Friends Near and Afar

Friends Near and Afar, Letters we Share and Cherish.

We are losing many people.

Hello all, good evening. Sorry to bother you again, so soon after my last Topic. But I just received a letter from a friend from the UK, a pen pal, who I had last written this :

Dear A.,

I hope this letter finds you and your family well. I have been thinking about you, last time we wrote to each other you mentioned that your Father was in hospital, and I imagine how much that saddened and affected you. I had thought about it, but didn't want to intrude so I kept thinking of writing, and then leaving it.

It's a difficult moment, I pray that you are well and that things have improved for you and your family. Won't take too much of your time, but thought it was good to send a message, wishing you peace and health in this difficult time.

Have a good week,



Backgrounder :

My letter was sent on May 9th. It had been weeks since their last letter – on March 24th.

It revealed their Dad was in Hospital, ICU. I feared the worst, and waited.

And visited their profile, to see if they had logged in. No.

Seemed to confirm sad news had happened. And I was just surprised to receive a letter. Yes, Dad had passed away, and the family had a very difficult time.

I don't know if you all realize, but I believe we are living in a Historic moment. Many things will change, and in the Future, people will ask you, me, us that were here, how was that moment, that year, which is uncertain how, but I feel will change many things.

Irreversibly, probably.

As I read their letter, I wished to have a sympathy, condolences, a good stamp to send in my reply. Will likely use one of the Flower Whisper ones.

And I pray for inspiration, as those are not easy to write.

Thanks for reading this. Keep safe and care and help your immediate family, we all need each other.


Comments Received :

This topic was originally posted at the SlowlyApp Reddit subforum. And my good friend -littleghost did reply with sympathy :

I think the blue iris stamp was a really good one to use in this situation. I'm sorry to hear about what your pen friend is going through right now.

A condolences stamp might me a good idea, but I feel like we already have many similar kinds of stamps. “Blue Iris”, “Stay Strong”, “Hugging Bear”... What are some ideas you would have for a new stamp design that fits within this?

And my reply :

Thank you, Ghost.

I am glad you liked the Blue Iris choice, I went thru the Flower Whispers set and looked at them, and the pop-up descriptions attached to each one. The Iris whispered the closest to what I felt my message should be.

I don't have much experience in dealing with this, and this turned out to be the best with the stamps I have. We don't always have images permissions enabled with people, which would permit attaching a great wide variety of cards — which we can find in the net.

Thought there are so many losses happening, that it would be worth to have a stamp for Mourning. A Remembrance. Guarded, with sympathy, while a peaceful design.

I don't have a proposal in mind, searched for something for an illustration to the post — and settled in the beautiful Belgian one, which is a Memorial stamp for a Belgian monarch – Queen Astrid. Who looks memorable in that.

Astrid of Sweden (Astrid Sofia Lovisa Thyra, 17 November 1905 – 29 August 1935) was Queen of the Belgians as the first wife of King Leopold III. By birth she was a princess of Sweden's royal House of Bernadotte.

She was queen for less than two years, dying in a car accident at age 29. Her only daughter, Joséphine-Charlotte, later became Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, while both of her sons reigned as King of the Belgians.

Queen Astrid of Belgium Wikipedia page

I found a couple of specific ones, made for remembering and honouring two great men.

And just loved looking at their images in great detail, as shown here.

But we don't have an specific person in mind, so it needs to be more of an idea, and one that could also span Cultures – to be meaningful in many countries.

I also found a very touching, beautiful design showing the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial. And it is fitting to show it, great work.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a 2-acre (8,093.71 m²) U.S. national memorial in Washington, D.C. It honors service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were unaccounted for during the war. [ Wikipedia Page ]

Famous Last Words :

And if you got this far, congratulations – You will do Well in the Slowly pen pal environment. :)

Letters we share, with pen pals all over the World, via the magic of the Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience.

Come and join us, if you are not yet using the app.

Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

This page created entirely in MarkDown language. Thank you for reading, feel free to comment about this post – reach me at my Koyu account.

... or post a comment in the Reddit thread for it here.

Hello Kitty 45th Anniversary Stamps are impossible to get.

@Slowly Team — could those be added to Time Machine ?? Please ??

The image above is just a small sampler of the MANY Hello Kitty stamp sets — issued in 2019, for the 45th Anniversary, and ONLY in a few Asian countries.

Philippines, Singapore, others. Image captured from the Most Complete collection ever — LessonWang's. And here a larger image of a Gorgeous one!

I have sent a Request to Slowly Team via Twitter, where my account is actively linked to the one at Reddit and promoting posts two ways.

A suggestion?

Hello Kitty sets are hard, I am not even counting on getting them. Maybe they COULD get added to Time Machine, they fit profile.

  • time limited
  • special editions, sometime country specific
  • and no longer available

A Report from the Slowly Stamp Collector's Front Lines

I have been speaking to Stamp Collector friends, with 470+ Stamps, who are only missing those — and working HARD to get any of them, with NO success.

Thank you so much for your letter.

Unfortunately, my stamp collection stopped.

Even though I wrote almost ninety letters, I still don't have any stamps with Hello Kitty*.*

It's very difficult because I have to delete the contacts and then return them again.

I think a hundred contacts are too little to collect the stamps.

I have to give that up. I don't have much space in the directory and I can't wait long as everyone answers me.

It's a shame that even with ninety letters and I didn't get any of the eight stamps I wanted.

Well, there's nothing I can do. Life goes on.

This is a REAL letter, I just translated it from another language.

And my reply was :

Good to receive a letter from you — I was thinking about you, but maybe you could be busy, and with that problem of having to add and remove people from your list to keep the correspondence.

That's why I was happy when I saw your letter coming. I was thinking of writing also about the issues of large stamp collections -– I just saw yours now and you're already at 485, my God!!! :) Olé!! :)

Very good, and you know what I think about those Hello Kitty? I don't care about them, they're very rare; I'm going to go slower with collecting more now, since it seems to me that we would be enjoying the stamps a lot more like that.

So — please Slowly Team, could you consider adding these to the wonderful Time Machine ?

Please and Thank you, with cream on top, Cheers!!

Crossposted on Twitter too — To clarify, this text was originally prepared and posted at our SlowlyApp subReddit in this Topic.

Some of the issues that my Pro Collector Friend mentioned ?

