Postcard from a long, lost friend

NC-postcard
I had the most pleasant shock (again, promise!) yesterday when I saw a postcard, from among the lot I collected from the Post Office yesterday, bearing a familiar handwriting. I could not believe it but a dear old friend from university, who I haven’t seen in 16 years, has somehow gotten hold of my address from a friend of a friend and sent me a postcard! Unbelievable! Her opening words here… Eto, buhay na buhay pa ko! Here I am, still alive and kicking! *lol*

My friend is now married to an American and has been living in the state of North Carolina since last year. She sent me a link to her newly-created blog where she detailed her first 365 days in the US. Her posts were honest and candid, funny and irreverent,  just like she is in person.  I lol-ed at her husband’s hilarious joke about a special health plan just as she was about to apply for her health insurance in nc. It’s an inside (and a personal) joke so I can’t really divulge the rest of the details.
Placed in service in 1892, this 156-foot black and white horizontal-striped Bodie Island Lighthouse receives thousands of visitors every year. 
My friend and her husband traveled to this place for several hours by car and stayed with their friends overnight. They visited this brick lighthouse and marveled at how well-maintained the lighthouse and the environs are. Although the tower is not open for climbing, there is a visitor centre, a gift shop, and a mini-museum where exhibits that tell about the history of the lighthouse are displayed at the former keeper’s quarters at the bottom floor.
The stamp used was a 94-cent definitive stamp for international airmail featuring a photograph of Trunk Bay, St. Johns, in the US Virgin Islands. It is classified under the Scenic American Landscapes series. Photographed by George H. Huey, of Prescott, Arizona.  

Touring the Twilight location

Forks-Washington

This is the second postcard that was sent to me, still featuring the place featured in the movie-series, Twilight. Previously I showed you the First Beach in La Push, Washington. This time, the postcard shows a multi-view of the City of Forks…

… the Home of the Twilight Vampires.

This quaint logging town in the Washing state has become popular, and thanks to the movie, fans come in droves to see the town where their favourites Bella and Edward fell in love. This prompted some enterprising individuals to put up guided tours of the sights/locations described in the book (and the movie). Hear this, the two-hour guided tours even have an accompanying soundtrack as background as you go to all these places. Hahaha, talking about cashing in on the popularity of the book and movie.
While I am not really a fan of Twilight (I find it really ridiculous, sorry, no offense meant), I find touring the locations more appealing. But I do not like guided tours where one’s movement is restricted/limited according to the schedule that was prepared for you. If I were to go on tour, I’d love to do it independently, without having to be rushed from one place to another. I dreamed of owning an rv some day, and that should give me the freedom to travel independently and in my own terms. How I wish local banks here would offer rv loans sooner!

The stamp is the same definitive stamp used in the previous post/postcard.

Postcards from the Twilight zone….

La-Push-Washington

Received two postcards from my former officemate who is currently in Seattle, Washington finishing his masters degree  but I am featuring only one for today:

You might find the name familiar and that’s because it’s one of the locations in the blockbuster movie Twilight series. 
The beach on the postcard is called the First Beach, one of the most scenic destinations on the Olympic Peninsula and attracting many beach-goers. Remember the beach scene where Bella flirts with Jacob to get information about Edward and where Jacob tells her about the legend of the vampires and the Quileute tribe? This is indeed the same beach where the scene was filmed and I can still remember the two of them walking on the beach on a stormy weather, yet looking good in their hooded sweaters, or were they jackets? I can’t remember anymore but they looked good together!
The postmark was smudged and the stamp was smeared so the photo is  not that visible. The stamp used was a 98-cent definitive stamp for international airmail featuring the state of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. It is classified under the Scenic American Landscapes category. Photographed by Dennis Flaherty, it was taken from the Snake River Overlook at dawn.
Okorn charan, Bora!

First day of use – Mailers Postmark Permit

Gainesville-Georgia
Tired of seeing the usual boring machine-cancellations? 
Imagine having your very own, personalised postmark, wouldn’t that be cool?
In February this year, a fellow postie Chris from the Wild Postcards blog (see my links at the side bar), received his very own Mailers Postmark Permit. It simply means he is allowed to cancel his own stamp (using his very own cancellation device – a rubber stamp he ordered from a private manufacturer) before mailing it. 
To commemorate its first day of use, he asked who among his online friends would love to receive a special postcard with his very own postmark. Of course, I had to raise my two hands to receive this awesome hand-cancel :) 

Here’s the postcard, a black and white picture showing an ordinary-looking truss bridge:

Unfortunately there aren’t any details about the bridge so pardon the lack of background info about it here. But it does look like one of those spooky bridges we see in horror movies, don’t you agree?  I wonder if this bridge have any historical significance or something. Anyhoo, here’s the valuable part showing the hand-cancellation:

As you can see, the first day of use was February 9, 2010 and Chris sent all postcards on that very day. How cool is that? I received the postcard in March and I so love it I want to have one now, too. Don’t you?

