Thanks for the List, Buddy: Received from Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Northern Ireland, and Ukraine

WOW, look at this Totoro card! I love it. It came to me from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, via Postcard United, & here is just a little of what the sender tells me:postcard 305a

I will be 29 on Friday. When I was 26 I had this weird phase where I thought I was 30 and now that I am actually just about there I’m feeling like I wasted my 20s worrying about getting old. Oy vey.

Oy vey, indeed. I know there have been people in my life who were so age-obsessed they surely hit that “30” wall quite hard–and “40,” even harder.

I’ve been on a couple of food tours while traveling, so I really am happy with this card, another one via Postcard United–but this time from Japan.postcard 305

The sender writes:

I have a girl who was born in January 2015. She likes Disney characters! In this summer, we traveled at Tokyo Disneyland! That was fun! Have you ever been to Disney World? I like okonomiyaki and sukiyaki in Japanese foods. If you have chance, try to eat them!

Still another card from P.U., still another great one! This is a gibbon, I think, and it’s from a sender in Portaferry, Northern Ireland. She says:

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I would absolutely love to visit California one day even if it is a wee bit too warm there for me. I really want to visit Disneyland and even Disney World! I live right in the town center and I can see the sea from my bedroom window. There is a subway next door to me but I only really like their cookies haha. We only have one aquarium here in Portaferry. It was closed for a long time and only opened not too long ago. I enjoy visiting zoos, Dublin is great!

That “there is a subway…but I only really like their cookies” bit really confused me. I thought she was talking about the underground! I know from experience that many underground systems do have food sellers, but still. Then I did a little Asking Jeeves & confirmed that there are Subway sandwich stores in Northern Ireland. And let me say, the cookies they sell there must be better than the ones available at my local Subway outlets.

The next card, bearing a painting by the Malaysian artist Mohammed Hoessein Enas, came to me from, yes, Malaysia–yet another P.U. card received in the last 2 days, as all in this post were! The sender writes:

Have you tried nasi lemak, satay, and our rendang? I love Malay food.

As do I.

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How about that magical dolphin? That’s from Hong Kong, this time in a Postcrossing Forum trade, and the sender gave me a tip:

Try to put the card under the light for a while and put it in a dark area. You will see something interesting happen.

And so I did!

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Here’s something I got from Malaysia in a Postcrossing Forum food package postcard tag. The sender writes:

This is a card from ‘Brown Rice Noodles.’ Let me share a quote with you: “Beautiful Things Happen When You Do Something You LOVE.”

Is a quote really a quote when it is unattributed? I think what we have here is a saying; quotations can be attributed to someone specific. I am picturing someone trapped in a plaque factory, writing this multiple times in 9 different fonts for sale at Joann’s, or–far worse–Hobby Lobby. On the other hand, I like the idea behind the words.

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Hopping off the soapbox, and into the sailboat: the last card came to me via a Postcrossing draw from Bucha, Kiev, Ukraine. The sender included his address and this message:

I collect and swap postcards: art, nature, flora, fauna, national costume, transport. Also: coins, banknotes, stamps, badges, pocket calendars.

Uhm, thanks for the shopping list, buddy.

Time for stamps, stickers, & washi tape! Malaysian stamps are so beautiful, and I love the first two here.

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Amazing Eats, and Also Some Pancakes: Received from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, & Ukraine

We have another themed post, as I catch up with the mountain of previously-undocumented postcards I’ve received recently and not-so recently. Most came to me via Postcrossing Forum trades, unless otherwise noted. Check out these amazing foods!

First up: Khanom khrok. YUM. These delicious little coconut custard cakes can be had, cheaply, throughout Bangkok at breakfast time. And late-night snack time. And all in-between. Try them with green onion, and without… it’s all good.

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The card actually came to me from Ukraine, where the sender writes about different types of food:

Baking is my big passion.  I like to spend my free time with doing some cakes, pies, buns, or anything else! I love American recipes! I especially adore brownies, chocolate chip cookies, different cupcakes, and others. I’ve never seen the ocean, it’s my big dream! I hope one day I can take a long walk through the California beach!

This lovely, thick, messy coffee, with a little dan tat peeking in from the side, came to me from Malaysia via Postcard United. The card’s caption labels this as Ipoh White Coffee, and the sender writes:

It has been a while since I sat for a thick sludgy cup o f coffee. They often make it too sweet for me but what the heck, you can indulge once in a while, right? I like my coffee black and it pairs well with banana or sweet potato fritters. Egg tarts are okay too, but I prefer cheese tarts. Yummy!!

