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postcrossing

ブラジルからの葉書

Postcrossingを始めて18日目。請求書とダイレクトメールのみだった私のメールボックスに初めてのポストカードが届きました!

 

送り主はブラジルの男性。彼が住む街にあるカトリック教会のポストカードでした。初めてのポストカードというだけでもうれしいのに、メッセージを読んでさらに感動。ポストカードの写真の説明の後に、

Please remember we pray for the Tsunami victims. I’m sure you’ll recover.

と書かれていました。心遣いに思わず涙ぐんでしまいました。

 

そしてモルドバに送ったポストカードを受け取ったという報告メッセージもきていました。彼女にとって私のポストカードが初めてだったということで、ものすごく喜んでくれました。その喜びのメッセージを見て、自分が送ったポストカードが見知らぬ人を幸せにしたということを実感して、もう一度うれしくなりました。

 

Postcrossing is a free website which enables members to exchange postcards at random. A Portuguese student who loves exchanging postcards originally created the website in 2005, and it now has 229,859 members from 204 countries.

The rule is simple, but brilliant. After registering at the site, we first request an address, and it gives us a randomly-selected address. We go to the receiver’s profile page, read their introduction and preferences, then send a postcard with a message. When the designated person receives the letter, it contains an ID number of the postcard transaction instead of the sender’s address. The receiver has to register the ID number at the website with a thank-you note. After the first postcard is sent, someone sends a postcard to us and the cycle goes on.

The system is unique because it isn’t like traditional letter correspondence. We don’t exchange letters with a particular person. We write someone, but the person doesn’t write back. Instead, another person sends a postcard to me. The one-way postcard exchanging enables us to enjoy diversity, and gives us a possibility to correspond with as many as 204 countries.

As the system restricts the number of transactions to 5 at a time when we register, and the postcard needs approval and registration from the receiver, we don’t have to worry about someone distributing mass direct mails. As the restriction is lifted to 20 transactions at a time after several exchanges, a keen mail-lover doesn’t have to worry about the limitation.

The founder wrote, “The element of surprise of receiving postcards from different places in the world (many of which you probably have never heard of) can turn your mailbox into a box of surprises – and who wouldn’t like that?” I can’t agree with him more. I used to have penpals from Tanzania and Malaysia when I was a teenager. I recall the excitement I felt when I found some mail in the mailbox. Checking the mailbox as soon as I came home from school was my favorite routine at that time.

I requested my first 5 addresses, and think of the receivers living in distant countries. I would never think of Moldova if I had not had a chance to write to a person who loves nature, and lives in a suburb of Chişinău, Moldova. I actually didn’t know where it was.

18 days have passed, and I received my first postcard from Brazil. It depicted a Roman Catholic Church near where the sender lives. After some explanation about the church, he wrote, “Please remember we pray for the Tsunami victims. I’m sure you’ll recover.” I was taken by surprise, because I was elated by the first postcard already, and didn’t expect such affectionate and kind words! I felt close to tears. What is more, I received an excited thank-you message from the Moldovan woman, saying mine was her first postcard, and I had made her day.This isn’t the first time that I have felt very glad to have learned English, but now I feel more grateful than ever.

I’m pretty sure that postcrossing will be one of my lifelong hobbies, and I hope I can share the exciting experience with other people.

 

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