Our Quirky 300 Year-Old French Home Renovation Adventure / Daily jaunts to the post office around the corner

Moving into a new (dilapidated) house, especially in a new country, can be a bit daunting and can throw us off-balance. I’m keeping close with my loved ones by sending cards and letters every day. It makes me ridiculously happy.

I’ve received letters here, too. Seeing familiar handwriting come through the mail slot in the door really makes this house feel like home. I prop the envelopes up and glance at them now and again, excited to find the perfect moment to snuggle away and give them 100% of my attention.

I would love to order this as a poster-sized print! I love it so much, it’s sometimes hard to send away the stamps I love most. I used to collect stamps when I was 10 and living in Waikiki – all of my allowance money went to Ms Pac Man and stamps.

I’ve realized something at once odd and disturbing: that sometimes I feel more connected to someone through their letters than I do in person. When I read a letter from someone, they don’t check their phone a dozen times, they don’t get embarrassed or filter themselves in the same way. Our conversation doesn’t get interrupted by waitstaff or cut short by circumstance.

It is a true mind-meld and I feel so completely immersed in that person and in their world, that miles become absolutely meaningless.

As you can see in the picture above of the mail I sent today, I love love love decorating envelopes with drawings, collages, etc- I’ve always loved mail art – but now I’m addicted to pasting old canceled stamps next to new ones. I love the echoes of color and line, the tiny tableau that’s created…

Niki de Saint Phalle art- I first saw her sculptures at the Pompidou Center in Paris in 2008

If the virus changed anything about me, I think it’s this. The give and take of handwritten letters, the gentle, slow rhythm of correspondence, the propensity to daydream as you write or read.

The specialess and intimacy…

One of my favorite Donne quotes (to Sur Henry Wotton):

Sir, More than kisses, letters mingle souls.

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