Hello Again: Sent to Belarus, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, & Malaysia

Hello there, it’s been a while! I am so behind in posting here.  I’ve still been posting–that is, mailing & receiving mail–but other things have been getting in my way of keeping track of it all: more work, more tired, trying to fit in more time for reading & other important things.  I’ve got a fistful of mail ready to go out, so let’s look at it before I send it off!

These all come from Postcrossing Forum trades, most from the offers threads, where a user gets to choose which postcard they will receive from a sender. I love looking through those, and discovering I have a card another user would love to receive.  Let’s start with Lucy here, because there is a story.  Not much of a story, but it’s as dramatic as things got this time around, so let’s go with it.

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I got tagged by a possible recipient in Germany, who wanted me to send the card blank in an envelope, because he wanted it for a friend. This is exactly not why I joined Postcrossing. Postcards are meant to be written on, stamped, and dropped directly into the mail box. This fella knew that, because it’s now part of my Postcrossing Forum signature.  Eventually, he settled on the idea that I could mail it directly to his friend–which is what I did (with a note that started off by saying so-and-so thought he would like this card).  Off it goes to Berlin, Germany.

Let’s go on to more Peanuts, and also more Germany: Snoopy here was requested by a Postcrosser in Köln (AKA Cologne), Germany.

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More toons, this time going to Selangor, Malaysia, to someone who likes children’s book illustrations.

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Do you know Elephant & Piggie? They are by the wonderful Mo Willems, who also wrote Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. If you’ve not exposed yourself to his work, you are missing out.

Someone in Minsk, Belarus, wanted this windmill postcard from my offer album, so that is exactly what she shall get.

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The “North Central Coast Wineries” map card was requested by someone in Yotsukaido, Japan. I told her I go to Monterey a lot, but I wasn’t at all aware of the wineries in the area before buying this postcard (at a gas station way down in San Luis Obispo County).

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I took a nice little trip to Trinidad–CALIFORNIA–a few months ago.  This card was requested by a Postcrosser in Hefei, Anhui, China.

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The last card goes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in a “last movie I’ve seen” tag. I never saw “Maudie,” though I did see the preview.  The last movie I’ve seen is Victoria and Abdul, starring Judi Dench.

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Stamps, stickers, washi tape: see anything you like?

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Aren’t Movie Ads Always Better Than their Movies? Sent to Belarus, Chile, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, South Africa, & the U.S.

Starting with a trio of cards going out in a swap-bot trade.  The giraffe goes to an animal lover in Santiago, Chile; and the lighthouse goes to a lighthouse lover in Newnan, Georgia, U.S.A.

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Next up is an image from the book “Furqan’s First Flat Top,” by Robert Liu-Trujillo. That goes to Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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The “California Has Everything” card went out in a Postcrossing Forum tag to Hidaka, Saitama, Japan.  The Postcrosser said she liked map cards, so there she goes.  Not great for navigation, but I don’t think that’s necessarily what most map card lovers have in mind.

This movie poster postcard is going out to Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, in a Postcrossing Forum “last movie I’ve seen” tag.  Nice when the theater has free postcards for their movies!  Sometimes I like the availability of postcards more than I like the movies I see.  Such was the case with this film.

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I have clicked on Postcrossing’s “send a postcard” button 3 more times, and landed on eastern Europe with each click.  The gargoyle head goes to Bad Säckingen, Germany, and though I’d love to know more about it–including where it can be found–this card is from the Disappointassortment, so zero information was forthcoming.

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The scene from Hearst Castle goes to a castle lover in Minsk, Belarus; and the tiger should be landing in Yaroslavl, Russia.

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Time for a look at some of the back sides: Stamps!  Stickers!  Washi tape!

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An Extra Finger: Received from Chile, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, & Taiwan

I’ve got a handful with an extra finger, all from either Postcrossing Forum trades or Postcard United.  Let’s start with my favorite postcard from this round, that very pretty food map from Taiwan.

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The sender tells me that the card is “showing local cuisines in different area.  You can find rice dumpling, xiao long bao, beef noodle soup, pearl bubble tea, fried oyster egg, fruits snow ice, I feel hungry now writing this card LOL.”

Me, too!  And in case you’re still virtually hungry, you can virtually feed yourself with those plates full of sushi from Japan. This card’s sender writes:

“I live in a small town in Osaka with my family and some pets.  Osaka is the second largest city in Japan.  I’m a big fan of U.S. and have visited there 3 times.  My last trip was to CA last December.  It was amazing and want to come back again.”

