We Begin with Buns & a Dragon: Received from Australia, China, Germany, India, Poland, South Africa, & the U.S.

NINE (count ’em!) cards to share this time around!  They come via Postcrossing, Postcrossing Forum, Postcard United, & swap-bot.  Let’s start with my two very favorite, one of which is this delicious image of char siu bao!  The card is from Shanghai, China, and the sender writes:

You know the picture of the food on the postcard? It’s steamed bun and it’s a little sweet. You can usually eat it in Guangzhou province in China.

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The beautiful seahorse card is from Australia.  Pretty cool how the postage “stamp” is part of the printed image.  The sender tells me:

The weedy seadragon is native to Australia and are a threatened species.  They are found in seaweed beds along the southern parts of Australia.  They can grow up to 45 cm (18 in) in size.  They are slow moving and rely on their leafy body parts as camouflage in the seaweed.  Although I haven’t seen a seadragon in the wild, I have seen them at Seahorse World in Tasmania, which is a working seahorse farm who have guided tours.  I could have stayed there all day watching them and the seahorses!

Otters!  That one is from Lowell, Indiana, and was part of a swap-bot “recycled postcard” swap, which means this sender received the card from someone else, but slapped a new backing on it & sent it my way.  I like this one enough to keep it around!

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I’d regift this nice couple, though!  The card came to me from Poland, from a Postcard Uniter who tells me she is 20 years old, and she loves to travel and cook.

Still more mentions of food on this colorful night view from Nanjing, China.  The sender asks:

Have you tried a special Chinese snack called spicy dry tofu?  It’s a famous snack in China.  It’s spicy, little sweet and salty.  Maybe you will love it!

Maybe I will!  Since she didn’t include the Chinese name in Pinyin, I couldn’t tell if it’s one of the tofu snacks I’ve tried.

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More scenery, this time from India!  So rare that I have postcards traveling to & from there, so it’s a real pleasure.  The image is labeled as being of the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology in Gangtok, Sikkim, India, and the sender tells me she picked up the postcard there “when on the Darjeeling-Gangtok-Kalimpong circuit!”

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The gazebo came to me from Virgina, and it’s labeled as being at Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin.

These two avid readers were sent to me by a swap-botter in Germany, and she says:

Well, I don’t know about you, but if I have to choose between the 2 newspapers–I definitely go for the comics!!!”

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I took a hard look at the comics section, and was able to discern the strips printed here: Peanuts, Andy Capp, Blondie, and Prince Valiant.

The last card is made from the panel of a waffle box, and it is not as tall as most of the postcards, but much longer than any of them.  Hard to tell, as it was scanned separately!  It came from a swapper in Brakpan, Gauteng, South Africa.

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Okay, it’s finally time for stamps, stickers, and washi tape!  One of my favorites this time around would be the beautiful sun conure from Australia.  See anything YOU like?

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There are some Russian stamps in this card, because while doing the scanning, I overlooked the fact that I’d already logged the corresponding card.  Oops!  The stamps are still interesting though, so enjoy (again)!

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Sent to China, England, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, & Taiwan (Part 2)

Last time, I ended up just showing off the backsides of these eleven postcards I’ve sent out recently.  Time to flip them all over!  Most of these went out in Postcrossing Forum tag trades–if anything else is the case here, I’ll make note of it.

These three presidential Peanuts characters went out into the world along with my recommendation that each of them would have been a reasonable choice for my nation’s top office.  The worst I could say was that Pig-Pen may be dirty–but he’s certainly not the kind of dirty we are becoming used to!  That candidate went out to Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, and Charlie Brown (“He is kind & fair to everyone,” I wrote) went to Tokyo, Japan. The third candidate, Franklin (“Oh, how I wish Franklin had run! He’s such a good guy, who studies hard & is always fair”) went to my Peanuts-crazy postpal in Peacehaven, East Sussex, England.

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Peanuts 2020.  Because we’ve proven we’re not against cartoon characters holding office.

Okay, now that we’ve seen the would-have-been candidates, let’s rush through the rest of the cards, four at a time.  Which are your favorites, this time?

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The Met Museum: Sevilla, Spain (Postcard United draw)

Tiled Peanuts gang: Yokohama, Japan

Marching ducklings: Udupi, Karnataka, India

Flying crane: Neuss, Germany

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Monterey Bay Aquarium octopus: Shenyang, Liaoning, China

Pismo Beach butterflies: Selangor, Malaysia (Postcrossing draw)

Matisse-Still Life with Pomegranates: Kaohsiung, Taiwan (Postcrossing draw)

Matisse-The Divan: Weifang, Shandong, China (Postcard United draw)

Are You Feeling What I’m Feeling? Sent to China, Hong Kong, India, Latvia, Russia, & the U.S.