It might not be clear, from this small quoted piece, that the hard limit of 100 pen pals Maximum at any time is a serious limitation for the serious Hunter.

This friend had described to me before like getting a Senegal and Tanzania stamps required about 30 pen pal additions, with a letter each sent — all requesting the small favour of a return short reply with their own National Stamp.

Until, the final person in that long hunt obliged — and sent a reply with the stamp.

This is really the spirit of Collecting

I admired their perseverance and stamina.

To search that many new users, adding one or two at a time, always working to keep below the 100 maximum limit.

This person wasn't only hunting for one country, or another. They spent a whole year pursuing stamps from countries all over the world in this way.

The average time to get that hard to find stamp? They mentioned one month, and commented on my own successful acquisition of a few difficult to find stamps — from Belize, Cuba and Ecuador.

Requesting and Waiting, slower but more satisfying ?

I saw you've already got the stamp from Belize. You're luckier than I am. I waited almost three months...

This way of getting the stamps is very slow but I enjoy myself much more than I just being given it by some large collector.

I remember my feelings, how excited as I waited for their letters, and I was very curious if the stamp would be there. Now I lack these feelings.

Very true — I also find that I enjoyed my stamps a lot more when they came to me slowly. Each new stamp, found on an incoming letter was a thrill.

Each new stamp set I acquired, one at a time, with purchased coins. As there were NO Free coins until recently, Slowly version 5.1, October 2, 2019 introduced this feature.

And when I got that new and lovely stamp set (always carefully selected, I have some huge favourites), when I got that new set I would start using it. With the closest pen pals, one new stamp in each letter, sequentially working my way thru the typical 6 in a set. Until they had the complete set.

That was the time to switch to some different stamp, a new single or maybe another set that this friend still did not have.

My response to that paragraph above

I also wrote reflections that I thought about the collections – and I agree with you, that it is better to go more slowly, we enjoy them more.

I was lucky with the stamps from Cuba and Belize, Ecuador. I picked some people to write, and I had answers from almost all of them, I sent two letters to each country.

But it's necessary to be careful – I chose people who were on the internet recently, and who had a good Ratio for replies. It worked, and I still have letters with them now. ;)

The only problem is that I find it difficult to cut the link, I mean if I have got the stamp — I can't simply remove them. That would be plainly using them, to get what I want, and discarding them; not right in my opinion.

It would certainly be good for you if you could have a larger number, a greater limit. Maybe we could think of a suggestion and send to Slowly ? I can always write to them on Twitter.

All of which is true — that is exactly how I obtained these 3 countries, and I still keep corresponding with the agreeable people who obliged my request (and I do it on their own language, an important courtesy, in my opinion.

For the 3 countries, I had 5 replies, one that did not engage. All are still ongoing pen pals. I selected 2 people in each country, so I wouldn't have to wait a month to obtain a single country's stamp. Worked. :)

Famous Last Words :

And if you got this far, congratulations – You will do Well in the Slowly pen pal environment. :)

Letters we share, with pen pals all over the World, via the magic of the Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience.

Come and join us, if you are not yet using the app.

Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

This page created entirely in MarkDown language. Thank you for reading, feel free to comment about this post – reach me at my Koyu account.

... or post a comment in the Reddit thread for it here.

I just wrote a long, from the heart, a reply;

To a new user who joined our sub for SlowlyApp at Reddit this morning.

The post started as a comment, and I wanted to cheer her and offer some advice, from someone who has experienced quite similar events; and more than once, indeed.

Upon developing the comment, I felt it had a lot to cover, to share and to explain; and that it could be helpful to others. Since I have been posting actively on my new blog, it felt like good content for a new page.

A Reddit Topic, the 1st post, from a new Reddit user and my reply to it [ Her post lightly edited — inserting line breaks for easier reading ]

“I need Advice, please”

So, one of my penpals sadly deactivated his account today. We only wrote 3 letters each but I really enjoyed talking to him. I really loved reading the letters I got from him and I loved answering them. This past week I've been really busy with school and I wasn't able to answer him.

I like to write long letters and I just didn't have the time to write one so I put it off (didn't want to send him a generic answer). Anyway, I can't help but feel a tiny bit responsible that he deactivated his account. I don't want him to think that I didn't want to answer, especially since he included a picture of himself in his last letter. I hope he doesn't think I didn't answer because of the way he looks or something.

I don't know if this is me overthinking or if that really could be the case. So why am I writing this here? Since he told me his actual name and even sent a picture it really wasn't too hard to find his social media. I kind of want to write him on there to tell him that I am working on a letter and that, should he still want to talk, he should get back on Slowly.

On the other hand, I don't feel comfortable sharing my social media with him, plus I'm afraid he's going to want to talk on there instead of writing letters (which is not something I want). What do you think I should do/not do? (Any advice is greatly appreciated)

And, yann2's reply :

Well, hello and welcome to Slowly, and to the Reddit sub dedicated to it. Great that you found your way here, as many people do share experiences, ideas, etc.

In regards to your loss, we feel the pain as most people will experience those loses – we meet great people and get close, deep conversation develops until. Something or another happens, and the person quiets down, or worse, de-activates their account.

Not much we can do to avoid it, it does happen and is usually not a good penpal's fault. I don't think he leaving Slowly was due to one late reply from you; it's possible he wasn't having a good experience, or had some bad episode with someone else. Or that work or school demands are pilling up and they need to be out to cover that.

I have experienced something very similar, and I still mourn it. :(

I have never responded to the last great letter my friend sent me, as they left Slowly and I am out of touch. One thing I considered was posting a reply letter to them, carefully written to not have any sensitive or private info, in a Blog format.

I have done that with other letters, normal ones that were full and well written, and I wanted to share and have other readers enjoy them. I received comments and good feedback from that, as well as thank yous for letting them see these.

(And as I write here, it's clear this reply will develop into an upcoming Blog post; it's just too relevant and important to be lost in an obscure corner of the Net.)

So, back to your situation, you could create a new and anonymous social media account, to send a message/letter, and mention that you really wanted to send that reply. But would prefer not to correspond over this new connection, invite them back into Slowly, even if they have to create a new account if the previous one was lost.

If they did abandon the account, for 30 days the data remains in the servers; a user has a chance to return and request re-activation, before it gets deleted forever soon.

