Do You Shop at ‘Forever 40?’ Sent to Germany, Netherlands, South Korea, & Taiwan

A lot of my Postcrossing cards have been landing at their destinations over the last week, so I am sending out four more to catch up a little.

Three of these are from that **ahem** surprise assortment.


The one that is not is that swell tiger, who is off to Chiayi City, Taiwan. The recipient’s list of cards she would like includes the ocean/beaches/colorful/funny, so here we go!

The card fulla greetings is off to Salzitter, Germany, to someone who more or less says she likes anything she gets: “I treasure every card that I have received.” She also likes stamps, and a message that actually says something (I like an actual message, too), and I have seen to it that she is getting both on this card.

“Merry Christmas” goes to Ulsan, South Korea, which I have learned is home to the world’s largest automobile assembly plant (Hyundai). This Postcrosser mentioned on her want list that Christmas themes are always welcome, which was welcome to me, as I was wondering what the heck I was going to do with that card!

Lastly, the mailbox card goes to someone who likes mailbox themes, and lives in Lelystad, Netherlands.  She writes that she is 60+ years of age, but feels “forever 40.”  Isn’t that the name of a mall store?  No, probably not, I guess.

Here are the stamps I applied to the two cards where the recipients specified that they enjoy stamps.  My favorites?  The top row & bottom row.  The middle three stamps I do not like at all, but the small denominations help me get up to the postage rate.

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My Sweet Gerbils: Received from Austria, China, & Taiwan

Another day, another 3 cards in through Postcrossing


The beautiful dragon comes from the artist herself, in Beijing, China.  She doesn’t talk about art in her profile, but does say that she loves art history, & collecting illustrations.

The sender of the Italian ad card lives near Taichung City, Taiwan.  Now, I’d rather get Taiwanese content from Italy, than Italian content from Taiwan, but I’ll get over it.  The sender is a four-month Postcrossing member who tells me, “hope you can come here (to Taiwan) and eat snacks in night markets.  People here are friendly.  You live in California, a beautiful place.  One day, I will go there and walk along the coastline.”

And speaking of things I can see along the California coastline: sea lions!  I love them so much.  I took a little drive to the coast & heard their siren calls just days ago.  This card comes from Vienna, Austria.  Yes, from landlocked Austria.  The card was printed over in Berlin, Germany though, and I sure do love it.  The sender tells me that she is 65, and that her hobbies are “book reading, cooking, and my sweet gerbils (2)!” 

Stamps & postmarks:

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Dreamy Space Food: Received from Italy, Poland, & Russia

3 Postcrossing arrivals in one day:


The dreamy space bunnies came from Zheleznogork, Russia (“a closed town in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, with a developed nuclear industry” — Wikipedia), with a message that reads, in part, “Greetings from the Siberian.”

The blueberry pancakes come from Piła, Poland, from a Postcrosser who tells me (in part):

“I like reading books.  My favorite genre is crime story.  But I also like those ‘foodie books.’ I wonder if you’ve read David Lebovitz books?  I’m sending you a postcard presenting small pancakes with delicious blueberries which we have during summer.”

Finally, a rare postcard from Italy (I don’t know if the postcard is rare; I’m just saying I don’t remember the last time I received a card from Italy). It came to me from near Francavilla al Mare, and the sender tells me the card & stamp “…are dedicated to the World Fair 2015 (in Milan) whose topic was been the food.” Sounds like an interesting event!

Stamps, stickers, postmarks:

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I like the fruit-face stamp. I hate the tank stamps. The stickers are lovely.

What if I fail? I’ll get held back! — Sent to Finland, Germany, and the United States

Three heading out–


That wonderful one at the top is going to Oulu, Finland, for the Postcrossing Forum Snoopy/Peanuts tag trade.

