Shooting off a Blank: Received (Sorta) from the Netherlands

This is self-explanatory (received via Postcard United). When I went to thank her for the card–and to mention that she’d forgotten to write a message–I noticed that she had also left her profile blank.

Insert your own rant here, because I am tired.

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Dogs in & on Water, & a Deer Behind the Wheel: Sent to China, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Netherlands, Russia, & the U.S.

After being away for some travel time, I got back to the postcards, with a bunch off through Postcrossing Forum trades & swap-bot — and even 2 new sends for Postcard United!  In the interest of finally posting here again–and not wasting too much time–there won’t be a lot of detail this time, but let’s enjoy all of the cool cards, stamps, stickers, & washi tape!

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That beat-up postcard with the beat-up trophy on the beat-up car went off in a swap-bot trade for beat-up postcards.  I was so happy to have the opportunity to send it!

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I’m putting eclipse stamps on most of my mail.  Black circles give way to moons, after a bit of heat is applied (whether by a well-placed thumb, or just hot weather).  In most of these scans, the moon is peeking through some.  By the way, if you live somewhere in or adjoining the eclipse zone, please remember: DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY UP AT THE SUN.  There are many sites full of information on safe viewing; please look those up.

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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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Just Dropped You a Line to Say ABSOLUTELY NOTHING: Received from Indonesia & Taiwan

Two postcards in recently via Postcard United, and that is not the only thing these two have in common.  Before we go further, though, let’s take a look at the front of the cards.

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I love that gateway, and the arch beyond.  The card came to me from Changhua, Taiwan, and its caption tells us this about the scene:

The Gateway to the East-West Cross-Island Highway, Hualien: after passing through the vermilion archway, you will be greeted by the breathtaking splendor of Taroko Gorge

The other card was sent to me from Pare, Kediri, Jawa Timur, Indonesia, and it has some beautiful & interesting stamps on the back (as does the other card).

Oh, yes, the backs of the cards; let’s talk about those, because those are what tie these two cards so inexorably together.  Have a look:

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Oh, look: I could write both of those messages in one Tweet, and STILL have room to add something interesting!

From Taiwan:

Greetings from Taiwan.

Yes.  The stamps, postmark, & photo tipped me off to that.  Thanks for the confirmation, though.

From Indonesia:

I hope you will like this card & stamps

I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt that they selected the cards & stamps in hopes I would like them.

Now, this 2nd person, according to Postcard United, has sent 505 cards.  And on her profile, she wishes everyone a “fascinating and crazy postcrossing”–which is more than she wrote on my card!

What is the point of sending a card if you don’t want to write anything on it?  I’m not fascinated, but it does sorta drive me crazy.  I could rant a lot more, I suppose, but this is just — sad.  Some people do have to work harder to come up with something to say.  For this, Postcrossing does offer some help, offering its answers to the question: “What should I write on the postcard?”

Foodie Edition! Received from China, Hong Kong, Russia, & the U.S.

I’ve got some catching up to do, in posting my received postcards, and as I was sorting through the stack looking for a unifying thread, I sure found one: FOOD!  Those are the cards I’ll share this time, starting with my very favorite:

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I’d love to spend some time in that amazing scene.  It came to me in a Postcrossing Forum “Hong Kong to the world” tag, and the sender writes:

“This is the traditional wet market in Hong Kong.  Instead of supermarket, my mother still goes to these traditional market.  People know each other in the market and the owner sometimes gives us ‘gift’ too.”

Now, look at this amazing biang biang noodle poster, sent to me from China in another forum tag:

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The sender tells me:

“Biang biang noodle is the most famous food in Shanxi Province.  The character ‘biang’ features the most strokes in all Chinese characters.”

Yes, go back & look at that!  The character is like a big box full of smaller characters!

Next up, also from China:

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“This card is about the stinky tofu in Changsha, it’s very delicious!”

Have you ever encountered stinky tofu?  It is STINKY!  You always know if you are in a restaurant that serves stinky tofu.  Nevertheless, I did try it once, from a food truck here in the south San Francisco Bay Area.  It didn’t work for me, but do you know who LOVED it, and wished I had bought more?

My dog.

But yes, I do suppose I will try it again at some point.  Grownups aren’t afraid to try new things, and to realize that one taste doesn’t represent the entire food, and also that tastes change.  Speaking of changing tastes, do you know something I liked as a kid, that I absolutely can’t stand now?

Ketchup.  YUCK.

Okay, moving on.  Time for some more deliciousness, this time from Nanjing, China:

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You can read the sender’s brief commentary on the diversity of Chinese food below, in the scan of the flip side of her postcard.

Now we have a bowl of soba, sent to me from Lompoc, California.  This person was assigned my info from Postcard United, which I, until quite recently, thought only assigned international partners.

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The chili peppers are from Russia, and the sender writes:

“You say you like Asian cuisine, so you should like hot chili pepper.  I prefer European food mostly but sometimes I like something hot also.”

That person should also scroll down & read about the diversity of Chinese (never mind Asian as a whole) cuisines.  “Spicy” is by no means a word that unifies Asian cuisines.

