When I started sending postcards via Postcrossing I never thought that actual friendships could grow and that the people behind the postcards could mean the world to me! But it happened!
On December 22nd 2010 I became a member of Postcrossing. I had heard a lot about the site, and got excited from the first minute I got my first address. I send out 5 postcards and waited behind my computer to see if they already arrived. Finally they started to arrive and I received my first card back!! The person sending this card is JulianChristopher. He sent me a beautiful card of the Sequoia National Park in California. I immediately fell in love with not only sending postcards, but also I wanted to go there because it looked amazing!
Besides sending the official postcards I started to send more and more private swaps and adding postcards to my favorites. Many cards from Blkbird were (and still are!) in my favorite gallery. She send me a message to ask if we could do a private swap! Of course!! It was difficult for me to choose which one of the beautiful cards of my favorites I wanted… One day, a big surprise was waiting for me when I found the private swap in my mailbox: it was an envelope filled with all the cards I added to my favorites send by her! I was amazed to see how sweet someone completely strange to me could be! We started talking and I fell in love again with the beautiful landscapes on the postcards: Colorado!
If before America had never crossed my mind as a holiday destination, now I was checking hotels, flight tickets, rental cars… My love for America only grew the more postcards I got, but it also became more specific. Sequoia National Park, the first card I got, was still in my head and I wanted to see more it. And who better to ask about it than the person who send me my first card? He was so sweet and sent me some more cards and then one thing led to another and we became 'postcard-pals’ and sometimes we spoke on Facebook. I didn’t forget about Colorado either, neither about Blkbird. We kept sending postcards and I fell in love more and more with America.
So when my husband proposed, we didn’t need to think about a honeymoon destination: AMERICA! We planned a roadtrip, crossing all the places I saw on the postcards I loved. But one thing I really wanted to do to was to meet the people who were so sweet to me all this time and had become my friends. I wasn’t sure if they would like to meet me too, I mean, I’m a stranger from another country, who they only knew via Facebook and postcards. But both were really enthusiastic about my plans and we planned the meetings.
First it was JulianChristopher's turn. We planned to see each other in the Sequoia National Park, where else! From the first moment we met I felt so happy and blessed that I had the chance to meet him and his sweet son. I just couldn’t believe that it was real, that it wasn’t a dream. We spend hours hiking and chatting. He could tell us so much about Sequoia, America and so much more. How special to spend time together in the park he showed me for the first time on a postcard as a total stranger!! Time flies and when the moment of saying goodbye came closer I didn’t wanted to say goodbye and felt sad. But no tears when we said goodbye, only a big smile of gratefulness that I could experience this and actually meet the 'stranger-friend from America’.
Meeting Blkbird was just as special as meeting JulianChristopher. Last minute we decided to have dinner the night before we had planned to spend together. We were waiting at the restaurant and she was a bit late, so I was nervous that she wouldn’t come or that she saw us waiting and thought: NO WAY! Nothing of that was true and when we met it was like meeting an old friend after years. No uncomfortable feelings, just chatting, eating, laughing. The restaurant was closing so we needed to go unfortunately but I was more then happy to know that we would meet again the next day.
We planned to go to the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver and the Dushanbe teahouse in Boulder. We enjoyed her 'guided tour’ and company. It was unbelievable how much we had in common. She could have been my mother or sister or twin. She is so alike me that it almost is scary!! No surprise that we didn’t want to say goodbye, so we sat for hours in the car when we got 'kicked out’ of the teahouse. Just talking and enjoying the company. No wonder that when it was REALLY time to say goodbye we both cried. When we drove away, I felt so sad.
JulianChristopher and Blkbird both have a special place in my heart. For them I would return to America without a doubt. When I’m writing this, tears are falling down my cheeks. Tears of sadness that I know that I won’t see them for a long time, tears of happiness, that I had the privilege to meet them.
Who could have thought that sending postcards could actually lead to lifelong friendships!