The other two cards are going out via swap-bot, for a “favorites” trade in which participants were to send cards to two others, having written our favorite color, food, movie, and animal.  This was the most difficult thing ever, just awful.  I can say I have a couple of favorite colors, and that is as specific as I am able to get.  Favorite movie?  Nope.  Love movies, no favorite.  Favorite food, no–but I do have favorite cuisines.  Plural.  And many, many “favorite” animals.  And I am lucky I can still sleep at night: this is for swap-bot.  Swap-you-get-graded-by-your-trading-partners-bot, if you know what I mean.  What if I fail?  I’ll get held back!

The scrawl is destined for Knoxville, Tennessee.  Yes, the “giraffe” is hideous, from the weakest artist in the Animal Box of postcards, but the recipient did say she loves giraffes, so maybe she will love this poor thing.  If not her, then whom?  Will this poor giraffe have to be put down?

The Grand Tetons should end up in Esselborn, Germany, with a swapper who said he’d like nature & national landmarks.  This card is one of the decent ones from the Assortment from Hell.

Stamps, stamp, & stuff from the Peanuts card:

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Pop-Tarts–and other inedible objects: Received from Northern Ireland, Russia, Slovenia, and the United States

Pop-Tarts: YUCK.  So dry, so hard, so unsatisfying.  Is this what hardtack was like?  This swap-bot chunk of cardboard (no more cardboard, really, than the product inside) from a grown woman  in Saint Paul, Minnesota who admits, “Pop-Tarts are never as good as I think they’ll be.  But I’m a sucker for pumpkin fall treats.”

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The rest of the cards came my way via Postcrossing.

The Giant’s Causeway–whoa!  It’s in Northern Ireland, and the sender from Derry tells me, “it’s one of our most famous landmarks/attractions.”  I looked it up, and learned from Wikipedia that this “…is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.”  It’s so amazing, because as I viewed more photos, these seemed to me to be individual cement pourings assembled together.  I read further, and was satisfied by the legend that these were indeed made by man, or more precisely, by the giant Finn MacCool.

The drawing of the pair hugging came to me from Tyumen, Russia. This Postcrosser tells people in her profile that she is “waiting for cards with date and warm words.”  No date on the card she sent me, but here are the warm words: “I wish you good day.”  In her defense, the back of the card was already, for some reason, printed with 8 lines of text, with wide spaces between lines.  Created for people who don’t know what to write?

The Jungle Book card, a fun surprise, is from Slovenia.  Also not much writing on the back, also not much room left for writing, thanks to additional Mowgli & Baloo art.  Sure, I would have been able to squeeze in a decent-sized message on each of these two cards, but I am special!  Just like everyone else.

Stamps, stickers, postmarks & stuff:

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Love that pig.

“This was stuck…”: Received from Israel (via California)

Some mail from Redlands, Califonia.  An envelope from a stranger?  Oh, no: is this one of those people who send postcards in envelopes?

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“What the…?”

There was a postcard in the envelope, with the note you see (“this was stuck to a card sent to me”) attached to it.  I must have been tired, because my first impression was that the writer was referring to that scrap of paper on which she’d written, that she had just decided to send me a scrap of paper that had been stuck to a card sent to her.

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Reminds me of Sigmund the Sea Monster.

Hmm, I thought, the postcard has an Israeli stamp & mail sticker.  I guess she thought I would be interested in that, too. Then I started reading the message on the card:

“It’s a holiday month, we have 3 holiday: Jewish New Year, Yom Kippur and Sukkot (which is 2 holidays actually).  I barely go to work, and though it’s nice, I keep thinking of all the stuff I will have to do after… Have a sweet year!”

What?  I guess it’s a theme… and then I recognize the name of the sender, with whom I’ve shared swap-bot trades in the past.  Hey, I don’t think she lives here in California!

I return to the envelope, with its San Bernardino postmark–and a return address sticker, which of course bears a different name than that of the postcard’s sender…

And sunlight finally reaches my brain.

The postcard was sent to me from a swap-bot member in Israel.

