Letters to the future at 798

Remember making time capsules in grade school? Writing a letter to yourself and putting it in a box, along with sentimental objects, and sealing it with a label “Open in 2012.” I wish I could find my old time capsule.

In Beijing, there’s now a place where you can make a time capsule of sorts and be guaranteed to not forget to open it when the future is here. “Panda Slow Post” at the 798 art district is a cozy little store where you can pick out cards bearing the cute Mandy Panda mascot, think for a quiet hour, and write a letter to whoever for whenever.

The store keeps your letter and mails it on or before your specified date. Their business is letters but Panda Slow Post’s employees (and many fans) think of it as a storage house for sentiments. Newlyweds come here to send themselves letters on their 60th anniversary. Grandparents write to the grandchildren they may never see. College students post hopes for “What I’ll be doing in ten years’ time.” Some even come just to take something off their mind — a letter to an ex with no forwarding address — and put it in Panda Slow Post’s safe box.

I spent an hour and a half sitting at the long white tables, remembering how to write a letter by hand. Can you guess who will receive my surprise letters in the future?

(Great photos accompanying this post will come soon, when I’m in Singapore where my blog won’t be so darned hard to access! Oh internet censorship…)

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