Thank you very much, Chris. You’re the man!
After I’m done with the zencore write up, I will go and check at the Cambodian Post Office if they issue a similar permit. I think it would fun to send mails, postcards and what-have-yous bearing my own mailers postmark :) :) :) On second thought though, I have a feeling that the staff at the Post Office won’t have any idea what a mailers postmark permit is. Arrggh. I hope I am wrong.

Iowa – the heartland of USA

Iowa-USA

Here’s the second state postcard that was handed down to me and now in my collection… the state of Iowa  :)

Iowa is considered the heartland of America perhaps owing to its location in the mid-western part of the USA. Iowa is also in the heartland of the so-called Corn Belt, a region in the US where corn has been, since 1850s, the predominant crops. The name Iowa is derived from the Ioway people, one of the many native American Indians that occupied the state at the time the European colonisers arrived.
The postcard, like the previously featured Oregon state postcard, is part of the 50 State/Quarter Greetings from America set. 
The stamps used are the following:
At the leftmost part is an illustration and information about Iowa’s state symbols: Eastern goldfinch (bird), wild rose (flower), oak (tree), Des Moines (capital), etc…
The first stamp used is a 4¢ definitive from the American Design Seriest set issued in 2004. The stamp features a stylised rendition of a Chippendale chair made in Philadelphia between 1760 and 1765. The Chippendale style of furniture was named after the English cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale whose book on design was very much influential to designers and furnituremakers from America and Europe. My favorite is the second stamp showing the 44¢ King of Hearts and is part of the USPS’s commemorative Love Series set. According to the USPS, the stamps (including a Queen of Hearts) were issued as a clever tribute to the Game of Love. The image used is of the 18th century French play cards. The last stamp is a 44cent-first class commemorative stamp celebrating the state of Hawai’i’s 50th anniversary of statehood. Surf’s up! 
This postcard was sent by Renee who is a student and from Norfolk, Iowa. I couldn’t tell the date in the postmarks but she wrote that her school is on a three-week break. She also stated that she’s driving 752 miles, by herself, to see her friend in North Dakota and relax for a bit before she starts her gmat prep. She’s taking GMAT seriously, enroling herself in a GMAT course, preparing her resource books and purchasing CD reviewers with mock tests before her driving away because the GMAT results will impact her career’s direction. Well, this girl certainly knows what she wants and how to get it. Good luck to you, Renee!

Still about the Georgia, USA

Georgia-postcard-stamps
In one of my previous posts, I featured my first US state postcard and had forgotten to include the stamps. Too much excitement, I suppose. I usually include the stamps in every postcard post I write so please excuse this small slip.

Here it is:

The Brown Thrasher and Cherokee Rose illustration on the left side is not a stamp but part of the postcard and they are the state bird and state flower of Georgia, respectively.
The first stamp use is a definitive which features the American Kestrel in 1¢ denomination re-issued in November 1999. The new version is self-adhesive. The second stamp showing a presidential campaign badge in 1888 is part of the American Old Glory patriotic ephemera  commemorative set issued in 2003. The other designs included in this set are the 20th century carving of Uncle Sam, silk bookmark woven in 1893, modern folding fan and 19th century folk art carving. The last, but not the least, is another commemorative stamp issued in observance of the Lunar New Year in 2005. The set contains all the 12 animals associated in the Lunar New Year. Very colourful isn’t it?
That’s all for now and wait for the postcards a little later. Meanwhile, I’ll resume watching this feature on Mexico’s lucha libre (free wrestling) and luchadores (wrestlers) on the telly. Gah, some of these luchadors admitted to taking some kind of testosterone booster to build huge body masses. According to most of them,  being bulky adds to their value and popularity as luchador as well as increase their “fearsomeness” level. Ulk. 
Later, dudes.

The Peaches of Georgia

Georgia-USA

From Europe, we head to North America… to the land of the sweetest and best peaches, the American state of Georgia!

Whoa – a stamp on a postcard? Sweet!

This stamp-card was issued by the USPS in 2001 as part of its 50 State/Quarter Greetings from America set. Each card comes with a quarter and a stamp-card for each of the 50 American states packaged individually. The card above shows the USPS’s 37cent Greetings from America postage stamp issued in New York City on October, 2002. 
The above stamp-card showcases the unique characters of Georgia. Look closer and you will see on the right side of the background shows the pre-civil war plantation, while the left shows cypress trees in the Okefenokee swamp. Of course, a Georgia card couldn’t be without the peaches, Georgia’s state fruit, so these are included, too.
Georgia is located in the southeastern side of the United States. Established in 1732, Georgia was the last of the original Thirteen Colonies – they were the British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America that declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States. 
As an aside, a friend of mine lives somewhere in Charlotte in North Carolina and has promised to send me postcard every time I chanced  upon her on Facebook. She works as a nurse there and is dating a charlotte dentist. Nice for her to be busy and dating and all but I want to collect all 50 state cards so I snapped and reminded her to keep her promise to me.