Ohhhhhh, I finally realized, the person in California received a postcard addressed to her, but my postcard from Israel was stuck to THAT!  And closer inspection of the back of my card reveals that the four tiny, cute, puffy stickers have bits of paper stuck to them, where the other card was detached.  Those puffy stickers can be trouble-makers, apparently!  Still, I am quite surprised NOBODY in the postal chain caught the double-layer before actually delivering the duo.

So nice of my fellow Californian to send the card on to me!  I looked up her swap-bot profile so that I could thank her with a postcard I thought she’d like.  She put “TREES” in upper-case letters, and I think these trees are beautiful (though not a great shot of the card on my part):

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Sure wish I knew where this is.

This was another card–one of the good ones–from the Big, Sad postcard assortment I wrote about earlier. Lovely as it is, there is no notation on the back of just where this scene is.  And no photo credit, of course.

Postal drama–it exercises the brain much more than sudoku!

Powering Through the Depression: Sent to Finland, the Netherlands, & Russia

Trying to power through my newly-acquired depressing postcard assortment, I am happy to be sending 3 off to Europe in these new Postcrossing draws.


Those three happy dancers are stepping off to Tomsk, Russia (one of the oldest towns in Siberia), to a Postcrosser who wrote that she would enjoy getting postcards with beautiful men and women (she capitalized that), street scenes with people, and folk costumes.  Think I’ve more or less got that covered, here.  You might also be interested in learning that she loves “Ian Somerhalder, Mickey Rourke, Robert Pattinson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Alan Delon, Heather Graham, Romy Schneider, Tyra Banks, Stone Sour, Twееn Peaks.”

The Postcrosser in Helsinki, Finland says she is interested in ancient history, having studied archaeology and Egyptology. I told her about the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose, California, of which my favorite part is the replica tomb.  A visit to that exhibit is a very immersive, atmospheric experience! Another bit of info about this recipient: she likes classical music, and metal.

That yellow truck is going–by air, I assume–to Jubbega, Netherlands, to someone who says he likes classic cars.  Don’t know if he’d call it a car, but it is a vehicle, and I’m pretty sure one could call it “classic.”  He also states an interesting preference: “*I prefer postcards 10×15 cm*”  I didn’t even translate that, let alone measure the postcard.  I mean, I’m sure you’re a nice guy, fella, but I’m just not gonna measure it for you.

The “We Don’t Want it, YOU Take it” Random Variety ‘Assortement’ of Postcards

If you engage in Postcrossing or swab-bottery, you see a lot of user profiles with some very specific postcard wishes.  If you have had the same experience I have in shopping locally for postcards, you have found that the things are very difficult to come by!  I have found one shop in my community that has a spinner rack with a very small, unsatisfying & unchanging selection of local scenes.  The same holds true in the city where I work.  That leaves me popping into every drug store & gas station when I am on a little road trip–but even my successes here only satisfy those who are hoping for “touristy” postcards.

To make a long story slightly less long, the easiest place to find postcards is the internet.  And by “the internet,” I suppose I mean Amazon.  Some great boxed sets out there (the only possible drawback, outside of the community harms in not shopping locally, is that at some point all of us Postcrossing types may already familiar with every postcard we receive). Of course, when you buy something from Amazon, they start showing you every single item in their stock which is anything like what you have purchased.

And THAT is exactly how I found the “We Don’t Want it, YOU Take it” Random Variety ‘Assortement’ of Postcards.  My name for it, not theirs–well, except for that spelling error.  This particular set of 100, priced at $19.98 and offered by Postcard Fair via Amazon, currently carries a rating of 4.5 stars out of 7 user reviews.  And there ARE some good things to be said! Low overall price, nice thick card stock, high-quality printing, and certainly some themes I have seen requested in user profiles (such as cats, books, coffee, food, and maps).

I mean, 100 cards for $19.98, what could go wrong?  That’s 20 cents a card.  Well, 20 cents a card, unless there are cards you just can’t imagine using.

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Can you spot the dungeon? Can you spot the Peeping Tom (he can spot you!)?

