Switcheroo, or Double Switcheroo? Sent to Estonia

The cool thing about Postcrossing Forums is that you get to choose the tags in which you participate.  Do you want to send & receive cards made from food packages?  There’s a tag for that!  Cards from a postcard book?  They’ve got that!  Animals? Islands? Ugly cards? Yep, yup, and oh, yez!  So when I tagged a Postcrosser in Tartu, Estonia, in the Snoopy/Peanuts tag, I knew my card would find a good home.

Or maybe not so much.

In her U2U (internal Postcrossing Forum email) to me to give me her mailing address, the person I tagged wrote, “I´m very thankful, if you will change your cards and send to me fauna postcards.”

WHAT?!?

I went to look at her profile, and asked “WHAT?!?,” again, as I read this line:

“Sry, but i don’t like drawn postcards and also i don’t like postcards with…cartoons…”

HUH?!?  WHY ON EARTH would you enter a themed tag, if you don’t want cards that fit in with the theme?

Further, she wrote to me, “please, if possible, send a card / cards in an envelope.”  Not only against the spirit of Postcrossing, but, as I say in my auto signature on the Forum, I send my cards as the snail mail gawdz intended: written & stamped.

¡Increíble!

Here’s the card I sent:

postcard toon Peanuts Charlie Brown Schulz Museum

A backside?  Yes, this card has one: and as you’ll see, I was able to give her some fauna.

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Banging Huge Pocky Together: Received from Canada, China, England, Estonia, Germany, & Sweden

I have some good ones to record this time, maybe especially Donald Duck & the load of toys!

I don’t think Donald gets drawn any better than he does in the creation of comics for the European market.  This postcard came to me from Germany, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum tag, and the art is beautiful! The sender clearly took a look through my Postcrossing Favorites.

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Another person who knows what I like is my post pal in England, who tells me she thought of me when she spotted the toy-jammed card in a gift shop at a railway station.  Even better are the Mr. Men & Little Miss stamps she affixed to the back (shared below)!

The gigantic crystal ball in Dalian, China’s Friendship Circle must be an amazing thing to see at night. I received that thanks to another Postcrossing Forum tag, from a sender who says he likes collecting postcards & mint stamps.  As for me, if I were to eat stamps, I’d prefer they be chocolate.

Speaking of chocolate–look, POCKY!  It’s another swap-bot upcycled cardboard card, and it’s from a sender in Canada who tells me:

“At our local 7-11 is a surprisingly large selection of imported snacks.  Usually, it’s things like Crunchies or nori crackers, but we occasionally get special Pocky snacks or limited edition Caplicos.  These Almond Crush Pocky snacks are pretty good, but I think it would have been better with dark chocolate.  That said, it’s a very attractive box!”

Certainly better with dark chocolate–that’s the kind of Pocky I like!  By the way, occasionally one of my local Asian supermarkets will have a Pocky promotion, with people there to give out samples of the many different flavors, and even give away huge inflatable toy Pocky sticks that can be banged together to make a lot of noise!  No, I have not adopted one of those–yet.

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Postcard United time: The architect beaver comes from Sweden.  The sender writes:

“Mr. Castor doing woodwork?  These books are written by Lars Klinting and are very popular in many countries, not only here in Sweden.  Castor is a beaver, as you can see, often a very handy one.”

I looked all of this up online, and eventually found that before becoming an author/illustrator, Lars Klinting was himself an achitect.  Also, as you can see clearly illustrated on his Amazon page, this character Castor took on the English name of Bruno–before changing it to Harvey!

Then we’ve got those gnomes, who I am definitely mailing off to my friend who actually likes these creatures.  That’s a Postcrossing card from Tallinn, Estonia, and the sender told me that on New Year’s Day, “the weather outside is unfamiliar warm in the winter to +6°C, no snow!”  Well, brrr.

Something that doesn’t leave me cold?  The stamps & washi tape!  Check them out!

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Wrapped Sweetly: Sent to Estonia

I’m finding that many of the colorful ads from the Sunday papers–that mass which is usually the first thing I fish out & feed to the recycling bin–do indeed have a use: to be repurposed as envelopes!  This one’s going to Tartu, Estonia.

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There’s a lot in that box I’d pass up: all of the milk chocolate; all of the rectangular ones, which are hard caramel and/or nougat; most of the round ones, which are soft caramels or sickly fruity creams.  Mostly, I’ll take the chocolate truffles, please.

Inside the envelope went a Beauty & the Beast postcard:

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It was in the recipient’s favorites, and this went out in a Postcrossing Forum trade which was all about sending the person you tag a card from their favorites list.  Without much more to say than that, let’s get educational & take the briefest of looks at Tartu, Estonia, thanks to Wikipedia:

Tartu is the second largest city of Estonia.  It’s often considered the intellectual center of the country, home to the nation’s oldest and most renowned university, the University of Tartu. The city also houses the Supreme Court of Estonia, the Ministry of Education and Research and Estonian National Museum.  The university was founded under King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in 1632. Mainly for this reason, Tartu is also–tongue-in-cheek–known as “Athens of the Emajõgi” or as “Heidelberg of the North.”