I asked her where she went while she was in California. She told me, “we went to Disneyland of course, Disney Adventure, Hollywood, Universal Studios etc! I will never forget the amazing holiday there. My daughters keep saying they’re dying to be back again…so do I!!!”

Next up is the hipster raccoon, and it came to me from a sender in Russia who is also a traveler: “I was in France, Spain, Ukraine, Israel, Egypt and India.  🙂 I like to read books about travel too.  My favorite author is Karin Muller!”

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The Alice in Wonderland drawing came to me not from one of the sources I earlier cited, but swap-bot, and its sender tells me about her region of Chile:

“We have beaches and to the other side mountains with volcano, national parks and huge, tall and millennial trees called Araucaria.  I think you like here (9th region of Chile, La Araucanía ).

Next up, from northern Italy, is what the sender describes as a public swimming pool in her city.  I have this pegged as a retro card, but how would I know?   What do YOU think–old card, or new?

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Finally, there’s that perfectly lovely view of Utah’s Bryce Canyon, on a card which ended up being the most disappointing of the lot for me.  WHY?  Because it was sent to me from Malaysia. I’m fairly certain she would have been disappointed if I were to send her a Malaysia postcard.  What do you think?

Anyhow, the stamps on the back of the card are gorgeous–it’s hard to beat Malaysia’s stamps, in my book–and she wrote a nice message:

“Oh, I had a lovely time reading through your profile; you really do enjoy lots of things 🙂 I’m glad that you enjoy Malaysian cuisine!  What’s your favourite dish? Have you tried durians before and sambal petai, I wonder? I’m 19 y.o., studying arts and social sciences.  I hope one day to make a positive change for the natives of my land.”

How about these stamps?  In addition to the Malaysian ones, I also like the Taiwanese fish & elephants, and the food from Japan.

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An Assortment to Go: Sent to Brazil, China, Japan, Taiwan, & the U.S.

Let’s get a bunch of outgoings out of the way at once, here.

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The two food package postcards are for a swap-bot trade.  Have you ever tried pani puri?  Mmmm… that card is going to Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil, and the Saladitas saltines panel went to Browns Mills, New Jersey.

The Rapunzel/Tangled card is headed for Beijing, China in a Postcrossing Forum tag trade to someone who in addition to liking Disney characters, enjoys Marvel characters including Sam Alexander’s Nova.  I told her I’m a big fan of the newer Marvel characters, too–perhaps especially Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel.

The coast & castle scene from The Little Mermaid went off to a lover of that movie in Taoyuan City, Taiwan; that’s a regular Postcrossing draw.

How ’bout that wacky retro tennis scene?  It’s another card from my ma’s stash, off to Ōtsu, Japan, in another Postcrossing Forum tag trade. Take a lot at the caption from the other side:

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Tiger went out in yet another Postcrossing Forum tag trade to New Taipei City, Taiwan.

Finally, the California card.  That was a regular Postcrossing draw, and it went out to Oberschefflenz, Germany–arriving there in about 7 days!  It’s just incredible to me sometimes, the time differentials; I have a Postcrossing card out to France, for instance (not all that far from Germany) that’s been traveling for 17 days as I write this.
OH!  INSTANT UPDATE!  As I was writing this, I got the “Hurray” message that the card arrived!  Here’s the message:

Thank you a lot for your amazing postcard of California. I love the illustration on the postcard. A lot of colours, that’s really beautiful!! I’d love to visit California. But this summer, I maybe will go to my bestfriend’s home : Wisconsin, Milwaukee! Should be beautiful too.

Okay, time to show a little backside:

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An Extreme Discoloration: Received from Brazil, Germany, Greece, Russia, and the U.S.

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The food photo (?) is from a Postcrosser in Jaú, São Paulo, Brazil. This is such an odd food card–why would they process the image like this? I can neither tell what it is, nor agree that it looks delicious.  By the way, translating the caption printed on the card’s back, I learned that this dish is Duck with Tucupi and Açaí .  To which I responded: what is tucupi?

Tucupi is a yellow sauce extracted from wild manioc root in Brazil’s Amazon jungle. It is also produced as by-product of manioc flour manufacture. … The tucupi can then be used as a sauce in cooking.

