Received from Belarus, Finland, Indonesia, Netherlands, and the United States

Whoa–came home yesterday to find a mailbox loaded with SIX postcards!

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When it comes to high-quality postcards, there is just no beating a kitty on the toilet.

The huge snowy postcard comes to me from Finland, via Postcrossing.  The sender tells me,

“Last weekend I visited in Koli National Park.  There is a small hotel and spa.  It was amazing experience to go into a pool (with warm water) outside, temperature was about -10C, dark sky with stars over us, trees covered with snow and so quiet around.  Next morning I saw the most beautiful sunrise through hotel window.  If you ever come to Finland, this could be something you’d like to see.”

I told her that if I ever get to visit Finland, I hope it will be during the warm season!  She lost me at -10C.

The “Smile” card is also a Postcrossing arrival, this one from Netherlands.  The sender tells me that she, her husband, and their three boys like to ride on their old Italian motorcycles.

Kitty on the toilet!  That one came to me from Bekasi, Indonesia, and I was expecting it.  It was a direct trade through Postcrossing Forums–my very first–which I mentioned earlier.  This is a great card on both sides!  Just look at this fun art, the wonderful handwriting, and the tasty food recommendations:

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I love foods from Malaysia & Singapore, and many of those have Indonesian roots, so of course I look forward to the opportunity to visit Indonesia sometime.  In the meantime, I think I will try making some of those dishes at home.

The card with the food on front–more Postcrossing–is from Minsk, Belarus.  The sender tells me,

“I like to read books and learn languages.  We have no sea in our country and every summer we try to go to the seaside.”

I was just at the sea yesterday–and my dog was IN it.  Bath day today!

More on reading: the book-cover postcard came my way from Portland, Oregon, part of a swap-bot “what are you reading” trade:

“I’m currently reading What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe.  He’s a blogger for the comic xkcd.com.  It’s a fun read, especially when I only have a few minutes.”

Finally–more reading-related stuff–it’s the Free Comic Book Day postcard!  Not from Postcrossing or swap-bot, but directly from my local comic book retailer in Milpitas, California!  Free Comic Book Day is awesome.  It’s a day when you get free comic books.  Have you ever taken part? This year it falls on Saturday, May 2.  Don’t miss out!

Stamps!  I think that tree stamp from Finland may be just about my favorite postage stamp ever.
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Sent to Japan & Singapore

Two outgoing through Postcrossing.  Well, not through official Postcrossing-Postcrossing, but through the Postcrossing forum!

For months after I joined Postcrossing–and until quite recently–I never even clicked on the forums.  I’m slowly poking my way around it now, figuring it all out (or trying to).  It’s a place for questions, complaints, meeting new people–and making extra postcard trades.  It can be used to postcard-meet people from specific countries, or to do shared-interest trades.  You’ll see…

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Another pair of awesome cards I would love to receive!

Little Caesar is headed for Singapore, in a food-package postcard trade. Yes, I turned a pizza box into a (super-cool) postcard!  I was very fortunate in that Li’l C did not have a greasy backside.  Now, a package I frequently have around the house that I love to turn into postcards is that of Hello Panda cookies–but as those are a product of Singapore, I didn’t think the recipient would find the card too special!  My research didn’t turn up any Little Caesar’s outlets in Singapore–yet–so that is the way I decided to go. 

The manatee card is going to Kobe, Japan, in a “Japan and the rest of the world” trade forum.  So, a person from Japan sends a postcard to another member anywhere else in the world, and then someone from outside of Japan sends a card into that country, etc.  Mine goes in.  Because I live out.  The Postcrosser in Kobe mentioned enjoying animal cards, so I chose this cute duo for her.  This is another cool card I received for being a donor to Save the Manatee Club, which works to, you know, save the manatees.

The stamps I used: both recipients seemed interested in special stamps, so instead of using my country’s standard round international-rate stamp, I dug into my very small stash of outdated first-class stamps & added them up to the current $1.15 international rate.

