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from Friends Near and Afar


A Fall day and a reply letter to a friend gets written;

To S., a friend from Czech Republic. A good correspondent, active collectionist of Slowly stamps, who I was fortunate to meet via the app. We alo share a love for Economics and understanding how things work.

Sent on October 21st, 2021 — Letter below was lightly edited to remove personal references and portions we don't want to share in public.

The original didn't have the added pizzazz of imagery and the live links included in the Blog post. But the inspiration and most of the text in this page came directly from my Slowly Web client editor screen.

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


And the letter begins

Hello S.,

And thank you for the letter – and the lovely photos. It seems to be a nice place, this northern region you visited.

S.'s shared photo of a reclaimed Bohemian mine

It is interesting that there's all those mines in the region, and that luckily they were close to the surface and can be easier to explore than the usual deeper deposits.


Also happening elsewhere...

There are similar things going on in other countries, here in Canada there are oil sands mines in Northern Alberta which are very large and explored via open pit method. They will have to provide remediation once they exhaust the resource, and in some area this has started already.

A good example of Open Pit mining – Larger image here

There is opposition from green activists against these, since the oil sands are quite resource intensive – it takes a lot of energy to separate the Bitumen from the sand itself, which is basically done with boiling water, fuelled by natural gas.

The Oil Sands bitumen extraction process

I always thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to use some smaller nuclear reactors, since the need the mines have is for heat – no need to convert to electricity even, so a high efficiency would be possible. Plus, no carbon emissions since we would not be burning the natural gas.

Micro-reactors – this video on YouTube is short and interesting!


Bohemian mining has been around long

Bohemia had some of the earliest deposits of radioactive materials, I remember the Curie couple extracting Radium from Pechblenda ore extracted in Bohemia I believe.

It is fascinating to know what people in older times did and explored; I was looking at one of my blog posts, a historical one, and there is a map of Iberia in Roman times, showing Au and Ag deposits in what is today's Spain.

Roman Period map of Iberian Peninsula

Aurum, or gold (Au), in the Asturias region, northwest, and Argentum or silver (Ag), in the south – near Sevilla and Granada I think.

Brazil has huge mineral deposits too, a lot of gold was mined there, most went to Portugal, and from there went on to France, England, in payment of merchandise acquired from them. I remember reading about an isotopical analysis of some 1700's French gold coins, and the conclusion that about 30% of the gold in them was originally from Brazil.


All these shining coins and bars...

And I just found an interesting page with some fascinating stories of the French gold coins and bullion reserves – during World War II, and what happened to it.

A hoard of gold bars and coins recently found in France

I am glad that they did a nice job of reclaiming the expended mine pits in Saxony, and it seems they actually add value to the region today, creating picturesque places for people to visit, eh?

Time to close and send. Here from Zambia for a few more hours, lol..

Take care and have a good weekend!

Yann

Post card : today's is a sci-fi themed one – from a planet with two beautiful moons. Hope you enjoy this. [ image is seen as the Banner image on this post ]


Famous Last Words

Special Thank You to the folks behind this wonderful app — all the hard working people at Slowly Communications.

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 Slowly.


Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

@friends-near-and-afar-letters-we-share@wordsmith.social

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.

@yann2@koyu.space Top ▲

 
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from LizaHadiz

Of Man, War, and Espresso

“Calling to arms all men from 21 to 55 years old, Italy can mobilize 8,000,000 men, and adding young men of 18, 19, and 20 years more than 9,000,000 ….”

The nation’s leader, Benito Mussolini—or better known as II Duce to his people—did not fail to cast a spell on the cheering crowd on the 30th of March 1938. His speech continued to spark the crowd as he shouted,

“This shows how ridiculous are the polemics of certain circles beyond the Alps according to which the African war, the formation of two army corps in Libya and the participation of volunteers in the Spanish war have weakened us.

On the contrary, all that strengthened us …”

In fascist Italy, the modern Italian man is what makes up the nation—he is the nation, the nation is him. War was no longer seen as misery, but an honor. It was a time of great hope and pride as II Duce attempted to revive the glory of the Roman Empire. The men were the soldiers; the women were mothers who earned medals for supplying the nation with its soldiers and workers.

The fascist regime promoted espresso to the workers. In the morning, workers line up against the counters of espresso bars, sipping their cups only for minutes, before dashing off to work for the nation. The new steam espresso machine makes coffee fast like a speeding steam train, but just cool enough to immediately drink. In only seconds the espresso will flow smoothly from the machine like a long mouse tail into the small cups, an analogy with the steam trains, which in a split second, will arrive at the stations as scheduled. Even though the promptness of the trains was false, both the train and the espresso machine served as Mussolini’s propaganda to demonstrate the technological advancement, industrialization, and modernization of what was once a war-torn Italy.

The nation was trying to rise from its knees by the lift of a strongman as the memory of the First World War had slowly dwindled but not forgotten. For Mussolini, founder of Italy’s National Fascist Party—the Italian espresso was the nation’s drink, that of a modern Italy. For the nation’s strongman, it was political as much as cultural.

Looking back, who would have thought that the strongman, who vowed to lift Italy from the trenches, would be executed in humiliation as he was by the people of his country? On April 28, 1945, Mussolini was captured while trying to flee with his mistress.

The empire Mussolini aspired to build did not, by far, have the military skills of the Romans. The dictator who was responsible for the war losses and death of his people had left his wife of three decades and their children to escape and save himself.

Even more humiliating was what happened after his death. On April 29th, 1945, the bodies of II Duce and his mistress, Clara Petacci, and three supporters who were executed along with them, were hanged upside down at the town square of Milan to satisfy the angry mob. This event is what is best remembered of the strongman who fell from grace.

Nonetheless, the Italian espresso and the coffee bars that Mussolini used in his fascist propaganda were quickly disassociated with the strongman. The Italian espresso culture lived on to be celebrated around the world.

-Some Thoughts from the Cappuccino Girl- (2021)

#fascism #WorldWar1 #WorldWar2 #Italy #Espresso #history

Note: Mussolini’s speech is quoted from: http://bibliotecafascista.blogspot.com/2012/03/speech-in-senate-march-30-1938.html.

I first wrote this piece as a historical fiction short story, although it may have not turned out too well. In case you are interested, you can read it here: The Strongman's Espresso https://feministpassion.blogspot.com/2021/06/the-strongmans-espresso.html.

 
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from Apocrifografies

En un escrit anterior exposava les dinàmiques manipuladores en l’ús de paraules. L’objectiu principal d’aquest assaig és aprofundir en l’anàlisi de la tergiversació dels significats. Us presento, doncs, un escrit modern, progressista i innovador, que crearà segurament moltes oportunitats per fomentar la prosperitat en un entorn altament competitiu. Sona bé, oi? Si no teniu la competència d’entendre el contingut correctament, no soc jo, naturalment, qui és responsable dels malentesos.

Vaig explicar que els discursos manipuladors busquen aplicar paraules d’una manera que canviï les seves definicions, desconnectant-les dels significats comuns que es troben en els diccionaris i les enciclopèdies. Aquesta pràctica persegueix la meta d’establir una cultura comunicativa sofista que reemplaci el marc de referència comú per l’autoritarisme dels relats. La conseqüència nefasta és que els conceptes teòrics i pràctics es banalitzen i desvirtuen, mentre que adquireixen protagonisme les persones que dominen l’art de la persuasió argumentativa, independentment de la veracitat dels discursos. En resum, la comunicació es desconnecta sempre més de la realitat objectiva.

Per una banda, podem observar un negacionisme irracional, quan persones creients de tota mena de teories alternatives qüestionin el coneixement científic, és a dir, els fets físics de la realitat, com ara l’existència de patògens microscòpics o la forma del nostre planeta. Per l’altra banda, conceptes abstractes adquireixen una ambigüitat, que facilita una confusió comunicativa en la població. La falta de concreció en les definicions fa que els participants d’un debat es refereixen a concepcions diferents.