Starting Anew :

If they cannot retrieve the account, you can copy the full text of any of the letters in your folders – it's an option in the '...' menu at the bottom left corner of all letters — “Copy to Clipboard”.

Do that, then start writing the new user account a new draft letter; then Paste in the data from clipboard, and send. I usually include a Header at the top of such a letter for reference, example :

Your letter dated May 11, 2020.

——-[ forwarded letter begins ]——-

...with these copies, a new and barren account will benefit from once again having the original letters for reference.

I do enjoy those sometimes. When time passes and a memory comes to mind, I will sometimes reach back into a particular user's folder, and read – one, two or many of our letters.

Good people make good correspondents. Good writers make for memorable moments, and content to be cherished.

Consider this, my welcome letter to you, a new friend in need.



Header Image by Andrys Stienstra from Pixabay

Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

This page created entirely in MarkDown language. Thank you for reading, feel free to comment about this post – reach me at my Koyu account.

... or post a comment in the Reddit thread for it here.

Collect Free Coins by watching Short Ads

Getting the Free Coins by watching Slowly's short videos is simple and a popular feature. You spend a little time, the ads can be just a static image (which can be closed immediately) or most commonly, short 10 to 30 second long videos.

Many people like using it to collect coins to buy some of the attractive and colourful stamps available at the Stamp Store. You can save for :

  • a single stamp — which starts at 25 Coins; some are 50 Coins each.
  • a full set, a better deal since there's usually 6 stamps, for 100 Coins.

Individual stamps are 25 to 50 Coins each, and pricey in comparison. Sets give you more stamps for your coins.

How to get Free Coins ?

It is very simple.

  • Head to the rightmost tab in the app (where your profile is)
  • Just under the Stamp Store little image, there's a “My Coins: nn and a yellow “Purchase” button.
  • Click on the Purchase button, a new window will pop up.
  • Scroll to the very BOTTOM of the list.
  • Look for the “1 Coin” item.
  • While the screen loads, Slowly connects to servers, to get a video to show. This area will show “Loading...” at first.
  • Once it has one (depends on your region, locale), it will show a “Watch Video” button.
  • Click that, wait until it's done, return to previous screen.
  • A small message will show on screen : One Coin added to your balance.

And this can be done again in 15 MINUTES.

Hard core collectors have been setting timer alarms (for 15 min) so they know how soon to go again. A friend had mentioned this to me, I posted it in a Reddit comment — and am now using this method myself. (the snapshot in the page banner is my phone, running a Timer and Slowly together.)

It increased my average per day coin acquisitions nicely. From my previous 25 coins per day estimate, I would say I am up to around 36 to 40 or so. So running a Timer is a good idea.

Enjoy, collect coins, and buy stamps for yourself or to gift a friend.

Wait — Isn't this Abusing the Slowly Coins Store ?

No, not really, not at all. Why?

  • These ads are provided by Google AdSense, they have many to go.
  • Slowly Team gets a fee for each ad shown.
  • The more ads we watch, the higher the funds they receive.

Makes sense? This is new, since October 2, 2019 – when version 5.1 came out. Slowly team chose to add this feature, as it will provide them with additional income.

Their ONLY sources of income until now were the sales of stamps from the Store. Or the kind hearted users who chose to support them with a Buy Me A Coffee donation.

These cool folks are recognized with an exclusive stamp (see below), and their user names are added to the Credits list – in the app itself and on the company website.

Who Pays for These Ads ?

As shown in the screencapture above, from a Slowly Team reply on Twitter, these are “Rewarded Ads”, controlled and paid out by Google Admob programme.

What is a rewarded ad? An overview of rewarded video and other formats

Rewarded ads provide an opportunity for users to watch a video or engage with a playable ad in exchange for a reward within the app.

For example, mobile game players will eventually “die” upon reaching a critical point. The users are disappointed they did not complete the level, and wish they could continue playing instead of starting over from the beginning.

Coins in Slowly Web mode ?

While it has the Buy Coins feature, it does NOT have the Free Coins, buy 1 coin item, at this time (May 28, 2020).

This is likely due to Google Ads not approving the Web client as it's not a mobile device and not running their usual location services and Google Framework.

It's one of the few missing features in the otherwise VERY Functional Web Mode – my recommendation for comfortably using Slowly and producing better quality letters with less fatigue.

Ideal Setups for Efficient work and Coin Collection :

a. Laptop (or PC) plus mobile device :

For the serious Coin collector (a Stamp collector looking for free funds), the Real McCoy, the power set up is :

  • a PC or laptop running Slowly Web, for comfortable read and write long letters.
  • a mobile device, either a phone or a tablet, kept at the side.
  • Web mode for Real Work, while...
  • the phone has Slowly loaded, leaving it at the Profile tab.
  • an a Timer set to 15 minutes, so you get a Buzz warning when it's time to grab the phone and push those buttons for another free coin.

With this arrangement, which is what I am using, you can easily get 4 coins per hour while working at your desk or reading in sofa or in bed even.

b. Two mobile devices :

Don't have a laptop or spare PC to use? Well, you could still benefit from having two devices.

  • your normal, fancy phone for normal use, apps, music, etc.
  • and an older, spare cell phone which is able to run Slowly.

Having the second, older phone keeping the Slowly Coins Chase running frees your main device for whichever users you fancy at the moment.

This is also a lot easier to switch drop one when the Times buzzes, open the video ad, play it. Wait for it to end, then switch to the Timer and restart it. Back to work until the next buzz in 15 minutes.

Troubleshooting – No Ads, No Videos ?

Claudia, at Reddit posted a new Topic saying she was getting frequent “N/A” results when trying to get coins.

I can't seem to purchase coins because I've had issues with using my card on the Google play store for a long time now. Left with no choice, I resorted to gathering coins which I learned on here was possible, thanks to Yann.

Unfortunately, I've been having problems collecting coins because N/A always shows up. I woke up this morning to start another round of coin collection, only to figure out I couldn't watch an AD in exchange for one coin.

This has been happening for two days now as I only started gathering coins four days ago.

This is important — can help others too. There are TWO stages of Fixing possible here, and I am explaining a simpler, less radical method, first.

Followed by the Reset Advertising IDs.

Stage 1 — Videos not appearing — “Loading....”

