We love receiving mail in our house, especially when it is colourful and personal. I’ve had pen-pals since I was 11 and met 2 great friends at a Girl Guide camp and I still correspond with one of them. It’s been interesting meeting a couple of pen-pals over the years as well in different countries and I dream of meeting a few more eventually. In these times of immediate gratification and digital mail, etc. it’s still nice to wait for something to come through the post, not knowing when it will arrive or where it has come from. Then life goes on and we become a little older and you lose touch with pen-pals as life changes and people relocate and the post stops coming.
As a girl I enjoyed looking at postcards and began a small collection during family travels to Expo ’86 in Vancouver, and out to Lake of the Woods to the east. Twelve years ago I went on a big tour around Europe, Scandinavia, Russia and Ireland. On my first day in London I visited the Tower of London and managed to fall down some stairs and I broke my new camera. There wasn’t time to leave it anywhere for fixing so I could only hope that it would take photos along the way. But in case it didn’t, each day I would purchase two identical postcards. One I kept for the picture on the front, and the other I wrote about the day’s adventures and put it in the post to myself. A little nerdy (OK, a lot nerdy) , but it kept Mom and Dad informed about how things were going and when I returned home I was able to reconstruct my trip and scrapbook the postcards (a card with the writing on the back next to the same one with the picture showing) along with the photos that did, in the end, mostly turn out.
Now that I am in one spot with a young family and traveling isn’t very easy to do anymore, I am glad that my sister shared a website with me called Postcrossing (www.postcrossing.com). Through this website we are able to live vicariously through the eyes of others. What you do is send a postcard to a random place in the world that is chosen for you by the site and when it is registered by the receiver you will then have one sent to you by another random user. We try to send a postcard at the beginning of each week. Some weeks we won’t have any come to us in the post, but other times we have 2 or 3 in our mailbox at one time. Both children love running to see what has arrived when they hear the mailman’s arrival if they haven’t already been waiting by the window to watch for him coming up the road.
We register the card, read it and admire the picture on the front that has been specially chosen for us. The postage stamps are also very interesting to see. We go to our map and find the location that it has been sent from, and hang the postcard on the wall to admire and talk about.
As the children get a little older we will discuss more about the different countries and cultures from where the postcard has arrived from. We do a little of this now, but we will be able to do more exploration into the cultures and history as time goes on. I have a ‘plan’ for another way to incorporate culture and geography into our lives, but you will have to wait a couple of months for that project to be prepared.
(Be careful, it’s awfully addictive!)
It is nice to find out a little something about someone we have never met in a place far away and dream a little about someday visiting to see it ourselves. So if you’re out and about, please send us a postcard, and we will return the favour!