En l’àmbit comercial, la resignificació de conceptes es pot exemplificar amb l’ús del mot «natural» en el màrqueting. El context d’aquesta dinàmica és l’interès general per una alimentació saludable. Òbviament, és innegable que el consum de queviures té efectes fisiològics positius i negatius. A mesura que la recerca científica porta llum als processos metabòlics i el funcionament dels nostres cossos en general, avaluem i reavaluem els perfils d’aliments diversos. Convé destacar que el coneixement científic té els seus límits, i, per la complexitat d’aquestes dinàmiques, a vegades és necessari rectificar alguna afirmació concreta anterior, quan estudis més recents aportin evidències noves. De fet, aquesta dinàmica d’autocorrecció fa que el mètode científic sigui la millor manera de crear coneixement summament fiable. Ara bé, el problema és que la informació disponible, ja sigui científica, ja sigui ideològica, és abundant i una persona poc experta en la matèria té grans dificultats en filtrar les afirmacions fiables dels relats erronis. En general, aquest dèficit en les habilitats de processar la informació correspon a la manca de coneixement sobre la ciència.

En aquest sentit, podem observar la manipulació psicològica que es fa servir en el màrqueting quant a l’ús de les paraules. Concretament, es fa servir el mot «natural» d’una manera que signifiqui quelcom saludable. Si considerem l’entrada del diccionari, hem de remarcar que la paraula es refereix quelcom relatiu a la natura o una cosa realitzada sense intervenció de l’home. Realment, tot allò que podem trobar en la natura és veritablement saludable? És clar que no, una evidència empírica d’això és una intoxicació alimentària qualsevol, bé a causa d’una planta altament tòxica, bé en conseqüència a una ingesta d’una altra que és innòcua en dosis normals, però perjudicial en quantitats grans. Per què, doncs, aquesta tergiversació conceptual?

Clarament, hem de buscar la resposta en la dinàmica tòxica del màrqueting: no hi importen els fets, a saber, el coneixement fiable, sinó que es tracta de vendre un producte. Hi ha nombrosos exemples de productes perjudicials per a la salut de les persones o que contaminen el medi ambient. Encara més, s’ha demostrat com empreses difonien conscientment desinformació per beneficiar-se amb la credulitat dels consumidors, com ara en la indústria del tabac o en la de combustibles fòssils.

No obstant això, el context discursiu de la paraula «natural» s’estén més enllà de l’ús comercial. El significat connecta amb uns plantejaments ideològics que ofereixen interpretacions alternatives a la comprensió científica dels processos naturals. Quant a l’àmbit sanitari, s’hi intervenen les proposicions diverses de les medicines alternatives. No vull elaborar massa la meva denúncia d’aquestes aproximacions pseudocientífiques o anticientífiques, atès que seria necessari dedicar-hi un escrit extens. Només vull destacar el fet que la medicina moderna es basa en el coneixement científic, i que qualsevol proposició alternativa pot arribar a formar-hi part, quan s’hagi demostrat empíricament l’eficàcia del tractament en qüestió. En aquest context de la realitat fisiològica, es poden trobar disbarats, que són pràcticament relats religiosos, com també afirmacions més subtils, com ara aquelles que insinuen que les coses naturals són saludables d’una manera inherent. En realitat, totes les substàncies provenen de la natura i la qüestió qualitativa al fons és quant al processament que l’home hagi fet per elaborar el producte final. No hi ha dubte que alguns productes ultraprocessats siguin perjudicials per a la salut, tal com ho demostren estudis científics. El problema és la generalització d’aquesta informació i la banalització de la intervenció tecnològica de l’home. De fet, coure aliments és una intervenció tecnològica que impulsa reaccions químiques diverses. Com és que la química provoqui tant de rebuig?

La química no és altra cosa que investigar la natura d’una manera científica i utilitzar-hi la terminologia tècnica corresponent. Algunes ideologies han creat una dicotomia errònia quant als productes naturals i químics. Es tracta de la mateixa realitat, però la interpretació, és a dir, el domini cognitiu que s’empra per referir-se a ella, varia segons la persona que fa servir la paraula. El plantejament científic a l’afer constata que un aliment és saludable o no, quan la medicina moderna ho afirmi fiablement. En canvi, la doctrina naturista condemna la modificació humana dels queviures.

Atès que hi ha moltes persones que simpatitzen amb les idees que critiquen la tecnologia moderna, o s’adhereixen a la ideologia naturista, les empreses comercialitzadores de productes alimentàries han aprofitat la credulitat d’aquest públic. Impulsen campanyes de màrqueting amb les afirmacions que un producte qualsevol que contengui ingredients naturals sigui saludable, encara que hi faltin els estudis científics per demostrar que això sigui així. La conseqüència és que el terme s’ha convertit en un lema publicitari. Encara més, les empreses que s’especialitzen en aquell mercat de consum saludable, retroalimenten la dinàmica, comercialitzant sempre més productes que fan referències a plantejaments ideològiques de moda, com ara l’aiurveda o la dieta macrobiòtica. Em sembla incoherent, que les persones critiquin l’ús de la tecnologia amb l’argument que les empreses comercialitzen els seus productes sense miraments ètics quant a la salut de les persones, mentre fan alhora negoci amb la comercialització dels productes propis sense miraments ètics quant a la verificabilitat de la informació que proveeixen. Penso que seria més adient reflexionar sobre la dinàmica corresponent, com la competició capitalista per atreure clients potencia la creació de consumidors que tenen poca consciència de la realitat dels productes.

De manera paral·lela, es pot observar la banalització de la comunicació en l’àmbit polític. Els discursos sofistes abundants han normalitzat l’ús d’expressions ambigües en la cultura comunicativa. Així, doncs, es fan servir moltes paraules d’una manera poc específica, perquè puguin provocar interpretacions diverses. En aquesta dinàmica de promeses electoralistes, no importen les proposicions concretes. Encara més, els significats dels mots degeneren i la comunicació es redueix a lemes publicitaris sense contingut real. Presento algunes de les paraules buides i les qüestiono o comento oportunament:

  • Prosperitat: Què prospera? Per a qui?
  • Progrés: Què progressa? Això significa realment un avanç civilitzatori?
  • Oportunitats: Com són? Per a qui s’ofereixen? Com es justifica la selecció?
  • Innovació: Això és sempre desitjable, com ara quan es tracta d’inventar noves maneres d’abusar, d’explotar o de contaminar?
  • Competència: Em sembla que l’ésser humà ha esdevingut molt competent en la violació dels drets humans, l’explotació laboral i la destrucció del seu hàbitat.
  • Modern: Sense dubte, l’ús imprudent d’algunes tecnologies modernes ha causat una emergència mediambiental i civilitzatòria.
  • Responsable: Això diuen, mentre la irresponsabilitat de l’elit política i empresarial és més aviat la norma. És clar que rebutgen la responsabilitat pròpia sempre que sigui oportú.
  • Competitivitat: Com si la superioritat en l’eficiència econòmica signifiqués automàticament una millora civilitzatòria. Per què els governs no volen competir en virtuts realment importants? Qui garanteix primer una subsistència per a tothom d’una manera incondicional? Qui supera la corrupció institucional i empresarial? Qui és més transparent en les seves gestions polítiques? Qui protegeix millor el medi ambient?

    Així les coses, podem veure que la comunicació política és sovint buit de continguts tangibles. Encara més, no es compleixen les promeses i les excuses abunden. Com si això no fos ja una realitat política prou trista, el llenguatge empobrit potencia la crisi social, atès que moltes persones ni tan sols noten, que els debats són improductius i una competició discursiva tòxica. Les xarxes socials s’omplen de simplificacions en forma de mems i la desinformació prospera per falta de pensament analític i crític.

