Monday, July 30, 2007

Handwritten letters are moving again

We are going to move to the Hague soon. I decided to clean the attic and throw away stuff, when I found old letters my husband wrote me when he was in Tanzania and I was in the Netherlands (must have been 1989 or so). It is very funny to read the details of things you have forgotten. He had earpain and went to the hospital where the doctor took one hour to find the key to the cupboard where the ear-inspection-device was stored.

It struck me that I hardly receive letters now, and that I don't keep an archive of my mails (though with gmail you have a large archive, I doubt I will ever go back). And then you hardly write a long and intense mail as you used to write letters.

The letters was number 11 and he mentions that he needs to start keeping a diary with numbered letters, so that we can track the arrival of the letters... He is commenting on a job interview I had and I probably had to wait 3-4 weeks to get an answer, the difference is just so big with internet and mobile phones nowadays! When I started emailing (this started roughly in 1997 for me) I remember for a long time I still used to send hand-written letters to my friends, as emails felt so public, with a letter at least you knew that it would only end up in the hand of the person you write to. When I finally took to mailing girlfriends, we wrote less about our boyfriends, as we were not sure they would read it at some point. So technology does bring its own codes and changes your communication patterns.


hoong said...

I have a very large box where I keep all the x-mas cards, Chinese new year cards, letters etc.

I wish I have kept ALL the mails I have received all my life. Sometime I think of some of the special mails that I received, such as the-unsigned-Valentine-card that I received when I was about 15, or the mails that a very dear friend sent me everyday for 3-4 months before I left for UK ... unfortunately they are no longer with me.

eMails is not the same as hand-written mails. With hand-written mails, we put in so much more of ourselves and care in writting them. Furthermore since they were SNAIL mails, it takes days or weeks before we get any replies, we tend to put in more thoughts on the contents, make sure what we write is not going to create any misunderstandings, make sure we cover all bases, make sure we 'send' our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions...

With the ease of internet and emails, I become sloppy, careless, less thoughtful ... because I assume I can QUICKLY send an apology, a correction ...

Although I seldom handwrite letters these days, but I still refuse to send eCards. I still take the troubles and willingly spend money buying the cards, the postage ... I believe eventhough eCards are more fancyful, they cannot take the place of the additional cares and emotion a person put into sending the love ones a REAL card for those special occassions.

Thank you for writing this post.

Joitske said...

Hi Cindy! A fully agree with you on the e-cards.. I never started liking them! Passed Zoetermeer today on my way to the new house

Unknown said...

Hi Joitske,
makes me think of our first years in Nigeria: we got mail (mostly handwritten letters) just once a month.
As from 2003, we moved to a town and started having internet connections in nearby cafes and later at home: this really changed both the speed and the depth of most communication.
Another result was that disputes arose much more often due to miscommunications through quick and brief emails.
regards, wouter