Still a lot of catch-up to do on the documentation side of things.  Heck, with all the holiday rush-about (yeah, I’ll blame that), now I have a lot of catch-up to do on postcards I am due to send out!

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Eagle Huntress went to Laurel, Maryland, for a swap-bot trade of movie/TV postcards.  I haven’t seen this film, but I picked up the card at a local independent theater.

Goosey Goosey Gander’s castle went to Hong Kong, in a Postcrossing draw.

Hula Kitty  (not Hello Kitty) went to Moscow, Russia, the city I drew in Postcard United. The recipient must not have written much about herself, because I went the dastardly route of talking about the weather.  I try never, ever to do that.  It’s like the saying goes: everyone’s talking about the weather, but no one’s doing anything about it.

Entering the black & white postcard zone, all from a book of NYC photography I found at a library book sale.  Some people just love b&w photography.  Me, not so much, at all.  Not that I want my old movies & TV series colorized (I DON’T), but I’m just glad rich full color is how we see things these days.

Grand Central headed off to Shanghai, China.  This is actually a resend: I heard from someone whom I’d tagged in Postcrossing Forum some time ago, asking if I’d sent him the card.  I had, but I still don’t want him to miss out.  He’s a train lover, and I’d previously sent him a Skunk Train card–but I am out, and Grand Central was the closest I had to a train card.  By the way, there is a “train of lights” nearby this holiday season, all lit up, and with Santa aboard.  I’ve taken the ride 2-3 times, but honestly?  Well, look at the pics: all the joy is on the outside!  This is also why all of my holiday decoration efforts are focused on the inside of my home, where I can enjoy the fruits of my labor.
The ship shot was a Postcrossing draw, off to Riga, Latvia.  The recipient must not have written much about himself, because I went the dastardly route of talking about the weather.  I try never, ever to do that.  It’s like the saying goes: everyone’s talking about the weather, but no one’s doing anything about it.

Whoa–I’m feeling all déjà vu-y right now.  Are YOU feeling all déjà vu-y right now?

The Guggenheim Museum went to Beijing, China, thanks to a Postcard United draw. The recipient likes movies, reading, & travel–and so do I!

Barney Gumble from “The Simpsons” went to Mumbai, India, in a Postcrossing Forum tag trade.  The recipient noted that she likes this show, and I remembered that somehow I happened to have this card.  I told her that as far as I can remember, the last time I saw “The Simpsons” was when the movie came out–back in 2007! My favorite thing about that movie was how some 7-Eleven stores were turned into Kwik-E-Marts!

Does a Dog Eat its Fortune? Received from India, Japan, Taiwan, & the U.S.

I came home today to a full mailbox!  Five pieces of snail mail–whoa!

I love this Taiwan Railway Journey postcard.  Taiwanese bento are sold in quite a few places in my city–but I really think I need to take an extended trip to their homeland, for comparison purposes.

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The card was sent to me via Postcard United, and the sender writes:

“Railroad lunch box is well-known, it’s delicious and inexpensive.  People can only buy it on the train or at the train station.”

I’m not so impressed with the fortune cookies–and I’m not sure I knew La Choy even sold the things!  You can go into most CVS stores around here & buy locally-manufactured fortune cookies (also available in various colors, as well as flat & fortune-less).  Which ones do I choose?  Well, I don’t!  It’s a food package postcard, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum tag trade, and the sender is in Colfax, Washington.  She writes:

“I hope I am not the only one who is amused by the fact that fortune cookies are not actually Chinese, nor English muffins, English; French toast, French; Danishes, Danish, etc.  Since these do not contain chocolate, they are critter-safe.  My dog, Max, loves them.”

I wonder whether she lets him eat his fortune.

Incredible India is another Postcard United incoming, and it came in to me from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.  Do you want to know what I just learned on Wikipedia?  Thiruvananthapuram is the capital–and the largest city–in its state, and it has a sister city in the U.S.: Galveston, Texas.  The card’s sender tells me:

“My hobbies being stamp collection, travelling places, water painting, gardening, enjoying soups, movies, etc. Have visited many places in India. We got many exotic sites. 🙂 Never been to another country. Wish to visit USA one day!! I like to have friend’s company when travelling.  Just 1 or 2 friends.”

I chuckled a bit at the hobby of “enjoying soups.”  I do have to admit, though, that particularly-good versions of sambar do indeed get me making yummy sounds.

