One of the challenging International swaps I am in right now is to send a holiday gift to a loved one/friend. The person I send to is a man in Hong Kong.
The first thing I did was to locate it on a world map and then to look at their weather for this season. I learned that temps are in the higher 60's and low 70's with rain from time to time, but mostly sunny. I think the people are younger, based upon her profile in swapbot and what she told me about him.
I really don't know much more about WHO they are as much as what they do and like, which is actually the case for all my swaps. What I find is that I cannot sit in a place of judgement about people who swap and what they like or don't like.
It seems that when you send out real love, real love returns to you. Or at least that is the ideal. Many people still keep score and get upset when someone flakes on them. They get triggered into hurting, feeling unloved, and end up not being able to love selflessly. In essence, we are all bargaining for love. I have come to understand that the kind of love I seek, even in these silly swaps, is only gained when I stop expecting it, and continue offering it from my own heart without putting conditions on others.
The person sending to my loved one/friend (who is an infant teacher in a local preschool) comes from Székesfehérvár in central Hungary. It will be enough just to get a surprise package from there! December is their coldest month of the year, so my guess is that they do a typical holiday season. My swapper-sender is a young woman with a husband and a 4-month-old baby. The information I gave about my loved one/friend is that she is an infant teacher here in town. Most of Europe sees education of infants and preschoolers differently than we do here in the US, and particularly Cali, so the gift she sends from Hungary may be quite interesting.
I have three holiday projects left to finish, the black and red apron, my own holiday stocking, and 5 more of the 7 money trees.
My stash includes some blue fabric with California cities and symbols on it that will make up a nice mug rug for young Mr. Tse in Hong Kong, who drinks dark, black coffee in the mornings. I've also been able to print off some sorting labels for his Lego collection, and Star Wars snowflake templates. I only know he is interested in them, but do not know if he can or will use these things. Maybe.
Its been getting colder here, clouds cover the valley, and winds bite through light jackets. Winter is coming. And Solstice is the day that makes it official.