    Comptat i debatut, podem preguntar-nos si la democràcia representativa ens serveix per a alguna cosa, si els polítics responsables es comporten de la manera descrita i fan ús de la manipulació comunicativa per mantenir-se al poder i beneficiar-se. Bé, això podria ser el tema d’un altre escrit, en el qual es reflexionés sobre les deficiències democràtiques de les institucions o altres qüestions polítiques rellevants, de manera que em limito en aquest context a les observacions comunicatives. En una altra publicació, penso exposar la qüestió dels discursos manipulatius i l’ús de metàfores i al·legories. Pot ser que no sigui competent, ni innovador, però intentaré expressar-me clarament.

 
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from Acacia Dental Group

Acacia Dental Group is a long-standing family dental practice in Woden, Canberra. The dental practice is nestled in the Gadal Chambers and has been serving the local community since the late 1970s. If you’ve lived in Woden for some time, there is a good chance that our dental practice would have known your grandparents. In fact, many generations of the same family visit the practice, and that is what Acacia Dental Group is all about. As a family-run dental practice, Acacia Dental Group can put treatment before profits, and put the health of its patients first. As a new patient, you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome from the dentists and all the staff, who all take the time to get to know you and your individual dentistry needs. There are two dentists at Acacia Dental, from the same family, of course, who each has their own set of specialities. With a wealth of experience, the truth is that, whatever your needs, the team has the knowledge you need and can provide many advanced treatments. the team at Acacia dental Group works with state-of-the-art dental equipment that enables them to deliver high-end treatments. Using the best technology, materials and procedures ensure you get the best quality treatment and, importantly, that it lasts for as long as possible. However, while the technology is amongst the best in the field, the team also works to ensure that it is as economical for you as possible. By choosing a family-run, experienced Woden dentist, you are putting the health of your family first and, hopefully, you’ll keep the smile planted firmly on your face.

https://acaciadentalgroup.com.au/

 
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from Flowsent Weed Delivery

Flowsent Weed Delivery is an award-winning cannabis delivery service that specializes in delivering the highest quality cannabis products directly to your door. Our menu includes a wide range of flower, pre-rolls, edibles, tinctures, topicals, concentrates, and more. We are committed to providing our customers with the best service and products – all delivered at lightning speed! If you're looking for the fastest weed delivery service in the Bay Area, then look no further than Flowsent Weed Delivery. Order same day or next-day delivery, up to you! Shop online on our website or give us a call today to place your weed delivery order. Don't forget to stay lit and be safe!

https://g.page/flowsent?share

Our Business Pages:

https://www.facebook.com/Flowsent https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9fLdVqssQO6K8jJurn2FFQ

 
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from @yovela43

Bukannya bermain Play Station, Nahen, Jovan, Arkasa dan Aurellio malah menonton Tinkerbell sambil memakan cemilan yang disediakan oleh Ibu Jovan. Tak lupa selain menonton dan makan mereka juga berjulit alias bergibah yang di sertai obrolan random lainnya.

“Na, itu beneran si Litha di tagih duit selama pacaran?” tanya Jovan.

“Iya,” jawabnya singkat.

“Terus di kasih?” tanya Aurel.

Nahen hanya mengangguk sambil mengunyah buah pear yang sedang ia makan.

Arkasa mengumpat. “Sinting sekali kau Kainan. Kalo gue jadi dia beneran deh gue mau left dari bumi terus new life.”

New life, new life lo pikir game bisa new life,” cetus Aurel.

Jovan bertanya kembali. “Lo lagi ga nyembunyiin sesuatu kan dari kita, Na?”

Bukannya fokus menonton, kini semua mata tertuju pada Nahen. Nahen terdiam dia berpikir apakah harus ia menceritakan yang sesungguhnya.

5 menit menunggu jawaban Nahen, akhirnya ia membuka suara.

“Oke, jadi gini..”

“Sebenernya gue itu...”

Semua kini benar-benar fokus kepada Nahen.

“Gue emang pacaran beneran sama Litha,”

“Alah anjing,” umpat Jovan sembai melempar makaroni pedas yang ia pegang dan hendak ia makan.

Arkasa memegang dahinya frustasi. “Nyesel gue nungguin jawaban lo, Na.”

Sedangkan Aurel hanya memandang Nahen sinis.

“Apa Rel? Ngajak berantem? Atau mau gue jodohin sama Atta?”

“Asu,” jawab Aurel.

 
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from fictions and reactions

Same as the novel, the Creed family moves house, where they discover a burial ground near the house with a secret.

The same human urges: abhorring death and clinging to life, exceptionalism (“it won't happen to me”, “it'll be different this time”)

Pet Semetary treads very well-established ground for King stories. The conduit of evil is the American, white, middle-class man with repressed emotions and a Troubled Past; horror is tied up with disability*; an overwrought ending.

I enjoyed reading the book, but seeing it in movie format makes it lose a little of its shine.

SPOILERS BELOW THIS CUT

  • In particular, one of the characters' driving source of fear centers around her disabled, bedbound relative. But it's not so much about her guilt for wanting that relative dead – although that was explicitly stated – it focused more on the physical aspect. A scene leading to the climax has that character seeing herself become that relative. The creators of this film used physical disability as shorthand for horror and “unlife” – as with “undead” – and that is unacceptable.

#movie #horror #spooktober

 
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from Friends Near and Afar


And it all started with a conversation

...which is how some excellent ideas for Blog posts come to fruition. We had a user post a snapshot of the coveted 'First Bucket of Gold' SLOWLY stamp, which they had just conquered.


Free Coins, but at a price in effort required

One coin at a time, by watching the Video Ads, they built up that huge balance. I estimate it would take a dedicated user about 20 working days to get that; in my own experience, when I used to have Slowly running along on my mobile, along with a Timer set to 15 minute intervals. A popular Blog post explains that well.

When the timer buzzed, I picked up the phone and pushed a few buttons, placed it aside while the ad played. Collected the coin and restarted the timer. The mandatory 15 minute interval to see a new ad means you could get close to 4 coins per hour, so in 7 to 8 hours you could reach 25 to 30 coins.

But 500 Coins and a MONTH of this is hard core dedication, lol... 😜👍🙂


But wait – how much would 500 Slowly Coins cost ?

Commenting in that topic, the question of the Slowly Coin pricing in different countries came up – one user mentioned a surprisingly LOW price for 500 coins in Sri Lanka.

This discussion was located in this topic. 8 Canadian Dollars for 500 coins there is a 20% discount, compared to my local pricing. 🙄😜

So the idea came up, and I started a new topic on our sub-Reddit – Requesting people to contribute their local coin pricing, so we could see an international snapshot. The text below is copied from that topic, edited for style and formatting.


Hello friends,

Good morning, and I would like to request a favour from anyone in the group who might be able to help. We have a discussion thread on the subreddit where the subject of Slowly Coin pricing came up.

And it appears it might be varying, between countries – not a standard price in USD which gets converted to the local currencies, but possibly accounting for some of the income disparity between continents, zones, etc.

Like the costs for hair transplant in different countries – hugely different, as reported.

See the full size image here.


Even a simple coffee VARIES amazingly

Look at a detailed Starbucks Coffee pricing comparison report. Or this other one, from Bangkok Post, Thailand, showing this neat graphic :

...which I found VERY surprising and informative. 🙄🙂


** A Request

I am comparing the local price for a standard 500 Slowly Coins pack, which is a good size for value purchase. It costs 9.99, or 10 CAD here in Canada, and it is 8 USD on the southern neighbours (US). At current exchange rates, that is basically the same in CAD (9.86 or so).

I need price points elsewhere — could you gather any that you have access to? South America, Asia, Africa, any particular country you can get this information is valuable.

I am afraid I will NOT get a reply from Slowly Communications support team if I ask them; as they have not responded my last email, with a simple question, sent October 1st.

They do have a bit of inconsistency on how they respond to user communications, sadly – I have been treated professionally and received prompt answers in many cases in the past, but I have also been left out without even an acknowledgement ( something like 'Thank you for contacting us. We are quite busy at the moment but your message is important to us. We will get back to you on this soon...' would work nicely )

Thank you in advance for any Data you can offer.