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Sent to Belgium, Czech Republic, and Germany

I’ve been letting the numbers of my Postcrossing “traveling postcards” dwindle; it’s time to catch up just a bit!

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I would be thrilled to receive these cards, I think they are all so cool!

Working clockwise from the top left, that coastal card goes to a real piece of work in Kamenice, Czech Repupblic, whose profile doesn’t say a horrible lot about himself, but gets into some emotional detail about what he expects NOT to find in his mailbox!

“Prefere to receive interesting and unusual postcard with atmosphere.Please DON´T SEND postcard which are not from your country,no ad cards,no cards with military motive or animals.Thanks … “

He presents a list of things he might like to receive, but is soon back on topic:

“PLEASE NO art, NO selfmade/selfprinted, NO cute or “girlie-like”, NO folded cards, NO sheets of paper(can’t believe that anybody wants to get such “postcards”)- you won’t make me happy with it, PLEASE respect that, thank you! :)”

Okayokayokay!  He DID mention, twice, that he liked landscapes, and thus my landscapey choice for him.  Long list of dislikes leave me deflated, so I was only able to mention a short 10-line message to him (that’s 3-4 lines fewer than my usual average.  The postcard served as its own writing prompt, as the California poppies are in bloom all over right now, and of course I love to go and enjoy the beautiful coastline whenever I can.

That card full of pinnipeds is headed for Dortmund, Germany, to a Postcrosser who lets potential correspondents know:

“I try to draw faces in these times and I need some portraits of people and animals of all kind yet, just to practice practice practice. You will make me really happy, if you find a postcard with portraits of people or close ups from animals. Thank you very much.”

I think this gallery of extreme close-ups of patients at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California should keep her busy!  The center itself is quite busy these days; just moments ago on the radio, I heard yet another update on the rise of baby sea lions washing up on state beaches.

Finally there is that elephant, which if all goes well, will end up in Hemiksem, Belgium.  The Postcrosser there says “I am 46 years ‘old’, but I still feel like 26!” and her list of likes includes .“elephants (pictures and drawings).” At the end of the list is this: “But of course you can send me any card you think I’d like.” This elephant card is the first I’ve sent from a big box of 100 animal art cards I’ve just purchased, and may well be my favorite of the whole lot!

By the way, here are the details of three of my Postcrossing cards most-recently received in their overseas destinations:

* The card I sent to Buxtehude, Germany, arrived in 7 days, after having traveled 5,518 miles. The recipient tells me, “thank you for a wonderful postcard – I love it. I was born and raised near the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, so I, too, love the sea and the beaches and all those amazing animals.”

* The postcard I mailed to Utrecht, Netherlands took 11 days to travel the 5,474 miles to its destination. The recipient writes, “Thank you so much for the card.It’s funny my brother and sister in law are flying of the Mexico tomorrow…Also visiting the beautiful (California) coastal line,where you talking about 🙂 And going to see the elephant seals 😉 …And i’m jealous hope to see them also someday ;)”

* My postcard sent to Taipei City, Taiwan (at the same time as the Netherlands card I just mentioned) arrived after a 12-day, 6,465-mile trip. Its new owner tells me, “thanks for sending the great card! I really like Doraemon!! It’s so cute!!! I hope next time you can have a vacation in Taiwan!!! Taiwan always welcome you!:)”

I can’t wait!

Received from Poland, Russia, Taiwan, and the United States

A big, accumulated batch, received through both Postcrossing and swap-bot.  Working clock-wise from the top left:

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I think I like the doors the best, how about you?

The first card came to me from Russia, having traveled 5,978 miles in 35 days to get to me.  The sender tells me this painting is the work of Alexander Yurkov, who painted using materials such as “withered fallen leaves and grass.”  What an interesting experience it would be to try doing that!

