Advent Day 10: I’m grateful for letters in the mail.

We are all so glued to our smart devices these days, particularly in big cities. We email, Facebook mail, What’s App, text, Viber, Line, Skype, FaceTime, tweet,  etc., each other. We expand our personal space at peak hour on the underground metro through our little screens, as we are squashed elbow-to-elbow with other commuters. Some families or groups of friends sit together in silence, absorbed in their respective virtual worlds, or are regularly interrupted by dings and beeps.

That’s why letters from friends in the mail are so precious these days. I recently received a little package from a friend who recently got married overseas. She had sent along her sweet little bomboniere, what Aussies call those thank-you gift for guests, with a lovely note. It was such a nice surprise. That’s why I still send Christmas cards.

So, I’m grateful for letters in the mail.

I’m grateful for random acts of kindness.

I’m pretty sure I’ve already done an entry on random acts of kindness, but I really had to share this. I burst into tears at one point (you’ll see!), I was so moved.

I know I’ve let this blog lag a little, but it’s not because I haven’t been actively being grateful for all the little and big things in my life, because I really have been. It’s just that some days I’m grateful for things I’ve already written about.

When you are as naturally nomadic as I am, random acts of kindness mean so much more because very often, they’ll be carried out by strangers, or by people I’d barely met, by people who haven’t been a part of my journey for very long; and because in new places, life often starts out as a whole series of random acts of kindness. All of that makes these kindnesses so much more precious. Each time, they reinforce my deep, practically delusional, optimistic instinct to believe in the best in people, not just because it gives people the chance to show you their best selves, but also because it makes my own world a much more hopeful one, filled with possibility, connection, love and new beginnings.

Skype.

20140703-002240-1360724.jpg

I count four countries as home, each one at different times of my life. When I first moved, we still wrote aerogrammes and sent letters and photos by mail. I’ve seen how much communications has been transformed over time.

I’m grateful for Skype, for What’s App and Viber and Line, all these things that make connection over great distances so much easier, if we expended only a little effort. True, the art of letter-writing and reflection has quite likely atrophied (along with the fine muscles in our fingers and hands required for writing, probably!), but we are a more connected generation than ever.


Picture attribution: Photo is from http://www.pindigit.com/how-to-take-screenshot-of-skype-chat/. Picture has been altered auto comply with usage requirements.

Unexpected new friends.

I love it when I go to, for example, a housewarming party at which I don’t really know many people and think, oh, I won’t stay long… But then end up meeting someone or some people so delightfully on the same wavelength that I’m tuned into and end up chatting and laughing so much that, before we know it, it’s 1 in the morning.

I suppose it’s particularly rare for someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, is a bit of an introvert and doesn’t like smoke and loud noise. 🙂 So, I’m grateful for unexpected new friends!

I’m grateful for friends.

FriendsThis is a Creative Commons picture that I forgot to take down the license details for. Bad comms person. *smacks self on the wrist* It won’t happen again. 

Especially the ones who stayed around for the really crappy weather. My foulweather friends are the best. When you’ve moved around as much as I have, your soul-sister type best friends are all over the world, and still moving. So I am happy that we are still in touch. Friends are a funny thing. I know people who need lots of people, and people who need very few people. I only need people I can connect with easily and deeply. Smalltalk bores me to tears. I can do cocktail parties, in the way one can endure getting your wisdom tooth out, but I’d rather be at home with a cup of tea and a good book. Of course, I see the irony. How would you find said connective friends unless you actually go out? Well, yes. I now understand the function of alcohol. The same reason they put anaesthetic in your gums…

Man, I am so grateful for friends. Not just because they catch you when you fall or at least throw you a rope when you’re right at the bottom of the well, OR at least throw food and drink down… but because the best bits of life are the bits where you can just let it all hang out, or babble without being judged, laugh till you’re sure you’re going to die of asphyxiation,  or even just sit in silent food comas at the same table and groan about never overeating again. They are angels in casual clothes.