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Time for some dim sum! Har gau & siu mai. The first of these came to me from Hong Kong, where the sender tells me that he also loves to eat Singaporean food: “I once flew there for a day trip just to eat!” Love it.

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The siu mai also came to me from HK, and the sender tells me:

This card is about Hong Kong dim sum.  It was pork sui mai here. Some Chinese restaurant may include shrimp or abalone! But I like shrimp much. If you visit Hong Kong please go Chinese restaurant. You will discover some delicious cuisine.

Where I live, in Silicon Valley, there is a wonderful large immigrant population, with a lot of foods that are delicious (and otherwise) and authentic (and otherwise). I really enjoy vegetarian foods, and this week, when I was at a to-go dim sum place in the city of Sunnyvale, I noticed they had a new offering: vegetarian siu mai. I ordered it:

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Okay, it turns out the dish was ill-conceived. The sticky rice filling was actually quite loose, meaning the dumplings could not even begin to hold themselves together as they were eaten. I’ll have to try creating my own version.

Still more tasty foods: on the left, from Limbang, Sarawak, Malaysia, is a “chicken chop.”

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The card on the right is from China, and the sender tells me about the food–after she tells me about the last movie she’s seen (that was, after all, the thread in which she’d tagged me):

“The Conjuring” is the last movie I’ve seen. It’s a horror movie, and the director is James Wan. Do you know that director? I like his another classical, bloody movie–“Saw” very much! This postcard shows “Braised Pork with Vermicelli,” which is a popular Chinese dish from Liaoling Province. I hope you like it!

Last postcard, another from Hong Kong: pancakes. I think the leaf is beautiful.

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Time for the stamps, which bring us more food. Malaysian stamps are always so great, with beautiful foods, flowers, & animals. Do you have any favorite dishes, or stamps, this time around?

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Hong Kong stamps are great, too! This Kitchenware Street stamp makes me want to seek out the real place. Also, lots of beautiful natural settings.

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Oh, and I love those puffy little animal stamps.  Also, the super panda below.

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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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Talk of Food, with a Bunch of Other Stuff In & Around: Received from Canada, China, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, & Ukraine

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Of course, my favorite card this time around is the one at top left, loaded down with dim sum.  Arriving the day after I had been out for a huge dim sum feast…

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…this made me smile even wider!  It came to me from Fuzhou, China in a Postcrossing Forum tag trade, and the sender had seen the card in my favorites.

“This card shows some popular dishes.  I like them too.  🙂  I’m glad to send this card to you.  My summer holiday was finish.  I began to work.  The mid-autumn festival will be coming. We eat mooncakes on the day.  I like mooncakes.”

I made mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival this year:

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The colorful card at top right, full of figs & stuff is a Postcrossing arrival from Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine.  The sender tells me:

“This postcard depicts (Crimea’s) sights and culture…and FOOD.  We have a lot of fruits, fish and vegetables and our cuisine is based on this ingredients.  It’s very tasty as the Russian cuisine and I strongly recommend you to visit my country, my city, my region at least because of its food.  If you’re interested, I’ll give you some recipes.”

The cartoon kid came to me from Mannheim, Germany, and the sender writes:

“I’m working as a librarian at the university.  My 15 years old nephew is a fan of Naruto and he gave me this card for you.  OK, it’s an ad card…but we thought you might like it.  My hometown is Mannheim where Carl Benz invented the automobile in the years 1885/1886.  The stamp is a fairy tale stamp of the story about Hansel and Gretel.  Have a nice mail day!”

You can see Hansel & Gretel down at the bottom of this post.

The ship on a postcard is from a Postcrosser in St. Petersburg, Russia, who tells me:

“I love reading and my favorite book is ‘The Master and Margarita.’ And also for cuisine, I prefer Georgia’s.  It’s really amazing!  I like spicy meat and I’m fond of their sweets, too!”

Then we come to two fish postcards, joined into a single notecard with washi tape.  The envelope crafted for this is remarkable–you can also see it down below (complete with the bite taken out of it somewhere along the snail mail pipeline).  This came to me from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada as the result of a result of a swap-bot swap: the swap I shared that was so special I felt the need to mail something off in return. This time, she writes (in part):

“Thanks very much for responding to the swap I had sent you.  It was an even happier snail mail day because it involved a Smurfette envie, cool stamps, a retro postcard, and you left very little white space on the postcards–these are my favorite kinds to receive! 🙂

The sea creature rubber stamps you asked about–they are a set from a company called DJECO.  My memory is kind of dismal these days, but I think I got them in the kids’ section at the Vancouver Art Gallery giftshop.  I did check Amazon, but they didn’t have this particular set.  I found them a few years ago, so don’t know how available they are.

