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Blog > Postcrossing Spotlight: sevvie from Finland

Meet sevvie (aka Hanna), who lives in Helsinki, Finland. She likes films (and going to movie festivals) and practising the different writing styles when a member provides the address in their native alphabet or writing script! :)

Here is what she had to say:
How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

I think it was a cold autumn day some 6–7 years ago when a friend of mine from school mentioned having Postcrossing as her hobby. She might have been on her way to post some cards or buy a few stamps and I might have asked what they were for, I can’t quite recall, but in any case I got rather curious about the whole thing. I have always loved snail mail and Postcrossing seemed like a great way to find people who thought the same, and not just within Finland but practically all over the world. I also thought it would be a rather inexpensive and not a very time-consuming pastime, but I’ve later had to revise that idea a bit. Also, cards can really take up space! But I don’t mind any of these things because all in all Postcrossing is a wonderful hobby.

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

As much as I love receiving cards, I have to admit that choosing a card to match each recipient is by far my favourite part. I enjoy writing small messages on the cards, preferably so that there is not much space left afterwards. It’s also great if someone requests a drawing, or if the recipient has included their address in their native language as well. It’s nice to get to practice different writing styles, and I expect it’s also easier for a postal worker to handle the card that way too. I especially like writing Cyrillic and Japanese/Chinese addresses. So far I haven’t seen that many Korean or Thai addresses, and I’d very much like to try Arabic as well. Although I’d probably be a bit nervous doing it. With unfamiliar alphabets there’s always the risk of writing gibberish instead of something understandable. But it is always great to try.

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

We finally got a new mailbox some months ago. It was not ours to buy, so we had to wait nearly a year for the new one. The neighbourhood we live in is known as “the rainiest place in Finland”, so having a leaky mailbox that suspiciously looked like someone had bumped against it several times with their car was not very pleasant. Often my cards would be if not soggy and a bit torn, then at least slightly damp, and they would curl oddly as they dried. So we were glad to get a new mailbox. Even though it doesn’t look that special, we like it a lot.

sevvie's book of postcards

I store my received postcards in albums and keep my cards-to-send in old shoe-boxes. Or that’d be the ideal situation anyway! Often the cards are anywhere there is some free space until I have time to organise them, which can take a while. I also upload my received cards on Picasa for easy access, though obviously without all the wonderful messages, handwriting styles, stamps, postmarks and stickers.

sevvie's post office

I used to leave my cards in the Post Museum special cancellation box, but now that the museum has moved to Tampere I use the General Post Office’s special cancellation box. I also like to attend First Day events to send cards with special postmarks and brand new stamps.

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

I have received so many wonderful cards it feels strange to try to narrow them down to one favourite, or even several. I prefer art cards and cards related to books, films and television, but as long as a card is visually pleasing, I’ll love it. Here there are three official Postcrossing cards I have found especially lovely:

sevvie's favourite cards

US-761954 from Karen-Campbell, DE-2024899 from Kaate, PL-643913 from krystyna (with an honourable mention to DE-1524632 from glaesmann). And below are three direct swap cards from Jodie05, Lucia28jp, and WY, respectively. All of them have made me even fonder of – and more fascinated with – the world we live in.

sevvie's favourite cards
Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

Well, I don’t know about interesting, but I really enjoy films. Surprising, I know. But I think watching films is actually rather similar to Postcrossing, in a way. You get to see small glimpses of other cultures, traditions and ways of thinking. I also love languages and music, so I’m always equally as eager to hear a film as I am to see it. It’s a wonderful thing that there are so many outstanding film festivals here in the Capital Region. Film festivals definitely do broaden the selection and you get to see films from all over the world. The newest additions are, I think, Helsinki Cine Aasia and Season Film Festival, held for the first time this March and April. I was glad to go and see three films at Helsinki Cine Aasia, two from China and one from Japan. I usually buy a festival voucher that allows you to see ten or eleven films during a festival. My favourite festivals are Espoo Ciné and Rakkautta & Anarkiaa (Love & Anarchy), the two major ones, but there are numerous smaller ones that I also like to attend.