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Well, there’s a weird postcard.  It’s via swap-bot, from an unassigned partner in the “postcard roulette” trade I’ve mentioned a couple of times lately.  The sender chills me to the core when she says:

“Hello from Colorado where we expect it to be 4 degrees for the high temperature on Saturday.  This is not normal.  You’re my chosen one from the list of roulette people…wonder if anyone will choose me… 🙂  :I  😦  “

Yeah, when I was reading about the “get assigned one, choose another one from the list of participants” nature of the swap, I did indeed wonder whether someone would choose me.  So now I know!  I wonder if I will receive still more unassigned cards…

Finally, I got a Christmas card from my snail mail pal in Tokyo, Japan, from whom I just got some cooool mail yesterday!  She writes she hopes we will be writing each other letters for years to come.

Some wonderful stamps today: I love the animals & food.

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Jeez, Morning People Are the Worst! Sent to Germany, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Russia, & Ukraine

“I’m addicted to weird things. So, if you have some unusual cards I’d be glad to have one.”

That’s what the Postcrosser in Barnaul, Russia wrote, so she gets Retro Dining Family.

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That card, and the one right next to it, are both from The World’s Tackiest Postcards, a book I found at a library bookstore.  The charming highway scene will go to a friend of mine in Hong Kong, and I can’t wait to see what he has to say about this little surprise in his mailbox.

As for the rest of this batch:

Worm: Chennai, India (Postcard United)–This guy, who said he’d like funny cards, has been at this hobby about a year.  He writes, “I am a graduate student in India, and in between studies, postcards give me time to relax and think about friends around the world.”

California’s Natural Wonders: Luedenscheid, Germany (Postcrossing)–This recipient likes map cards, and I am sending her my favorite of the various California map cards I’ve come across, having written about a couple of my favorite points she’ll notice in the image.

Tiger: Mariupol, Donetsk, Ukraine (Postcard United)–sad to say, but this “Uniter” said nothing about herself, just providing a “want” list instead.  Fortunately, that included nature, cute little animals, and kawaii things, so this is sure to be a hit.  The card also is good for cipher-crossers, because it has a back story I can explain in lieu of actually making a connection based on her profile.

Empire State Building: Changkat Jering, Perak, Malaysia (Postcard United)–This man, who likes b&w cards (and many others) was a big outdoorsman, until suffering a stroke, and since then he has picked up stamp collecting & postcard exchange.  He writes, “I like to have friends all around the globe even though my English is not very good but try to do better everyday.”

Take a look at some of the stamps & washi tape:

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Why Do I Keep Doing this to Myself? Sent to India

Swap-bot eats me up from the inside-out.

Let’s back up, and start with an update: the swap-bot “flat envie of fun” I mailed to New Delhi, India last month has landed, and the recipient rated me a 5, with that heart, and a “thank you!”

And then, do you know what happened, the same day?  The assignments were passed out for this month’s version of the same trade–and I was assigned the same person!

Now, I had a really difficult time with this last month, I mean, deciding what to send this trader, and I nearly doubled over at the prospect of facing it again.  I took a day or two to breathe, and then I revisited her profile.  She likes birds–especially owls–and flowers. Okay.  Since my last shopping trip for a swap-bot trade took a lot of time & energy, I decided I needed to try adding a different store to my list of places to visit.  I decided Cost Plus may have owls. I was right!  Between that store, Half-Price Books, and my own postcard stash, I came up with this:

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She said she likes tea, too.  I bought a box of tea that I can enjoy, as well–though I usually enjoy dim sum with my pu-erh!

I feel super-successful this time around, AND with the boxed items (owl cards & tags, O’Keefe mini-cards, tea), I have extras for possible future trades.

WHAT THE HECK AM I TALKING ABOUT, “future trades?”  WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?  So stressful.  I mean, I love to prepare packages for people.  The issue comes up with a) people I don’t know, with wishes that are so different from mine, and sometimes hard to conceptualize or even find; and b) THE RATING SYSTEM.  Also, it has happened in the past that the package I received would indicate that the sender wasn’t trying so much.  So, WHY?  Probably because when it is good, it is very, very good.

Anyhow, I wrote my partner a note:

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And trussed it all up:

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Here we go again.  Don’t know whether I should delete my swap-bot account, just to prevent future stomach upset…

Ugh, Those Swap-Bot NERVES! Sent to India

I swear, I don’t even know why I’m still on swap-bot.  It’s very likely because of the occasional swaps of postcards created from recyclables–I really have a lot of fun with those–but the whole rating system, and some of the member profiles, really make me nervous.  And of course there’s the whole heart thing.