You know of ROBOCON!!! It was not until I looked him up as an adult, that I realized he was an actual character!  I though he was just/or could have been a figment of my childhood imagination.  I can’t tell you why I so loved this robot when I was a kid.  Still do, I guess!  

I’m off to Befordshire and will start the new Springsteen book.  Hope I don’t fall asleep b/c it’s heavy and it’ll hurt when it falls on my face.  :I  “

Boy, can I relate to that last bit, about falling asleep while reading in bed(‘fordshire’).

Finally, from a Postcrosser in Groningen, Netherlands, I received that postcard of tapas.  The sender had put this in an envelope, and she wrote:

“If you ‘love’ food, I ‘have’ to send this card to you.  Sorry for the envelope, the sorthing machines mark black stripes on the front of the card.”

I do need to say at this point that if someone were to invite me out for tapas, I would be hoping to go to the tapas place not far from my home.

Okay, this was a rather long meeting.  Let’s end it all now, with a look at the stamps, postmarks, envelope & stuff.

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Going Heartless: Received from Canada, China, Indonesia, Ukraine, & the U.S.

Ooh, how about that top row?  I love those two cards!

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The first card is from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and part of a swap-bot “Upcycled Cardboard” exchange.  The swapper writes:

“I enjoy this swap so much because it’s cheap, recycling, and requires creativity.  It’s from snack box, the brand is SMAX.  Actually, I don’t really like the taste of this snack, LOL.  I hope you’ll like it (I mean the postcard. 🙂 )

I know how she feels!  Once you get the idea of using packaging as postcards, you look at your grocery basket in a whole new way!

Snoopy!  I always love finding Snoopy in my mail box.  That’s from Cindi in Hawaii, and you gotta scroll down & look at all of the cooooool stickers & stamps on the other side.

The second row of cards both came to me due to a swap-bot “Disney postcard” trade.  The fireflies are from “The Princess & the Frog,” and the card was sent to me from a swapper in Alberta, Canada, who writes:

“…I’m about 3 hours from Jasper National Park & the Rocky Mountains.  It’s my favorite place to go…”

The Toy Story card is from a sender in Chicago, Illinois.  This guy left so much white space on the back of the card, I can hear the wind blowing through.  He writes:

“I remember seeing this film when it came out in 1999!  Take care,”

That’s it: the greeting, then that, then the signature, then an expanse of white space that represents about half or more of the card’s writable area.

If you know swap-bot, you know it’s a ratings-based system, and you may know I cringe every time it’s ratings time on the ‘bot.

Every time I send out something for swap-bot, I go for that heart, the “extra-special” rating that I think should be so easy to achieve, that I don’t understand when I don’t earn it.  The same week that the half-written card previously mentioned to me, I received a swap-bot rating for the  doubly-free card I sent to Minnesota.  It was a heart-less rating.  Here’s what I’d like you to do.  Look at this card, front & back, and let me know what I should have done to earn that heart.  Let’s begin with the swap instructions:

Send 1 free/ad postcard to your 1 partner. Theme of the card can be anything, no offensive though. Senders’s choise. It would be great that the card has some room to write your greetings. Add at least the swap name and your Swap-bot name! Send written and stamped.

Okay, now here is my card, back & front:

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Lots of stamps, long substantive note, ink-stamped images & washi tape… what else, then? Should I start taping cash to my postcards, or what?  Please do help me out, here!

On the flip side, when it comes to being the person doing the rating, my policy is to err on the side of generosity: I INTEND to give the heart rating, and only withhold it in the rare cases when the sender is clearly hardly straining toward the bare minimum.  Like, for instance, on the nearly-empty card I described previously.

Oh, those swap-bot nerves…

Moooooving on…

Bottom row: the book with leaf card came to me via Postcrossing from Chernihiv, Ukraine.  The sender tells me that she is a web developer, but in her free time she prefers needlework.

Finally, we come to the terracotta warriors.  This comes to me thanks to a Postcrossing Foum Far East to America tag, from a sender in Guangzhou,China.  Here is what she has to say:

“This’s Terracotta Warriors, which was established by Qin Shi Huang and listed in UNESCO, is located in Shanxi Province, a famous ancient province in China.  This series of postcards is rare, since the seller said this’s only presented to the foreign reporter as a gift.  But I send one of them to you and want you to learn more about China.  Maybe the color is a little wierd, but it’s acceptable, right?  Maybe you should visit there one day!”

