Postcards from the Edge (and Wherever Else I Happen to Be)

Some of the girls' postcards (the ones that they could find). A couple of my favorites are in this stash--the illustrated tree from Jardin Botanique, and the girl with all the chocolate.

I’ve been traveling for work often in the past four years, twice a year at the least. Once, I had five out-of-the-country trips and at least four local trips all in one year. That was the year that I flew in from Malaysia late afternoon, and early the morning the next day, I flew out to Dipolog City, Zamboanga (and the day after that was Breeze’s birthday, which I obviously missed).

Aside from the usual pasalubong or small gifts (sometimes big!) and trinkets I bring home from each trip, I also like to send the girls postcards from wherever I am.

Not sure how it all started, actually. I think when I went to Geneva for the first time, despite Facetime, chats, email and text, I missed the girls (and The Hubby) so much, I just wanted to send something. Anything. And postcards were the cheapest option (so cheap, in fact, that I always arrive home before my postcards ever get there—snail mail in the purest sense). On my second trip, I decided to send another batch. Then another. And so it began.

When the girls get the cards, I’m usually home and I hand it to them fresh from Kuya Jun The Friendly Neighborhood Postman’s hands. They read it, sometimes we talk about the pictures, and whatever I wrote on the back of the postcard, and then I see the cards lying around tables and shelves and desks. Finally, after a few days of postcards occupying various horizontal surfaces around the house, The Amazing Aling Lourdes puts them away somewhere, never to be seen again (or seen only on special occasions, such as when the girls want to count postcards, or compare the stories Mommy wrote).

A few cycles of this postcards-lying-around-before-they-disappear, I figured that the kids didn’t really care for the postcards, so my next trip, I didn’t bother sending any. And I came home to disappointed kids. Apparently, they do look forward to receiving postcards. So now it’s become tradition.

I asked Raine why she liked receiving postcards. “Because it’s a sign that you didn’t forget us!” she said. Breeze, on the other hand, likes “collecting them, like the random things I also collect.”

So I keep sending them.

I have to admit, looking for postcards can be stressful. Some places (mostly local) don’t even have postcards. Even harder is looking for the place to buy stamps and to mail them. I’ve discovered that in Switzerland, the little convenience stores at train stations sell stamps, and then you can drop the postcards in the mailboxes around the station. At the Dubai Airport, the Customer Service Counter at the Departure Gates can mail them for you. In Bangkok, the post counter is all the way at the top floor, in the farthest reaches of the airport. The huge post office in Hong Kong is a nice walk from the IFC Mall, near the ferry station. Most hotels will be happy to mail postcards for you as well. I still haven’t found the post station at the Singapore Airport (probably should go to the Customer Service counter as well).

But I also enjoy the act of looking for the perfect postcards (which can be hard, after going to the same places year after year). It’s also a pleasurable challenge thinking of what to write in such little space.

Looking for the perfect postcards can be a challenge, especially when you're pressed for time.

Most of all, I enjoy the connection I feel with the girls, despite the distance. I hope when they look at their stacks of postcards years from now, they’ll remember that Mommy is always thinking of them. Even while she enjoys the solitude and silence of a hotel room.




Speak your mind