Okay, thank you, Wikipedia!  I’ll share part of the sender’s message:

“Here is very hot all year long and we almost not feel the winter.  I also like reading and good food.  Açaí is awesome!  A delicious fruit.”

The gull card is from a Postcrosser in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, Germany.  She tells me that her city is…

“…a cosy town with 160,000 inhabitants.  The city is located not far from the coast.  And I love it!  I have always lived close to the sea, sometimes I caught a glimpse and even saw whales!  I envy you for seeing otters once in a while at the coast.  I really love them.  ❤  So cute!  Right now, I’m sitting on a train to Berlin, Germany’s capital.  I always like to go there (today for attending a business conference) because the city is so interesting and wild. “

That delicious-looking chocolatey treat came to me from Athens, Greece, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum trade, and I can’t recall getting a card from that country before now.  I LOVE the octopus stamp on the back.  Let’s not even wait; let’s get a close-up look at that right this second:

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SO GREAT.

Back to regular Postcrossing draws, that card full of sweet illustrations is from Russia.  The sender writes:

“You said about reading and eating.  I think it’s really amazing things.  Reading about food and places is interesting and useful.  It’s so cool to travel and eat different dishes in different countries.  Do you know, my dream is to try anything interesting in Michelin starred restaurant.  Also I want to try molecular cuisine.  My favorite cuisine is Italian.”

She and I are not born meal companions; my dream involves standing on a busy street, ordering amazing Asian delicacies as scooters whiz around & between me and the cook.  Okay, the traffic actually makes me nervous, but that’s where a whole lot of wonderful food is being prepared.

Finally, if I’m going to remember that wonderful food, I’m going to need a camera–and that came to me from McKinney, Texas. It’s thanks to a swap-bot ad/free card trade, and by the way, one of my partners to whom I sent a card in that opted not to give me that extra heart.  Despite the assortment of stamps I used, and the washi tape, and almost assuredly a sticker or rubber-stamped image, PLUS my average of 13 lines of text–NOPE.  I’m thinking perhaps I need to start taping cold, hard cash to my swap-bot sends.

But I digress.

As usual.

The postcard: the sender wrote, “I was so impressed with your profile!  I am sending this since you like photography.”

I like the stickers she put on (you’ll see), especially the funny li’l kangaroo sporting a pool floaty duck.  Let’s get to it: let’s take a look at the stamps, stickers, & stuff:

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HEY! I Dove in to Postcard United! Bahamas, Chile, Guyana, & More…

I did it!

I signed on to Postcard United!

I’ve been aware of this Postcrossing-like site for several months, but I’ve resisted up until now.  I was a little suspicious: there are a lot of misspellings on the site, and it’s less than complete, and I was unable to find much independent information about it online.  That is, until several days ago, when Melissa Rose posted Postcrossing vs Postcard United on her blog, The Anxious Canadian.  She sold me immediately, because she is using it smoothly herself, and because of her statement, “due Postcard United’s smaller user count, it is easier to receive mail from rarer countries.” Sold sold sold, sold sold! With 1 out of every 3 of my Postcrossing cards going to or coming from Russia, Germany, or the Netherlands, I’m ready for some variety!  Thank you, Melissa Rose!

I dove in.

I dove in hard: I not only signed up; I also became a supporter!  They said I could send up to 12 cards, so I decided to get to it & send all 12, a task I completed in about 3 days’ time.  Here the assigned countries are, in reverse order.  Some here I have never, ever seen in two years of Postcrossing.

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Yes, I encountered some surprises as I clicked along.  Obviously, there are not a lot of people using the service, because when I got assigned a recipient, then went through the process of reading the profile, picking a card, writing it out, etcetera–maybe puttering around the house actually getting things done in between–often times, when I clicked to get assigned my next destination, only one or two–or zero–numbers had come up in-between the one I’d previously been assigned!

Another surprise: the United States?  What?  In Postcrossing, you have to give permission.  Ah, well.  Also, I was assigned the U.S. (and another country) twice, something that does happen, but more infrequently, in Postcrossing.

Okay, the cards.  My very first assigned addressee is in Gomel, Belarus.  She likes cows, so she gets my cow card here.

