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Last Letter…

By IT Executive Guest Blogger: Bruno Costa

Last letter

As I was reading David Graham's post regarding Giam Swiegers views and experience on Social Media, I found myself in memory lane remembering how life was when first arriving in the US in 1993.

I must say I caught myself in nostalgia, and while it is incredible to be able to share news and media across the world, there was something very special about getting a letter in the mail. I wonder if people like myself in their mid-thirties are the last generation who may still have experienced the old fashioned way to receive news from friends and family.

During the pre-Skype, email, Facebook, blog, SMS…. it would take from 7 to 14 days to receive a letter. Brazil’s airmail envelope used to have the green / yellow color, and I would quickly sift through the mail, hoping that day someone had thought enough of me 7 to 14 days ago to sit down, write a letter and take it to the post-office.

In 1993, the cost of a phone call to a Brazilian landline was US$0.25 per minute, and with the dollar exchange rate at CR$ 62,847.99 for US$1 was for a Brazilian, quite a bit of change! Then a friend Leda, said a phrase I’ll never forget:

“In ten minutes you said what you needed to say. Hang up.”

So every Sunday I would call my parents, set the kitchen timer, and at once the ten minutes were up (at the realization that call cost them CR$157,119.97 or… US$2.50) we would say good bye and wait until next Sunday.

In 2011 of course you simply cannot compare. My parents refused to talk on the computer, and no problem… I sent them a Skype handset that plugs in their router. So we can speak for more then ten minutes… any day. It is so wonderful to be able to speak, write, text, blog, sending pictures and video instantaneously, and yet somehow I catch myself going through the mail, looking for that green and yellow envelope, hoping a long lost friend will be in touch.

I’ll finish this post with one moment where I had to combine both the new and old ways… in 2007 I receive that call that anyone who lives in a foreign country dreads to get, and my parents told me my grandfather was at the hospital… and that it was not likely he would survive long enough for me to be able to say good bye. I knew I had very little time… then a solution… my tablet laptop.

Dear Grandpa:

I heard the news and I’m praying for a fast recovery.

Did mom tell you I’m buying a condo? Keep your fingers crossed for me so it all will go well. Monday I should sign the sale agreement.

Other than that, all continues the same… I’m coming home in December, so we’ll be able to speak in person.

Tell Magali (my aunt) and everyone I said hello.

Missing you,


I converted the note to PDF, attached to an email, called my mom on Skype and asked her to please print and take it to him in the hospital.

I was told he read the note, smiled, and proceeded in telling the nurse in the room my whole story and how I had moved to the US, and concluded by saying… “ he’ll go far.”

He never left the ICU… and I didn’t see him in December… But through technology I was able to let him know how much I cared.

Of course it’s incredible to be able to so quickly share information, and the fact I was able to send him a handwritten (or as close as it could get) note, is priceless. And still… everyday when I get the mail, I’m still searching for those handwritten envelopes which are now so far in between.

Click here to visit Bruno's blog and read more!

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