22 June 2020

Postcard Pen Pals

A few years back, I was reading this memoir about Alice Waters who is a chef, food activist and founder of Chez Panisse

Coming to My Senses by Alice Waters
via Penguin Random House

In the book she says:
"I've always loved postcards, both sending them and getting them. I really believe that the right picture on a postcard tells it all. Plus you don't have to write too much on the back! I felt I could write a few lines, and the picture on the front could convey everything I couldn't express. I have boxes and boxes of postcards I've collected over the years -- I buy them and send them off wherever I go but always come home with way more than I can send. And even in the places where I stay when I'm traveling, I'll take postcards I find and prop them up on shelves of the hotel room, in places that need a little temporary decoration and beauty. It's an inexpensive way to make a room beautiful." - Alice Waters 
I loved this particular piece of information because I could relate! Looking for postcards is still one of the things I do when I find myself in a new city.

I search for them in souvenir shops, drug stores...even thrift shops. And I buy more than I send out. 

In a previous post, I wrote about curating a set of postcards that I sent to friends for their birthdays. The blank postcards came from my collection. I wrote wishes on the back with specific memories with that friend (ex. the summer we went dolphin watching or took an international trip together).

When my parents were still alive, I sent them a postcard from every place I visited. My Dad was always excited to tell me that they received it. This is one of the many things I truly miss now that they are no longer around. I lost my pen pals.

But I found a new one!

She's Kim, my six year old niece. She lives in the Philippines and when I last saw her, we played a hiding game. She would hide under the dinner table after we all had our meal and I would say, "Where's Kim?" Then she would appear and I would tell her, "There you are! I thought you disappeared." And she would say, "I disappeared to Paris" or "I disappeared to Bangkok" or "I disappeared to Antwerp". For a six year old, her list of cities are quite impressive!

Now that we're far away (I live in the U.S.), I hope to continue bonding with her and keep her interested in geography, adventure, and travel. So I sent her this package. Inside are a map of the United States, a bunch of stickers, and a letter saying we are now pen pals.

Every month, I'll send her a postcard from a different State (all from the stash I've collected over the years). When she gets the postcard, she has to look at the map and find the State where the postcard came from and mark that part of the map with a sticker.

I hope this improves her reading and spelling skills, appreciation for geography, and patience (because she has to wait for the next postcard), all while having fun (Ooohhh! A matching game! With stickers!).

Here are the postcards I've mailed to her so far:

New York 




Washington, D.C.


I can't wait to look at the sticker-filled map the next time I see her. And that means I have to visit new States when it's safer for all of us to travel. That way, I can send her more postcards.

I hope we get to pursue this activity for the years to come (maybe she'll send me postcards, too) and we can eventually graduate to a world map. 

Living far away may be "blah" but sending and receiving postcards will always be "TADA!"

How about you? How do you keep long distance relationships alive? Please share!


  1. Your niece is going to have such a fun time over the next few years getting your postcards. You're such a cool aunt!

    I'm a postcard sender, too! I make a lot of mine, haha usually from chocolate packages.:-)

    1. Thank you Priscilla! Handmade postcards...made from chocolate packaging...WOW! You are awesome!


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