Finally–and also from Russia–we have this food package postcard.

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The sender tells me he recently went to a Natalie Imbruglia concert.  I felt like I was stepping into a time machine!

Stamp time!  There are indeed some food stamps down here.  My original idea was to only scan & share the food-related stamps, but I also enjoyed the story-based stamps from China, so I ended up deciding to scan & share everything.  I like the round fruit stamps from Russia, how about you?

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Infinite Crisis: Received from Japan, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, & the U.S.

This time:

  • How do you slap a new backing on a received card (catch & release)?
  • Postcrossers not living in the country Postcrossing think they live in
  • An “inner-national” piece of mail via Postcard United
  • Not covered at all down below, but I recieved two pieces of mail (one a week for the past two weeks) for that house that is not on my street
  • And other stuff

Let’s do this.

Hey, look at this travel poster-themed card from Cindi in Hawaii!  She tells me the art is by Nick Kuchar, who I see has been doing some good work over there for a little while now.

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Some more beautiful art now, this one an original piece made for me by a swap-botter in Pennsylvania for a “Earth Day Upcycle Postcard Swap.”  She really got into the theme!  She tells me:

“I’ve always loved this holiday.  I was president of my school’s ecology club, and now I spend a lot of time hiking and camping in nature.  I want future generations to enjoy the same beautiful places as well.”

The line about hiking in nature reminds me of my Facebook friend who always posts a status of “taking a walk” when he is at a mall.

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Next up is Hello Kitty, who of course–as you know, if you follow the news–is not a cat.  That’s from Japan via Postcrossing Forum, and I’m not going to transcribe the message, because it’s part of the scan down at the bottom of this post.  Some fun sticker work there, too!

The big red star is a regular Postcrossing card, sent to me from Moscow, Russia by someone living there for the last 5 years. She says she was born in Belarus.  Her member registration is BY–meaning she still tells Postcrossing that she lives in Belarus, and thus officially, I received this card from Belarus.  But I didn’t.

I love that not-snowman beach scene, from a Postcard United member in Jeju Island, South Korea! She tells me the writing on the card translates to “I hope your dreams come true.  Keep it up.”

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The Mount Hood card was sent to me from the Medford, Oregon area for a swap-bot “recycled postcard” swap, in which we were to slap a new backing on a card we’d received & send it to our swap partner.  Now, when I do this, I grab a chunk of cardboard (usually from a stamp order), glue it to the back, & cut it to size. Very chunky, heavy, & inelegant.  This sender had some sort of thin white sticker printed with “POSTCARD” across the top, “Please deliver to” on the address side, and “This card handstamped by _________” on the bottom of the message side.  I can see through the sticker that there is writing underneath–but I can’t see it all that well.  I guess I should scan this side of the card so you can see exactly what I’m talking about, but it’s early in the morning as I write this portion of this entry, I’m curled up on the end of the couch with my 1st cup of coffee, and I’m feeling too lazy.  This takes up too much of my time, anyhow!  In my thank-you message to the sender, I suggested I’d like to know about the special (lightweight) backing–but now word back as of yet.  Do you think she designed it herself to print on some Avery sticker paper?

Pooh is from Taiwan, via a Postcrossing Forum tag trade.  Scroll down to enjoy a whole lot of wonderful stamps!

The two recipe cards here arrived blank, in an envelope, along with a signature written in an odd Easter card (no message, just “Happy Easter!,” a signature, & Postcard United ID).  It was sent to me from Chicago, Illinois.  What?  I thought we were only supposed to receive cards from other countries!  Consarn it.  Well, I know there are people who would like to receive these cards.  In fact, I’ve already mailed one out–but those details can wait for a future post.

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Time for stamps, stickers, washi tape, & stuff.

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I love this huge-man-in-a-little-airplane stamp from South Korea!

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The Cereal Box Word Search: Sent to China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, & Netherlands

As usual, I’m behind in logging my sent cards, to the point where I can no longer identify everything correctly. Let’s knock some out now, starting with a few that I’m just sending out this very week, and then I’ll work my way back a bit.  This still leaves more in the backlog.  I’m afraid my blog is no longer completist, if it ever was.  Let’s do this.  Most of these cards went out in Postcrossing Forum tags.

Two cards from the Monterey Bay Aquarium: the two otters went off to Kita-ku, Kobe, Japan, and the exterior view is on its way to Tianjin, China.

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I noticed I had zero traveling cards on Postcard United, & just one on Postcrossing, so I clicked on “send a card” on both of those services. The view of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea goes to Untermünkheim, Germany, to a brand-new Postcrosser (2 weeks in) who hasn’t even bothered to create a profile yet.  I grabbed a card that would give me something to say (in short, love the Big Island of Hawaii; don’t care for snow, so only gaze up at it from the warm below).

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The Matisse image is going to Hong Kong, to a VERY prolific Postcard Uniter: in less than 3 years on the site, she has somehow managed to send out 3,027 cards!  Through some odd injustice, though, she has only received 2,228 cards to date.

