Presents!)
I can’t remember ever having a secret admirer. I mean maybe in elementary school on valentines giveaway day, but nothing in recent memory. Like I said, exciting and frustrating. I took pictures of the handwriting and texted it to a couple friends. Who sent this to me? No clues.
So I emailed the guy who makes the shirts. I mean, if it came from California, he’s going to know who he sent it to in California. (Note: If I haven’t said it here before, NEVER underestimate my investigatory skills. Seriously, my next step was to call stamps.com customer service. After that I was going to start coyly getting handwriting samples from Cali friends who have my address. For reals. I solve mysteries like Nancy Drew.)
In the meantime, I wondered who it could be and hoped I liked them as much as they liked me. This was uber thoughtful and proved they knew me well. I hadn’t bought them anything.
Then I heard back from Arno.
Hi Mary Anne
We sent it to you via a friend who lives in Laguna Beach, he was out here around a month ago, and sent a parcel over for you and another guy in Wisconsin. We sent it as a Christmas gift, and hope you enjoy it.
And just like that, the mystery was solved. And while I have to admit I was slightly bummed to find out I didn’t have a secret admirer, I was encouraged to know there is such good-hearted people out there. Like I said, I hadn’t spoke to this guy in seven months. He had no incentive to send me the shirt. The fact they even remembered me notwithstanding, what an incredibly nice thing to do.
Its a pleasure, we loved your perseverance, so this is your reward.
So as promised, I am going to wear it often and sing the praises of Beleave near and far.
Unfortunately, the website isn’t the greatest. But if you ever find yourself in Cape Town, (Which you should!) their stuff can be found at a boutique called Nap on Kloof Street.
People really are the greatest fun. So glad it’s tank top weather this week in LA!