Besides films, I love reading speculative fiction and tending to plants.

Is there anything that you are passionate about?

Passionate is a rather strong word and perhaps not something I’d easily describe myself with; I just try to live my life the best way I can and enjoy it to the fullest. I suppose that is something I am quite eager to realise, in a way, though it’s a rather difficult goal to be sure. Obviously there is much that I view as very important, such as my family and friends, the state of the environment, and so on, and things I really enjoy doing, like reading and cooking. Overall I think I’m also a bit of a do-gooder, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I believe I’d be quite unhappy if I weren’t vegetarian, hated recycling or never bought clothes and furniture second hand, and so on.

And if I think about all the wonderful things I’d miss terribly if they’d suddenly be gone, the list would be at least as long as the number of kilometres our postcards have travelled. Stories and dreams, dancing, music, songs and singing, everything in nature, solving a puzzle, baking a cake, the feeling of joy I get whenever one of my postcards gets registered… Even the tiniest thing can really make a difference. I could say that I’m quite keen to make myself appreciate these things, big and small, as they deserve to be appreciated.

Saying that I’m actually passionate about life feels a bit trite, but I guess that’s exactly what it is at the end of the day.

PC summer

Happy postcrossing and joyful summer!


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22 comments so far

Marijaxxx, North Macedonia
I like the way her postcards are stored, i might try it. :)))

juliaclaire, United States of America
I agree with you Marijaxxx. Right now my received postcards are stored on a bulletin board, so it's a pain to look through them. Storing them in an album like that is a good idea.

Nice article!

emotis, United States of America
What a wonderfully positive profile to read today! I love Hanna's attitude of appreciation! :) :)

HM, Netherlands
Nice to read this blog! That's what I like as well: writing addresses in the original native language.
I also prefer to write my sent out cards.

salt_on_my_skin, United States of America
yay, Hanna is finally featured here! so happy to see her beautiful handwriting :)

Hanna is a wonderful postcrosser and a great person, and it really shines through! She has a great attention to detail and can turn everything into a heart-warming surprise!
Was interesting to get a glimpse into everyday life in Finland ;)
many greetings and congratulations on being featured in the blog! ♥

greatgma, United States of America
Thank you Hanna for a wonderful "interview". It is so nice to hear each person's story, see their mailbox and look at some of their favorite cards. I feel like I had a little visit to Finland today.

nugget, United States of America
So nice to "meet" you. Thanks for sharing!

florencen, Australia
thankyou for letting us into you life.

teesa, Portugal
I love your mailbox whit the snow !

soumya, India
Hanna, I like your mailbox. Its lovely. Also a great interview. Wish you all the very best.

danalicious, Canada
Thank you for sharing your postcrossing story!

WY, Taiwan
Moi, Hanna!
I'm really happy to read this great interview. The article, pictures and your unique writing are so fantastic. It's really my honor because I'm mentioned in the interview. It's also my honor to send you my first official Postcrossing postcard in June, 2008. Our friendship also started from that time. I do cherish what you sent me for the private swap. They not only enrich my postcard collection, but also have brought my family a lot of joy. You do write good Chinese characters (Kanji). I really admire your efforts on learning it.
My family and I indeed appreciate your concern about us. We cherish such precious friendship between the Finnish and the Taiwanese and will maintain it forever.
With greetings from Taiwan!!!
Wei Yi (WY)

jollyjanice, Japan
This is a great interview and I agree that by reading this, it gave me a new idea of storing my postcards.
Greetings from Hiroshima, Japan.

PavelVasilev, China
I like your handwriting,very beautiful!If you need some Chinses stamps,you can connect me.

