Sunday, April 10, 2011

for the love of snail mail

I am a dying breed.  I am a generous sender and gracious recipient of items carrying a stamp.  Put simply, I have quite the affinity for snail mail.  Though I appreciate the swiftness and ease of the email, part of me laments the waning of the hand-written letter as a means of communication.  Not that every correspondence need be rife with sentimentality, but there is something about snail mail that feels a bit more thoughtful than mail of the electronic nature.  That's not to say that every letter is inherently meaningful or affectionate, or that an email cannot be thoughtful and intimate (my own father's short, reflective emails while I've been away have been known to provoke emotional tears), but in this electronic age there is something special about receiving correspondence by way of the "old fashioned" post.

On the sender's side, I've found that it is nice to take a brief moment to write someone, with pen and ink, especially during times of prolonged absence.  With stationary and postcards abundant and cheap in Korea, I often carried writing supplies in my bag to jot down a funny story, recall a moment that made me think of a friend, repeat some ludicrous Konglish a student had uttered, or just to jot some something far from profound- a doodle, a friend's name in Korean, a random question on my mind- in one of my many Sakura Gelly Roll pens.  And just when I had completely forgotten about the mail on its 8,000 mile journey and was trudging through an exhausting day of work, there might be a little note in my inbox that a letter had arrived in the mail and was much appreciated.  Or maybe a year later, I would meet a friend's roommate only to be instantly recognized as "the postcard girl."  Or that.

Conversely, I am also a huge fan of receiving mail.  Maybe it is corny, but my weekend was brightened a little when Saturday's mail brought not one but two parcels- a thoughtful note that made me smile and laugh out loud and a book recommended and lent to me based on my interest in women and gender in the Middle East.  During my stay in Korea, coming home to mail never got old, and I was eager to liven up my dreary bedroom and classroom walls with bright cards of cartoon dinosaurs and octopi (my friends rock), tear-outs from The New York Times Magazine that arrived in a Christmas package, and postcard scenes of the USA.  I know that some people probably are not that fazed by snail mail, likely including some who frequently received my mailed musings from abroad, but if there's even a chance that I can make someone feel, even for just a moment, like somewhere out there someone is thinking of them, then mission accomplished.  Or maybe I'm just exerting my existence.  Read into it however you like.

Last week I received the following gem from Miss M, formerly of Australia, currently of Thailand (that brat), and while I wouldn't normally share my "private" dealings with M (you know, because postcards that can be read by anyone handling the mail are super duper private and the following clearly is meant for my eyes only), I just want the world to know that I am the "Dinotine" to her "Loveasaurus."

Also Amz Kelso, creator of this dinotastic image, you are awesome.  Just sayin'.

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