No, I’ve never been rated less than a 5 (the only possibilities, from best to worst, are 5, 3, and 1), but the system scares me like the idea of clowns under the bed.

And what have I done?  I signed up not for a mere postcard swap, but for something called the “flat envie of fun.”  EEK!  These “select stuff for your assigned partner” swaps contain more minefields than a straightforward postcard swap.  Let’s look at the details:

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Okay, well, I know I would like to receive a flat envie envelope full of fun.  No tea, of course–I choose & buy my own tea, but tea bags seem to be a big thing with swap botters. I do buy & accumulate li’l fun things to share with friends & swap partners, so this should be easy!

But I’d obviously forgotten about the last time I entered a trade like this, and the envelope I received caused me so much trauma, I never even shared it here.  The person read my profile–she demonstrated by saying “I know you didn’t want any tea…”  And you already know the very next word in that sentence was “but.”  Yes, there was tea, and I think confetti, and a bunch of crap so mysterious as to not even be regiftable for the friends to whom I love sending stuff & nonsense.  I fed almost everything in that envelope (or was it absolutely everything in that envelope?) to the trash can.  And no, I certainly did not award a heart, which I customarily choose to do by default.

Let me shake that off & get back to this trade.  Okay, so as I was saying, I thought this envie of fun thing should be easy!

And then I was assigned my partner–she lives in New Delhi, Delhi, India–and read her profile. And I got to the “uh-oh” line:

“DISLIKES : please do not send me these… Kiddie stuff Cartoon stuff ( stickers, stationary etc) I’ve outgrown it long ago!”

Oh, good gawd, I hope I never grow so old!  Well, this sucks all the “fun” out of the “envie full of fun!”  I had to take a few days’ break to regroup.

So what WOULD she like?  Uh, she mentioned Starbucks cards, anything from her Amazon wish list.  LOL.  Let’s look for flat stuff, within the intended parameters of this swap… well, she’s apparently big into papercrafting, & is interested in stationary/notecards, stickers, stamps–and yes, tea bags.  I was eventually able to cobble this assortment together for her:

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Along the left, we have tiny note cards (the bottom 2 have envelopes.  You see the tea bags, stamps, and postcards (two that I actually think are nice, nothing from The Disappointassortment here, no).  The owl & the mermaid are two custom stickers from Seattle artists.

So, do you think I deserve a HEART, in addition to a full 5 rating?  I not only have 5 items–I have 5 different items, each of them in multiples!  I think even a grinch who hates wonderful things like “kiddie stuff” and cartoon characters should surely find something to enjoy here!

I stuck it all in this card, in which I wrote a friendly note:

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…and then I addressed, reinforced, and stamped the thing:

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And now, we wait.  With a bad case of those swap-bot nerves.

Face it, Tiger: You’ve Hit the Mailbox! Sent to China, England, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, & the U.S.

It’s going to be quite the session today.  THERE WILL BE  A RANT!

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For now, though, let’s start with the tigers.  THREE tigers, going out in 3 Postcrossing draws.  The first goes to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and I chose this card for her for no particular reason, save perhaps for the fact that she said she’d like to see anything unique from my country.

The next tiger goes to Singapore, and I feel that rant coming on.  CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS POSTCROSSER IN SINGAPORE?  She has been with the site for more than 8 years.  She has sent nearly 6,500 cards.  And as for her profile?

N   O   T   H   I   N   G   .

SHE HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRITTEN AS A PROFILE.

What is her point in participating in this site?  I mean, to the extend she is even participating; I see the lack of a profile of any kind a complete refusal to participate in the project.  The only reason I chose one of my favorite postcards to send out is that in the absence of any kind of connection between sender & recipient, this card helps me out by having a back story I can write in the message space.  I mean, I hope a message written on the card will not offend this prolific cipher.

/end rant

The tiger heading for Rotenburg, Germany will be going to an interesting home, I think. This Postcrosser had some very specific requests:

PLEASE WRITE ME BABYNAMES WITH LETTER S ON START
-Please write the date, temperature, distance, how much postage you pay for the stamp and tell me where do you keep your postcards to?

I don’t even know what that last part means.  I fulfilled all of the middle stuff, and ignored the “babynames” bit.  She has internet access.

Astro Boy!  He’s off to Mangalore, India in a Postcrossing Forum Anime/Manga tag.  This Postcrosser writes in his profile, “through Postcrossing I can see your side of the world :-)”

The postcard hewn from a package of pani puri went to Falls Church, Virginia in a food package postcard trade.  That product may not have been the perfect solution for pani puri lovers, but it was definitely fun, and it makes for really great postcards, I think!