Sometimes it seems that the “Loading...” message stays on for a long time, and we have to be paying attention to the phone, waiting to get the Play Video button, once Slowly received a server response.

In some cases, it will retrieve an ad to play. If it is taking too long, *I have done a Memory Cleaning to fix the problem*. Steps involved :

  1. Exit Slowly, so that we can free any memory (RAM) it is currently using.
  2. Once out of it, we can run a Cleaner program. That will look for any RAM that was in use by the apps; and that can now be freed up.

I have used a Cleaner app that came included with my phone, and works well. You can see a good review of Ten Best Cleaning Apps for Android here.

They mention the CCleaner app in #2 in the list — and I have used the Windows programme for years now, so this is a good one to try.

The phone cleaning app not only does wonders in Android but also in Windows 10 PCs and macOS. You can remove junk, clean your phone’s RAM, and reclaim more space using CCleaner.

If you already have one installed on your mobile, use that. This typically frees up from 400 to 800 MB of RAM (!!) when I need to use it — a HUGE amount, and the ads will work perfectly afterwards. So, try this first...

Stage 2 — Reset Advertising ID, getting rid of pesky “N/A”

N/A might have meant – no ad, no coin. :P

The N/A is no available ad to be displayed to you — based in your device's location, time of the day and what advertisers are willing to pay for.

Is there a way to solve or avoid that ? Yes — Got it.

A user at Reddit posted in another thread, that you can RESET your Google Advertising ID; from then on, you appear as a brand new, untapped customer — and in my experience, this will bring new ads forward.

I just reset mine yesterday after getting a string of 3 or so N/A results. After reset, ads worked normally again.

Reset Advertising ID — Android Phones

  1. Open Google Settings on your Android device by tapping on menu and then on Google Settings once all apps are...
  2. Locate and tap on the Ads menu under Services.
  3. Tap on “reset advertising ID” on the new page. The page lists the current advertising ID on the same page.
  4. Confirm the reset when the confirmation prompt is displayed. Once you reset the advertising ID, a new ID is...
  5. Bonus Option: You can Opt-out of interest-based ads as well on the same page.

This tells apps not to use the advertising ID. But it might reduce the number of available ads. Opting out gives you more privacy, at the costs of less targeted ads, or no ads being available sometimes possibly.

Or visit and see the original source, at

Reset Advertising ID — Apple iOS Phones and Tablets

And this is a NEW section, courtesy of bajaja at Reddit, who provided his experience in a comment :

I have an addition for you, for IOS users. For me it is a question of ads/no ads:

With Limit Ad Tracking turned off, no ads, only N/A. Reset Advertising Identifier doesn't help. On the other hand, with Location-Based Apple Ads turned off, the ads are there.

So the iOS users recommendation is clear — Turn OFF Location-Based Apple Ads. From Apple's own View Your Advertising Preferences :

Opt Out of Ads Targeted Based on Your Location

On your iOS or iPadOS device, you can opt out of receiving location-based advertising by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services and turning off Location-Based Apple Ads.

Famous Last Words :

And if you got this far, congratulations – You will do Well in the Slowly pen pal environment. :)

Letters we share, with pen pals all over the World, via the magic of the Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience.

Come and join us, if you are not yet using the app.

Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

This page created entirely in MarkDown language. Thank you for reading, feel free to comment about this post – reach me at my Koyu account.

... or post a comment in the Reddit thread for it here.

New and awesome Feature added May 2020

This morning was an exciting time for active Slowly users, those of us who visit and read, write in the Reddit sub for SlowlyApp found a new post — announcing a radical, lovely, awesome new feature.

The original Poster there only uploaded a screencap from his Mobile — but it was clear what it was.

Time Machine

Get 1 stamp from Special Days and Series that you have Missed. Check the Full Listing here.

This was great — and many of us got into commenting, Up voting, shopping for these newly available and RARE stamps. OMG!!! :)

38 Upvotes, and 39 Comments in the Topic, 13 hours after posted. For a small Sub like ours, those are Very Good numbers!

And Comment we did.

The following text in this page is a lightly edited collection of my (Yann2) comments posted in the topic. Plus, on Twitter also.

#1 : Yo you all

—– Up Vote this nice Friend who brought us the exciting news!

Bought one stamp — and got the wonderful St George's Day stamp. :) Just hoping I can avoid the Easter Eggs, had enough of them, too specific. Gotta chase the ads and the coins, now we have a Target to use them. :P

Edit —– Crossposted on TWITTER. Edit 2 : And I just blew my entire balance, 2 coins left, lol.... Got a lot of nice ones. Thankfully ONE Easter Egg only.

Time Machine Banner at Slowly WEB mode

We had been talking and excitedly buying as many stamps as our coin purses allowed. At first, it was unclear which stamps were included, but there's a Full List webpage now.

#2 There is a big number of stamps

...including some nice time limited stamp sets : [Click on links to see screencaps of stamps and sets]

And numerous, previously restricted stamps, sold only in certain countries.

Took some snapshots on the phone, to document this. The Feature is working in Slowly Web mode too.

An exciting new idea, thanks Slowly Team! :)

#3 Re: a comment about the RARE Hello Kitty

...stamp sets from 2019 (45th Anniversary, only issued in some Asian countries)

Those Hello Kitty sets are hard, I am not even counting on getting them.

But — if we send a suggestion in, they might get added to the Time Machine as well – as they fit the profile.

  • time limited
  • special editions, sometime country specific
  • and no longer available.

And I did send in a suggestion, via Twitter post to Slowly Team.

#4 Re: Rare Early Bird Stamp – and the user who spent 800 coins

...but was so happy, he GOT IT. :)

This was a nice morale booster – to let people know that yes, you CAN get that special stamp you wanted. Just keep trying, spend some coins, watch the Slowly short video ads, and they add up. I am back to 20, after a full balance blowout this morning!

#5 Re: stamps as a funding model keep the company alive and running :

Nice post, good thoughts — I think the way they are funding the company, and paying the costs to maintain service is pretty unobtrusive. I don't mind it at all.

It will give you stamps that are Unique for your collection — but meaning that you own them outright, received or bought a copy in the past.

Received in the mail stamps, this will not apply – I bought 11 of them this morning (now collecting coins for more) and the very first one was St George's Day, a beautiful stamp.

That now I own and can send to pen pals; although I had it before, received from others.