Indigogirl, Australia
Hi Hanna, I never even thought of trying to address cards using the recipient's language. Food for thought. I started postcrossing the same way... its such a feel good thing to connect with people all around the world... and when I started it gave me comfort at a time when I was feeling low. I enjoyed reading your interview

Sameer, India
Hi Hanna,

You have such a beautiful handwriting... and I must say your idea of storing the cards in wonderful.. Your post box with ice on that is sooo beautiful... !!!

Al3x, Austria
Beautiful answers! I might try to store my postcards in a similar way. Neat.

SieLo, Germany
Hallo, it is nice to be in your postcrossing - but I would like to write to some more other countries, too. I have writen to Netherlands or Belarus. Some other countries have been within, but less. Best regards Siggi

isagv, Germany
what a wonderfull interview!

sevvie, Finland
@Marijaxxx & lilysunny & jollyjanice & Al3x: Thank you! Yes, albums are a great way to store cards! Highly recommended! You can be both artistic and practical, a combination which I like a lot. I have the front sides of cards displayed on the one side and when I turn the "page" I can see the written and stamped sides of the cards on the other. That way it's not just about the images on the cards but also about the people and the journeys the cards have taken to reach me, easily accessible. Although, it would take a lot less albums to just present the front sides of cards... :-)

@EclecticCollect: If you have special interests or if you hope to form longstanding relationships with fellow postcrossers then, yes, do try out direct swap! :-) I've received so many woderful cards though private swap and met some lovely people. Of course, there are times when I might have not received anything back, but I've tried to think that perhaps I have made someone happy. One card here or there is not a big thing and not a loss if you don't think about it that way. But I hope this doesn't scare you or anyone else off direct swap. Most people are really wonderful and generous here!

sevvie, Finland
@emotis: Oh, thank you for your kind comment! :-) :-)

@HM: Thank you! I do wish there was always the option of writing in the native language or one of them, at least, when writing Postcrossing addresses. There's something very special about every single writing style and alphabet. And, as someone who has worked as a mail carrier, clear/understandable addresses do make the job a lot easier.

@salt_on_my_skin: Kiitos! :-) I'm really glad you think so.

@greatgma & nugget & florencen & danalicious: Thank you! :-) It's interesting to see something ordinary turned into something - not quite extraordinary - but at least a little bit special. It's a public postcard of sorts.

@Groseiller: Yes, I'm always amazed by it as well. :-)

@teesa & soumya: Yes, it's a wonderful mailbox! I've never had a mailbox before moving to Helsinki, just a mail slot, so I can only say that this one is the best mailbox I've had so far. It's more exciting to go down and pick your mail from the box than it was to find it on your carpet. And the seasons do add their own excitement, especially with the old mailbox.

sevvie, Finland
@WY: Paljon kiitoksia! There isn't much I haven't said to you already, I think, but I hope you really do know how glad I am to receive your cards and parcels and news and how happy it makes me to send you cards and presents in turn. Thank you for leaving a comment as well. :-)

@Lhemlin: Thank you! I really enjoy seeing other people's handwriting styles, and since I also write "Happy Postcrossing!" in Finnish in every official card, I thought I might write it here as well. I don't really collect stamps, though I love them a lot, and don't have a large reserve of used Finnish stamps, but I'm always up for a private swap...

@Indigogirl: Postcrossing does bring a lot of joy to me as well, and to everyone who has it as their hobby, I suppose. We all have our reasons for doing it, but whatever those reasons are, Postcrossing brings us together and shows us our differences and similarities. I enjoy seeing that. A simple greeting, genuinely given, can brighten almost any day. Thank you for your comment!

@Sameer: Thank you! I appreciate you writing such kind words.

@SieLo: Oh, I certainly agree! :-) There have been so many Finnish postcrossers interviewed lately that I felt a bit uncertain about the whole thing. Finland is very homogeneous, although people are always different in their similarities, so it was slightly difficult to decide what to write as not to have it be the thousandth time, not that you can ever really succeed in that...

@isagv: :-) Great that you found it so! Thank you for leaving a comment!

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