Next comes a swap-bot “read in February” trade, postmarked from Hartford, Connecticut.  The sender read a book called Trapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles into the Darkness, by Neil Swidey.  What a mouthful.  My correspondent tells me that the book “is a riveting read, despite being filed under ‘Sewage Disposal Plants > Accidents > Massachusetts’ at the library.”  Hmm!

The Taiwan postcard is from Taiwan.  It took 16 days to travel 6,465 miles to reach me, and is from an 11-year-old girl who says she likes to eat watermelon.  I do, too!  I do wonder if perhaps there should be a “Postcrossing Junior” to make sure that young people, who do deserve to participate in what can be a fun & educational hobby, are safe from any possible creeps out there.

Finally come the doors.  It was a 13-day trip over 5,846 miles to get to me from Warsaw, Poland.  On her profile, this Postcrosser tells the world,

“I work as a tourleader all around the world…usually, you can find me in Asia, a place I like most of all.”

Yes, I am pretty darned jealous right about now!  On the postcard, she tells me, “I love to eat and visit places through their cuisine.  And I also love Asian food!”

Some stamps…

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Received from Germany and the United States

Incoming…

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The Shenandoah postcard comes to me from Virginia, part of a swap-bot “places I’ve visited” trade.  The sender tells me that she loves visiting “Big Meadow” there, that deer are everywhere. There’s something else she’s a fan of:

“I also love the gift shop.  They carry the nicest postcards in the area.”

The other card came to me from Germany, via Postcrossing.  I thought the little character was a squirrel, but the sender tells me it’s…

“…the Sand Man, he was in the past a TV star for toddlers.  Even today he is still running in the evening program and I watch if I like to.”

Okay, but I still think it looks like a squirrel.  One thing is certain: that is not Neil Gaiman’s Sandman!

Stamps!  My favorite one is the sheep.  Yes, I know it is not a stamp, but it is still my favorite!

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Sent to Belarus and the United States

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The book cover–from my dwindling box-full-‘o’-book-cover-postcards–is part of a swap-bot “what are you reading” trade, and goes to Morrilton, Arkansas.  The card’s recipient is a teacher who says she would love to be able to make a living reading.  She belongs to a book group, and I assume is one of those book-club people who actually reads the book!  She leans toward Stephen King & fantasy books, and if there’s any genre she dislikes, it would be self-help.  Yeah, those are a waste of paper & brain space!

I’m telling my swap partner about the book I am just wrapping up, Return to a Sexy Island: Notes from a New Singapore by Neil Humphreys.  Humphreys is a Brit who lived for several years in Singapore, and wrote witty accounts of the culture shock awaiting an outsider settling into life in that island nation.  When I visited Singapore some time ago, I bought an omnibus edition of his three books full of island ruminations, and I really enjoyed his writings–and perhaps despite his best efforts, learned something from them!  Humphreys and his family moved to Australia for a time, but in this new book, he is back in Singapore, exploring anew & sharing his thoughts on the country’s “sexy” changes.  I want to read more of his writing, Singapore-related or not–and now I have learned he has just published a new book, a crime thriller called Marina Bay Sins!  A very funny title, by the way, and I am so there.

The card on the right goes to Kobrin, Belarus, to a Postcrosser who says she loves traveling, crafts and photography.  She suggested people look to her favorites to help decide what postcard to send her.  I looked & saw several animal cards, and so I decided to send her one of my favorite animals, the sea otter.  By the way, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a live Sea Otter Cam, and the sound turns on whenever they do a public feeding.  I watched for a time yesterday, and after the afternoon feeding I saw one of the four resident otters settle into a wheelbarrow full of ice!

Received from China, South Korea, and Slovenia

All Postcrossing…

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That one at the top is my favorite.  It comes from South Korea, only my second card from that country.  This postcard had me at “life is circus,”‘ and things only got better when I flipped it over to read the type on the back:

Circus boy band

sings underground and plays

the various colors

Wow.  I couldn’t have said it better if my name were Daiso!  So poetic.  The card’s sender writes more colloquially, telling me she is pleased to find common ground with me:

“I love toys, marine life and food (esp. Asian cuisines & noodles) like you.”