Yann2.


Reference Point – Canadian Coin Costs

As our reference, the 500 Coins pack is 10 CAD, or 8.09 USD. exchange source here


** Price Points Data – thanks to our Sub-Reddit users

I just received some information and will be adding it here as more arrives. Thank you to all that commented and posted their local prices.


European Union – Spain Coins Prices

500 Coins costing 8 Euros, at todays exchange that is 11.47 CAD or 9.27 USD. Exchange source here.

Other users have replied and confirmed that 8 Euros is the price for 500 coins in Portugal, Netherlands, Germany and Italy as well. So, we can assume that is the standard Euro Zone price.


UK Coin Prices

UK price is £6.99 GBP for 500 coins on Android app. Can check website later

500 Coins costing £6.99 GBP - so it's 11.91 CAD or 9.62 USD. exchange source here. (Both prices about 19 % higher than North American ones)


Sweden Coin Prices

Android: 80 kr (SEK) which roughly equates to 9,29 USD Web Client: 100 kr (11,61 USD), but the base price is 80 kr, which is identical to the Android app.

500 Coins are 80 Krona, SEK. That is 11.50 CAD or 9.28 USD. exchange source here. You might get a hefty 23% VAT tax on top, as reported on Web client purchases.


Czechia Coin Prices

Czechia Apple Appstore, 500 Coins are 200 CZK, which is 11.30 CAD or 9.13 USD. exchange source here .

Their Android Play Market, 500 Coins are 210 CZK, 5 % higher, which is 11.85 CAD or 9.59 USD. exchange source here.


Poland Coin Prices

500 coins: 33,99 PLN (~8,64 USD),

800 coins: 52,99 PLN (~13,48 USD).

As posted here, these are Android app prices.

500 Coins are 34 Zloty, or PLN, which is 10.70 CAD or 8.64 USD. exchange source here


Romania Coin Prices

I just checked for Romania! Checked on both Android and iOS, and I thought the prices will be the same, but there is a difference! On Android, the price of 500 coins is 35.99 RON (which is 8.43 USD), and on iOS it's 39.99 RON (9.37 USD).

Android, 500 Coins are 36 RON, which is 10.45 CAD or 8.43 USD. exchange source here

iOS device users, 500 Coins are 40 RON (10 % MORE), in other coins 11.61 CAD or 9.37 USD. exchange source here


Russia Coin Prices

In Russia, 500 coins = 749 RUB on IOS (or 708 RUB on the web), it’s about 10 USD

Russian Web Client price is 708 Rubles, or 12.40 CAD, or 10 USD exchange source here

The Apple iOS uses pay 5 % more -– 749 Rubles, or 13.08 CAD, or 10.55 USD exchange source here


Lebanon Coin Prices

Lebanon: 7.46 USD is the cost of the 500 coins package

As reported here in the comments. 500 Coins for 9.24 CAD or 7.46 USD. exchange source here


Saudi Arabia Coin Prices

In Saudi Arabia they cost 28.99 SAR (7.73 USD), I have the android app. The same applies to Web Client.

Android and Web – 500 Coins are 29 Riyal SAR, which is same as 9.58 CAD or 7.73 USD. exchange source here


Sri Lanka Coin Prices

In the Sri Lanka Coin market, the 500 Coins pack is 1,300 Rupees, which is 7.96 CAD or 6.44 USD. exchange source here and a nicely 20% discounted cost...


Indian Coin Prices

With thanks to /u/averageineverythin who shared those below.

India 500 coins – 8.66 USD /650 INR(Indian Rupees) 800 coins – 12.66 USD /950 INR

So the 500 Coins pack is 650 Rupees, which is 10.71 CAD, or 8.66 USD. exchange source here.

Surprisingly, this is HIGHER than both the US and CA markets, about 7% higher.


Vietnam Coin Prices

In Vietnam, 500 Slowly Coins = 173 000 VND on Android apk (or 179 000 VND on the web), that's about 7.6 USD.

So the local rate for 500 Coins is 173,000 Dong VND - which is 9.34 CAD or 7.61 USD. exchange source here.

Curiously, their local Web Client cost is HIGHER, which seems unusual.


Taiwan Coin Prices

At Taiwan, 500point is equal to 240NTD, if converted to us dollars in current rate it's approximately 8.6 us dollars

For Android users, 500 Coins are 240 NTD, which is 10.62 CAD or 8.57 USD. exchange source here


Japan Coin Prices

In Japan, it’s roughly ¥1,100 which equates to around 9.62 USD for 500 coins. It’s a bit more expensive at ¥1,200 on the web client. (Apple iOS store)

iOS App Store, 500 Coins are 1,100 Yen JPY— so, 11.92 CAD and 9.62 USD. exchange source here


New Zealand Coin Prices

In New Zealand, 13 NZD.

500 Coins are 13 NZD, which is 11.39 CAD or 9.19 USD. exchange source here


Malaysia Coin Prices

Android Play Market, 500 Coins are 31 MRY, Malaysian Ringgit – coming to 9.22 CAD or 7.46 USD. exchange source here.

Apple Appstore there, 500 Coins are 34.90 MRY, which is 10.38 CAD or 8.40 USD exchange source here. ( iOS users are charged 12.5 % more )

Their local Web Client prices are the same as the Apple iOS ones, unlike here in CA where we have ours matching the Android one (and iOS users pay 10% more).


Brazil Coin Prices

Brazil (Android App and Web Client) – Currency: BRL

50 coins: R$ 3.79, 100 coins: R$ 6.99, 150 coins: R$ 10.99, 200 coins: R$ 12.99, 500 coins: R$ 27.99 , 800 coins: R$ 41.99

A detailed snapshot of the Brazilian market, thank you.

500 Coins basket is 28 Reais BRL - and those are 6.37 CAD or 5.14 USD. exchange source here.

And it seems one of the LOWEST prices we have seen so far. Viva! ✨🌟👍


South Africa Coin Prices

500 SLOWLY Coins = 99.99 ZAR 🇿🇦 (South Africa)

So, 500 Coins are 100 Rand - or 8.46 CAD or 6.83 USD. exchange source here.


The Two Major App Stores also differ

...as a good friend reminded me via private message.

Yes, it's true - and I have written a nice post here, now in my Blog about it.

Apple has HIGHER prices in general, as they charge developers a higher commission. But the Play Market is not far behind – those two Oligopolies do charge around 30 % of the item's value for anything sold via their channels.

I have mentioned this and recommend that people buy from the SLOWLY WEB CLIENT - for stamps, coins or even the PLUS! service subscriptions. The company gets a net 30% extra in funds if you do so, that is VERY significant.


Czequia App Store pricing data

Thanks to S., who shared these App store prices for comparison :

Apple Appstore, 500 Coins are 200 CZK, which is 11.30 CAD or 9.13 USD. exchange source here .

Android Play Market, 500 Coins are 210 CZK, 5 % higher, which is 11.85 CAD or 9.59 USD. exchange source here.

In both cases, as also mentioned by another user, their local costs are higher than North American ones. About 12% higher than CA.


Canadian App Store Prices ?

Apple AppStore charges 10.99 CAD for 500 Coins. The Play Market cost, via the Slowly Android app, is 9.99 CAD, which is identical to their Web Client pricing show above.

This confirms Apple users tend to pay higher prices -– 10 % Higher in Canada than an Android or Web user.


Famous Last Words

Special Thank You to the folks behind this wonderful app — all the hard working people at Slowly Communications.

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 Slowly.


Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

@friends-near-and-afar-letters-we-share@wordsmith.social

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.

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from blissfulqnew

Kedua insan manusia itu kini duduk berdampingan, netra terpaku pada televisi di depan mereka- tetapi dengan pikiran yang telah berjalan jauh entah kemana.

Sama seperti sekarang, raganya berdekatan- tetapi dengan perasaan yang bahkan sudah lama tak saling bersinggungan.