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Next up: Chile!  My first card to–or from–that country.  The Cayucos beach scene goes to a 29-year-old in La Serena, Chile, who lives so near the beach that she goes about 4 times a week, after work. She loves touristy postcards, and she asks people to forgo the envelopes (“let’s not waste paper”).  And she, like me, likes having something to red when she flips over a postcard:

“Don’t know what to write? You can tell me about your day, a project you are working on, your dreams and plans, the current book you are reading or something interesting about your city or country, even a nice quote will make my day 🙂 Of course, this are just suggestions and you can write about whatever you want, but please write something on the postcard.”

My third draw brought up Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a rare but always welcome sight on that other site.  This Postcard Uniter (is that the correct way of referring to one another on this site?) has a happy-looking profile shot, and a lot to share about herself; she enjoys:

  “…listening to music, correspondence, collecting stamps and postcards, photography, creative writing, arts, cooking (the list goes on :)) I love nature and so, I love travelling, but it was the thing that I’m not able to do often. I love to learn about other culture in the world, lifestyle, food and unique traditions that colors the existence.”

I thought she would be interested & pleased to see the pair of zebras cuddling next to California’s Pacific Coast Highway.

That extreme jaguar is going not to a person, but to a country!  Georgetown, Guyana is the destination.  The nation set up a temporary Postcard United account in celebration of their Golden Jubilee–50th anniversary.  They’re hoping to get more mail between now & the end of October, and if you’d like to learn more, you can find out here.  I chose the jaguar because it’s their national animal.  I wished them a happy anniversary, and also peace & prosperity.  Not the approximate 13 lines of blahblahblah I usually fit onto a card, but it’s hard to come up with much you want to say to an entire nation (or its publicity arm).  This was very interesting; I’d say most people know exactly one thing about Guyana.

Speaking of not much to say, my next draw, sadly, was this non-uniting Uniter in Chatham, Ontario, Canada, to whom I send the sad little horse.  The entirety of her “profile” is this: “Hello! I love tourist and animal postcards!!! Postcards only please! No photos, folded greeting cards etc, ad cards etc. No religous cards! Thanks!!”

UGH.  Now, should we do her the favor of assuming the fact that she has, as I write this, been a member only 15 days, mean that she just is in the process of writing an actual profile, and she’s here for more than just the swag?  I wrote to her, in text a little larger than usual:

“Greetings from California, U.S.A.!  I’m new on Postcard United, too–a couple of weeks newer than you.  I have been on Postcrossing for a couple of years, though.  I’m not interested in collecting postcards–for me, it’s all about learning a little more about other places and people. Cheers–“

Inoffensively stated, I think.  Also, I do love getting mail.  And also, despite the fact I don’t collect postcards, I have amassed a lot that I love & plan on keeping.  But that’s not why I’ve taken to this somewhat time-consuming hobby.  Anyhow, onward… the Big Sur postcard is winding its way toward a Uniter in Schweiz, Switzerland–another rare Pokémon!  The recipient is a 43-year-old woman who enjoys photography, as well as collecting, reading, & studying books.  She says she enjoys postcards with nice views, and nice views are what Big Sur has to offer.

On to the second set of six cards, and not straying so far from Big Sur, there is the elephant seal in San Simeon.  And it goes to: Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A.  WHAT, THE U.S.?!?  Over at Postcrossing, same-country sending is an opt-in thing, and I just assumed… well, I headed over to the FAQ, and found out this.  FINE, let’s not get hung up on this, there are so many cards to send & record…okay, the Marylander is a medical student, interested in postcards of strange animals, and she says she thinks of postcards “as a way to help other people relax at the end of a long work day, make a bad day better, or to be kind.”

Tiger goes to Nassau, Bahamas!  My first-ever postal contact with this country (and not my last, as you may have already noticed).  The recipient, says she is retired, married, and the parent of two young adults.  Lots of personality in her profile:

“I love to read, quilt, Travel and Paper Crafting. I AM A COLLECTOR OF COLLECTIONS. So I have cookbooks, pens , pencils, matchbooks, postcards, stamps, Gift cards, Business cards, Hotel room cards, Tea bags, Tea cups,teaspoons, plates, and aprons. I keep almost everything.”

Postcard themes she said she likes include Disney & fairytales, so I thought she’d be amused by the magical tiger.  She also writes:

“But will be happy with the postcard of you choosing.Currently there are only two of us from my country registered on this site, my niece and I. It has been fun each time I get her address. All the best and may each day bring you lots of postcards, smiles and happiness.”

Hold on, wait a minute: does that mean that the very next person I drew–yes, also in Nassau, Bahamas–is this person’s niece?  Here, minus her postcard wishes, is the entirety of her profile:

“Hello, I am looking forward to getting a lot of postcards.”

