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Postcrossing Spotlight: teamug from Germany!

We've met Chrissy (aka teamug) on the yearly International Postcrossing meetup in Bielefeld a few times already and, true to her username, her tea mug is never far away... but neither are her letter writing materials! So we decided it was time we had her on the blog. Here is what she had to say to our interview questions:

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

I first heard about Postcrossing through a monthly magazine of the post office. There was a report about it and I loved the idea immediately. I always loved to write, especially to stay in contact when living abroad. It is so nice then to hear from people at home.

When emailing started, people always said it would be so much faster and of course would not cost postage - and that writing cards and letters was so old fashioned. So even after I finally had an email address, i still would not hear more of my friends. I noticed that people did not become more reliable keeping in contact with the cheaper and faster method. No matter how much I wrote - either by real mail or email, the replies were less and less.

So the concept of Postcrossing where people HAD to write to you the moment they receive your address - well, I just loved the idea. And I love to hear from people, no matter if known or unknown to me. Real mail is so much more valuable. Emails can never replace that.

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

I rarely see my mailman, since he comes when I am at work. And he's always in a rush when I do want to say hello to him on a Saturday. But I managed to take a picture of the bicycle he uses!

teamug Spotlight interview

I love the fact that in big cities in Germany, bicycles are still used as many people live close together, and it allows easier access than vans.

teamug Spotlight interview My local post office and letter box is not too far away (just two minutes by bike). But I often use different ones, depending on where I am when I have cards ready. I might drop off the mail straight after work when driving through town, or on the weekend, when I am at home. The photo shows the nearby letter box with a small post office next to it. It even closes for two hours during lunch time, like in some small village. ;-)

teamug Spotlight interview

Because I received quite a number of cards, I have different storage systems. I started sorting by countries. Then I bought some collection folders where I started sorting different themes, like the US State cards, cities of the world, tea or birds. It is easier to look at the cards that way instead of digging them out of the box. Even though the folders are handy, I love nostalgic boxes which I get from my local Christmas cookie and ginger bread supplier, and I still use them as a filing system. It's also a great justification to keep ordering those lovely goodies!

teamug Spotlight interview teamug Spotlight interview

There is a large wooden ginger bread box in which I collect the blank cards yet to be written, sorted by subject. Well, I have several of those and it seems I have even more new cards than received ones, because once one is an addict there is no getting away from buying cards. After all, we postcrossers know: for every subject or theme there's a postcrosser happy to receive it.

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

Of course choosing as well as receiving is both fun. The first because you read the profile closely and try to get it just right, the other, because of its element of surprise. But after three years of postcrossing I especially like the long term side effects.

First: The Hurray messages especially if they are really long ones. The fact that someone on the other side of the world or even the neighbouring town was totally delighted with what I came up with and expresses it in so many words.

Second: How much I learn about the world. Often people tell something about their country that I never knew before. I also google places, check out details of a city, village, landscape. I have learned so much even though I thought I was quite good in geography.

Third: I always loved English and read loads in the language and mainly watch films in English. But the fact that I write on a daily basis now, also long letters, as I have gained many penfriends, has really improved my knowledge of the language and I am very grateful for that.

Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

I have not one special card. It is hard to chose one as I have received so many. Lately I notice I especially like those where the postcrosser states that this is his/her first card. In my reply I always tell them how much fun they are going to have and wish them lots of cards. These first cards are very special to me. I clearly remember my first five sent ones and the major lack of patience I had waiting to receive my first card. And I was lucky because I received two first ones at the same time! RU-4364096

I also love to get a card in an envelope, with lovely handwriting, tea, beautiful stamps - where the whole thing is a work of art.

CZ-737931

Here are some other favourites: IL-22300, US-2142367, GB-395703, BY-1016437, CA-417611, RU-2783644, TR-257683.

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

Oh yes. Some countries gained independency since I learned geography at school, even though some are close and one is more aware. But for example I was not aware of Moldova. I also sent cards to Azerbaijan, Rwanda and for me surprisingly Åland Islands. I didn't know that these islands have a flag of their own and are autonomous.

