Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Snail Mail

Lately I've been obsessed with letters and postcards and all things with stamps that travel across the globe with a message.  I've always loved the idea of letters, actually.  I know that when I was younger, every time I would hear of a school pen pal project, or of a friend who was writing to someone in a different country, I would wish I could do that too; not so much for cultural education, but more to get to know someone through writing on a tangible piece of paper.  I'm just infatuated by this impersonal personal friendship.  You know the person, but you don't really.  You've never seen them in person, and you may not ever see them in person, yet they directly tell you personal details and emotions and opinions about their everyday lives, and you do the same.  There's something unnaturally special about that.

****

I started writing letters when I was about 10 years old.  It started when my friend from school told me that she collected stamps, and I wanted to do the same.  We thought that a quick way to collect lots of stamps would be to write each other letters.  Surprisingly, somehow we would still manage to think of things to say, despite seeing each other every day at school.  We would write about school piano recitals and movies we would like to see, and we would decorate our letters with an array of stickers.

Some time in 2010 or 2011

Dear M,
You can't actually send letters for 55c.  Yesterday I went to Sydney, I got a soft toy, he is a little doggy, but I haven't named him yet.
Yeah, my signature is cursive writing with a line through it.  It's preaty random, but I don't mind.
Has anything interesting been happening at your house lately?  See you tomorrow! (I think)
From A

Somewhere along the way, after we'd moved to different schools, we stopped writing to each other.  The other day though, due to my newly found letter obsession, I wrote to her again.  She did write back, and it's nice to know she hasn't changed too much in the last five years, and while I have, it's nice to realise that my personality hasn't changed all too much either.  In some ways, writing letters is like a time capsule.  Or maybe that's just what it's like communicating with someone from your past.

28/9/2016

Dear M,

I was so extremely happy to receive your letter!  It really has been such a long time!

In all honesty, I too have stopped collecting stamps, but I've never really admitted it because people keep giving them to me, and I'd feel super guilty otherwise.  I just kinda shove them in an envelope on my bookshelf and leave them.  I've been thinking I should start a new envelope, since the old one is getting a little full...

Anyway!
You've probably noticed that my handwriting is as messy as if always was... yours hasn't changed that much, it's still really tidy!
...

****

In a frenzy of boredom and a weird sudden desire for a pen pal, I signed up to some dodgy website as a joke during a science class, and somehow got myself a not-so-dodgy pen pal from the Czech Republic.  When writing that first letter, I felt so open.  I felt as if I could tell her things I would only ever write in my diary, because I knew that she wouldn't be able to tell anyone else.  She would just be there, on the other side of the world, knowing these things about me that nobody else does.

The problem I've found with snail mail though, is that it takes forever to arrive.  By the time a month has passed and she has received my letter, my world has completely changed.  I no longer care about the things I was concerned about a month ago.  I no longer even think about it.  So, this girl on the other side of the world is reading a version of me from the past.  She's keeping this time capsule of mine, and may have it forever, even when these fragments of my life are long forgotten.  There really is something unnaturally special about that, isn't there?

And the thing is, I'm receiving the exact same thing back from her.

3/9/2016

Dear M,

First of all, thank you very much for the long letter!  I was really happy when I was reading it!

I'm in my grandparents flat now.  I'm going to sleep here tonight because I didn't want to be at home. My dad invited our neighbours for a barbecue yesterday.  They have three kids and I don't want to look after them when they will be there.  Their daughter (about 10 years old) overslept in my room when they came last time.
However, my grandparents are really pleased every time I come to visit them.  When I was younger and was going to school in my hometown I used to visit them before and after school every day.  It was quite strange that I woke up early because of that.  I went with my mum who was going to work at 6:30am.  She dropped me and our small dog Nata'lka (Natalie) in front of my grandparents house. I ate breakfast and learnt some of my subjects there.  I came there again after school and waited for my mum who took me and Nata'lka home.  I go there just about once a week since I'm attending a grammar school in a different town.
Oh, I wrote quite a lot about this, sorry...

****

The wall of my room above my bed is ever-changing.  It's gone from a huge collage to quotes to artworks to free postcards... and now it's just postcards from all across the world.  An epiphany hit me that while I was finding many of the same free postcards on racks in cafes and art galleries, I could be sending them off and getting postcards from strangers across the world in return.  I found this website called Postcrossing while searching for that dodgy pen pal website during that science lesson.






30/8/2016

Hello M!  Greetings from Kirov!  I'm a furniture designer and student of University.  Fyodor Dostoyevsky is my favourite writers.  I like Dostoyevsky for the deep storyline.  Have you read Crime and Punishment?  "Gia" is one of my favourite movies.  You have to watch it.  The story is of the life of Gia Carangi, a top fashion model from the late 1970s.  It's a really sad movie.  On this card depict the Spasskaya St.  It's a heart of the city.
Have a nice day!  Good luck!




And you know what?  If you'd like to send me a letter, email me.

Love,
M

9 comments:

  1. Snail mail is the best! They're the sweetest, even small unexpected greeting cards. I want to send snail mail, but international mail is expensive. >.<

    xoxo Morning

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    1. Ah I know right!? Where I live they're increasing it to $3!! How ridiculous :/

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  2. Snail mail is my absolute favorite thing ever. I only wish that it was faster! But there's something just so special about letter writing:)

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    Replies
    1. There's something nice about it being slow too. It's the whole time capsule thing I was talking about. They're receiving this version of you that only exists in the past.

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  3. I love snail mailing! I began writing letters to my penpals last year on June. I'm a bit behind with replying the letters because Uni has kept me extremely busy :(, but I'll get back to it during this week.

    I began collecting postcards! And I'm collecting stamps for my Wreck This Journal :D

    The Journeys of a Girl

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  4. I need to do this, I love letters.

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  5. I love writing writing letters. I'm e-mailing you after this.

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