I rarely send Christmas cards. That Ebenezer Scrooge resides in a zone 3 London suburb is hardly breaking news.
However, I like receiving cards from people I haven’t heard from in a long time. From colleagues at work and friends I see regularly, cards seem a little… unnecessary. But receiving cards from distant friends is a real treat.
One came through to my mother’s house last week. It had a Turkish postmark on it. My mother asked me who I thought it was from. I said I had no idea. She forwarded it on.
It turns out that it’s from old friends – now married – from my Japan days. He’s Irish, she’s Japanese. I was invited to their wedding 5 or so years ago but couldn’t go. Popping to say, France, for a wedding is one thing. Popping to Japan is quite another. I’d have liked to have gone though.
The couple are lovely. I have great memories of my friends from that period of my life. Completely different from UK friends. I went to Japan on a one-way ticket aged 22.
These friends have sent me a card every year since I left Japan 10 years ago. I really appreciate it. What anguishes me, though, is that they don’t put their address anywhere on the card itself, nor on the outer envelope!!! Also, whilst I’m as likely as the next person to pour derision over round robin type letters – from old friends like these, I would have hugely valued a newsletter like attachment updating me on their lives.
We have mutual friends, one of whom is in Scotland who I hope has their address. I also have old hotmail addresses for them both so will try to get their address that way. This couple have lived all over the world (he’s a specialist engineer) and I am, in honesty, quite jealous. A lot of my ‘Japan set’ went on to other countries. What united many of us was our nomadic need and urge to keep moving, to keep travelling, to keeping experiencing. That’s why I’ve felt so stuck in a rut here in the UK and have longed, and I mean longed, to go overseas again, to live. It will happen.