One thing that I really wanted to do when I moved to Sweden was to restart my postcrossing journey. Postcrossing is a platform where you can exchange postcard with its members around the world. For every postcard that you send, you will receive one back from strangers.
My fondness of stamps and postcards started early in elementary school. I didn’t know how it began, but there was one time where almost everyone in my class became a philatelist! We collected stamps and exchanged with each other. We even got ourselves a couple of stamp album. I got most of the stamps from my grandmother. It was delightful to find an old, rare, or even foreign stamp between the pile of used postage. Although most of the time, I only got these stamps (the 1998 duck series) that everybody had, so they were basically worthless.
Sadly, my philatelic journey ended when the big 1998 floods occured and swept away my stamp albums (and my entire collection of Sailor Moon comics!). This is a neverending sadness because those albums were priceless and the comic series were one of a kind. They were premium quality with coloured and glossy paper. The price was also twice more than the regular comics. T___T)
Bagus kaaaan. :”(
OK, back to the postcrossing matter.
I stumbled upon the Postcrossing site on 2013 and signed up right away. Although the idea is simple, it was quite difficult to get a decent postcard at that time; because who in the
world Indonesia still use them, riiite? A search to the local book store ended up disappointing. When I send a postcard to a stranger, I want a card that describe and represent my country best. Obviously not with that saturated and pixelated card of random waterfall and rice field that has stood there for ages.
Besides the postcard, it was also difficult to find stamps. After the rise of instant messaging and social media, it seems that people are no longer sending letters. Moreover, there are not many post office in Jakarta neither. And when there is, their business model has now focusing on freight forwarding and package delivery services related to e-commerce business. Fortunately, there was a post kiosk at the office building next door, where I usually buy the stamps (with the strange look from the officer) and send the cards. Honestly, I have a doubt in using a post box; you know that orange box called “bis surat” that usually is rusty and full of graffiti. Does it still work? Do they still collect it regularly?
Oh by the way, my husband and I had an argument as to why I always call it “bis surat” instead of “kotak pos/post box”. TIL that it was translated from Brievenbus in Dutch.
Just a couple of months after I signed up for Postcrossing, life got busy and work got crazy. I forgot about it until I moved to Saudi Arabia (KSA) where I got plenty of time, but no decent post office services.
Whenever my husband and I traveled somewhere, we tried to send postcard to our family and ourselves, and guess what? When the cards to our parents arrived, none of the cards arrived at our KSA address. :))
Now that I think about it, when I was working at the research center in KSA, we always sent letters, research sample and things by DHL. I guess that’s because of
oil money the lack of trust to the local postal services. Hahaha.
Now, that I am in Sweden, I am happily continuing my Postcrossing activity after ~6 years of hiatus. What’s impressing here is that the postal services are still commonly use and the post kiosk can be found almost everywhere.
I don’t remember when was the last time I had a mailbox at home. It was always empty, we never received or waiting for any letter, so we got rid of it when it was broken. However, mailbox is one of the necessity here in Sweden. Any notice from municipal, government bureau, or even the supermarket membership are delivered to your mailbox. Basically, I find something almost everyday inside my mailbox. Sometimes it feels bizarre since we are now living at the digital era. One time, my husband received a letter to pick up his online purchase at one of the post kiosk. We was like err… why didn’t they just send us a text or email? :))
It has been 4 months since I re-started and it is always delightful to find postcards from around the world arrived on my mailbox. Other than that, I am also very happy to get this kind of email notification:
Hurray! Your postcard SE-…… to xyz arrived!
It means that my postcard has safely arrived and I get one more slot to send!
This activity really turns my mailbox into a surprise. It is nice to go home from a routine and unexpectedly found a postcard in the mailbox. It turns out that although we get used to have every notification in our mobile and some messages are expected to be replied instantly, it is still nice to receive a real mail, a snail mail.
By the way, please let me know if you are also a postcrossing member or interested to exchange a postcard with me. Happy postcrossing!