The most unexpected one was received by my son though, who got a card from Iraq. How great that someone there has actually internet access, this rather surprised me. I can imagine lots of this is being controlled. I think the secret to world peace is the communication and getting to know other cultures.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

I have little spare time, but I spend a lot of it reading, or watching films (90% of them in English). I love paper as a material (cards, letters etc...) so I also do calligraphy (the art of beautiful writing), drawing, painting and also took classes in bookbinding. Also, I can't get past a book or stationery shop without browsing.

I enjoy photography a lot and hope to produce postcards myself. So far I did that only once.

And then there is also working in the garden which I find very recreational.


Posted by on 26 Apr, 2016
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Write_On giveaway!

Is this year going by especially fast? I feel like I blinked and next thing I know it's already April... whoa! The worst of winter is (hopefully) behind us in the Northern hemisphere and days keep stretching ahead, promising and enticing.

It's a good thing we shook off our winter slumber now, because April is Write_On month! If you've never heard about it, here's a little video to bring you up to speed:

Doesn't that sound nice? The Indiegogo campaign they put together earlier this year went really well, and they used the funds to make and send thousands of writing kits (with stationery, pens and a zine) to everyone who signed up for them. Slowly, Write_On has shifted from a personal challenge to a cultural movement that is picking momentum, challenging people to develop better letter-writing habits. We're all for more reasons to send mail and make people happy, so naturally, this sounds like a wonderful idea!

And because the people behind Write_On want everyone to write more, they offering to equip one lucky postcrosser with a mighty impressive set of stationery supplies, sure to delight the recipients of your correspondence! Have a look at the swag:

Write_On giveaway Write_On giveaway

There's postcards from Egg Press, pens from Sakura of America, boxed card sets from Chronicle Books, an assortment of cards from the Write_On sponsors, and a pin as well! 😀

To participate, leave a comment below sharing a reason for writing someone a postcard or letter. It could be something like "Thanking someone for being a great role model" or "Sending someone a list of places you'd like to go with them someday"... anything goes, as long as it's a good excuse to write!

Good luck everyone, and remember to check back on this post around this time next week, to know whether your name was picked by Paulo's random number generator. Thank you to the Write_On organisers, for putting together such a neat spread for this giveaway!

And the winner of this bounty, as chosen by Paulo's random number generator is... paleon! Congratulations, and thanks everyone for your enthusiastic participation! :)


Posted by on 12 Apr, 2016
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"Inside the GPO" documentary

Earlier this week, RTÉ (Ireland's national broadcaster) aired part two of a six-part documentary about the Dublin's General Post Office. The series, told in weekly episodes, revolves around the iconic building and includes stories from many of the people who use it on a daily basis. Here's the synopsis:

"Best known as the headquarters of the 1916 Rising, the GPO has been at the heart of Irish life for 200 years. Inside the GPO goes behind the scenes at Ireland's busiest post office; home to 950 staff, a microcosm of Irish society, and caretaker of letters, parcels, hopes and stories."

Well... postcrossers do visit post offices rather often, so it's only natural that a group of enthusiastic Irish postcrossers were picked to be featured on the documentary!

Inside the GPO

Sitting down in a café with their stamps and postcards, Nora (aka ned44440), John (aka jr11577), Claudia (aka chrissybaby) and Kodzos (aka kodzos) braved the cameras and did an excellent job representing the Irish Postcrossing community. Well done guys!

Inside the GPO

You can see the segment (until April 21st) at http://www.rte.ie/player/is/show/inside-the-gpo-30003923/10549881. This is the second part of this series — the first one can be seen here.
If you like it so far, do follow RTÉ's website for the next episodes!


Posted by on 27 Mar, 2016
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Wonders of America jigsaw puzzle giveaway!

It's been a while since we've had a giveaway on the blog... so when our friend Addis (aka sumares) found this cute stamp-themed puzzle and offered to send it to a lucky postcrosser, we immediately jumped at the offer! Little Paulo showcases it below:

Wonders of America giveaway

Isn't it cute? It's a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, featuring the "Wonders of America: Land of Superlatives" commemorative stamps! Here's an introductory video highlighting the concept and artwork of the stamps, which were released almost ten years ago, in May 2006.

Wonders of America giveaway

Stamps and puzzles and mailboxes... so many our favourite things put together in this charming package! Little Ana is ready to write a name on the mailbox...

