Friday, August 19, 2011

Post Office Friends and Stamps

Writing letters is by no means a new hobby, as I mentioned in my first post. This is something I've been doing pretty much since I could pick up a pencil (or crayon), and something I've done extensively throughout my life. And one nice by-product of sending letters and packages is becoming friends with the people at the post office.

One of my most memorable post office friends is Reiko Funami of the Kita-Ayase post office in Japan. Reiko greeted me every time I came to the post office, which was fairly frequent as I made a habit of sending packages of random hundred-yen goodies to friends back home. She patiently made small-talk with me as I fumbled through my very limited Japanese (though I was at a very basic conversational level, I did develop pretty good post office vocabulary!). She was probably my closest Japanese friend who didn't speak English. While we never hung out outside the post office, I have her address and have written to her since I left Japan - she'll definitely be getting another letter!

The photos above are of the parting gift that Reiko gave me - a set of commemorative stamps for the 50th wedding anniversary of the Emporer and Empress, that have cranes and fans on them. It's really quite beautiful. The day I was leaving I stopped in to say goodbye, and she and another woman who worked at the post office, Ikuyo, gave me the gifts. They were incredibly sweet.

Their gift leads me to another great thing about letter writing - stamps! Stamps are cool. I have these really nice international postage stamps that have pictures of the Grand Tetons on them. I love sending those to friends overseas, as they are one of the most beautiful places in America and its nice sharing that with friends abroad. I really liked the stamp that came on my letter from Lieke in the Netherlands - it's a globe shaped like a heart. The perfect stamp for a letter sent between peace educators!

So far I haven't made any friends at the Solana Beach or Carlsbad post offices, but hopefully that will change over time. I'm pretty new to the area, after all - and I'm definitely making more trips to the post office these days.

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