Tartu is also the seat of the Estonian University of Life Sciences, the Baltic Defense College, and the Estonian Aviation Academy. Other notable institutions include the Estonian Historical Archives, Estonian Sports Museum, as well as the oldest and renowned theatre in the country, Vanemuine, which has a well-respected ballet company as well as theatre, opera and musical productions.

Okay, back to the envelope: which of the See’s Candies would you grab first?

We Eat Ham and Jam and SPAM a Lot: Sent to Estonia, Germany, Indonesia, & Taiwan

And so it came time to draw more Postcrossing names!  Oh, and enter another Postcrossing Forum tag trade.  Of note today: I have mailed out 2 of my very last “Postcards from Puffin” children’s book cover cards!  This is the box that was all I had when I initially began Postcrossing, and now I have one single card from that set left.  Oh, the box is full–as I’ve purchased other cards to use in my snail mailing, they have gone in–but there is only one of the original cards left to go out.

 

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The beautiful tiger is bound for Taichung, Taiwan–to a classroom full of students! An English teacher at a language school has been Postcrossing with her students for over 5 years.  She writes that they range in age from elementary school to college.  I tried to write very neatly, since I was aiding in a language exercise.

We’re Knights of the Round Table
We dance when e’er we’re able
We do routines and gory scenes
That are too hot for cable
We eat ham and jam
We eat ham and jam and spam a lot

— Spamalot

These knights are off for Gelsenkirchen, Germany, to a woman who wasn’t sure what to write about herself, so she copied & pasted her city’s Wikipedia entry, instead.  Actually, though she didn’t write a LOT about herself, she did much better than many profiles I’ve seen: for instance, her hobbies include baking, biking, cooking, reading, skiing, and traveling–and those details are just for starters (although that is most of it)!

Have you read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books?  I haven’t, yet, but I have seen a couple of the movies.  Oh, and I have the bendable toys.  The card is making its way to Viljandimaa, Estonia, to someone who actually wrote less about herself that my German friend above, but wrote enough about the postcards that she’d like that I feel I actually know… the postcards that she’d like to receive!  She did write that she has “a special interest in books,” saying, “anything related to that will make me glad,” so I gave her this, one of my most special book postcards.

Oakland for Yogyakarta, Indonesia!  This card was part of a “what did you do today” Postcrossing Forum tag trade.  Seeing as I tend to write my cards early in the morning, I wrote about what I did the day before, which is visit Kehoe Beach along the Point Reyes National Seashore.  I’ve made a lot of day trips to different spots in Point Reyes.  It’s quite far from me–2 hours-ish–made all the farther by the fact that it’s all so remote and wind-y.  It’s all justifiable, though, thanks to an exceptional ice cream shop in the general region.

It’s a great day for stamps, stamps, sticker, & washi tape:

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Sent–ALL OVER–Via Snail Mail My Email

Last year, I spotted something interesting in a local independent book store: Snail Mail My Email: Handwritten Letters in a Digital World. From the book description provided:

Feeling nostalgic for the almost forgotten written letter, author and former ad man Ivan Cash fell upon a simple idea: he invited anyone in the world to send him an email, and he’d write it out in a letter and mail it, for free. Participants could even request a doodle or to seal it with a kiss.

What started out as a personal art project exploded into a worldwide event. As requests poured in, Cash enlisted an international army of volunteers who helped create more than 10,000 letters sent all over the globe.

I bought the book, and read it, and was intrigued.  I decided I’d like to take part if the project took place again.  And so, when the annual Snail Mail My Email event happened earlier this month, I was a part of it!

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–and boy, am I tired!

In short, people who want an email message sent as a physical letter send it to the Snail Mail My Email project, which distributes the emails to its volunteers, who write the messages out, stuff them in envelopes, stamp them, & send them off to the intended recipients.

I received 20 e-messages to turn physical & mail along, and you see the results in the images above. My letters went to Canada, Estonia, and the United Kingdom, as well as several destinations here in the U.S.: California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, West Virginia–and even Puerto Rico. The forwarded emails came in one at a time, throughout the day, throughout the week.  I tried to do a few at a time, so they would not stack up on me; this was a very time-consuming activity!  Some people have interesting requests, some easily created a spark in my mind as to how to put them on paper, and some notes made me think a lot about what to do to make them interesting to the recipient.

There was one person who was clearly NOT Santa Claus, but was impersonating the old guy in order to try to control their children.  Lots of uses of the words “be good” and “obey.”  I passed that one by the real Santa, who rewrote the message in his own words, and gave it back to me to send along.  Yes, I know Santa.  Some time ago, I helped Santa Claus answer his mail–and it’s something you can do, too.

I don’t know that I would take part in Snail Mail My Email again, but it is a very interesting project, and at many times, a fun one.  I am happy that I was a part of it this time around.  The question that intensified in my mind over the course of the project week–and in the weeks since–is: why don’t these people write the letters to their friends, children & lovers themselves?  Why pass what are in some cases very private & intimate words through multiple strangers?  Honestly, I think that in some cases, the recipients of these handwritten letters are going to be angry over the filtering through third parties.

I hope that this project inspires the email writers, and the letter recipients, to create their own snail mail, no matter how complicated or simple.  The less people use paper, pens, stamps and letter carriers, the more it means.