Tak ada satupun dari mereka yang tahu kapan tepatnya ini mulai terjadi, juga tak ada satupun dari mereka yang tahu mengapa ini terjadi.

Walau demikian, keduanya tampak seperti berusaha untuk saling mempertahankan hubungan. Berusaha menyelamatkannya sebelum terpisah selamanya.

Namun jauh di lubuk hatinya, mereka berdua tahu bahwa mereka hanya sedang menunda perpisahan.

Perpisahan.

Satu dari banyak kata yang tak pernah gagal untuk menakuti umat manusia. Kata yang seringkali diikuti dengan tangisan, amarah, dan keputus asaan.

Dalam banyak hal, perpisahan hampir selalu memiliki denotasi negatif. Membuatnya menjadi sebuah kata yang acapkali ingin dihindari.

Dan Chanhee serta Changmin, juga berusaha semampu mereka untuk melawan perpisahan.

Chanhee adalah yang pertama untuk mengalihkan pandangannya dari televisi ke wajah Changmin. Detik berikutnya, Changmin melakukan hal serupa- membuat mereka saling berpandangan.

Dulu, keduanya pasti salah tingkah jika berada dalam situasi seperti ini.

Kini, keduanya hanya mampu menyunggingkan senyum tanpa arti. Sama-sama menyadari bahwa api asmara mereka telah padam seutuhnya.

Ketika keduanya saling menatap ke dalam iris masing-masing, kilas balik kisah cintanya terputar secara cepat di hadapan mereka. Hingga tiba-tiba saja itu terhenti, karena salah satu dari mereka lantas memalingkan mukanya.

Changmin benci karena air matanya kembali jatuh di hadapan Chanhee.

Changmin benci karena sekuat apapun ia mencoba untuk kembali mencintai Chanhee, rasanya tak pernah sama seperti dulu.

Seperti biasa, Chanhee membawa Changmin ke dalam pelukannya dan membiarkan bahunya basah oleh tangisan Changmin.

Seperti biasa, Chanhee membisikkan kalimat-kalimat penenang di telinga Changmin- berharap agar usahanya dapat membuahkan hasil.

Setelah Changmin kembali tenang, perlahan Chanhee melepaskan pelukannya.

Menatap wajahnya dalam-dalam sekali lagi, karena Chanhee tahu setelah ini ia tak akan bisa melihatnya seperti ini lagi.

Walau perasaannya pada Changmin kini sudah tak sama lagi, Chanhee tahu bahwa ia akan merindukan Changmin.

Tawa candanya, sikapnya, dan juga rutinitasnya bersama Changmin.

Chanhee mengeluarkan kedua tangannya dari saku bajunya untuk menggenggam tangan Changmin, yang dibalas dengan erat oleh sosok di hadapannya.

Perlahan, keduanya bergerak mendekat.

Melebur dalam pertautan bibir yang cukup lama.

Menyegel kenangan indah mereka berdua melalui sebuah ciuman perpisahannya.

Ya.

Chanhee dan Changmin sama-sama menyetujui keputusan ini, untuk berpisah secara baik-baik karena mereka berdua sadar tak ada lagi yang tersisa untuk dapat mereka pertahankan.

Fin.

 
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from Friends Near and Afar


A must have for any serious SLOWLY user

Creating the perfect “About Me” (or 'bio') for your Slowly profile is really important. My friend and penpal -little-ghost had lots of good ideas and wrote some excellent topics on our sub-Reddit for the SLOWLYapp.

While sadly their account at Reddit has been deleted, various important user tips posts they made have been preserved – and I thought they deserved to appear in a Blog format. So, here is the first one.


Tips For Creating The Perfect “About Me”

Guest post by -little-ghost, original on Reddit here.

First things first, I definitely don’t know it all, I’m still learning too, but this is a wonderful community to share ideas to and to try and help others out.🙂

That being said, first tip...


1 – Be the truest version of yourself you can be

This means honesty.

It took a while for me to realize that in life I don’t want to appeal to everyone – I want to appeal to the people who like me for who I really am, so I can relax and be myself.


2 – Discuss who you are

This is a place to discuss your hobbies, interests, values, background, occupation, study… and anything else that comes to mind!

Dig deep into who you are, everybody has interesting and unique aspects to themselves. Even interests you hold that may be common- write about your passion for them. It just means you have more people to share it with.

You have freedom to express yourself however you see fit.


3 – Discuss who you want to be

By that I mean to discuss your future, your plans & aspirations.

Do you plan to travel? Future career? Do you want to learn a new language?

I am sure there are many more questions you can ask yourself here, but the point is to make it personalized. Once you have some of your own questions answered and down pat, ask yourself a few “why?” questions.

For an example, I could say “I wish to learn Spanish one day” or I could say “I wish to learn Spanish as my brother is half Chilean, which has inspired me to do so”.

Don’t do this with everything though, it is nice to have some detail and explanations but you also want your new pen friend to be a little bit curious about you so they'll have something to write back about :)


4 – Who do you want to talk to?

Describe what you hope to expect from your new penpal.

Do you like long or short letters? Are there any personality traits that appeal to you? Deep conversations or a good laugh? Perhaps a bit of both?

You can make this as vague or as detailed as you desire, it just depends on how flexible your preferences are.


5 – Finishing touches…

Add a quote, your favourite song or artist, a light-hearted joke, whatever you see fit. 🙂

You could also add a couple of emojis to catch attention- use visually clear emojis, but don't be too generous. Too many emojis can be distracting and confusing.

Add in line breaks if you haven't already, a wall of text can be harsh on the eyes, especially distracting and slow to read.


6 – Current status

If you’d like, you can use a small portion at the very top of your About Me to indicate something you want to tell your pen friends.

Gone Fishing? Might take a little extra time responding to letters?

As soon as your friend taps on your account to send you another letter, they’ll see this :)


OR reel them in...

If someone has been scrolling through About Me sections for a while, they may be growing tired and impatient.

You could use the first section of your about me to place a small paragraph you find interesting to hook the reader. Think about what you would like if you read an About Me yourself.


Make sure the first paragraph is not 'cut short'

Another suggestion is to use this space to summarize the contents below. Make sure your first paragraph isn't cut short by the “read more” button, you can test this out by previewing your profile.

Here are two examples : 

And another..: 


An extra note for discussion…

Do you think About Me sections should have a minimum character limit?

Sadly I have seen many astoundingly short About Me's, single sentences – and even single words. This bypasses the filter to only see accounts with an About Me whilst bringing disappointment and wasting time imo, it might make people think twice.

If you have any other ideas about this topic to note, please leave them below! I would love to hear them all.

Hope this helps!!!


And this topic engaged the readership

...getting a lot of replies and activity. Sadly, Reddit locks all threads by default, 6 months after the original post, so adding new comments is impossible after that. 🙄😕

You could visit the original post here, and read some of the responses, which in some cases got incorporated into the final text. 🙂👍


A comment which touched on a number of issues

This one was early on the conversation, and -little-ghost was gracious and accepted the suggestions, incorporating them into the final text.

“You have a point to be considered — that people opening up your profile will be browsing thru the many, many people in the users list. They have been looking at others, maybe many others.

So there's some impatience or fatigue that might kick in. Maybe have a shorter paragraph at the top, which will show even without expanding the whole About me.

If that para looks interesting, hooks the visitor, they might follow on to the next and next.

I haven't seen a mention, but I think a light use of emoji could be helpful – there's no text formatting at all, just plain text, so we need to create some visual breaks and interest.

  • Break a paragraph frequently; too long and it's harder to read.
  • Organize things in logical, flowing order.
  • maybe an emoji, adds colour and flair, here and there.
  • Use one that is visually clear, not something obscure that people don't know the meaning.
  • Don't use too many, or make it all emojis; many can't read that.
  • And even if they do, it's open to confusion sometimes.

Look at your profile. How does the About Me look, before you expand that part?

Ideally the text that shows in the first look should be a complete paragraph, and attractive to a passing user.”