She also tells me she hopes her card makes me feel good.  It does!  A real keeper.

The Slovenija card comes from Slovenia.  Are you able to tell from the scan it is cut like a old-school postage stamp?  Cool!  The sender is a 21-year-old student, but that, sadly, is just about all I could make out from the stylized writing.  I got a second pair of eyes in on the decryption attempt, but it was still a no-go.

The postcard on the right is from an 18-year-old anime & photography fan in China, and according to the print on the back, the card depicts The Tomb of Confucius.  It immediately reminded me of a sight I’ve seen a couple of times way up north of me near Ukiah, California: the gateway to The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.  I actually have made the trek up to Ukiah–twice (so far)–specifically to enter the compound, because it contains just about the best vegetarian-Chinese restaurant I’ve ever visited.  Mmmm….

Stamps!  Notice the one printed onto the postcard from China matches the image on the front of the card.

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Sent to Germany & Russia

Two more going out through Postcrossing today.  I’ve been letting my flow of cards going out dwindle, and in the meantime, I noticed yesterday I’d made it to 100 postcards sent through the site–which means that they have now bumped up the number I may send out to 11 at a time.  I’m mailing these two out to put me up to 6 out of 11 possible cards traveling.  But enough with the damned stats.

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So I’ve now sent just over 100 postcards, but the Postcrosser I’ve drawn in Kronshtand, Russia, has sent over 570!  He’s 55, has been Postcrossing for over three years, and collects postcards & stamps.  He expresses an interest in “postcards with animals, nature, (and) views of your cities and towns…” I thought he may well be interested in this card from the Marine Mammal Center, which has been extremely busy lately with the record number of sea lion pups that have been washing ashore up & down the California coast.  Seems that warmer waters mean fish stay further from the coast, which means mama sea lions must be away from their pups longer, which means pups head into the water for food…

The panda card goes to Buxtehude, Germany, to a teacher of geography & music who describes her hobbies as “travelling, reading, knitting, gardening…taking photographs and music.”  As far as guidance as to what types of postcards she might enjoy receiving, she included “funny cards, cards with meerkats or cute teddy bears, Winnie the Pooh, Paddington bear, cards showing your town or country, cards with artistic photography…”  Yeah, so I think she should like this cute pair exploring California’s Sonoma Coast!

Received from Ukraine & the United States

Another mix of swap-bot & Postcrossing…

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The Andy Warhol image came to me from Jacksonville, Florida via swap-bot, in a “read in January” trade.  The sender read a book by Mary E. Pearson called The Kiss of Deception.  As she describes the story:

“17-year-old Princess Lia runs away to escape an arranged marriage to a man she’s never met.  Soon after, 2 young men arrive at the village she’s at–she doesn’t know that one is the prince and one is an assassin sent to kill her. You get all 3 points of view but you don’t find out until the end who is who (I guessed right–YAY!).  I can’t wait until July for the next book in the series.”

The bit of box comes from Cary, North Carolina, in a swap-bot trade of food packaging turned into postcards.  I haven’t eaten any Snackwell’s in about a decade and a half or more (as I recall, it was, uhm, “un-good”), but my enthusiastic correspondent says, “I do enjoy snacking on these cookies.  I love the popcorn as well.  Check them out.”

While we are on the topic of packaged foods I’ve tried that make me cranky, add Campbell’s Soup to the list.  Burf.

You know what is awesome?  That card on the right.  I’m showing the back as well as the front, as that huge layout of colorful stamps turns it into two postcards in one!  The blocks of solid color are privacy panels.  This card came my way from Vinnitsya, Ukraine via Postcrossing, and my only problem with the stamp mural is that it leaves little room for a message!  My fellow Postcrosser shrinks her handwriting up tight, though, and tells me, “my hobbies are reading, cooking, and traveling, especially the mountains.”