It works in this sense identically to the World Explorer feature.

Nice post, good thoughts — I think the way they are funding the company, and paying the costs to maintain service is pretty unobtrusive. I don't mind it at all.

A single coin costs 2 Cents of a Canadian Dollar, my local currency, if bought in 500 coin pack. A full 6 stamps set, 100 coins regular, is $2 CAD a pretty reasonable amount. [a coffee at a lousy place, plus tax, costs that here]

And I have bought coins before, and even after the free ones are around.

#6 : How to see a LARGER image of ANY stamp?

Easy, follow this.

  • point at the desired stamp.
  • Right Click, choose View Image.

  • The image loads in the Browser. The Location bar will be show something like the URL below.
  • But — it's SMALL, eh ? We can grab a LARGER image.
  • Edit the URL on the Browser address – remove the “-sm” after the “stamp” word.
  • So now it is

  • Done? Hit Enter, or Select REFRESH page or press F5 in a laptop. :)

Like it? Me too. :D

And Some Reflections about Stamp Collecting :

#7 Re: Draculalien was happy with this

... having suggested it before. :)

They are thoughtful, and continuously work in improving the app.

With people getting HUGE stamp collections, it's coming to a point where there's not much left for them – and that kills the joy.

This does a great deal to help.

And I truly believe that stamp collecting works best if taken Slowly – dig and enjoy each new incoming stamp, each new little one you buy from World Explorer.

Get a set and use it with penpals, I do that, sequentially — one by one, with my reply letters, until they have the complete set.

Too many new stamps and sets, you lose that magic a bit; happened to me. Some sets from Christmas Store Sale are still not in normal use for me.

Never mind the MANY new country ones I got more recently.

Slowly is Definitively BETTER for stamp collecting.

#8 Re: a response to a New Slowly user

... and budding stamps collector.

Welcome to the Fold, friend. Enjoy, and... Take it Slowly. :)

Honestly, I had the most fun when I was receiving a new stamp in a letter and it was such a High. And saving, collecting free coins by watching the video ads.

Until you can purchase a stamp, or better yet – a whole set, always a better deal, 6 stamps for 100 SlowlyBucks. :P

We can get turbo into collecting but — I really think it's not the same (happened to me, and I plan to write a blog about it)

Many heavy collectors are hitting the wall, as they are over 400 stamps – and not much else is available. So – take it easy and ENJOY it, as it's great fun. :)

Says me, with 385 stamps on the fold, including the 11 new ones I just blew my whole coin balance on, the Time Machine new feature is a boom and an addiction, lol.... :)

But what I wrote above is, honest to God, what I really believe in.

Famous Last Words :

And if you got this far, congratulations – You will do Well in the Slowly pen pal environment. :)

Letters we share, with pen pals all over the World, via the magic of the Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience.

Come and join us, if you are not yet using the app.

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... or post a comment in the Reddit thread for it here.

As we start the day, Early, a Notification :

On my phone screen, as I fired it up, to turn on wifi and start Slowly to check new mail... and for some coin hunting, as usual.

Things have been very quiet lately on Reddit subs, so I was happy to see an incoming Direct Message. From my good friend -littleghost. :)

And we went from there; very soon I was using my text editor (the free and full featured EditPad Lite, recommended), to write freely without the constrains of the Reddit Chat message entry box.

Writers need unbound space for proper expression, imo. As soon as I had a few paragraphs, I knew Today's Blog topic was at hand — here it is. :)

I have requested and obtained LittleGhost's permission to quote her, use a screen capture in the blog, and as a Good Sport, it was duly granted. Thanks, dear friend! :)

LittleGhost's Incoming Chat message :

Hi Yann, I thought I'd just send a quick message to a long time Slowly user... I am dying internally xD

I decided earlier today I would turn back on my “accepting new friends” feature til I got ONE new pen pal...

I forgot to check, and when I went back I had three despite it being a short while.

Then I scrolled, and realised it was actually five.

Then when I turned it off, I figure a couple people must have still been writing to me because now I have SEVEN NEW INCOMING LETTERS xD

How do you tend to manage when you have too many letters, lol?

And then we started Talking...

Good morning (to me, evening to you) Ghost!! Oh, that is priceless — one of those things you could write a Slowly Stories about, seriously — save some notes and do it, as this is prime writing material.

Hahahahah, I'm glad you think so. Hopefully something good comes out of it but honestly I'm low-key hoping that some users were lazy and didn't bother to read my profile so I have an excuse to talk to less xD

ok, and look what I got for you... fresh from my text editor!!

Now, engaging the Editing Tools for some free writing :

Amazing how quickly that happened, there might be another incoming users wave possibly. Interesting.

I did notice one thing, related to that more or less. I talked my brother into trying Slowly, so I could write to him and forward some interesting letters.

I had Slowly set up on my iPad mini so to get him going, I uninstalled the app there; then reinstalled, and started the new user creation (a bit hard for him), did it all (we have been there before, much easier) and it was up and running. I locked out new friends, so he wouldn't have this incoming mail like you got.

Uninstalled Slowly again for some reason, and then re-installed, this time logging in to his existing account.

And... Hours later, a New penpal message showed in the tablet. What? Yes, reinstalling it did reset the “Accepting Friends” toggle. Something to keep in mind.

Woot ?

On the question of what to do now, for you, let me think out loud, some ideas.

  • wait for them to arrive, if they are far away from you, a 2 days letter trip, that will slow things down considerably. I always felt that, in my experience it took much longer to get acquainted with people who were in those far locations; but easier to cope in terms of read/write loads.

  • since you are on the receiving end, you can be a bit selective – and if one or more of those letters are unsatisfactory, I would suggest you could send a short but polite “Thank you, but...” message; a few lines with an explanation that you have a number of tasks, already committed to a number of penpals, etc. Maybe not mention this last one but keep it more generic; life demands – school and part time work, this would be understandable. and is much better than no reply at all (rude, and quite common).

  • and then reply to the other ones if you managed to weed off one or two or more. But don't open the Long Form cannon just yet – as you might be engaged by one of them, and then it becomes more difficult to cut off if needed. So, keep at a medium size tops.

  • I sure hope you are not using Slowly in a cell phone? We haven't talked about this, but it's much easier and more enjoyable to use a pc or laptop.