Famous Last Words

Special Thank You to the folks behind this wonderful app — all the hard working people at Slowly Communications.

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 Slowly.


Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

@friends-near-and-afar-letters-we-share@wordsmith.social

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.

@yann2@koyu.space Top ▲

 
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from blissfulqnew

Sore itu, Chanhee kecil sudah siap sedia dalam balutan kemeja putih yang dipadukan dengan celana hitam miliknya. Sejak siang tadi, Chanhee telah sibuk memilah-milih pakaian apa yang harus dikenakannya untuk acara kelulusan kelas 6 sore ini yang diadakan di aula sekolahnya. Chanhee bahkan meminta sang Bunda untuk turut membantunya memadu-padankan pakaiannya.

Semua ini, Chanhee lakukan hanya untuk Sangyeon.

Ya, Sangyeon.

Seseorang yang telah mencuri perhatiannya semenjak beberapa bulan yang lalu.

Menjelang hari kelulusan Sangyeon, Chanhee sudah mulai mengirimkan surat cinta tanpa identitas yang setiap paginya ditaruh sendiri oleh Chanhee di kolong meja sang kakak kelas.

Chanhee yakin, usahanya selama ini akan membuahkan hasil yang manis. Chanhee percaya diri bahwa Sangyeon telah memahami semua clue yang Chanhee taruh pada suratnya dan akan menjadi pasangan dansanya malam ini.

Akan tetapi, bukan main sakit hatinya ketika netra Chanhee menangkap sosok Sangyeon yang sedang menggandeng lengan seorang perempuan.

Setelah meremat kemejanya kuat-kuat, Chanhee membalikkan badannya dan berlari keluar dari dalam aula sekolah. Meninggalkan lantai pesta dansa dengan penglihatan yang buram karena air mata yang terbendung, hingga tanpa sengaja menubruk seseorang.

“Maaf!” seru Chanhee tanpa melihat sosok tersebut.

Langkah kakinya baru terhenti di depan kolam ikan yang terletak tak jauh dari aula, Chanhee lantas mendudukkan diri di depan kolam ikan dan membiarkan air matanya tumpah dengan bebas.

Tanpa Chanhee sadari, orang yang ditabraknya tadi mengikuti langkahnya dan kini turut mendudukkan diri di sebelah Chanhee.

“Kamu.. nangis kenapa?”

Perlahan, Chanhee mengangkat kepalanya yang sebelumnya tertunduk untuk menatap sosok di sebelahnya. Awalnya Chanhee sempat enggan untuk menjawab, tapi ketika iris gelap di hadapannya itu menyiratkan rasa khawatir yang besar- Chanhee otomatis membuka mulutnya.

“Orang yang aku kira bakalan jadi pasangan nari aku malem ini, malah gandengan sama orang lain.”

“Haaaaah? Kok bisa gitu?”

“Kayaknya karena orang itu nggak ngerti soal clue-clue yang aku taruh di surat cinta buat dia.”

“Kenapa harus pake surat cinta? Kamu gak bisa kalau langsung ngomong aja sama dia?”

Chanhee menggelengkan kepalanya pelan.

“Dia.. kakak kelas, aku gak berani buat ngajak dia ngobrol.”

“Kamu kelas berapa emangnya?”

“Aku kelas 4.”

“Eh, aku juga loh! Kenalin nama aku Changmin!”

Sosok ceria bernama Changmin itu memamerkan deretan gigi putihnya sambil mengulurkan sebelah tangan, menunggu untuk Chanhee jabat tangannya.

“Chanhee.. salam kenal ya, Changmin.”

“Mhm, salam kenal Chanhee!”

Setelahnya, keduanya larut dalam keheningan. Hanya suara gemericik air dari kolam ikan yang menemani mereka berdua. Mendadak, Changmin kembali mendengar suara isakan tertahan dari Chanhee.

Panik, Changmin berusaha untuk memancing Chanhee kembali mengobrol dengannya agar perhatiannya teralihkan.

“C-Chanhee, aku boleh tau gak orang jahat yang bikin kamu nangis ini siapa?”

Berhasil, isakan itu terhenti untuk kedua kalinya.

“Kenapa kamu mau tau?”

“Kamu pasti gak tau ya kalau aku ini jago berantem?”

Lagi, Chanhee menggelengkan kepalanya.

“Nanti aku bantu pukulin orang yang jahat sama kamu!”

“Makanya ayo kasih tau dulu siapa namanya,” lanjut Changmin sambil menepuk dadanya bangga.

Chanhee merasa konyol dengan sosok di depannya ini, tapi tetap menjawab pertanyaannya.

“Sangyeon, Kak Sangyeon. Dia yang bikin aku nangis.”

Melihat Changmin yang membeku di tempatnya, Chanhee mengedipkan matanya beberapa kali.

“Kenapa? Kok diem aja?”

Changmin meringis, sebelah tangannya bergerak untuk menggaruk bagian tengkuknya yang tidak gatal.

“Hehe.. Kak Sangyeon itu sepupuku aku..”

“Dia lebih jago berantem dari aku.”

Chanhee lantas menganga selama beberapa saat, sebelum akhirnya tertawa kencang karena jawaban Changmin.

Changmin dapat merasakan sebuah perasaan asing di dada dan perutnya.

Geli, rasanya seperti belasan kupu-kupu berterbangan secara beramai-ramai.

Changmin tak paham soal perasaan ini, tapi Changmin hanya paham kalau dirinya suka melihat Chanhee tertawa seperti ini. Changmin ingin selalu melihat Chanhee tertawa karena dirinya.

“Chanhee, udahan kan nangisnya? Mau masuk lagi ke dalem aula?”

Gelengan ketiga Changmin dapatkan sore itu.

“Gak mau.”

Changmin lantas memiringkan kepalanya sambil menatap sang lawan bicara.

“Kenapa?”

“Aku gak mau liat Kak Sangyeon sama orang lain.”

Bibir Changmin membulat karena jawaban Chanhee, merasa belum puas- Changmin kembali mengajukan pertanyaan lainnya.

“Terus? Kamu mau kemana?”

Yang ditanya malah mengangkat bahunya, tak tahu harus menjawab apa sebab bingung.

Namun tiba-tiba, netranya menangkap sesuatu; dengan penuh semangat Chanhee mengacungkan telunjuknya ke udara- menunjuk pada partikel-partikel putih yang melayang di udara.

“Changmin! Liat, salju pertama!”

Dan pada detik berikutnya, tanpa dikomando, kedua siswa kelas 4 itu menghambur ke arah lapangan yang terletak tepat di samping kolam ikan.

Keduanya berlarian kesana-kemari, teriakan dan pekikan penuh kegembiraan bercampur aduk. Tanpa terasa, keduanya menghabiskan waktu berdua hingga malam tiba. Ditemani dengan kepingan kristal es rapuh yang turun ke bumi.

Setelahnya Changmin dan Chanhee dengan cepat menjadi akrab, bahkan melabeli hubungan di antara mereka berdua dengan sebutan “sahabat” walaupun berada di kelas yang berbeda.

Setiap pulang sekolah, Changmin dan Chanhee selalu bergantian menunggu satu sama lain di depan kelas yang lain. Lalu berduaan menghabiskan waktu di taman dengan bermain atau saling bertukar cerita tentang kejadian di sekolah sambil bertelanjang kaki, berbaring bersebelahan di atas rumput sambil menatap langit biru.

Hanya ada Changmin dan Chanhee berdua di taman.

Selalu, seperti itu.

Well, I found a boy, beautiful and sweet Oh, I never knew you were the someone waiting for me

Dan tanpa terasa, 2 tahun berlalu begitu saja. Changmin dan Chanhee kini sudah berada di kelas 6, di penghujung hari-hari Sekolah Dasar mereka.

Di hari kelulusan, Chanhee senang bukan main. Sedikit banyak karena merasa tidak sabar untuk cepat-cepat berstatus sebagai siswa Sekolah Menengah Pertama.