Ugh. And she’s been a member for about a year and a half.  I grabbed that California map–she did say she’d like map cards–and wrote:

“Greetings from California, U.S.A.!  I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, quite close to San Jose on this map.  I have just signed up for Postcard United, and am in the midst of sending out my first batch of cards.  I have been Postcrossing for 2 years, though.  I enjoy learning about other places & people.  Cheers–“

Too subtle this time; she probably won’t get it.

It’s really a joyless thing, when people leave no profile, or an “I want this, I want that” non-profile.  I’m in this for the joy.  I love sending people things, but… nevermind, let’s continue on.

Stamp Collage with Sheep went off on its way to a 39-year-old man in Wysokie, Poland who says he likes stamps. He also describes himself as wheelchair-bound & lonely, and writes:

“I would like to know postcrossing a lot of interesting and cool people, so I do not feel that I’m lonely. Thank you for all the cards from around the world that are sent to me, I’ll be thankful for everything. I am a person, quiet, a lot of people say that quickly make contact, so if you want to know me, then you can go ahead and write it down. Remember to love people because it quickly away.”

Pretty heart-breaking stuff.

Medan, Indonesia is the destination of Stamp Collage with Ice Cream, and it goes to a stamp collector who doesn’t say too much in her profile, but she does describe her city as “A CULINARY CITY NEAR LAKE TOBA.” Well, being a food traveler, that intrigued me, and I looked it up, and Wikipedia tells me:

“Medan is inhabited by many different ethnic groups, mostly Malay, Batak, Javanese, Padang, and Chinese. Malay people are the natives of the Medan area, and have deep roots in Medan. They began ruling there during the Deli empire (Kesultanan Deli) until now. The empire has many lands and property of heritage in Medan, such as Istana Maimoon, Mesjid Raya Medan, Sultan Deli Pool and many more.  The Javanese are transmigrants. Many of them were forced to move there by the government during transmigration programs.

Because of its multiculturality, Medan has wide variety of cuisine which originated from Malay, Bataknese, Chinese, Indian, Minangkabau, Javanese, Arabs, and Western cuisines.
This city is known as culinary heaven of Indonesia which prominent for its street hawkers offering a great variety of cuisine which often serves cheap local delicacies.”

Oh, you had me at “street hawkers!”  Then I found this delicious food blog entry, 10 Reasons Why Medan is Food Heaven!  Well, until I can make it there, I’ll be looking up some of these recipes!

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It was time, then, to draw the very final recipient of my First 12, and–my home country, again.  The last card goes to Newburyport, Massachusetts, U.S.A., to a man who says he likes cards that are “WEIRD! The Weirder the better.”  Also, he likes “Risque or ‘mature’ cards – pinups,” and I think this “GIRL Crossing” card covers both bases.  I ripped it out of the Klutz Press book, “The World’s Tackiest Postcards,” (published in 1987) which I found at a library book store.

Now that I’m maxed out, I just have to wait for my cards to hit their destinations–and then see the reactions, and the cards that should be coming in my direction!  Updates to come.

A sampling of the stampling follows.  Do you have a favorite stamp from those shown below?  I like all of them, but it’s the Spoonbill I love.

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My Hobby is Running in the Street: Received from Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, and the United States

Here’s a batch I’ve been neglecting to log–mostly regular Postcrossing arrivals.

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DONALD DUCK!  Shiny!  The card comes to me thanks to the Postcrossing Forum “Far East to America” tag, and is from a nice sender with whom I’ve exchanged cards before.  She’s in Hamamatsu, Japan.  She writes:

“I work as a cooking teacher.  I selected this card for you, because I could find the many Donald Duck cards in your favorite!  We have the rainy season in June and July.  I sometime feel uncomfortable with high humidity.”

I love that “Hawaiian Rain Forest” postcard–heck, I remember those U.S. stamps!  Now, it was sent to me in a swap-bot “I HATE This Postcard” trade, but the sender (in Hamden, Connecticut) writes:

“I don’t really hate this PC!  I love mail in general, but this card–is in the way it doesn’t fit like the rest!  And you like Hawaii, so here you go another sign that you must get there one day.  P.S. All mail needs a P.S. too right?”

