Snail mail has played a huge part in keeping my family together during those long years when my father had to work abroad. He was part of a UN mission during the 90s, which meant that he moved to different countries every so often. But despite growing up in a family of keen letter writers, here’s one thing about me: I’ve never sent nor received mail in my whole life. Besides bills and tax filings, that is. The main reason I could think of is that I grew up in the internet age, where email and instant messaging are the main forms of communication. My siblings (who are almost a decade older than me), on the other hand, grew up writing letters to our dad abroad. They would write about anything they could think of: my brother’s typical school day, my dad’s experience in the field, my sister’s requests for new toys, all those things. We have a large plastic envelope filled with old letters and sometimes I would just stop what I’m doing and read all of them. Reading those letters served as a way for me to get to know each member of the family when they were still younger. It amazed me how simple life was back then. Although nowadays they tell me stories about how long it takes to receive a letter, I’ve always loved the idea of holding a letter in my hand and waiting excitedly for a reply. That’s why I decided to try sending mail for the first time last month, and I wrote to my friends who are living in the United States.
I sent my friends a letter and some Instax photos of us during my visit to the US. This idea came about when I was organizing my travel souvenirs. Besides the usual plane tickets and brochures, I also found lots of Instax photos that I forgot to give before we parted ways. Since they were already on my travel journal, I thought I could just send them printed Mini copies of our photos (using my Instax Share). Besides, I thought that it would make them happier to hold an actual photo instead of just looking at it online. I told them about my idea first and they got excited as well; they even told me that finally they would receive something in the mail besides bills and subscriptions!
I was absolutely clueless at first on how to go about the whole letter writing thing. I was so used to expressing my thoughts in the most concise way possible (blame Twitter for this) so I made an effort to make my letters special. Another thing, I didn’t even know what stamps were for (I know, loser right?) until I went to the post office. The post office is pretty far from our house and I could have asked someone to send the letter for me but I wanted to do everything myself! I felt great when the letter was finally stamped and sent!
The letters arrived sooner than I expected; I was told that they would arrive in three weeks, but my friends got my letters two weeks after I sent them. They were so ecstatic when they finally got their mail to the point that they even competed who got it first, and of course I loved their reactions too! They kept on thanking me for taking time to send them something and I think it made us feel closer to each other because there’s a personal touch to every piece of mail I sent them. It’s a really exciting experience to send snail mail and I would do this again, just to get back that old feeling!