23 September, 2008

The long forgotten hobby

. 23 September, 2008

When I filled out the information ‘about me’ at Goodreads.com recently, I recalled all titles of the books I had read since I was in primary school, and those I had read when I was in my teens. These all reminded me to the good old days, particularly regarding my hobby when I was in my teens. Besides reading, my hobby was to correspond with anybody in the world. It was called pen friendship or commonly known as ‘pen pal.’
I had about 10 pen friends from out-of-country namely Austria, Denmark, Australia, Ghana, Greece, Tonga and there were also some from other cities in Indonesia, such as Pontianak, Aceh, Atambua (West Timorese) and Manado.

At the same time, I loved to collect stamps (philately hobby) as well. There were lots of stamps from many different countries I had collected and put them in stamp collecting albums. I used to exchange stamps also with my ‘pen friends’. Some of my pen friends kindly sent me their currency notes, and in exchange I sent them Indonesian currency notes. Now since it has been more than 30 years ago, I was reminded of this long forgotten hobby. I missed my stamp collecting album that I had not taken care of for years. I don’t know exactly when I started to neglect all this stuff. Most probably since I attended the university, when I didn’t have enough time nor was attention to keep collecting stamps or most probably my interest was completely switched to something else.

Moreover after I got married, I followed my husband to move from Bandung (my hometown) and stayed in Medan until now. All my stamp collecting albums were left at my parents’ house, and they have been neglected for years. I found some of them were badly damaged; most of the stamps were not in the album anymore. Last month when I visited my parents, I did not even see those albums anymore; maybe hidden somewhere, misplaced, or they have been given away to someone, or taken away by my siblings. I indeed did not take care, did not even think neither desire to see those stamp collecting albums I had so much treasured in the past. In fact I have neglected and forgotten them. The same fate happened to my pen friendships. I cannot remember the last time I received letters from my pen friends, neither remember when I started not replying to their letters. I am grateful and fortunate that I still kept all the letters I had received from my pen friends until now. I have tried to find them out on the internet, but I have not succeeded in finding any of them yet. However, I have to keep on searching so I can reconnect with them somehow.

Now I feel that I really miss my long forgotten hobby, miss my pen friends and my stamp collecting albums that I had treasured in my teens. I recalled the memory of how every day after school; I always expected to have letters from my pen friends waiting for me at home. How I was proud to have collected stamps from Israel, Greece, Iran etc. I want to share this experience with my grown up kids; telling them that having pen friendship and collecting stamps are something joyful and a fascinating hobby. However, I realize they will not be interested in making pen friend since now in this internet era, they could make friends with anybody instantly through internet. They do not have to go to the post office, to buy stamps and mail their letters. They can do this all anytime, anywhere, from home, school, or campus. I wonder in this internet era, where people can connect with each other through cable - are there still anybody making pen friend, send their letters via post office and, collect stamps? I need to research more on this long forgotten hobby – philately!


agongkia said...

hehe..I also have this hobby 30 over years ago.I miss my penfriend too .I cannot get in touch with them even I know where they are.,as most have their families.The only memories of them is all the letters I have kept till now.I am more sentimental than you because the letters are always with me.My partner always threathen to burn or dispose away these letters but stop when I told her that throwing away these letters mean throwing herself away....Let those memories be with us forever...

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