Today I read Lucia's post here
about getting a wonderful package from China all covered in postage stamps. It made me think about my own postage stamp collection, and how earlier in the summer break I was seriously thinking about sorting through them all and putting them into a nice album where I could show them off or sink dreamily into my memories of my teenage years full of hope, curiosity, and pen paling.
I started pen paling in 1992, in junior high school. My family didn't travel and I loved seeing things from other countries and learning about other cultures. Pen paling was the best. I loved getting mail from all over the world, meeting people and making friends. It's easy to get swept up and overwhelmed though, and at some point in high school I had about 200 pals. In college I couldn't keep up and wrote to only about 5 or so people. After I moved to Atlanta, I found penpaling/swapping circles on the internet and even though I had traveled all over the world at that point, I still loved learning and meeting people, and got swept up into it once again.
The stamps here are from almost everywhere. Almost every country in Europe, 6 in Africa, a handful in Asia and several small island nations. Some countries are more heavily represented than others (I'm thinking of adding notes to this photo over at flickr), such as Germany, Finland, and The Netherlands. I've got a bunch of stamps from Denmark, but for the life of me can't remember who I knew there... I'd say 98% of the stamps are directly from my personal correspondance, either pen paling or swapping decos/slams/fbs. A small amount are from stamp swaps or ones I got from Costas (who's stamp collection is much more official and doesn't include any which are bent, torn, or otherwise not in mint condition..). I didn't even lay out all the ones I had because for one thing, I ran out of table space, and this post was already half written in my mind so I thought it best to type it up before I forgot it.
I don't think I'll put them in the album tonight though.. I truly enjoyed looking through them and remembering who and where they came from, but I want to take my time and play with various layouts on each album page, a project that I don't have the time or patience for tonight.
It was fun to play with something other than fabric for a day, but I've got one day left of my vacation and still the huge urge to sew is with me. Once I clean up all the stamps I'll probably pick up the yellow and blue hawaiian applique block that's been calling to me.