I’ve always loved receiving postcards. Not only do you get a cool picture, but also a personalized note. Long after t-shirts and tchotchkes tear or break, postcards can last for years and are easy to store.
My friend Jean sent me this elegant postcard from Taipei last week. I just love it!
The image depicts a piece of Szechuan silk from the Sung dynasty (1051-1108). I can read many of the characters (heart, no, snow, on, light, year, is, and have), but I’m at a complete loss as to what it all means.
Another exciting thing about this postcard, for me, is that it doesn’t use pinyin, the romanization developed in the PRC. Instead it reads Szechuan, not Sichuan and Sung dynasty, not Song dynasty. I’m always fascinated by how Chinese romanization can tell you about a place (PRC, Taiwan, pre-1949, etc) before you even know the context. I think that’s so cool.
In the card, Jean wrote:
Greetings from Taipei. I’m having lunch by myself at the teahouse at the Nat. Pal. Museum. It’s beautiful up here, especially since I’m enjoying the peace and quietness without Jasper [toddler son]. Taipei is great. I have a nanny for a few weeks so I can do some stuff alone.
I can picture the National Palace Museum and drinking tea alone up there. Even though it’s 39F and overcast in Chicago, for a few moments I feel removed from this dull autumn day thanks to this little piece of paper.