  • in a pinch, if you don't have one, a tablet (Android or iOS, either works) would still be much better than a phone. My phone is quite nice, has a very sharp display and processor, but the touch screen keyboard is not the same as other devices can give me. I had this idea yesterday, of writing a Blog post on the subject — as an alternative in case a pc or laptop isn't available.

How did we handle Slowly before WEB Mode ?

A good pen pal friend of mine, who I have corresponded with for many months, had a tablet solution – hers being a killer model; an iPad Pro, with a Bluetooth keyboard case. Man, she loved it, and we both had fast correspondence.

This at a time when Slowly Web was something mentioned as an upcoming feature, but no firm Release time frame at all.

I used an Android emulator in my laptop, BlueStacks, under Windows 10, and it was a dream setup too — Full keyboard, large and sharp screen, and all the storage in the laptop ready for keeping photos for sharing, notes, etc. And this, in July 20192 months at least before Slowly Web appeared in mid-September.

Writing a Blog about this is on my clipboard as a To Do item — I know it will be well received, as most people have NO idea this is possible at all. Coming Soon! :)

And we continued from there.

Talking about Blogs, I thank you for your message, which gave me the head start for today's post — this one, as I think it's prime material too. :)

Hope these help, and that you don't mind my appropriation of this for expanding into a public channel. As usual I will not release any details of my interlocutors. :P

And I will be around and happy to help and chat if you want to continue this topic. Turned into a pretty letter, this one, didn't it ?

Thanks, Little Sister! :)

Have a great day, dear friend.


Fast Forward, and this page is Born.

A very agreeable chat, and a great start for my day — with a fresh idea, and motivation to get it into Web Magazine Style which I love so much.

This post is being brought to you by :

  • The EditPad Lite text editor previously mentioned.
  • Irfanview Image Editor, a must have piece of my tool kit.
  • Write.freely blog instance, running in my own laptop as a private instance; the SAME software where my pages go to for Publishing. Instant refreshes, perfect formatting, when a post is complete it's a quick Copy Paste Save to get it Live on the Net. :)
  • MySQL server, needed to run the Write.Freely package. Free and complicated but once installed, completely stable and forgettable.

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Another day and reply to a new Pen Pal gets written;

Contrary to my usual, this letter was written at night. The Weather has been good, most people are outside, doing yard work or exercising, walking, cycling. Warm weather is wonderful after a long Winter.

This is an example of the letters we share, with pen pals all over the World, via the magic of the Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience.

The original letter doesn't have the added pizzazz of imagery and links included in the Blog post – my Favourite way of Content Creation. But the inspiration and most of the text in this page came directly from the Slowly editor screen.

Sent an hour ago, and will reach the Web via Blog post way sooner than the actual letter reaches its destination — in the South East Asian country of the Philippines.

And here is the Letter, in Full.

Hello A.,

And thank you for your excellent reply letter – you wrote very well, covered many topics and had paragraphs in good sizes, so it's not hard to read. I also try to do the same, visually it's important that we give a reader little breaks so the eyes don't get strained if possible.

Wonderful that you have visited the links I provided you on my previous letter, and read, enjoyed the pages. I am very glad to have found my inspiration again, it had been months since I had last created a Blog page, back in mid January. But it's great fun, I take pleasure in the process of creating a visually appealing page, while also polishing the language to be correct and flow well.

It takes a few hours of work for each page, but I look at each of them as a complete piece, similar to a magazine article. That is my goal, that it feels and reads like one. :)

Thank you for your gentle compliments along your letter, I appreciate them. And I am glad to have you as a pen pal, a correspondent, we have similar interests and different cultures and places we have visited or lived in. Good material for many conversations!

New Blog Pages this week :

Recently, I have added some new pages to the Blog, trying to keep it to one a day if I can. In my last letter I mentioned the Slowly Web guide in the Reddit sub, but just yesterday I made a Blog version which is not only a lot prettier, but has new added content as well.

A Laptop is the Best & Easy way to use Slowly

On Friday I created another page with a Reply Letter to a Friend in Poland, May 2020, and it's also very nice, if I can say so. :)

Since you enjoy letter writing, there might come a time when you feel that a particular letter is a great one, and would like to share it with one or two close friends, possibly. I had done it, with people who wrote, read and appreciated letters, and now *wrote a blog page explaining my thoughts, methods —Forwarding a nice Letter to another Pen pal. you see I have been busy! :) Which has impacted a bit on my letter replying, I have been a bit slower than usual, but will catch up. I have been active on the Slowly sub at Reddit, and it has good content for us users – a rarity on the Net, there isn't much anywhere.

And you can visit and read without even logging in.

Sorry for all those links, but this letter is getting similar to a blog page as well — I include extra links in the pages, for example those that were letters to pen pals; it adds value, but you want to keep your reader in your page, just suggesting these other ones for extra references, maybe when they finish the blog page. :)

Suggestions for Writing Good Letters ?

Suggestions for writing, you mentioned; and I am going by memory, replying right after first reading your letter as is my custom — which I feel gives me the very best results, my emotions are fresh, and I let the prose flow. We need inspiration and free time for this. :)

  • until you know a bit about a new possible pen pal, try not to go too long, as some people will be turned off and not reply to a very long letter. Many people use cell phones for Slowly, and that really makes for two classes of users – the ones with the powerful tools, who can produce long content without stress, and the ones that send shorter letters, and still spend a lot longer since the phones are not ideal for content creation.

  • consider creating a blog, maybe, in the future, you might enjoy it. And then you could also refer people to certain pages, with pieces of writing you consider relevant for the current letter's context.

  • keep a folder with nice photos for sharing with you closer pen pals, and use them in letters; since we have a quite limited quota, 10 photos for every 12 hours or so, we need to be a bit spartan; maybe one or two in a letter, so you have more if needed for the next replies.

  • yes, don't ask too many questions, since the other person might either get annoyed and ignore some of them, or if they are very polite, might have to write for a long time to cover all your queries.

Examples are always helpful.

  • I think that seeing examples of actual, good letters, like these that I have been publishing, can be helpful – I learned to write letters in school, as part of the curriculum, and used that over the years, in commercial, personal, business or government related letters. These are all a bit different, but practice and some reading does open horizons, and you do get better over time. :)

  • provide feedback to your friend, as you did in this letter, with references to my blog pages, thank you for the gentle comments. This kind of thing makes a letter feel quite personal, and we want that natural flow of conversation, so things will happen and keep evolving.