More recycled cardboard: I like that I was able to provide the person I tagged in Niigata, Japan, with an entire word search (hewn from the back of a box of cereal).

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Oh my gosh, this card–another one from the infamous (to me, at least) Disappointassortment.  It went to Berlin, Germany–and it was actually on that Postcrosser’s wall of favorites!

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I decided I needed to do what the producers of the card did not bother to: identify this clock tower.  After some amount of web searching & comparing images, I came up with the determination that it is Old Town Hall in Prague, Czech Republic.

Last up is an envelope that I sent off to Zaandam, Netherlands.  Just the envelope, because I can’t remember what card was inside.  Well, I think I know what card was inside, because I don’t often get a request to send a card in an envelope–and I don’t always comply.  But let’s focus on the envelope, which I made from an ad for…something.  I think it’s for the butterflies at San Francisco’s Cal Academy of Sciences.

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Okay, time for all of the stamps, stamps, stickers, washi tape, etc.  What did you like this time around?

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The Case for Waterproof Ink: Received from Germany

This morning–and I don’t know why this happened–I opened my front door to find this on my doorstep:

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I don’t know how this beluga got where it was–it might have swam there, as it was raining all night.  Oh, and it’s not the photo part of this card I saw first; it was message-side up:

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It’s amazing to me how this scan underplays how very smudged this card is.  Apparently my scanner needs to be calibrated, or something.  Do you see all the faded color behind the purple lettering?  Imagine it twice as dark.  And smudgey.

So many questions go through my mind:

  1. How DID this come to be on my front porch, about 14 inches from my door, exposed to the rain?
  2. Why did whomever brought it to me not drop it in my mail slot?
  3. Why did the sender (this came, you may have noticed, from Germany via Postcard United) write in colored ink on a floral field?  Colored inks are problematic.
  4. And why did that sender write part of that message across the address information?

Between numbers 3 & 4, I don’t really know what’s going on.  I mean, even the part of the message I CAN read–I just don’t know what’s going on.

I never know what’s going on.

I’ll assume, I guess, that the sender didn’t even know that the purple pen was filled with water-soluble ink.  And of course, the person didn’t know the card would be left on my semi-rainy front step–BUT–one can assume that any postcard, on its journey, may well encounter a bit of water on a floor, in a postal box, on a thumb–or something.

I use a water-resistant, fast-drying black-inked pen, and I always regret when I end up using a different pen.  Since joining the snail mail revolution, I’ve started buying these pens (which I learned about in a Mental Floss interview with a pen guy of some sort) in bulk.  It’s actually about time I ordered a 3rd box of 12.

Snail mail can’t win back the world, if it’s illegible.

Lost in Translation: Received from China

I was listening to my NPR One app today, caught a piece entitled Finding A Pedicure In China, Using Cutting-Edge Translation Apps–and I remembered that I have a story to share.

Not so long ago, this postcard from China dropped through my mail slot, thanks to Postcard United.

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Oh, how nice.  It was when I turned it over that I did a triple-take.

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Well, this is a first!  The official language of Postcard United (and Postcrossing) is English (how very convenient for us native English-speakers).  While I’ve received many cards with a word or several in the sender’s native tongue, I’d never received a card with NO English (“Happy Postcard United” doesn’t count)!

Off I went in search of an app that might do a visual translation for me.  That found, I took a shot of the card’s message, & sent it through:

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Did you catch that?  Let’s review:

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I… don’t think that was a good translation.  And you ought to have heard the app speak it out!

I decided to post the pic of the card on Facebook, since I know a lot of Chinese-speakers.  One Taiwan-born friend reported back:

This is my rough translation from the poem:

I am like a bird in a forest, struggling to free myself towards the sky, boldly spread my shoulders and close my eyes, distant horizon is only short steps away, I am just like that tiny bird in a forest, without existence and aiming for the moon, my wings are stained in blood and any setback will not stop me from flying higher.

Oh, a poem!

I thanked my friend, who said “I am glad my grade 8 Chinese came in handy.”

Have you had any experiences along these lines?

Snoopy x 3, Mickey, & More! Received from China, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, & the US

Lots of fun stuff this time around, from postal pals, Postcrossing Forum, Postcard United, & swap-bot!  It was an amazing day last week, when I reached into my mailbox to find THREE Snoopy cards!  They’re all so great.

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This big Mickey card arrived on the same day.  He’s pretty awesome, too.  I opted to receive this card in a Postcrossing Forum “you choose” tag.  The sender lives in Germany, and she tells me:

“I’m a big Disney fan (especially of the old ‘classics’ like Beauty & the Beast, Pocahontas, & Aladdin.”

I like those movies too, but I call them modern classics, having been a grown-up by the time they came out!

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I wonder whether that deer know that Hello Kitty is not a kitty.  It’s confusing.

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Don’t miss the back of these cards!  Cindi creates a beautiful Peanuts overload–and I love that Krazy Kat stamp!

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Kitten & bird stamps!  Chipmunk sticker!

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Do you have any favorites here?  I sure do!  Well, practically all of them.