Last June I spent a week in New York City. I bought a postcard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and sent it to my friend Yelena in Russia, June 26, 2021. I love mailing postcards when I travel. It is a ritual and a meditation that calms me and allows me to pause and savor my surroundings. Sending postcards is a practice of sending love to people in my life. Once written, addressed, and stamped, I drop them in the nearest mailbox or sometimes seek out the local post office, especially if I need more stamps. My grandchildren, Caroline and Jaymes, always receive a postcard to remind them they are loved and to taste the flavor of travel and its ability to open our eyes and our hearts.
So, sitting in the MET, I wrote and addressed a card to my long time Russian friend, Yelena, and posted it. Yelena and I met and became friends in 2002. She opened her home to me in Voronezh, Russia, for a few weeks as part of the U.S. State Department’s cultural exchange program with Eastern European teachers. We’ve visited each other over the years and exchanged letters and packages. This year, that became impossible as our country’s borders closed.
One does not expect a reply to postcards—It’s simply an act of releasing love into the eithers and marking a point in time. However, last week I received an email from Yelena. She wrote to tell me that the postcard I’d sent to her June 26, 2021, arrived at her home June 26, 2022. Imagine! Sent from New York, the card was misdirected to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, before being redirected to Voronezh, Russia. Initially, I saw it as a miracle, a tiny postcard traveling the world before arriving at its intended destination. Then I thought, maybe love actually …transcends borders.