  • sometimes you might not be able to respond immediately, specially to a long letter. I have dealt with a situation like that, and actually responded with a shorter letter, mentioning that I would follow that next day. And I did, in fact for the next two days, as that one incoming letter had many questions, good ones, and I was pleased to engage it. :)

I think I will have to take this approach with this letter, actually, since I am half way thru it and it's already getting a bit late; but we will see.

And an idea leads to a new Discovery :

And I just had an idea and went looking. Found a NEAT site with an online Word Counter (that also reports many other things, got a screenshot. ) At the moment, at the end of the short paragraph above, I already had 950 words, so it will be 1,000 soon; I think this is good for Part 1? :)

While writing, I kept thinking that this would be another nice example to include on the Blog – it has good style, flowing text and paragraphs, nothing too personal to reveal. And — it has a lot of suggestions and examples, links which might make for a valuable page to many readers.

I am sure you would agree? and I will be sending this letter soon, then trying to create its online version so I can keep my publishing streak going, one page per day is very satisfying.

So please pardon me the indelicacy; And we will continue in part 2 soon, tomorrow likely.

Have a good day! I think my letter will reach you during daylight hours, possibly.



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Slowly Web mode Quick Guide.

A laptop (or desktop, meaning – a real computer) is absolutely THE BEST way to use Slowly and enjoy it. And since September last year, it became VERY easy to do with Slowly WEB mode.

And all it takes is a half decent machine, it runs from a browser tab, doesn't require much memory or processor power. Slowly versions since 5.0 support it.

Is there an Official Guide for Web mode? Yes, but it's VERY brief, really. Stay with me here. :)

Why bother, my phone is great ?

  • using a laptop you have a real keyboard, and a nice large screen.
  • Because of a comfortable setup, it's easy to read and reply.
  • And let it flow — and so I tend to write long letters;
  • Which my penpals and I also enjoy receiving. ;)

You realize that Slowly is not a Texting kind of app, right?

OK, sold. How to use it ?

a. On your Laptop or Desktop :

  • open a browser tab to
  • When you open it for the first time, it will not be Authorized (logged in) to your account yet.
  • So it displays a QR code box in the laptop/desktop browser tab, and tells you to use the cell phone to scan it.
  • This is the “Scan the QR Code to Authorize” screen :

b. On your Cell phone now :

  • The option is on the Slowly Settings, the last tab in the right on Slowly app. Click on the Gear icon, top right corner.

  • Down the list of options, there's Slowly Web, select that. Cell Settings — Slowly Web menu.

  • A new window pops up, asking you to point the cell camera to the laptop/desktop screen, so it can pick up the QR code and scan it.

  • Do that, and very quickly it will be processed — Authorizing this new laptop or Desktop computer to access your account.
  • The laptop will now load your account data, and open your pen pal friends list.
  • REAL keyboard, large screen – It is a very enjoyable way to work! :)

Now, enjoy Slowly with power and comfort. Cheers.

Traveling? Broken or lost computer, laptop ?

Ah, pity that your computer is so far, or broken, missbehaving. Hopefully you might get access to one at a public place?

  • Local Public Library branches.
  • Internet Cafés with rentable computer access.
  • A friend or relative's system.
  • Or even a work computer, with permission – and AFTER finishing you work for the day.

As I suggested to a friend in chat yesterday, Slowly Web Mode — being a web based application, runs on a Browser window with no software installation required. You could use a shared, Library or office computer to access it, read and reply to the mail.

And then just make sure to close the browser to erase your login to Slowly.

If possible, use a Private Tab browser window, that would be best for Privacy. Closing it will erase history and any cookies left by the Slowly Web mode run.

From Wikipedia Page for Private Browsing :

Private browsing is a privacy feature in some web browsers. When operating in such a mode, the browser creates a temporary session that is isolated from the browser's main session and user data. Browsing history is not saved, and local data associated with the session, such as cookies, are cleared when the session is closed.

These modes are designed primarily to prevent data and history associated with a particular browsing session from persisting on the device, or being discovered by another user of the same device.

Missing Features in Slowly WEB Mode ?

Since beginning to use Slowly, in my Android cell phone, I started getting more and more pen pals, and better and longer letters were being exchanged. Soon it was taking me hours everyday to keep up.

We anxiously waited for the version 5.0 release of Slowly app to be ready. The Slowly Team mentioned “it was an upcoming Feature”, and “in active development”, since maybe early July or so. With NO estimated Release date yet.

In mid-August, they announce that progress had been made, and promised a mid-September version 5.0 release, and it came out on schedule! :)

When version 5.0 came out, it was great — I started telling friends and pen pals, posting on Twitter and elsewhere, telling people about it; and then, How To Use it. (as mentioned in the beginning of this page, the only official Slowly Web mode guide is only a few lines, text only; not good for beginners)

The earliest version of this guide was written inside Slowly pen pal letters — and once written, a copy saved to a text file for reuse when needed.

Features Not Yet Available on WEB Mode :

  • The Watch short videos for Free coins, not there; use your cell phone, keep it beside you as you work in the laptop or PC.
  • the Explorer, or User List browser and pen pal Search feature —sadly, this is not there yet. Again, a cell phone or a Tablet (iOS or Android) can provide access to this important function.
  • The World Map, while present, is limited compared to the delightful version on the Mobile versions.

All of those missing or less functional features are as of this writing (May 24, 2020 — current version of Slowly is v5.2.22). This could change soon, as the Team is quite active and does add new features and improvements constantly.

Afterthoughts ?

[ as posted originally at the Reddit SlowlyApp sub ]

I had been thinking of making a post to let people know — it is SO MUCH more enjoyable, to work in a proper computer.

Have been taking some screenshots. For a full guide, a Blog post would be ideal. But for now, I think this gets you started on your path. :)

** EDIT : And the blog post is now a reality, this version being so much nicer and more polished. :)

/// Try it, you won't go back. It's lovely. Cheers! ///

/// Ask any questions if you need. :) ///

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Another day and many new letters arrive;

And in a quiet moment, early morning preferably, I go about reading and replying to them.

