Friday, June 17, 2011

Our Postcard Project + 2 More Postcards

Someone recently saw one of my posts where I shared the postcards we have been receiving and asked me about our project.  I realized then that I haven't explained about Postcrossing and our project in a couple of years.  I thought I would take the opportunity to explain about it once more.

Postcrossing is a great website that allows users to exchange postcards with other users around the world.  The site is free.  The only cost for using Postcrossing comes from purchasing (or making) postcards and then mailing them to their intended recipients.  Depending on the postcard you purchase and where it is going, it usually costs somewhere around $1.00 to $1.50 to send a card from the United States to either another state or another country.  Sometimes the cost is more, sometimes less, but it usually within that range.

When you first start using Postcrossing, you are limited to sending 5 postcards at a time.  You choose the option to 'Send a Postcard' and are given the name and address of a recipient.  It can be in another city, another state, or another country.  The computer chooses for you.  Along with the name and address, you are given an ID number.  For instance, I just sent a postcard to Finland with the ID number US-1168544.  That means that it is card number 1,168,544 to be sent from the United States.  When sending the postcard, you must put the ID number on the card along with your message.  When the person you sent it to receives the postcard, he or she then registers the postcard (using the ID number) to show that it has been received.  When one of your cards has been received, your name and address gets added back into the computer to be able to receive a postcard.  Someone will then receive your name and address, mail you a postcard, and then you register it when it is received.  The more postcards you send that get registered, the more you are allowed to send at one time.  I've sent enough over the past couple of years that I can now send 12 postcards at one time if I want, but I am not required to send any unless I choose to.  The more that are sent, the more that are received.

Using Postcrossing is a lot of fun for the whole family.  For starters, it is always a nice surprise to find a postcard instead of junk mail or bills in our mailbox.  Seeing sites from around the world gives us a chance to 'travel' without leaving our house.  The cards give us a chance to learn about new countries, historic places, and different cultures.  We are able to use the postcards as a learning experience.  We find the places on a map, research the history, and learn something new.  Sometimes the postcards have funny images, cartoon characters, or just something fun instead of historical sites or city views.  We always enjoy those, too, since it gives us a laugh, makes us smile, or introduces us to new characters we didn't previously know about.

We always enjoy sending and receiving postcards through Postcrossing.  This morning, we received two more postcards.

This postcard came to us from Laura in Lithuania.  Laura reports that Lithuania is very hot this time of year.  She shared that the temperature was 29 degrees Celsius (84.2 degrees Fahrenheit) and sunny.  That does not seem very hot to us right now, seeing as we've already had temperatures reaching close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is definitely hotter than the cold winter days that were experienced not too long ago.

This postcard came to us from Alex in Belarus, who reports that she loves her beautiful city of Minsk, but that the government "poisons its citizens".  She also shared that there are a lot of pigeons and ducks in the upper town, and that so many people feed them every day that they become very fat.

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