By the way, I found this History Channel write-up, 5 Things You May Not Know About the Terra Cotta Army.  The piece of info about Qin’s burial complex that really stuck with me?  “So far, archaeologists have uncovered a 20-square-mile compound…”  Whoa.

Taking a peek at the backsides– stamps, postmarks, stickers, & washi tape:

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I Want to Live in a Water Home! Received from Czech Republic, Germany, Taiwan, Ukraine, & the U.S.

Time to post a few more of my incomings, before I get snowed under!  May be too late…

Snoopy-Dog-Dog!  It’s another fun bootleg Peanuts card from Pingtung, Taiwan, thanks to the Postcrossing Forum Snoopy/Peanuts tag!

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This sender apparently has a problem with stamp adhesion; we’re doing a little better this time, as one of the two stamps she affixed did make it all the way into my mailbox.  I knew one was missing, because in her message, she wrote about the stamps:

“The right side stamp is Taiwan fruit Shakya.  The left side stamp is a scene in the novel which is called ‘The Story of the Stone,’ also called ‘Dream of the Red Chamber.’  It is one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels.”

If you look at the stamp image below, you’ll be able to see that second stamp.  It’s at the very bottom, within the sticker Snoopy’s line of vision.  I looked up that book; at least in the English translation, it encompasses 5 volumes!  Whoa!

As for the fruit–shakya–I looked it up, too.  Also known as custard apple!

Cool ostrich shot!  That’s from a Postcrosser near Sonsbeck, Germany.  She’s 14, she says she’s glad she can write to the U.S.A., and she wishes me a happy birthday.

Cindi went to Maui, and sent me this Pa’iloa Bay card!  I do love a coastal scene with no people in evidence–that’s what I cross my fingers for when I look for a beach to walk in my general region.  A couple of weeks back, when I was in Central California, I ended up in a couple of touristy areas where there was not even any room in the parking lots next to the beaches, so I just kept on going.  No peace to be found there.

Then there is that very cheesy card.  It came to me from Dallas, Texas, thanks to a swap-bot food postcard trade, and the sender writes:

“I spent this morning canning Bread & Butter pickles.  It’s the first time I have used a recipe with Splenda so I’m wondering how/if they will turn out.  Two days ago I canned Kosher Dill Pickles and I have plans for Pickled Squash.  I love food and I enjoy eating cheese.  The different flavors and textures are amazing.”

Okay, now we have the girl walking some paper boats.  It’s from Odessa, Ukraine, and it’s my 300th Postcrossing Card Received!  Also, a few days ago, Postcrossing emailed me to congratulate me on 2 Years with the Site.  I haven’t seen a card in the mail from them, yet.

The insects come from a Postcrosser in  Blatná, Czech Republic. She tells me,

“We have got amazing water castle.  Around this castle is big park with fallow deer.”

I looked up “water castle.”  That means, basically, it has a moat.  I want to have a water home!

Stamps, postmarks, stickers, & washi tape– my favorite stamp this time would have to be that beautiful fish!

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Jazz Up Dinner for Less! Received from Russia, Ukraine, & the U.S.

I recognized this top card pretty quickly as a Picasso.  Nope, don’t know the work, just noted the style.  It came to me from a Postcrosser in Kirov, Russia who wishes me “good luck this summer!”  The card traveled 5,776 miles in 21 days to find me.

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The other Postcrossing card this time is the woman buckling under all of those decorative layers, and it comes to me from Armyansk, Crimea, Ukraine (after having traveled 6,462 miles in 18 days).  The sender writes:

“…I’m from the Crimea, which is part of Russia now.  It’s summer and it’s hot here.  We live near the Black Sea.  I like everything connected with ethnic, so I choose this card for you! :)”

Finally, it’s an upcycled cardboard postcard, thanks to swap-bot!  It comes from a swapper near San Antonio, Texas, and I love the big sun rubber stamp she lays down next to the stamp.  Check it out!

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Cinephile Edition: Sent to Austria, Taiwan, & Ukraine

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I picked up that postcard for “The Meddler” at the lovely Guild Theatre in Menlo Park, California.  The Guild is a single-screen cinema dating back to 1926, and the service is so personal: in fact, before the movie begins, a staff member walks to the front of the auditorium to welcome you & remind you of the rules.  Now, when a real person has come out to talk about niceties, you’ve got to be one mad jackass to pull out your cell phone during the screening!  Of course, people who do that are unstable, to begin with.