Berkebalikan dengan Chanhee, Changmin malah bersikap tidak seperti biasanya. Senyuman lebar yang dihiasi dengan sepasang lesung pipit itu mendadak menghilang.

Chanhee dapat melihat perbedaannya dengan jelas.

Changmin-nya, yang setiap harinya secerah mentari di musim panas- kini murung bak dihinggapi oleh awan kelabu.

Setelah acara kelulusan mereka selesai, Chanhee mendengar namanya dipanggil oleh sang Bunda. Dilihatnya, sang Bunda sedang berdiri bersebelahan dengan orangtua Changmin.

Karena Changmin juga ada di sana, Chanhee menyudahi obrolannya dengan teman sekelasnya dan berlari menghampiri mereka berempat.

Bersamaan dengan Chanhee yang mendekat, Changmin membuka suaranya.

“Chanhee, besok siang aku bakal pergi.”

Niat awal ingin merangkul Changmin seperti biasanya, mendadak Chanhee urungkan karena perkataan Changmin.

“Pergi? Kemana?”

“Jepang.”

Ah, ternyata cuman ke Jepang- pikir Chanhee.

“Mau liburan ya, Changmin? Sampe kapan perginya? Gak akan lama, 'kan? Kita kan harus siap-siap buat masuk-”

“Aku pindah ke Jepang, Chanhee.”

Chanhee menelan kembali kata-kata yang tertahan di ujung lidahnya.

Changmin? Pindah?

“Ih, apaan sih Changmin. Tante Ji, Changmin bercanda 'kan?”

”...Iya 'kan, tante?”

Hening.

Chanhee tak mendapatkan jawaban yang diharapkannya. Dengan suara yang bergetar, Chanhee memaksakan bibirnya untuk bergerak.

“Kenapa..?”

“Kita udah janji buat selalu bareng, Changmin.”

“Kenapa kamu malah ingkarin janji kamu?”

Tangisan Chanhee menyusul setelahnya, ia jatuh terduduk dengan air mata yang berderai. Kedua tangannya mengepal kuat, berulang kali melayangkan tinjuan menuntut pada kaki Changmin.

Ibunda Chanhee perlahan membungkuk untuk memeluk anak semata wayangnya, sedang orangtua Changmin memalingkan mukanya karena turut merasakan rasa sakit setelah melihat Chanhee hancur seperti itu karena kabar yang Changmin sampaikan.

Changmin ikut berjongkok di depan Chanhee, kemudian memberikan komando pada Bunda Chanhee dan kedua orangtuanya agar meninggalkan mereka berdua terlebih dahulu.

“Chanhee.”

“Chanhee liat aku dulu.”

Sakit.

Changmin ikut terluka ketika melihat bagaimana wajah teman terkasihnya itu penuh dengan keputus asaan. Sorot mata Chanhee seolah terus-terusan meneriakinya “penghianat”.

Setelah menguatkan hati, Changmin mencoba untuk mengembalikan senyumnya pada Chanhee. Kedua tangannya bergerak untuk menangkup pipi Chanhee, mengusap jejak air mata dengan kedua ibu jarinya.

“Aku bakalan balik buat kamu, Hee.”

Ucapan Changmin terputus sesaat, Chanhee menantikan lanjutannya dalam diam.

“Tapi, selama apapun aku pergi- kamu harus nungguin aku.”

Kernyitan heran Chanhee berikan pada Changmin, kedua tangannya bergerak untuk melepaskan tangan Changmin yang menempel pada wajahnya.

“Kenapa aku harus percaya sama omongan kamu? Jelas-jelas hari ini kamu sendiri yang ngerusak janjimu.”

Changmin menghela napasnya, bulir air mata kini juga mulai terbentuk di pelupuk matanya.

“Chanhee, kamu bisa pegang janjiku. Kalau soal pindah ke Jepang, aku emang gak bisa ikut campur karena Ayah sama Bunda udah nentuin ini dari lama.”

“Tapi kalau soal kamu, soal kita, aku yakin aku bisa nepatin janjiku.”

Cukup lama Chanhee terdiam, bimbang harus menjawab apa pada Changmin.

Akan tetapi, akhirnya Chanhee memilih untuk menuruti bisikan hatinya. Untuk mempercayai ucapan Changmin.

“Janji ya, kamu bakal balik buat aku?”

Changmin menautkan kelingkingnya pada kelingking Chanhee.

“Janji.”

Di hari keberangkatan Changmin, Chanhee bersama sang Bunda turut mengantarkan mereka ke bandara. Di perjalanan pulang menuju rumah, Chanhee dapat melihat salju turun dari jendela mobilnya.

Dalam diam, Chanhee dapat merasakan pipinya memanas karena tangisannya.

Salju pertama, terasa berbeda tanpa kehadiran Changmin di sisinya.

Waktu terus berlalu, tumbuh tanpa Changmin terasa berat dan menyakitkan bagi Chanhee.

Alasan utamanya adalah karena Changmin absen dari hidupnya.

Changmin- seorang teman yang selalu ada untuk menghiburnya di kala sedih, seorang teman yang selalu menutup telinganya ketika salah satu penghuni sekolah tak berperasaan melayangkan komentar buruk pada Chanhee, seorang teman yang selalu menjaganya dari rundungan tangan-tangan nakal.

Sekolah Dasar, tentunya lebih mudah untuk dijalani bagi Chanhee jika dibandingkan dengan kehidupannya di Sekolah Menengah Pertama dan Sekolah Menengah Atas.

Berkali-kali, Chanhee diolok-olok karena gaya pakaiannya yang berbeda dari kebanyakan lelaki.

Berkali-kali, Chanhee dicemooh karena lebih menyukai pelajaran kesenian dibanding dengan pelajaran olahraga.

Berkali-kali juga, Chanhee dicibir karena mayoritas dari temannya berjenis kelamin perempuan.

Semua yang telah terjadi itu memang sulit, tetapi Chanhee berhasil bertahan dari semuanya.

Setiap malam- sebelum Chanhee pergi tidur, Chanhee selalu duduk di sisi ranjangnya. Menghabiskan waktu beberapa menit sekadar untuk menatap pigura berisikan fotonya dengan Changmin yang diambil ketika liburan musim panas di kelas 5.

Hanya dengan itu, Chanhee bisa meneruskan hidupnya.

Memasuki masa kuliah, tekanan dan rundungan yang Chanhee dapatkan dari lingkungan sosialnya mulai berkurang. Chanhee sendiri memilih untuk meneruskan pendidikannya di jurusan seni.

Puberty, hits him hard.

Tak dapat dipungkiri, perubahan yang cukup drastis terjadi pada fisik Chanhee. Membuat ini lantas menjadi salah satu hal yang membuatnya menjadi terkenal di seantero kampus.

Dari semester ke semester, banyak yang menyatakan cintanya pada Chanhee. Perempuan dan laki-laki, semuanya Chanhee tolak secara halus dengan alasan klise, “aku lagi fokus kuliah”.

Padahal Chanhee sendiri tahu kalau alasan yang dia gunakan adalah sebuah kebohongan.

Jauh di lubuk hatinya, Chanhee masih menunggu kepulangan Changmin.

Chanhee baru sadar akan perasaannya pada Changmin setelah bertahun-tahun lamanya. Dulu, Chanhee tidak mengerti tentang apa itu cinta.

Kini, Chanhee mengerti bahwa definisinya mengenai cinta adalah Ji Changmin.

Walau terkadang, Chanhee ingin menertawai dirinya sendiri karena masih percaya dengan sebuah janji masa kecil. Janji yang perlahan akan tergerus oleh waktu.

Chanhee bahkan tidak bisa membayangkan ada di mana Changmin-nya itu sekarang.

Dan waktu, terus berputar. Tak akan pernah berhenti untuk menunggu manusia.

'Cause we were just kids when we fell in love Not knowing what it was I will not give you up this time

Akhir dari Bulan Desember kini berada di depan mata.

