I remember one day when I was 8 or 9 years old, I found a fancy plastic bag that full of postcards. There was like hundred of postcards from cities all around the world; Amsterdam, Paris, London, Tasmania, Tokyo, Shanghai, Los Angeles, etc. It was all blank postcards. I wasn’t sure who’s the owner of that stack of postcards; I assume my mom or my aunties (I didn’t know which auntie, because my family lived in my grandma/ Uci Bunda’s house and in that house, at the attic to be precise, we could find so many abandoned of collectible items that my aunties had collected during their childhood to teenagers; some of the collections that I treasure are vintage matchboxes and album of stamps that neatly arranged based on the year and issued country). Bur since no one really care about it, from that day, those postcards belong to me.
That was the first time I fell in love with postcard and started to daydreaming that one day I have to able to visit all those beautiful places, travel the world, and share my happiness by sending postcard to my beloved ones. It means, I remember them and carry them in my heart when I’m away.
Though I never had any penpals during my childhood, but I have my mother who always sent me and my siblings postcard when she had to do a business trip by herself – wherever she traveled, there’s always postcard that she sent from (mostly) overseas. Sometimes her trip only last for a week (and the postcard arrived way much later when she already back home), but some other time she went from home for more than 3 months, as she dealt with her research sample and courses. Her postcards (and telephone calls) was always been expected from me and my siblings. It was a joyous moment to find her handwriting and stories as she sent it from thousand miles away. It always remember the contentment to find that there’s something that is exactly intended to you in a mailbox; “Ytc. Ananda Poeti Ceniza Sapphira” and always ended with “Peluk cium kangen, Bunda”.
I don’t know where all those postcards right now – I kinda hope that my father keep it in his treasure box.
Today, 20 years later, I regularly send and received postcards from friends and strangers (through postcrossing); sometimes I ask my friends randomly through social media “Is there anyone who wants a postcard from New Bedford?”. And I always feel special whenever Akiya and Eni, Uci and Inyik (both of grandparents like to send postcards to Azka and Khalif – whenever they’re traveling, they always send one), Decha, Winda, Addiena, Mba Dian, Manda and some other friends who regularly sending me a postcard or two when they’re traveling somewhere.
A postcard is like a friend that visit you over and over again (whenever you read it and see it hanging on the wall). I even create #postcardstory hashtag in Instagram, a special hashtag to post some of my postcard collections. You can use it too…!
So, why sending postcards? Because for me, it is a very personal process. Imagine this: Somebody is traveling or living in other part of the world (or county or city that you never heard of) –> he or she bought a postcard from a local store (it helps the local economy). They might choose it based on what kind of postcard that suit you (or maybe they just chose randomly whatever postcard that available). The person remembers you when they travel and write what’s memorable from the trip. As we lived in a touch-screen world and everything is digitized, I valued one’s handwriting so dearly. The person went to the post-office (one of city’s or town’s most important landmark. I just love post-office and the nuance in it) to buy stamps (though you also can just buy at some random kiosks that sell stamps); which stamps? How much do you need to send a postcard? And you can actually learn new figure on the stamps, which very interesting to learn). And finally drop into a mail-box. Directly to your address. And it has to transit in so many places – from one place to another. From one postman to others. And finally it reached you. Hand-picked and handwrite just for you. What a lovely souvenir, and it would be such a lovely piece of treasure one day.
Seems like a romantic process isn’t? Just a tips: when you send a postcard, because the space in postcard – unlike a letter, is very limited- just focus to tell about your story. Again, just your story. Because if you’re too receiver-oriented, like this: “Hi, how have you been? I hope you’re good. How’s you kids? I saw your pictures on Facebook…yada yada yada – And goes on even that person didn’t tell any story from her trip. In my opinion, one point of that postcard is missing. You can just talk about what you like in that city, explaining the image on postcard, the traditional foods in the particular place that you tasted, etc. Also, don’t be too “blank” and bland too: “Hi! I hope you like this postcard…! Bye!”. Ah, it’s nice, but again, it makes the postcard useless. It always better to share a story from one’s perspective. If you want to talk about the receiver life, just comment on their socmed photos or twits. Ha…! But then again, it’s just a tips.
So. tell me, how happy are you when you found a postcard or letter in your mailbox?