TALK TUESDAY: The Love for Snail Mail

I love snail mail.  Let’s start with that.  I love receiving handwritten notes.  I love going through the bills and spam and seeing a personally scribbled letter made out especially for me.  I love the idea of words flying through air and space, so special that it required extra postage, so intimate that the immediacy of technology just doesn’t give it justice.  Maybe I’m just being romantic, but why not?  I love snail mail.

When I was in the Philippines, my love for letters and postcards was a bit more difficult to communicate.  While we did have postal offices, they weren’t as efficient as I would like.  Most of the time, when I would attempt to send a postcard to our family here in New Jersey, it would be a hit or miss if it ever gets to them.  I always picked out interesting postcards, especially when they came out with 3D ones.  But those never made it to them.

This letter is from my niece Kai Mykonos. I always have two addresses saved for her, and she always surprises me where she’s going to send her reply.

I had this image in my head that the postal worker would see my beautiful postcard, read what it’s the back and decide to keep it for himself.  At first it would make me mad, but soon enough, it would turn into hope — hope that it inspires them, hope that it brightens their day.  Then I just write another one.

My aunt recently went on a Italian tour and she sent this postcard from Rome.

Postcards have become a staple, especially when my niece Machiko started learning how to read and write.  It has become her preferred souvenir whenever I would go on work travels, so I always made an effort to find a post office and mail one in.  When I moved here, she challenged me to find better stamps, make it more colorful.

This combo letter from Machiko and Jared made the Husband and I laugh so much. Thank you for the name suggestions, kids!

I love it when Machiko becomes so creative with her letters. This envelope stationery gave me so many butterflies. She wrote one for each of us.

Slowly, it became my secret courier.  Whenever I would have news, as big as the last one, I would always write it to my best friend/sister Marga first.  I would hold it in as long as I could until she gets the letter, Facetimes me, screams in my face, and then we can talk about it.  Something about writing things down makes it all the more real; holding it in your hands makes it all the more real.

A week before receiving this mail from a very dear friend, I saw her get engaged. This is from where the question was popped. I’m so happy for her.

Soon enough, my friends started doing the same.  In a world of instant messaging, nothing beats the love that comes from the moment the ink is absorbed by the paper.

One of our wedding godparents frequents Japan. She makes sure to send one or two for every visit. I truly appreciate that about her.

From one of my childhood best friends, before her Tokyo postcards, she used to send them from Budapest. I have to dig those out from my box, but these, I often use as bookmarks.

You would get medical bills, phone bills, credit card offers, junk mail and voila!  In the thick of it all, there it is.  A note.  Sometimes with a picture, sometimes so thick that the envelope barely closes over it.  You see where it’s from and your fingers run over the stamps, seeing how far it traveled to get to you.  And there it is.  In the hustle and bustle of the everyday grind and more, the world pauses as you read your letter, your postcard, and for a moment, everything is quiet but the words that lift off those pages.

Mixed media postcard from Machiko. She makes me up my snail mail game.

I love snail mail.

Would you like to send me one?  Feel free to drop a card or two at this address:
Carla C
PO Box 1744
Union NJ 07083

Would you like to receive one from me?  Send me an email with your preferred address at ohcarlaloo@gmail.com.  

MUSIC MONDAY: It Wasn’t Easy To Be Happy For You – The Lumineers

This is one of the things I missed doing on this blog:  discovering new (and new to my ears) music.  I have to thank Spotify for this find though.  Release Radar playlist lists new releases from artists that I have liked over time and well, let’s just say that in my opinion, The Lumineers is one of the most underrated bands ever.

They did me right when they released Ho Hey, but have you listened to Stubborn Love?  And that line???  Just straight to the heart.

Then there was Ophelia, which I thoroughly sang to every day for the past year driving to work.

The lyrics they come up with just hit the heart and the soul.  I am really thrilled finding out about them years ago.  It feels almost exactly like discovering Bob Dylan’s basement tapes.

Anyway, this is their latest song from their latest album, yet to be released.  Get ready for some feels.