Yes, I can be evil sometimes. *lol*

Chicago in my mind…

Sunrise-over-Chicago
A popular saying goes … strike while the iron is hot. It means to grab an opportunity before it is too late and this is exactly what I’m doing now. By this time most of you have already watched the conclusion of the American Idol. The winner, and my favorite, Lee Dewyze is from the city of Chicago. So this post is for all who be-LEE-ved :)

Sent by Susi
Postmarked Dekalb, IL
Dated 3rd September 2009

The postcard shows a magical sunrise over the restless blue waters of Lake Michigan with Chicago skyline as background. Nicknamed as the Windy City, Chicago has developed from a small trading post into one of the United State’s largest cities, a thriving center of international trade and commerce, and a place for immigrants to pursue their great American dream.
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois and in the Midwest with a population of 2.8million. It is the stronghold of the Democratic Party and has been home to many influential politicians, including the current US President Barrack Obama. 
On the sporting arena, Chicago is best known to be the home of the Chicago Bulls, the six-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champions in eight seasons, with Michael Jackson leading them. Chicago  also is home to  two Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox and the only city in North America that has had more than one MLB franchise every year since the American League began in 1900.
I was racking my brain trying to remember someone I know who is currently based in Chicago. Suddenly, my cousin Jess’s name popped up…  yes, indeed! Cousin Jess has made Chicago his home for the last 5 years. He works as a Head Nurse at a Chicago hospital. He is only a few years younger than I am but I tell you, he looks older because of his receding hairline – a trait from he obviously got from his mother’s side. He is so busy with his nursing duties that he doesn’t even watch television. Yup, no time to enjoy his free time as it is still spent studying reading the latest medical/nursing journals. No time even to check online sites like www.hairlosscures.net and get advise on how to deal with his hair loss . 
Thanks for the lovely postcard, Susi. Sunrises, and even sunsets, are my favorites. To me, watching sunsets or sunrises is  a very magical experience. 

2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver, Canada

Winter-Olympic-Games-2010-Vancouver-Canada

I was very happy to be a recipient of this postcard commemorating this year’s Winter Olympics in the Canadian winter wonderland.

Sent by Bora

Postcard shows the evening view of downtown Vancouver and the  north shore of False Creek. It must have been a lovely, lovely sight and I envy Bora for being there at the height of the Winter Olympics. Bora is a Cambodian student in the US and had traveled to Canada during his break to get a glimpse of the Olympics. He was my officemate, first at the local environment NGO ABE (Association of Buddhists for Environment), and for the second time at the IDRC’s iREACH Project (Informatics for Rural Empowerment and Community Health). He left iREACH to two years ago to pursue a masters degree in the US and haven’t been back since then but never fails to send me emails and postcards from time to time.
Bora is such a sweet kid, always helpful and his smile and energy is contagious, unlike one boy I knew way back when I was in Bora’s age. This boy was very mean to me and called me names behind my back. I don’t know, perhaps because I was a pimply girl and I was being teased to him. At that time, there was no internet yet to turn to so finding the best acne treatment was hard to do. Anyways, I didn’t see this boy after our graduation and I went on to work in a television station. I managed to keep the problem at bay and, luckily for me, one of the perks about working in television is that you get an “image make-over” for free. One of the programs I was working in had a cosmetic clinic and hair salon for sponsors and I was given free facial and hair treatments. It did work its wonders on me. I hadn’t forgotten the mean things this boy did so when I met him not long ago, I totally snubbed him. Served him right! *lol*
Enough of my teenage drama, let’s go back to the stamps. There was only one stamp used:
The illustration on the left is not a stamp but one of the emblems of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games printed on the postcard itself (it’s printed on the postcard, although it was also issued as a permanent domestic rate stamp) . The figure is a contemporary interpretation of the Inukshuk, a traditional Inuit sculpture that is said to provide guidance to travelers. On the right side is the stamp featuring Quatchi, one of the three mascots at the Vancouver Games. Quatchi here is a shy, adventurous sasquatch and plays hockey on this international rate stamp. Isn’t Quatchi adorable? I want a Quatchi doll now! I was able to watch the opening and closing ceremonies and some skating events on television and I must say that so many years may have passed and yet the excitement and grandeur of the Olympic games have remained unrivaled. Don’t you think so?

Liberty State Park, NJ, USA

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Liberty State Park, NJ, USA
Sent by Fortuitous Faery
Dated 20 December 2008

Text at the back:
The Historic Trilogy
Welcomed by the Statue of Liberty and processed on Ellis Island, two thirds of the immigrants started their new lives via the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal selling in New Jersey or traveling to other states.

Fortuitous Faery (FF) is from New Jersey and frequents New York City to watch Broadway musicals and do other fun stuffs. Her Broadway postcard, and other nice postcards, were also featured in this blog. FF writes on the postcard:

Liberty State Park is located in New Jersey. From there, you can ride a ferry boat to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The Statue is actually part of New Jersey territory but is more popularly associated with New York…