:: stamped nostalgia ::

While Eunice was crossing the country in a very loud way, my husband and I were on a nostalgic trip ever since we discovered my husband’s old stamp collection in one of the boxes that I went through. The beauty of it: my son is very much intrigued too and yesterday his first album finally arrived. He had been asking for it for a while now, often enough to make me believe that he was genuinely interested in building his own collection.

old Belgian stamps
All those stamps in old Belgian francs. I remember each time when postal services upped the price for sending a letter, we had to buy new stamps, or a sheet of very cheap stamps to complement the previous value.

I had a small envelope with international stamps I saved from my last Postcrossing-episode. He was delighted and we spent the day trying to get them off, which worked for almost all of them. When we also found a big batch of Belgian stamps and a box of old letters that were still in stamped envelopes, we decided another album would come in handy.
Good thing too: I got rid of the letters, which were filled with the most impossible adolescent drama. It’s not nice to throw away letters, but I finally cringed at the idea of rereading them, let alone my kids ever reading them, so this was the last little nudge I needed to delete that shoebox from my life.

Watching him arrange the stamps carefully brought back so many fond memories. My grandfather was very proud of his and showed us how it worked. He would always bring us some doubles. I especially liked the bird series, and they were plenty.

stamp european nuthatch
This one was my favorite – a European nuthatch!

My grandfather also checked contest answers of a magazine my uncle worked for. On a regular basis a big box of envelopes found its way to their large dining room table. He and my grandmother were very routinated and worked like a machine to get the forms out, check for stamps on the envelopes, and then sorting the answers into a pile of totally correct ones, a pile with only one mistake and so on. They had a special red pen to do that and whenever I was sleeping there when one of those boxes arrived, I was invited to help. I felt so proud and involved and I almost forgot about it, until a few days ago.

envelopes stamp collection
It took me a while to know what all those weird country names were 🙂

My mother sent me pictures of our stamp collections (and reclaimed albums), and the gazillion little envelopes with international stamps. On each of them is the name of the country, in my handwriting. I can still feel the pure joy that ran through my veins when I sorted everything out.

It’s a bit harder to fuel the hobby today though. People aren’t exactly writing letters or postcards anymore. Of course, there are some options. I could buy a batch from those sellers who offer them for scrapbooking. But because the slow and steady flow of stamps coming in was part of the fun, I spread the word in the family. And I reactivated my Postcrossing account. That too. So far for my ‘cheaper than Pokémon shizzle’ math. But at least it will be way more fun to open the mailbox in the coming weeks!

:: moving ::

sun on bamboo in garden

The sun is embracing our house, now the storm has passed. We’ve had a lot of wind and heavy rains last night. I love how everything looks when it all has cleared up – fresh and sparkling. Unless there is damage of course, but so far we’ve had nothing.

Nostalgia is flowing through my heart as the sun through the windows. It feels strange that these will be the last months in this house. This house is the first we owned – we bought it quite unexpectedly, just after our honeymoon. It is the house that brought us joy, love, a garden and children to enjoy it with us. It has its perks – but we made it work and I still love the vibe of it. I also came to love the people here. Good thing that we’ll not move far then – the end of the street seems far enough to me.

In a way I am also glad that the big renovation plans stranded on a lucky timing. While the renovations would have certainly made things work even better for us – the house would lose a bit of its authenticity. It would be clean and simple and lovely and there would be improvements that we always wished for… but it would not be the house I fell in love with anymore, I think. The woman who bought it from us is alone, without children. She can improve (if she wants to) without compromising on the character, I’m sure. It will fit her well and I hope she’ll be as happy in here as we have been.

It will take some getting used to for the other house to feel like home, but I’m confident it will after some time. It is a good house, especially when the kids grow up – which they do at an alarming rate. The pond will make me nervous, as the swimming pool in this one has done, but a close eye and clear set of rules will make it doable. The kids will miss the swimming pool, I’m sure, but they’ll be delighted to watch the ducks, observe the frogs, and can play hide and seek and do excursions in the backyard. And in summer they will find a spot to play in the water anyway. We’ll have trees and bushes, and a pile of earth to dig in. There is already a perfect spot for a camp underneath a large tree, it is as if nature has bend itself around the expectation of kids playing house. It’s what they’ve always dreamed of – what we always dreamed of for them. And something I would have loved as a kid myself. 

So the next months will be about packing up, doing a major declutter, and dreaming up our new home at the end of the street. So many fond memories are tied to this place, but I’m delighted with the blank slate that comes with a move. A whole lot of new memories to make!

In my dreams…

On a beautiful, sunny day like this, over two years ago, I lost my little appleseed. Only a few days old, barely pregnant, but so much a mother already. I cried my eyes out, and I felt so empty.
The moment my Little Boy will ask where he was, before he was born and even before he was in my belly, I’m gonna answer him the answer my mother has given me, the most beautiful answer that ever existed or will ever exist and with the loss of my little appleseed I also knew: the most truthful one too…

before you were born, before you were in my belly, you were in my dreams…

So here’s to you, my little one, I’ll never ever forget you…