Should you feel the need to sing along, Genius has the complete lyrics here.

TALK TUESDAY: The sun and stars

One of the things that I regret is not blogging more often.  The year 2019 started rough for the Husband and I, that is without a doubt.  There has been a quiet struggle and frankly speaking, not having it publicized — even to closest friends and family — made the struggle somewhat small, even though the weight of it never diminished.

Let me start with this:  I have changed.  Before I married my husband, one of the things that I have made clear to him is the fact that I do not intend to be a mother.  My motivation is to live with my life partner, that is him and that is all.  I never imagined motherhood to be in my journey, until 2017.

One of our cousin’s brothers passed away suddenly.  He was 33.  We attended the wake, it was one of the loneliest images I have in my head.  His widow, sitting vigil by his coffin.  And she’s alone.  The only thing that went through my head was she’s alone…. and I remember what Derek Shepherd said.

At first, we just put a stop to birth control.  When we reached 8 months of kind-of trying, I went to see the doctor where he recommended a specialist.  Apparently, at my age, which I consider to be a young 31, if it takes more than 6 months to naturally conceive, I need to be looked at.  So I went and had myself looked at.  I had a couple of blood draws, Husband got tested for sperm count and motility, I had an HSG test.  AMH, FSH, pelvic exam here and there, smears, it took about two months of testing just to evaluate where we stand.

And nothing was wrong.  Everything is where it was.  The specialist had us redo everything again to verify, except the HSG, and still nothing was wrong.  That was the most frustrating part.  If only there was a reason why it was taking so long… and then we hit the one year mark.

I started to pee in cups for ovulation tests, BBTs, I did it for so long, I can’t even remember when I last peed normally.  And still nothing.  At this point, we were closing in to a year and a half.

Our specialist recommended that we take another three months to try conceiving naturally before we explore other options — hormone therapy, IUI, IVF.  He gave us a deadline:  if we haven’t conceived by end of February, we are to make another appointment with him, but this time with a financial planner, so we can properly explore financing options for our needs.  He says he wanted to catch the peak of my egg quality so that if needed, harvesting them won’t be as difficult.  And I am about to turn 33.

It was devastating to make that appointment, knowing nothing is wrong with our bodies.  For some reason, we just couldn’t get in sync.  It just wouldn’t click.  That part was the most difficult to accept.  If you look at our love story, there’s every reason to believe that Husband and I are meant to be.  Yet here we are.  The sun and the stars have been looked up to and we still didn’t mix the parts right.

So I made the call.  March 26, with our specialist and the financial planner.  I looked at our bank statements and other credit options, weighed it all and found out we can dish out a good amount, just in case the insurance doesn’t cover even half of it all.  We looked ready.  I think we are ready.

Then March 16 came.  It was a surge of relief and joy and pure elation.  We kept the news to ourselves as long as possible, but we knew we had to slowly tell everyone.  While we weren’t able to record everyone’s reaction, the ones we did made our announcement all the more memorable.

So we did.  In person, through Facebook and Facetime, all the way to the Philippines, Japan and our surrounding neighborhoods.  It definitely made for a moment to remember.

—-HEADPHONES WARNING:  Because we recorded their reactions in different channels, volume levels vary.  Note to self:  use one camera for all videos next time.  —-

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

MUSIC MONDAY: Stay With Me by P!nk

I haven’t done Music Monday for quite some time now. Now that I have a big load of preoccupation, I have to admit some things have been shoved to the back. But on a quiet afternoon like this weekend, I chanced upon P!nk’s cover.

Pink - Stay With Me

The main thing that attracts me to her music is that her voice is as powerful as her message. Believe me, I love that Sam Smith came out with this song. The melancholy, the blues, it’s all there. I absolutely adore this song. And then P!nk sang it, and I adore it even more.

Admittedly, I teared up when I was listening to it. The sadness in her voice and that strain as if there’s real pain in there…. my oh my. Perfect cover. Perfect P!nk.