We got a package yesterday from Jeff & Vanessa that was full of gifts from Thailand and Vietnam!
I (the dishaholic) got two beautiful bowls, a blue wooden one made by the Hmong tribe in northern Vietnam and a blue & white ceramic bowl made by a disabled person through the Reaching Out program in Hoi An, Vietnam. The bowl is the second handmade Hmong item that I have. Years ago I bought a little lizard, made by a Hmong woman, that was being sold at the Peace Corps Convention for Returned Volunteers in Chicago. Makes me want to watch Gran Torino again (for the umpteenth time). I saved the notes about the origin of each of my bowls and the newspaper they were wrapped in.
Mike got an elephant t-shirt from the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where Jeff & Vanessa have both volunteered.
There were also gifts for Steve, Karina, Leslie and Steven in the package. Steve got a bird-on-a-wire t-shirt, Karina got a purse made by the Hmong tribe, Leslie got a bracelet made by the Hmong tribe and Steven got a Technics t-shirt. It was like Christmas all over again… in January.
And, of course, the stamps on the package were a gift in themselves. I saved them (did anyone think I wouldn’t?), along with the postal receipt.
Then… the box became a new toy for Max.
Looks like Max is checking to see if it’s addressed to him. Later on Alma took a turn poking around the box, but I didn’t get a photo before she wandered off. Happy day for everyone.
I doubt that any package – contents as well as the package itself – has been enjoyed more.
One last thing….
Steve gets into trouble even when he’s in his own house. Don’t know what we’re going to do with him.
Mike and I wandered out to Ohio for a quick trip these past couple of days. Our mission was to look at some houses we were considering for our retirement home, which we accomplished… with disappointing results. There’s a lot more looking to be done.
Once that was behind us we decided to visit some post offices and get date stamps in our travel book. This is a hobby we started years ago while I worked at a post office. A fellow employee had two full books of date stamps from post offices everywhere he and his wife had traveled. I thought it was a wonderful idea and proceeded to ‘borrow’ it for our travels. Over the years we added a bit to the record by buying current postage stamps and having the postal clerks ‘cancel’ them. What better souvenir? Stamp collection meets date stamp sovenir. It takes almost no room. There are no trinkets to dust. It costs almost nothing.
What makes our hobby so special to us? It gets us off the highways and into cities that we would have otherwise just driven by. We usually ask a local citizen for directions to the post office, thereby meeting people who live in the cities we visit. For us, it’s a much better way to travel than hitting theme parks or other tourist traps.
(The stamp pictured here is from Martin’s Ferry, Ohio. It’s a nice, friendly town. Stop by if you have the chance.)