Okay, I don’t understand what she is writing, but I do like the card.  And two of the three stamps. I do HATE the third stamp, though!  You can check out the stamp photo below & decide for yourself which of the three stamps is the hated third.

We have a double serving of chocolate this time around. The fancy ones with the cinnamon sticks & coffee beans come from a Postcrosser near Nizhny, Russia, and the card’s back bears a stamp collection–5 great-big ones!  I love the mammal, which turns out to be a wolverine!

The other choco serving is a food package postcard (thanks to Postcrossing Forum) from a sender in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who writes:

“Let me share a ‘phrase’ with you: ‘busy is a choice, stress is a choice, joy is a choice.’ choose well.”

 

The photo postcard of the trees is from a 15-year-old Postcrosser in Farroupilha, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, who writes in his profile that his hobbies are “jiu jitsu and run in the street.”  He writes:

“This postcard is about an important place in my city there you can run and relax with your family!  Bye!”

Finally, the illustrated food card–“from RUSSIA with love”–is from a Postcrosser in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and she writes:

“I live in this big city and work as a doctor.  I like travelling very much and making photos.  My husband calls himself a gastronomic tourist, we love going to restaurants in different countries and try local food.  I’ve never been to USA, but my husband was in California.”

Stamps–lots of them!

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Hitting the Box: Received from Brazil, Italy, Germany, & Russia

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Oops, I seem to have scanned that bottom-right image sideways.  No matter!

That teacup-cat postcard comes from a sender in Moscow, Russia.  He is 16, and has been Postcrossing for over 4 years.  In his profile, he gets pretty specific about what he would like to see from other Postcrossers:

If you can, please, send me a postcard in an envelope with your favourite tea bag inside. Also, if you don’t mind, take a selfie with your friends or family and put the photo inside. Please, tell me any life story which was the most exciting/happy/sad… You can also tell me some interesting facts about yourself, your life, the place where you live, the country.

And now, here his the entire text of the postcard he sent me:

“Hello, my name is —-.  Greetings from Moscow, Russia.  Hope you’ll like this cute postcard!  Best wishes, —-.”

Sigh.

I’ve got two pieces of recycling to share this time.  The first, at top right, is via a Postcrossing Forum food package tag, and it comes from Reggio nell’Emilia, Italy.  Hey, it’s box wine!  The sender, who is originally from Brazil, tells me:

“…it’s called Sangiovese del Rubicone, it’s produced here in this region.  We are lately buying this kind of wine, it’s called ‘bag in box.’  The wine remains untouched by the air and so it prevents the oxidation of the wine.  We use this wine for lunch and culinary uses and we keep the good bottles for special occasions. 😉 “

I’m more of a chocolate guy, so I was happy to see this box panel come in from Porto Seguro, Brazil, thanks to the latest “chunk of cardboard” trade on swap-bot.  The sender provided the back story:

“I made this PC from an Easter egg box I won this year.  Flavor milk chocolate egg with truffle stuffed shell without added sugar, but it was still sweet.  Lol!  Is very delicious!!!  Cacau Show is a famous Brazilian manufacturer chocolates.  I hope you enjoy!”

Well, I can’t actually enjoy the chocolates, since she just sent me the chunk of cardboard, but that “no added sugar” thing is really sticking with me: after all, chocolate does not sweeten itself!  I wonder if the egg makers just bought already-produced chocolate, and can say they are being honest making this ridiculous boast.  Dunno.

The old-school still life, which I seem to have uphended, is a Postcrossing send from Berlin, Germany.  The sender writes:

“You see a picture from one of Berlin’s great museums.  Beware of the lobster!  He is a suspicious guardian of all these delicious fruits.”

Okay, someone’s been hitting the “bag in box.”

Stamps, postmarks, & washi tape:

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I love that chili pepper stamp from Brazil.

In Which I Try My Hand at Writing in Chinese: Sent to Brazil, China, & Taiwan

More time in the Postcrossing Forums:

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The It’s-It cookies are on their way to Taoyuan, Taiwan, in a food package postcard trade.  I wish I could find these cookies in grocery stores!  Every time I’ve bought them, it’s been during visits to the It’s-It factory.

Tiger at top right is headed for Nanching, China, to the girlfriend of the person I tagged in a USA-Asia thread.  He wants to surprise her with birthday greetings from strangers.  He sent me an image of the Chinese characters for “happy birthday;” you can see my efforts below.

