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Postcrossing Spotlight: mad_madchen from Russia!

Julia (aka mad_madchen) hails from Moscow. She has several drawers full of postcards ready to be sent, and really enjoys choosing the perfect card that she knows will make someone happy! We asked her a few questions:

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

About 5 years ago my friend Olga told me about Postcrossing. I've decided to join as I like postcards since my childhood. And here I am! :)

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

I love Blythe dolls. I have 12 dolls in my collection:

blythe dolls

Also I collect Alice in Wonderland books in different language and Starbucks gift-cards. And I love cross-stitching.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!

This is my P.O.Box 1:

mad madchen's pobox

Over the years, I’ve received a lot of questions about it: please confirm your address, it's too short, are you sure, how do you get it...? I really don't know how it has happened that I got P.O.Box 1. I think it was a miracle, or luck, or position of the stars, something like that! :)

I have lots of postcards. It was always hard to say the numbers and once I’ve decided to weigh them. I discovered that I have 12 kg of postcards to be sent... yeah, I am mad, I know that! I store most of them in the drawers of my desk:

mad maedchen's boxes
Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

In fact it’s a difficult question because I’ve received a lot of beautiful postcards... I like Atelier Nouvelles Images, Nicoletta Сeccoli, Absolut Vodka, and many others. But my most favourite postcard ever… It’s hard to pick. I think perhaps this one:

CN-166642

In it, I see hope, loneliness, dream, search, aspirations, incompleteness, past and future. Absolutely great!

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

All parts are great for me. Most of all I like to receive a new addresses and try to find the perfect postcard for the receiver — especially for "difficult" wishes. And I like to receive nice postcards, with interesting messages and beautiful stamps. I also like to read senders profiles after I register their postcards.

Have you been surprised by any place that you have received a postcard from or sent a postcard to?

I’ve been surprised over travel days. Just amazing example: this postcard from Russia to Greece (1,779 km) was traveling for 346 days! And that was the real traveling period!

Have you inspired anyone else to join Postcrossing, or met any other postcrossers?

Yes! My friend Eugene saw a post on my Livejournal and signed up to Postcrossing, and my son is a postcrosser as well. Sometimes we both go to meetups here in Moscow.


Posted by on 27 Aug, 2014
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The Little Mail Carriers in Brussels, Belgium!

Here are the Little Mail Carriers again, to tell you all about the second part of their adventures in Belgium (here's part one in Dinant, in case you missed it). This time, they went to Brussels - Europe's comic art capital! Here is their report of the exciting trip:

Hi everyone! We were invited by Ghislaine and Sylvie (aka Sylor) to visit Brussels, the capital of Belgium... how could we pass the opportunity?!

Le facteur

We started the day with meeting the local mail carrier, or as they say around here, "Le facteur". He's really nice and brings Sylvie and Ghislaine lots of postcards.

Look! It's the Atomium!

Our first stop in Brussels was the Atomium, which we had only seen in photos and in stamps. It was built in 1958 for the World's Fair (Expo 58) and has the shape of the cell of an iron crystal... only 165 billion times bigger! :D

The policeman is falling!

On our way to the city, we noticed this statue of a policeman, whose leg is being held by a boy climbing out of the sewer, causing him to trip! What a fun sculpture to put in the middle of the square! Ghislaine told us it is called "the Vaartkapoen", and it is inspired in "l'Agent 15" from comic strip "Quick & Flupke". The boy holding his leg represents the rebel spirit which shakes the authority.

The city is filled with this kind of funny sculptures from Tom Frantzen, who describes them as "zwanze": "a unique form of humour which he thinks is characterized by the absurdity and surrealism that stem from the mixture of languages so typical of Brussels". Oh, look, there's another one:

Zinneke"

It's the "Zinneke", peeing on a street post! Zinneke means someone of mixed origins in Brussels dialect, and it symbolizes the mixture of people living in Brussels. Doesn't he look cute?

Well, enough of culture! It's time to have a break and try some local specialties! The chocolate and waffles were fantastic, but our favorite were the belgian frites! Yummy!

Frites!

Aaaaah... so good! We noticed there were many brands of beer available - they really take it seriously here!

Belgian beer

And some shopping, we arrived at the Grand Place, a Unesco World Heritage site. It's very imposing and features the Brussel's Town Hall, the Maison du Roi and several buildings from the Middle Ages named guildhalls.

La Grade Place

Once a year, they make a huge flower carpet here in the Grand Place - we've seen it in photos, the whole square gets filled with colorful flowers... it's really impressive!

La Grande Place

Brussels lace is also very special... and expensive!

Belgian lace

Belgian people have a great relation with la bande dessinée (comic art), so we had to meet some of their famous characters. Tintin, is probably the most popular of them all, so it was a big honor to shake his hand! Created by Hergé in 1929, he's a reporter who goes on risky adventures around the world with his dog Snowy (or Milou, in French). Together, they always manage to save the day!

Tintin and Snowy

Another of our favorite BD heroes are the The Smurfs (les Schtroumpfs) by Peyo. Their language was a bit hard to learn, but I think we've smurfed it! :D

The strumpfs

Oh look there... isn't that the Manneken-Pis? They say the statue of the little man peeing is a must-see in Brussels, and represents the legend of the young boy who was awoken by a fire and proceeded to stamp it out by peeing on it! Now it's just a funny fountain.