Those are letters we share with pen pals in many countries, all over the World, via the magic of the neat Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience, developed and maintained by a small team in Hong Kong.

This was sent just this morning, and will reach the Web via my Blog post way sooner than the actual letter (which doesn't have the added pizzazz of imagery and links included) reaches its destination.

The Header image shows a fragment of a Classic painting of the famous Wawel Castle, in Kraków, Poland. Courtesy of Wikipedia's page for the Castle.

And the Letter Starts :

Hello S.,

Good morning and thank you for your reply letter! I am glad you liked the Trinidad and Tobago stamp, it's indeed a wonderful, cheery and bright design, one of the best of all Slowly ones. I got it from a random purchase on the Stamp Store World Explorer, and loved it so much!

It displays the Pink Ibis, which is an protected, endangered species.

That got me into collecting coins and trying to buy one more per day, doable; I am getting even more coins now, since I started using a timer, set to 15 minutes, and running together with the Slowly app on my cell, while I do real work in my laptop. Buzz — I switch the phone, click for the video ad, and once it's over reset the time and drop the phone, back into other tasks.

The stamp in this letter is another nice one – again a lucky draw from the World Explorer, this one a few months ago. There's not any new sets of stamps that I would like to buy at the moment, I bought many over time and specially near Christmas, when they were on sale for 20% off, 80 coins per set.

I looked up your collection and noticed you did not have this Cameroon one, so here it goes. :) It displays the beautiful Cameroon Monument of Reunification.

Thanks for the offer of sending more stamps and sets, I appreciate it. My collection grew quickly when I joined Reddit SlowlyApp sub, but like you I think it's more enjoyable and satisfying to add to it Slowly – and enjoy each new stamp, a thrill when a letter arrives with one, isn't it ? :)

The High Schools curricula and choices available to students do vary widely, here we have 8 credits per year now (and for the last 25 years at least, I believe), so 4 credits per semester. I think that allows students more time to concentrate in each of the 4, unlike on the older times when they had 8 per semester like you mentioned.

Attention spans and focusing are a major problem, with young people getting bombarded with too many stimuli – and suffering a lack of attention and concentration capability.

Unfortunately, that is a reality and they will need to learn and find ways to cope and reduce the distractions – essential for higher level employment with better possibilities in a very competitive world.

[ Says me, who has 3 full Firefox browser windows open, each with a number of tabs; but this is needed as I do work in different communities and need to move from task to task efficiently. ]

I frequently cite and recommend an excellent article at The Atlantic“Is Google Making Us Stupid ?” which I think is good reading and relevant.

The idea of pursuing an interest for History of Art is a nice one – if you can combine that with some employment to get started and earn a living, that would be gratifying. I personally love History too, and would enjoy if I got involved into a History of Technology programme myself.

Ah, pity that your computer is so far, hopefully you might get access to one — as I suggested to a friend in chat yesterday, Slowly Web mode, being a web based application, runs on a Browser window with no software installation required. You could use a shared, Library or office computer to access it, read and reply to the mail, and then just make sure to close the browser to erase your login to Slowly.

If possible to open a Private Tab browser window, that would be best for Privacy. Closing it will erase history and any cookies left by the Slowly Web mode run.

Good luck with future endeavours, we all go thru phases when things are like that, on the move and in uncertain directions. :)

Wonderful to have the friends visiting, and to prepare that special meal, a treat to them and yourself. I love to travel and experience Culture, Food and local History, Geography, it's so interesting.

Thank you for the good wishes, I return them with my own – that you and the family stay well and enjoy good moments in this Spring.

Till next time, sincerely,


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And just now I wrote a reply to a new penpal friend, which is taking lessons in Spanish with the wonderful Duolingoa free languages learning app. [ Wikipedia has a good reference page here ]

I like and recommend it, have worked assiduously for a month in an intensive schedule (you can chose how much time to commit to lessons each day). The language I was learning was French, one that I can understand, orally or in writing, a lot better than writing or speaking. It is free and can be downloaded in Android and iOS versions.

How is it working out ?

My pen pal is enjoying the course, and the challenges of translating paragraphs of text which I wrote and sent in my last Slowly letter to them.

It is actually an excellent use for Slowly – I remember seeing a post in Twitter from a Brazilian teacher who brought that into their institution, and met with great success.

My new friend is eager and is sending me more letters, as I responded to this one (the text below is my full reply, other than removing personal details and names).

Seems wonderful! Muchas Gracias a la Equipa de Slowly app!

Today's Letter — La carta de Hoy :

Hola amiga!

And today you responded with :

Okay, onto the next exercise. Yann wrote:

Ayer escribí una carta a una chica de Ecuador, preguntando se podría por favor enviarme una estampilla de su país. Le dijo que aún no tenía una, y seria muy grato si pueda hacerlo. En mi carta, le envié una estampilla del Canadá, aquella que tienes también, con el dinosaurio Azur. Pienso que le agradó, ella me respondió con la estampilla que yo precisaba. :)


Yesterday, (learnt what “Ayer” was yesterday btw lol) I wrote a letter to a girl from Ecuador, told her to please send me a stamp from her country...... In my letter, I sent a Canadian stamp, that you have also with the dinosaur azur. I think that I liked it, she responded with the stamp that I needed.

Phew! How'd I do? Text soon x

Not bad at all, I think.

Ayer” I leaned in Cuba, speaking to local people, very nice and human.

My translation of my own Spanish text?

“Yesterday I wrote a letter to a girl in Equador, asking if she could please send me a stamp from her country. I told her that I didn't have it yet, and would be grateful if she could do it. In my letter, I sent her a stamp of Canada, that one you also have, with the blue Dinosaur. I think it pleased her, she responded to me with the stamp I needed. “

You are a good student! :)

And on to another paragraph? New challenge! :)

Hola de nuevo,

Y ahí tienes la otra estampilla de Canadá, que muestra un Inuksuk.

En Inglés, hay esta página a Wikipedia.

Y una en Español también

És muy interesante, como ellos usan los inuksuks para marcar caminos en la paisaje — que en el Norte de Canadá puede sir muy desolada, sin arboles o otra vegetación; és muy difícil, el clima.

Hay muchas fotos de Inuksuk en Internet también, muy hermosas!

Till next time, dear friend! :)


...And the letter above is now on the Slowly Mail system, to be delivered in a few hours.

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