The rather boring “Fremont” card is off in a Postcrossing Forum “China Meets the World” trade to Hangzhou, China, to an engineer who said he would like postcards depicting the sender’s city.  I told him I didn’t think these are very good representations. I would certainly snap up postcards featuring the Mission Peak photo on Fremont’s Wikipedia page.  It also shows a small corner of the city’s Central Park, which itself would offer several postcard-worthy scenes.

The last two cards are from the boxed set, “The Art of Disney: The Renaissance and Beyond (1989-2014).”  The Beauty & the Beast card–well, let’s just say I need a postcard secretary.  I scanned the front of the card, but have no record of the other side.  Doing some looking around, the scan date seems to coincide with a swap-bot Disney postcard trade, so that makes sense, yeah.  Apparently I mailed this off to Hollywood, England.

Finally, the Lion King card is off to Xi’an, China, in a Postcrossing Forum Cartoon/Comic Strips/Anime tag.  The recipient is an 18-year-old who likes giraffes, and Disney, and many other things.  She asked that people not write in cursive, because she couldn’t read it.  BOY, have I received postcards I could not decipher!  I do print my cards, though perhaps not always as neatly as I ought.

Here you go: some of the stamps, stamps, stickers, & washi tape:

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The Jerk Who Ruined Postcrossing: Sent to China, Germany, India, & Taiwan

A Postcrossing batch, with some drama.

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The tiger is going to a tiger lover in Taipei, Taiwan.  She loves to travel (hey, me, too!), and says she has been to 28 countries so far (whoa!  I seem to have some catching up to do!).

Speaking of travel, the next card depicts the Hapuna Beach Prince, a resort on the Big Island of Hawaii’s Kohala coast.  I’ve not stayed here, though I have stayed at its older sister nearby.  This one is headed for Kunshan, Jiangsu  China, in a Postcrossing Forum tag trade, to a recipient who expressed an interest in receiving hotel postcards.

The California state map (uh, not to scale) is also going off to to China in a Postcrossing Forum trade: it goes to someone in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China who expressed an interest in map cards.  I notice I have several different California map cards, some more fun, others more informational.

Next comes one of California’s more beautiful sights, the Big Sur coastline.  That’s a regular Postcrossing draw, and it’s off to someone in Aachen, Germany who says he likes beautiful landscapes, including coasts.

Finally comes the black & white card at bottom, which went to Margao, Goa, India.  And herein lays a tale.  A dark moment in Postcrossing, one might say.

“Hi!  I love getting postcards as the whole world steps in my postbox! It’s such a beautiful experience. 🙂 “

Oh, what a nice start!  I agree with the sentiment.

Unfortunately, he keeps talking.

“On the card, write the name of your city and date of posting please. Also write about the card, as in what it depicts. I prefer information about the card, rather than your personal details.  To be frank, I don’t like the sender’s personal details on the card. Please do write the date and name of city/ town where posted.”

Okay, buddy, thank you for taking every bit of joy out of this Postcrossing experience.  Thank you for taking the personal connection out of the equation.  Thank you for transforming this from a fun pastime into a grim assignment.

I should have just picked whatever card I liked, and written a chatty little missive about myself, but I picked this black & white New York Stock Exchange photo, based on Jerky’s stated preferences of cards depicting “anything related to history, law or politics,” and then I looked up sources of information on the architect, George B. Price, and I shared that, with no frivolity such as a salutation or a signature.

If every Postcrosser were like this fella, I’d quit.

A FIRST! Sent to England, India, & Russia

Kicking off 2016 with 3 postcards on the go:

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The historic view of Los Angeles goes to a self-professed “history geek” in  Edinburgh, Scotland.

The interesting beach scene is going to Oktyabrya, Russia, to someone who was hoping for cards depicting beautiful places & beach views.

Those first two were regular Postcrossing draws; the third–the big Peanuts card–goes out via Postcrossing Forum.  It’s headed for Bangalore, India, in a “USA-Asia” trade.  I’m jealous of this Postcrosser; when I wrote this card this morning, it was 37 degrees Fahrenheit outside.  Meanwhile, her city should reach around 84 today!  I would like to spend my California winters someplace where it is 84 degrees.

I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to send a card to India.  In my time on Postcrossing, I have only ever received two cards from that country, and this is the first that I have sent!  I hope there are many more to come, in both directions.

A look at the stamps, stamps, & washi tape:

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