I mailed the card out to Taichung, Taiwan in a Postcrossing Forum “last movie you saw” thread.  The most recent movie I saw was not what I saw when I picked up this card at the Guild (I saw “A Hologram for the King,” which I do not recommend); I was at a different theater, and the movie I saw was “24.”  It’s a Kollywood movie, a sci-fi time-travel piece, where the lead plays three roles (as opposed to the 24 you may have guessed).  I go to Indian movies pretty frequently (mostly Bollywood); I really enjoy them.  Most of the big chains in my area play at least 1 or 2 a week, but I especially love to go to my local Bollywood cinema–the snacks are better.

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The other 2 postcards are regular Postcrossing draws.  The pickly one goes to Kharkiv, Ukraine (“Kharkiv, or Kharkov, is the second-largest city in Ukraine.The city has a population of about 1.5 million people.” –Wikipedia).  The recipient is a vegan who calls herself an epicurean, & says she would like postcards depicting tasty foods & drinks, so I decided she might like this first card I am sending from a brand-new box of food-related art cards.

Finally, the book card (one of the remaining few from a box of book cards that was all I had when I began Postcrossing) goes to a book lover (and soon-to-be-librarian)  in Neumarkt im Mühlkreis, Austria.

Stamps, stamps, & washi tape:

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“Trials, Gingerbread, Sausage:” Received from Germany, Russia, & Ukraine

This trio of Postcrossing cards in, from a trio of my most-received-from countries:

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I really like that seated child image.  It reminds me of the art of Banksy, but this is actually by a German artist known as ALIAS.  The card was sent by a Postcrosser in Nuremberg, Germany (the card taking a journey of 5,777 miles over 10 days), who tells me:

“Card shows graffiti from Berlin.  I live in Nuremberg: trials, gingerbread, sausage… Just retired from managing an IT company.  More time for… will find out!” 

The Venetian Cat (entitled “Venetian Cat”) came to me from Odessa, Ukraine, and it took a full 5 months to travel the 6,390 miles to my door!  Whoa!  The sender writes:

“I live near the Black Sea.  I love the sea.  On summer weekend I often go to swim early in the morning.  But my skin does not like bright sun, so I leave before 10 a.m.  No, I’m not a vampire.  I love warm sunny days in October but I dislike the savage summer sun.”

That bottom card is not a picture print by Currier & Ives: it’s a piece by Boris Kustodiev, and it took 57 days to travel the 5,879 miles to me from Moscow, Russia.

Stamps & postmarks:

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I really like the leaves, especially the two on the right!

Snow, and water, & things close-by: Sent to China, England, Poland, & Russia

A lot going out, all in one day…

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Do you have a favorite?

Olaf x 3 is on his way to Derby, England, for a swap-bot Disney postcard trade.  This is the first card I’ve pulled out of a newly-acquired boxed set “Art of Disney” cards.  We were to write a Disney-related message on the card, & I kept mine Olaf related: how for me he is the best part of “Frozen,” and how I saw him inside Disneyland, resting atop a building & greeting people standing in line to meet the princesses.

That concludes today’s swap-bot segment; the rest of the cards are Postcrossing draws.  The card at top right, depicting California’s Marine Mammal Center, is on its way to Vladivostok, Russia, where I assume it will be handed off to this Postcrosser’s wife, as he says she is the one who likes “cute animals.”  Unless she doesn’t find pinnipeds cute, in which case I have no use for her.

The tiger card is on its way to Chongqing, China.  This is actually a resend, replacing a (different) card I sent over 60 days ago, and which is therefore now “expired.” The intended recipient accepted my offer of a resend, but also told me this:

“The postcard is usual travelling for one and half month in China. But sometimes it takes longer. I had received a card travelled for 123 days. Amazing!”

So, perhaps she will receive this new card, and also the original!  She tells me she is sending me a card to thank me for the resend.

The lighthouse, I hope, will find its way to Szczecin, Poland.  The recipient expresses interest in all sorts of water-based athletics & sport, but the closest thing I have to offer is water.

The beautiful harbor seals are supposed to end up in Zhejiang, China, with a Postcrosser who describes herself as “a 25 years Chinese girl,” and says almost nothing else about herself, but does go on at some length about what type of cards she hopes to receive. Mine fits under the “animals live in the ocean” category.  I was, of course, careful to steer clear of her NO list:

“NO Handmade cards/ad cards/wierd cards…and no postcards in envelope.”

I don’t have a clue what she meant by wierd/weird cards, but I think mine is in the clear.