Last week, Jo and I completed our Seventh wedding anniversary. All these years have gone by so fast, it’s hard to believe we’ve been together for so long. The pandemic has been quite hard on us. While I moved to Bucharest last year, we were waiting for Jo to get her paperwork done. And just as we got her paperwork done and submitted to the Embassy, the Indian govt imposed the lockdown in India, and accordingly the Embassy shutdown, cancelling all appointments. Sadly even to this day the Embassy is still not accepting applications for non-EU citizens, and for the second year in a row, we’ve been away on our anniversary. I wanted to do something memorable, but with the pandemic heading back home was sort of not an option. I thought of sending flowers and chocolates, but that was a bit of a cliche. Plus I sort of had been sending some flowers on and off via Ferns and Petals, so I wanted to do something else.
My first idea was to send a postcard. A quick search on the web indicated that Posta Romana has a nice “My PostalCard” service, where you can upload a photo and Posta Romana, will print it and ship it. And they even had International Shipping for pretty decent pricing of 18,90 lei. I liked the service because
- I didn’t have to select a stock photo and could upload one I took
- I didn’t have to visit the post office or courier shop or visit any place for the matter
I selected a nice photo I’d taken during my hike to Zănoaga, uploaded the pic. Trying to fill the address was a pain: Romania’s addresses are quite short and in the form of Street Name, Number, Block - Entrance - Floor - Apartment number and the portal expected all addresses to be of the same format. Perhaps the developers should be reminded to read this excellent article on Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Addresses. That said, they had an excellent preview system and I thank the developers for that - I was able to somehow stuff in the address into the fields provided in a way that made sense.
I completed the payment, got an invoice for the postcard and… silence after that. It was supposed to have tracking details and all but I never got them. Days turned to weeks, and there was no news about the postcard. I considered sending an email asking for the status but I figured they’d say it’s been sent and we no idea - so dropped the idea and wrote it off.
While checking Google Photos, I noticed that Google Photos’ Photo books are available and thought to myself, this would be a good thing to get. Jo’s always been saying how we’ve never had any pictures of us and a curated photo album would be nice. The Photo books have 20 pages for a base price and you can add up to 140 pages with each page being charged extra. All good, I started combing through 7 years’ pics, occasionally adding them to the photobook. The whole select-add-wait was slowing me down, so I thought of selecting the photos at first. Having spent a good 3 hours or so looking and selecting the best photos.. I accidentally pressed Escape and just like that, Google Photos promptly discarded my selection without a confirmation.
Was curating ~30 photos from the past 7 years from Google photos for a photobook => pressed accidentally => all selection cleared and hours of work wiped. *sigh* @dflieb please add an alert to ask if ok to clear?— Sathyajith Bhat (@SathyaBhat) November 17, 2020
So yeah, 3 hours worth work gone down the drain. I re-did the selection again, added the captions, go to shipping - only to be punched again - shipping is only within EU.
With that, I gave up on Google Photos, but I still wanted to go ahead with the photo book idea. I fell back to using Zoomin. I’ve done some single prints from them but never did a full photo book. Zoomin gives you the option of 20 or 32 pages, but not more than that. I thought of using the same photos I’d curated for Google Photos but the Google Photo Book feature doesn’t let us download pics or save to album, so I had to search for the picture and download the picture.
Anniversary Day is here
Zoomin’s delivery estimate indicated that the delivery might happen +/- 2 days of our Anniversary and I was hoping it would happen on the Anniversary Day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to happen as the courier delayed the pick up by a day. However, Jo was saying she got an envelope and to my surprise - the postcard I had sent from Romania, arrived a month later, right on our Anniversary day. We were both elated, the timing was just right.
It’s pretty amazing how things at times just seem to happen on the right day. I’d sent a Postcard via Posta Romana and got silence, I didn’t hear about it. And just like that month later right on our anniversary day it got delivered.— Sathyajith Bhat (@SathyaBhat) November 28, 2020
(ps: photo by me at Lake Scropoasa) pic.twitter.com/kAY1ZcNQgI
Jo told me she got the letter and I was like what letter? And sent me the pics. Just about made my day. Being away from her for 8 months has been hard enough,trying to avoid travel due to the pandemic has been stressful to say the least. Then things like these just make your day— Sathyajith Bhat (@SathyaBhat) November 28, 2020
Zoomin missed the delivery by a day but it was delivered nonetheless quite early, so that was a good thing for me to start my day with. Here are some pics from the photo book.
So Happy 7 years & more to us!