I can't believe it's almost a year since I started the Postcard Challenge. I started with this post. I related my love for handwritten letters, stamps, penfriends and the entire old school way of communication. The initial target of the challenge is to send at least 12 postcards in 2015. I have exceeded my target both in the number of friends and postcards sent. I contacted all my blog friends and long lost penfriends, which include my dearest friend from South Korea. Everyone agreed to provide their addresses. I was the happiest. A while ago, I was sorting my old files at the workplace and found my 2015 notebook. I only wrote entries for the month of January. I checked the space for the notes and discovered all the blog friends that were part of the challenge. I'm not sure what I ate that time because I decided to throw it away. Haha I was probably overwhelmed with all the bad memories in 2015. I don't want to see any reminder of all the negative things. Only to later realize, I wouldn't be able to recall the names of my friends who received my initial postcards. Oh well, everything has been done now. Blame my impulsiveness. 

The blog friends, long lost penfriends and friends who used to live in Manila formed the recipients of the first batch of postcards. It would be nice if everyone will also send me postcards and the exchange will become a continuous practice. However, I knew that this is not possible to happen. Not everyone share my interests. Stamps have become a little expensive too. I cannot force everyone to spend for my personal interest. The good news is I have a few blog friends who supported my self-imposed challenge. I gained three blog friends who responded and sent me the best postcards from around the world. They are Jeannie, Terra and Marieken. I can't find the perfect words to express my gratitude. I feel blessed because they were not just letter writing friends. I may not have met them personally yet (who knows), but they have become one of the best things that happened to me. Thank you Jeannie, Terra and Marieken!

In the course of doing the challenge, I was faced with another challenge. Finding nice postcards became the other challenge. While Papemelroti offers the nicest and unique postcards, I cannot totally rely from one shop. I tried National Bookstore only to discover outdated postcards of different local destinations, tourists spots and former presidents. Some were not even properly labeled. There was a photo of a beach with the best white sand. The photo did not come with any description at all. Who knows, it can be Boracay, Palawan or the rare white beaches in Batangas. I pity the racks of postcards in every branch of National Bookstore. And no offense meant, the layout of the postcards are not so nice, not creatively done, very unattractive. I ended with independent sellers and artists from Instagram, Etsy and Society 6. The postcards are beautiful but the price aren't and the shipping fees are killing me. By accident or fate I guess, I was able to discover old and quaint shops in Manila that offer vintage postcards. These are postcards that were printed way before the 1970s and are not limited to photographs of tourists destinations. Along the way, I started to discover used postcards and envelopes. My "stalking" I mean research skills were tested. Hahaha I started buying old postcards and envelopes and looked for the actual owners. This is a hobby I accidentally discovered. I have this dream of collecting used postcards and envelopes, look for details and stories about the owners and have them framed later. If I get rich, I can build a museum for this. In my dreams!

I forgot to mention, another discovery I made was the prevalence of postcard exchange in Instagram. Instagram users can exchange postcards with anyone who signified interest with the use of #postcrossing. I became very interested, which led me to further discoveries. Most of the participants were years younger than me. They are most of the time, teenagers. This surprised me because I never expected younger kids still interested in postcards, post offices, stamps and the old school way of writing letters. I joined #postcrossing with the wish of gaining new friends. Unfortunately, this abruptly ended. I was discouraged by the attitude of some postcrossers. I used to believe that it might be because of our age difference. Yes, I'm old and emotional. Hahaha But no, I can't stand the idea of rejecting interested postcrossers just because they don't have the nicest and prettiest postcards. I also noticed that some possess selective disorders They only accept fellow postcrossers who come from popular tourist destination countries such as France, Italy, Japan and the likes. Discrimination?

I intend to continue the postcard challenge this year. This time however, I have to focus on the few friends I have. One reason is the cost of stamps, which has escalated this year. I don't want to spend for people who are only interested with the beautiful cards. I also prefer to focus on the few people who share my interests, which include Marieken, Terra and Jeannie. But of course, if you want to become part of my circle of postcard friends, you are very much welcomed. Just feel free to send me an email for the details. :)