When I was a kid, I loved when my school would set us up with pen-pals.  I think most of the kids I wrote to were in Russia, and I just adored learning about the lives of other people from other cultures.  I also found receiving a letter in the mail to be the ultimate childhood delight.  I guess I've never quite grown out of it.  While I appreciate the convenience and speed of email, I'm still the adult who peeks out the window every hour or two to see if the little flag on my mailbox has gone down.

And this, I suppose, is why I love Postcrossing so much.  This website facilitates postcard exchanges between people all over the globe.  Once you sign up for an account, you are eligible to receive the profile to whom you will send a postcard.  Profiles contain a little information about the recipient (their occupations, likes and dislikes, etc) and what they are looking for in a postcard (both in terms of picture on the front and also content on the back).  Once you send your postcard, you are elibible to receive one from someone else.  You can have 5 postcards in transit at once, so if you were conscientious, you could be receiving fun snail-mail frequently!  So far I've received notes from Russia, Belarus, England and The Czech Republic.  The postcards are always beautiful and I love learning about the cultures.

Not only is Postcrossing fun, but it can be a good learning tool.  The site attempts to assure that you do not receive a card from the same country twice (you can opt out of this feature), and you are able to request specific information from the sender, so you could potentially conduct research through the mail.  I sent a postcard to one profile requesting information on how our country treats our elderly.  I also received a postcard from an elementary school class in England who wanted to know what sorts of celebrations take place in our country.  How special for that class to be able to learn first-hand about other cultures!  While most of the communications are simply one-way notes, there is an option to exchange address information to become more permanent pen-pals with someone whose card you particularly enjoyed. 

I've started a little notebook for collecting all of my beautiful cards (and their equally beautiful stamps) so that I can look back at them in time and see all the interesting new places I've discovered.  And when I know I might have a card waiting for my in the mailbox, well, I wait all the more impatiently for that mail truck to come. 


11/14/2011 13:32

This sounds so cool! I am going to have to check out the website.

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