I’m not inclined to send someone a dungeon card, and I’m not inclined to send someone a Peeping Tom card.  A man kissing a horse?  No.  And how about the majority of the cards in this photo, depicting colorful dancers in some sort of cultural festival?  Well, how about them?  Do YOU know what this event is, or where it was held?  Apparently Postcard Fair does not!  There is absolutely no caption given, no context, not so much as a photographer credit.

The majority of the cards in this set offer no information of any kind, and certainly never a photographer or artist attribution.

One thing to write about, when you are writing to a complete stranger (or anyone else, really), is the thing that is depicted on the postcard you have chosen for them.  When I receive a postcard, I want to know about the image.  What does the photo depict?  Where was it taken?  Who took the photo (if I like it, I sometimes look up that person’s other work)?

I don’t want cards of a very specific event, that give absolutely no information.  It’s also apparent that Postcard Fair didn’t want them either: they sent me every single one of their “Dancing Set of 10.”

Okay, a hundred cards, minus specific events with no attribution, minus ugly art, dull cards, uncomfortable images… let’s say I will happily (reasonably happily) use a third of the cards, and then do the math again: $19.98, for 33 postcards, that is about 61 cents a card.  More expensive than some, cheaper than others.  Each of those “some” and “others” all being cards I would rather choose for myself & send, of course.

I find myself hoping for a few swap-bot specialty trades: something like “Pick 10 cards you want out of your home, stuff them into an envelope, and send them to a partner.” The recipient then waits for the next such swap, puts the cards into a fresh envelope, and sends them to the next link in the chain.  At some point, the original sender will likely get those very same cards back in the mail.  Would you like to sign up for that?


Have you ever purchased one of these mystery assortments, or any similar?  Please share your experience!

That mystery grab bag, though: Sent to England, Germany, & Slovakia

So, I bought a great big, cheap, “random” assortment of postcards through Amazon.  They just came, I opened them up, and tried to keep my tears from falling on them.  Did I mention they were cheap, though?  I’ll post specifically about the assortment soon, but for now: Postcrossing!


Some of the cream of the crop. I’d be interested in hearing your experiences of buying bulk postcard assortments.

The tipis, part of the Wigwam Motel in Arizona, are off to Erkrath, Germany.  The Postcrosser describes himself as a man in his 50s living with his wife & daughter, and asks senders to surprise him with the card of our choice.  I thought this odd scene might amuse & intrigue him.  I told him what my internet search for this place turned up: it’s from a chain that started in the 1930s; this location is still open; these units have full baths, cable & AC; and this motel is its city’s largest tourist attraction.  I was lucky that the postcard identified the subject of its photo: most of the ones in the assortment do not.

Those beautiful flours on the railway, for instance: no information given.  Pity.  I’ll tell you where it’s going, though: to Cambridge, England.  The recipient is brand-new to Postcrossing, and mentions enjoying nature.

An English teacher in Košice, Slovakia will receive that nice view of Montana’s Glacier National Park (yes, this postcard did identify its subject).  The recipient says she is the mother of two grown daughters, and is using Postcrossing to revive her childhood hobby of collecting postcards.  One particular thing she mentioned as enjoying on her cards is “beautiful natural wonders.”

Things found in water (or other liquid): Received from the Netherlands & Taiwan

3 new Postcrossing cards in through the mail slot: 2 from Netherlands, 1 from Taiwan.  DUCK!


That’s the one from Taiwan, the duck.  The sender says this is a famous bird in her country.  She also writes, “…please come to Taiwan again, and try every kind of Taiwan’s food!  You’ll love it!!”

The pears are from the Netherlands. The sender tells me that these stoofpeertjes are one of her favorite dishes, and “now it’s almost autumn and we like to eat this in this time of the year because it’s getting colder in Holland.”

Lastly, that wonderful seal card, also from the Netherlands.  This card’s sender says she is a student, and that recently “…I became a vegetarian and I really like to cook with healthy foods like vegetables, fruits and nuts!”

Stamps, and a really cool puffy fish sticker:

postcard332a    postcard332b