Dale & Daisy are going to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  This was for a “I Spy” tag, in which the person I tagged said she spied a big tree.  There are several in that gorgeous photo.

Cat with a Pearl Earring is destined for Henghshui, China in a China Meets the World tag trade.  This Postcrosser, based on what she has sent out, seems to like art & cats, so I figured she has to love this.  I talked about one of my loves, going to the movies (today’s flick: 24).

Stamps, stamps, & washi tape:

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The Stamp that was Torn, & the Stamp that Never Existed: Received from Chile, Netherlands, Poland, & Russia

There’s a photo of the cards’ fronts down below, but let’s start with the stamps (or lack thereof), because I think this batch of postcards has a couple of interesting stories to tell.  First, look at the section of card at the very top, a card I received from a Postcrosser in Poznań, Poland:

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Did you see what you didn’t see?  I didn’t even notice what I didn’t notice at first, and then I noticed it: there was no stamp!  There’s space where a stamp might’ve been, but all of my holding up to a light & staring showed no signs of stamp glue, and then I realized there was no postmark, either.  I couldn’t figure it out, so in my registration message, I let the sender know:

“Hi…, thank you for the beautiful mooncake postcard! I only just noticed that there is no stamp–or postmark! Very interesting, & puzzling–but I’m sure glad it made it to me. Thanks again!”

Soon enough, I received this response from her:

“Hi! Sorry that there wasn’t any stamp on the card. I didn’t send it via Poczta Polska – the national Polish post office but a website (napiszkartke.pl) which sends all the postcards from Germany. As they send a lot of them, they don’t get stamps – I think it would take a lot of time to put them on every postcard. I hadn’t known it before I sent the cards – it’s the first time I’ve ever used the website. Sorry once more, I hope you understand.”

Well, she didn’t need to apologize.  Anyhow, I just visited that site, and from what I can tell, trying to decipher Google’s poor autotranslation, is that you may type in a message to be written by someone at the company on one of their cards, or you can send your cards to them, to be remailed to the recipients.  I think my correspondent did the latter.  What do you think of all of this?  Received a card from a mailing service?  Used a service to send a card?  In any case, here was her message to me on the card:

“…I’m 20 years old.  I live in Poland where I study Danish and English at university.  I wanted to send you a card with a beach as you love them but unfortunately I’d run out of them.  So I decided to choose a card showing Chinese food.  I hope you like it!”

I do.

Okay, one more stamp story, a very, very sad one.  Look back up to the image, right below the missing stamp & to the right is a colorful shred of a stamp.  The card (which shows London’s Tower Bridge on the front) came via a swap-bot “I’ve been here” trade, from a sender in La Sirena, Chile.  I was very excited, because 1) I think this is my first card from Chile; and 2) I could see a Condorito stamp peeking out from behind a postal service sticker that had been slapped on the card. In taking Spanish courses & trying to improve my language skills, I’ve purchased several copies of this comic book.  I was excited to be about to get to see this character again!  I carefully peeled at the postal sticker, and–it absolutely took the stamp along with it.  Dagnab!  Why does a country’s postal service go to the effort to design & sell special stamps, if the people receiving the mail will never get to enjoy those stamps?  Depressing.  Well, here’s what I should have seen.

Oof, I nearly forgot to read the back of the card to you!  The sender writes:

“Last year…I did an Eurotrip.  My cousin took me to eat crepes, and it was so cool to see how they prepared them.  I took so many pictures that a guy was making fun of me, because I was ‘so tourist.'”

I am “so tourist,” myself!

Okay, those were my stamp stories.  Moving on, the card with a cartoon cat on the back as well as the front came from a Postcrosser in Tosno, Russia, by way of a “USA to Any Country” tag trade in the forums.  It actually does have a big, colorful, delicious food stamp.  The sender tells me:

“…I watched a film in which the main character moved to a coastal city.  I always wonder how people live in coastal cities…what is their life like?  I mean cities with warm climates like in California…”

Since her climate, a couple hours away from the Baltic Sea, is, as she puts it, “rather cold,” she’d probably want to slap me if I told her I am cold here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Finally, from Groningen, Netherlands, via Postcrossing, comes the card that says, “Retro lekker hip.”  The sender’s message:

“Happy Postcrossing from Groningen!  A stunning (as I say it myself) city in the north of the Netherlands.  The text on the card says something like: ‘Retro: delicious/fantastic etc. hot/hip/modern.”

I have no idea what is going on.

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