Jurusan Chanhee memutuskan untuk mengadakan pesta natal bersama di suatu restoran di pusat kota. Sebagai primadona jurusan (dan juga kampus), keberadaan Chanhee sangat diharapkan oleh semua orang. Sehingga mau tak mau, Chanhee menuruti permintaan mereka.

Ketika yang lain sedang terlarut dalam permainan Truth or Dare, Chanhee mengalihkan pandangannya ke arah jendela.

Salju pertama tahun itu, mulai turun untuk mewarnai bumi dengan warna putihnya.

Dengan sigap, Chanhee berdiri dari tempatnya, mengenakan jaketnya, dan berpamitan pada teman-temannya sebelum berjalan keluar dari restoran.

Chanhee tidak bisa melewatkan momen kesukaannya.

Chanhee melangkahkan kakinya menuju sebuah pohon mistletoe besar yang menarik perhatiannya bahkan dari kejauhan. Sesampainya ia di depan pohon, helaan nafas bercampur rasa takjub dan kagum keluar dari mulutnya. Derasnya salju yang turun, membuat pohon besar itu dapat tertutupi dengan cepat oleh warna putih.

Chanhee berbisik pada dirinya sendiri, andai saja Changmin ada disini untuk menyaksikan pemandangan indah ini.

Sejak tadi, netra Chanhee terfokus pada bintang kuning yang bersinar terang di atas pohon. Perlahan- pandangannya turun dari puncak.

Hingga ketika pandangannya menatap lurus ke depan, Chanhee terdiam mematung.

Seseorang berdiri di seberang sana dengan wajah yang familiar.

Perlahan-lahan, wajah itu memunculkan senyumnya. Lesung pipit yang lama terkubur dalam ingatan Chanhee- kini tercetak jelas di wajah sosok di hadapannya.

Pelan tapi pasti, keduanya berjalan mendekat.

Kini hanya tersisa beberapa langkah.

“Changmin?” tanya Chanhee untuk memastikan kedua matanya.

Senyuman yang kian mengembang tampak pada sosok itu, Chanhee sedikt terhempas ke belakang karena pelukan erat yang ia dapatkan kemudian.

Masih berusaha untuk mencerna situasi, mulut Chanhee terkatup rapat.

Sampai akhirnya, Changmin bergerak untuk melepas pelukannya. Terkejut bukan main karena dilihatnya air mata Chanhee sudah mengalir dengan deras. Bak kaset rusak, adegan Changmin yang mengusap air mata Chanhee kembali terulang.

Tiba-tiba, hujaman pertanyaan bertubi-tubi keluar dari mulut Chanhee.

“Kamu kemana aja, Min?”

“Kenapa kamu pergi lama banget?”

“Kenapa kamu baru muncul sekarang?”

“Sejak kapan kamu udah balik ke Korea?”

“Darimana kamu tau kalau aku ada disini?”

Changmin menahan tawanya, Chanhee-nya ternyata masih secerewet ini.

Chanhee-nya, masih sama seperti dahulu.

“Hey, hey. Pelan-pelan dong nanyanya. Gimana kalau kita obrolin sambil minum cokelat panas? Dingin Hee, kalau ngobrolnya di luar kayak gini.”

Dan di sanalah mereka berdua sekarang. Di pojok sebuah restoran dengan dua mug keramik berisi cokelat panas.

Bertukar kabar, melepas rindu.

Bagi Chanhee, waktu di dunianya kembali berjalan setelah Changmin kembali ke dalamnya.

Karena keduanya mengobrol hingga larut, Changmin menawarkan untuk menemani Chanhee berjalan pulang. Persis seperti apa yang dulu biasa mereka lakukan sepulang sekolah.

Setibanya di depan rumah, Chanhee menatap Changmin dalam-dalam. Yang ditatap malah kebingungan.

“Ada apa?”

“Aku gamau bilang dadah. Aku takut kalau kamu pergi lagi.”

Perkataan tak terduga dari Chanhee mengundang tawa renyah keluar dari belah bibir Changmin.

Changmin kemudian bergerak maju, menghapus jarak diantara mereka berdua sambil menarik tengkuk Chanhee. Menciumnya lembut selama beberapa detik.

“Aku gak akan pergi lagi, Chanhee. Aku udah janji 'kan, sama kamu?”

Jemari Chanhee bergerak untuk meraba bibirnya, otaknya korslet karena tindakan mendadak yang Changmin lakukan.

“Terlebih lagi, gimana caranya aku bisa pergi setelah tau soal bibir manis kamu?”

“Gak mungkin aku relain bibir itu buat dikecup sama yang lain.”

Udara di akhir bulan Desember biasanya cukup dingin.

Tapi mengapa Chanhee kini malah tak bisa berkata-kata sambil mengipasi wajahnya yang memanas?

Fin.

 
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from Friends Near and Afar


A great resource for stamp collectors

A new series of National Flag stamps, these started appearing in January, 2021. Slowly Team had not disclosed any information about them – and we were surprised to find some new 'empty slots' in our stamp collection albums. While we did not know the rationale at first, from observing the first issues it appears they are planning to release a MAJOR new series - one new stamp per Nation, that is currently 129 total.

We have started a new special page for them, and new and upcoming Flag releases will be added here – sorted Alphabetically so it's easier to find any country.

SLOWLY WIKI National Flag page is HERE.

Notice the 'National Day' column in the listings? The stamps are being published in their home countries as Location specific, free and Time Limited releases; expiring on the National Day shown. Dates are based on the Wikipedia.org National Days page.


Will they be available later, or reissued, or appear on 'Time Machine'?

We have sent an email to Slowly Team, and received a reply with their plans for all the National Flag stamps. Basically :

  • National Flag Stamps will be re-issued, annually.
  • For a limited time, so expect the same release dates and available in the stores for around 3 days or so.
  • And there are no current plans to have them in the Stamp Store.

So no using the Time Machine to catch up, we will need to keep up with them as they come along. In the next year, a repeated schedule will see them once again, available for short period in their local Stamp Stores.


WIKI page Columns are Sortable if desired!

...which can be VERY handy if you are curious on 'What national flags would January include?'

A click or two on the Column headers and you can change the Sorting option (the default being all countries in Alphabetical order) to Sort by National Day — and finding the 'January' ones will be easy, all grouped together.

A few of the stamps do not have their National Days entered yet - and if you sort the table by National Day order, these show at the very top. We will endeavour to fill in this data as soon as possible, as this page can be VERY USEFUL for any serious stamp collector on a mission (and there is quite a group of these 😜😎)


How Many National Flags do we have in total?

I have been adding and editing this page and it is now up to date - showing a total of 129 National Flags (which include all of them up to October, 2021).

As we approach the end of 2021, the flag releases should be complete – originally Slowly Team mentioned a total of 100 releases this year — in a Corporate Blog post titled 'Attention to Stamp Collectors!'

Hence, we created the “Flags of the World” stamp series. You can use these stamps to share the origin and remarkable deeds behind the flag with your pen pals. Our initial goal is to distribute these stamps for free in at least 100 countries with the most SLOWLY active users. If circumstances allow, we will try our best to cover more.

...but they have gone farther and we still have TWO months left. The cycle started in January 2021, so it should be completed at the end of December.

I would like to publicly thank all of the friends who worked on this and other Slowly Stamp collections research: LessonWang, Babacar, Bajaja, CoffeeLover and others.


Famous Last Words

Special Thank You to the folks behind this wonderful app — all the hard working people at Slowly Communications.

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 Slowly.


Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

@friends-near-and-afar-letters-we-share@wordsmith.social

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.

@yann2@koyu.space Top ▲

 
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from Duclos Farms

How to Shop for Avocado

Wondering where and how to shop for avocado? Contact Duclos Farms. We offer the best quality avocados in California that too at a value that is totally sensible. Our characteristic consideration of the soil makes our avocados one of a kind in nourishing substance. We follow natural developing practices; no manufactured pesticides and no engineered manures. Get in touch with us today!

 
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