Wonders of America giveaway

If you'd like a chance to win it, all you need to do is leave a comment below. Oh, and if you have seen or played with other fun toys that promote postcard collecting or letter writing, do share!

Don't forget to check back on this post around this time next week, to know whether your name was picked by Paulo's random number generator. And a huuuuge thank you to Addis, who generously sponsored this giveaway!

And the winner of this puzzle, as chosen by Paulo's random number generator is... havarah! Congratulations! :)


Posted by on 17 Mar, 2016
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The first Postcrossing train meetup, in Romania!

Remember the Little Mail Carrier's cousin? It's been a while since he was last on the blog... Earlier this year, he threw a huge tantrum and demanded to be sent on new adventures — so we sent him off to Romania, where an exciting meeting was about to take place! Here's their report, as told by the participants in this unique meeting.

Once upon a very special day, on February 29th of 2016, the Romanian Postcrossing Community organized the first Postcrossing train meetup in the world, a round-trip journey between Bucharest and Ploiești. The day started with the arrival of the Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. As every tourist would have done, he first went on a sightseeing tour through the wonders of Bucharest.

Naturally, he took some selfies and because he is so small, a special "magnifier tool" was used to be sure everything is in focus!

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

He started with the Palace of the Parliament which is the heaviest building in the world. It is also the second largest administrative building in the world (after the Pentagon in the USA) housing the Romanian Senate and Parliament and the National Museum of Contemporary Art.

He continued his tour to two of the most prestigious buildings in Bucharest: the House of Economies (CEC) and the National Museum of Music (Cantacuzino Palace).

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

In front of the Romanian Athenaeum he got really excited, because inside is the longest circular fresco in the world! It was done by Costin Petrescu, and is a stunning piece depicting 25 different scenes of Romanian history over 70 meters of canvas... wow!

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

The final stop before the meetup was at the Revolution Square, admiring the National Museum of Art (The Royal Palace), the statue of King Carol I of Romania (1866-1914) and the Central University Library.

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

Finally he arrived at Gara de Nord (train station). The little couriers' cousin met with members of the Romanian Postcrossing Community and quickly jumped on the train to grab some seats.

We had lots of fun activities during our trip from Bucharest to Ploiești (60 km), such as: signing postcards, organizing lotteries, tasting cupcakes and of course taking photos with our small guest, who even received a nickname for the day: Max!

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

With this special occasion, we printed a limited edition meetup postcard, showing the Royal train of Romania (Photo by Mihai Raitaru). Everybody signed it — even the train inspectors, who were quite impressed by it!

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

Once arrived in Ploiești, we gathered for a nice group photo and went on sightseeing, having a few hours available before the train back to Bucharest.


The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

We first visited the Clocks Museum - the biggest clocks collection in South-Eastern Europe.

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

The Art Museum was next on our list, where we took more photos and signed some more postcards in the lobby. Max got a special surprise from one of our colleagues, who played the piano for him.

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

Before heading back, one last stop was made at the Postal Office to send our "train traveling meetup" postcards to fellow Postcrossers around the world and to say goodbye to little Max, who continued his journey back to Portugal. At the end of this full and fun day we all went back to our homes with many wonderful memories.

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

We also found out that this was the first train traveling meetup in the world and all this was possible because Postcrossing exists! Thank you Postcrossing team for bringing us together, thank you for building bridges among people and nations! Happy Postcrossing, everyone!

The Little Mail Carriers' cousin in Romania

Train meetup participants (who came from a bit all over Romania):
Anca, bardamu1964, cristinaS, corneljipa, dienuca, DrAmpie, eumihai2003, lamelemon, MaraMilu, MihneaR, modranhoria, mpalade, Nazareanu, NoarVladimir, Schumi99, spiderpc and susanica.

Concept: Mihnea (MihneaR)

Organizers: Mihnea (MihneaR), George (Nazareanu), Eugen (eumihai2003)

Photos: Eugen (eumihai2003) and George (Nazareanu)
 — you can see lots more here!
Article: George (Nazareanu) with the help of Beatrice ( boopilina), Diana (dienuca), Anca (Annajo) and Mihnea (MihneaR)

Thank you guys, that was brilliant! And what do you think... it's time the Little Mail Carriers' cousin had a name — should we stick to "Postman Max"? :)


Posted by on 12 Mar, 2016
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