Manneken-Pis

He was naked on the day we visited, but we were told he has a really nice wardrobe, with hundreds of costumes! On special days, they dress him up to celebrate a certain date or occasion.

That was a great visit! Sadly it was time to wave bye-bye to Sylvie and Ghislaine as they gently dropped us on the postbox... who knows where we'll go next? :) Sylvie and Ghislaine

That was great! Thank you so much Ghislaine and Sylvie for this lovely report! Safe trips, little ones, see you soon!


Posted by on 22 Aug, 2014
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The Little Mail Carriers in Dinant, Belgium!

After traveling around the world, the Little Mail Carriers just wanted a bit of a rest... They found the perfect place for it in Dinant, an idyllic city in Belgium gracefully posed on the margins of the Meuse.

Jo (aka juytters) was their host on this trip, and welcomed them with arms wide open! Here's their report:

Salut everyone! Welcome to Dinant!

Hello from Dinant!

This charming Walloon city of around 14,000 inhabitants is squeezed between the Meuse river and the steep cliffs above it. Dinant's impressive and strategic positioning along the narrow shore exposed it to a lot of battles and tragedies throughout the centuries. Dinant's postcards

But Dinant's claim to fame is a happy one, something that brings joy to a lot of music lovers worldwide! Doesn't ring a bell? Think Kenny G...

Hanging out with Adolphe Sax

... no, not the man himself, but the saxophone he plays, which was invented by Dinant's most famous citizen: Adolphe Sax! Mr. Sax was born in Dinant in 1814 and followed in the footsteps of his father as an instrument designer, making several improvements to the clarinet before finally inventing the saxophone in 1840.

Charles de Gaulle bridge with saxophones - wow!

The city is proud of its heritage and decorated the Charles de Gaulle bridge across the Meuse in colorful saxophones - one for each country in the EU. We zoomed past them in direction of another of Dinant's highlights: the church of Notre-Dame of Dinant.

Church of Notre Dame de Dinant

The original church was destroyed in 1227 when a big chunk of cliff fell down on it, and again in 1914 during the Battle of Dinant. But the resilient people of the city rebuilt the church to its former glory, using local limestone. Perched high on the cliff in the background, you can see the impressive Citadel fortress, overlooking the city.

A few days later, we got invited to a Postcrossing meetup in Gent, how exciting! We toured the town, bought lots of postcards and met some very nice postcrossers!

Postcards at the Gent meetup Gent meetup

That was really lovely! But a trip to Belgium would not be complete without a detour to Brussels... so stay tuned for the next episode, we'll tell you all about that! :)

Dinant mailbox

À bientôt!

A big thank you to Jo for hosting the little guys and showing them around! Come back in a few days for the second part of the Little Mail Carrier's adventures in Belgium! :)


Posted by on 17 Aug, 2014
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Project "We Are One" from Tuvalu - an update

Back in May, we introduced you to "We Are One", a project which brought Postcrossing closer to the children of Tuvalu. The project is now close to its end, and Emily sent us an update filled with really nice photos... we just had to share them with you!

She sums it up:

This project has been an amazing journey for me and the students. Not only were they excited to write on nicely printed postcards of Tuvalu (which is rare or never seen) and introduce it to the world, they were also thrilled to receive postcards, read the kind words from postcrossers and be amazed at the beautiful scenery pictures on a card. It is their fist time ever to learn how to read a map and name the seven continents!

My greatest satisfaction, as a teacher, is to see their thirst for knowledge, wanting to learn more about this world where most countries are too far away to them.

Sounds fantastic, doesn't it? But a picture is worth a thousand words, so here they are:

postcard received 3 end of project posters 1 postcard received 1 end of project posters 2

Happy children and postcards... guaranteed to make my heart melt!

Emily collected some feedback about the project from the children, and one of them wrote "It's amazing and I hope that other schools around the world do a similar project". We hope so too! :)

A huge thank you to Emily for setting up this year's activity in Tuvalu - and to Taiwan ICDF (International Cooperation and Development Fund) as well, for sending her there and helping fund her postcard project!


Posted by on 13 Aug, 2014
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25 million postcards!

One postcard... two postcards... 25 million postcards! Boy, that escalated quickly*!

We did a little math - did you know that if we lined 25 million postcards side by side, they would be enough to cover the distance between Lisbon and St. Petersburg, or between Los Angeles and Washington DC? That's how many postcards we've all sent these past 9 years!

lifeisbetter

I know you're all dying to know who did it, and here it is: postcard number 25 million (NL-2612179) was sent by LianneK in the Netherlands on August 5th and registered today at 11:02 (UTC) by linsi in Germany. Hurray!

Lepan was the big winner of our guessing game contest, since she guessed the correct date and time at which that postcard was registered - brilliant! You've won a pack of 40 postcards (20 classic, 20 luxe) from MOO and a surprise set of 100 lovely postcards!

The other four lucky postcrossers who came the closest to the right time were skliu, sunzhuxian, AnnLee and Olga86 - well done! You'll all receive a pack of 20 postcards from MOO!

Both the sender and the receiver will also receive a surprise pack of Where's Waldo? postcards!

A huge thank you to our team of volunteers, to MOO for sponsoring this giveaway, and most of all to you - all of you who send postcards and take part on this global postcard revolution!

Come on - let's go fill some mailboxes with smiles, one postcard at a time! :)


Posted by on 10 Aug, 2014
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