Brussels, 26 April 2013
How are you? I hope you have been well. I am writing to you as I have a thing on my mind I have been waiting to put on paper…
I have been here for a while now and my Mom no longer feels an urgent need to send me Finnish candy and magazines by mail. It is a shame really – getting an unexpected parcel feels almost like Christmas and can cheer up any day. Nowadays I only get letters from home on special occasions – birthdays, name days and sometimes when the Belgian rainy season has has lasted waaayyy too long.
As you no doubt know, it is nice to receive normal mail. You rarely do nowadays, in the modern world it is all about instant communication through sms, social media and services such as skype. Who has the patience anymore to wait for news for days and days when you can deliver the message in a matter of minutes and get a response instantly as well.
At the moment I am reading a book called Diary of an Ordinary Woman by Margaret Forster that tells the story of an ordinary (but witty and stubborn) woman who was born in London in 1901 to an upper class family and lives through the century of wars, innovation and rapid change. My great-grandfather was born the same year, but that is a different story altogether – and not least because Finland was one of the poorest countries in Europe at that time. We had no Nokia, Angry birds or famous F1-drivers back then, mind you.
Anyway, my point is that the heroine of the story, Millicent, writes and receives a lot of letters. Sometimes she is delighted, sometimes terribly upset. We rarely see that kind of emotion anymore – the anxiety of checking the letterbox every morning and finally receiving an envelope with colourful stamps on it from a place far far away. It seems odd now that the world was able to spin around back then and things kept happening despite the lack of modern electronic aides.
I have to admit, it was long ago I last wrote a letter. When growing up I used to have a lot of penpals from around the world – even from distant places such as Singapore, Australia and Reunion. It is a shame I lost contact with them and we drifted apart, now having people to visit in exotic places would definitely be an asset. Luckily my Brussels friends are of moving sort as well – two of them are now in Australia, one returned from Malaysia some time ago and many others have wild travelling plans. So it is not likely that I will soon run out of people who send me postcards from the other side of the world.
I have always loved letters. You often put much more time, energy, thought and love into something handwritten and it often oozes emotion and personal touch in a completely different way. I hope writing proper letters never dies!
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the topic.
Keep in touch!
Best wishes from sunny Brussels,
Ps. The picture is by duncan (http://bit.ly/14UKZ7X).