Good morning! Brr, it’s cold today! Last week it was summer (30°C) and now it’s back to winter (-11°C). Spring, where are you?!
Anyway, it’s time for the Penpal of the Week… who’s a girl from France this time! (Did I ever mention that my mom was born in France?)
Please tell us about you!
Hello, everyone! My name is Maude, but since I don’t like it, I’d rather being called Tári, or if you’re Scandinavian, you can call me Matilda (it’s my name in Norwegian / Swedish / Danish). I turned 19 last January (aww, I’m growing old!) I’ve lived my whole life in France, but I’m eager to learn as much as possible about foreign countries. That’s one of the reasons why snail mail attracted me from the beginning. I’ve left France only once in my life (I’ve been to Germany), but I’m willing to travel a lot more in the future. Northern and Eastern European countries are on the top of the list.
Here I am~! Hello!
I’m currently a student in mathematics and sociology- yes, I like maths, and contrary to what a lot of people can think, liking mathematics is not a psychological disease!
I don’t identify myself at all to the common image you can have of what a girl in her early twenties likes: partying, socializing with her friends, shopping, chatting about “who dates whom?” and so on. I am quite a loner, rather introverted, and for me the best way to spend an evening is alone in my room, with my books, my computer, and my letters (and a cup of tea, too). I am very shy in real life and that’s why I don’t have many friends – I’m very happy with those I have, though, and I don’t need more. As soon as it comes to penpalling I’m not shy anymore and when I take a pen and a paper, I’m unstoppable!
I am not one of these persons, who loves Asia to death. I have a huge preference for Scandinavia. Northern Europe fascinates me. I like everything from there: the amazing landscapes, the culture, the very interesting mythology, the languages… I’d like to go there one day, to see the Northern lights and the midnight sun.
My main interests: reading, playing the piano, writing, trying to improve my artistic skills, learning languages, and of course penpalling!
Describe your personality in 10 words!
Ten words? That’s hard!
Anyway, here we go! So, I am (random): introverted, caring, smiling, funny, (a little) stubborn, childish (from times to times), independant, pragmatic, perfectionnist, and sometimes a hopeless dreamer.
Winter is my favourite season.
How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
I had my first penpal at the age of 10 or 11. It was a school penpal, our English teacher found us American penpals to learn English in a funnier way. Yet, it wasn’t a real correspondence since letters on both sides were written in class with the teacher saying “write this, this and that”. And as soon as the school year ended, so did the penpalship. The same happened some years later with a German school penpal.
But these first experiences gave me the penpalling fever, and I kept the secret dream of having a long term penpal for long inside of me. At the beginning I didn’t think it was possible to find snail mail penpals through the Internet so that’s why I was only searching for email penpals. Until this day, about 6 months ago, last September, when I found my first penpal on Interpals. Interpals is the only penpalling website I’ve found so far where you have so much informations about the person you’re talking to, and you can also see pictures of people, so you have quite a good idea about the person you’re about to contact, therefore I felt confident enough to start snail mail. Then, everything went very fast: my number of penpals fastly increased, I wrote longer and longer, and actually, I have the feeling I’ve been penpalling for my whole life. I’ve never regretted the day I first started. For me penpalling is not only a hobby, it’s a way of life.
I’ve recently challenged myself to find 100 reasons to snail mail, and you can read the two first parts on my blog.
Some of the letters I got (on my messy desk).
How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
Honestly, I could not give you an exact number. In French there’s a common saying which states: “when you love, you don’t count”. I love my penpals, therefore, I don’t count them. I have quite a lot of penpals, but I don’t think I have too many. I enjoy all of their letters and I find time to reply to all in a reasonable amount of time, so everything is okay!
My penpals mostly come from Europe: Finland, Sweden, Ukraine, Norway, Italy, Poland, Macedonia, Germany, England, Lithuania, Slovenia, and only one outside Europe, in the USA.
They’re all girls, except for one. I feel more comfortable talking with girls, and also it’s so hard to find guys who are only looking for a penpal and friend, nothing more, especially on Interpals. I have never had such problems with my male penpal (who also is my first penpal), though.
My mailbox has a message for all my penpals!
What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
I am very curious to know how my penpals got into penpalling, so we often have conversations related to penpalling in general.
Since I haven’t travelled a lot yet, but I’m eager to, I love when my pals tell me about their own trips… and I can’t help myself being jealous on them!
I consider myself as a very open minded person, and I can talk about every subjects, depends on my pals’ interests. For instance with my English pal who’s very interested in religion, I had a very interesting conversation about this topic.
And obviously, we mostly talk about anything and everyting, daily life events, the books, movies and music we like, our friends and families, our studies since most of my pals are students like me… And as letters are the most digressional form of litterature ever, we start from a subject and arrive on an other which has absolutely no link with the first one… but this is what makes the charm of letters, isn’t it?
What are you looking for in a penpal?
A true friend. I consider my penpals as my best friends, and they know a lot about me, maybe more than many of the people I meet everyday in real life. I care a lot about my penpals, so I want them to care about me, too – that’s normal.
Someone who’s honest, loyal, and who’s not afraid of writing long letters, and putting efforts in writing them (no matter how long it takes to write them) to share her life, thoughts, hopes, fears, joys, doubts… with me.
Someone I can trust, and who trusts me back.
The place I’m living in (picture taken from my window).
What do you like the most about penpalling?
Running to the mailbox and finding it full of letters. This little “suspense” when climbing up the stairs with the letters in my hands, so impatient to read them.
Staring at the stamps from abroad, and thinking about the trip of this piece of mail to reach me. Taking a pen and a paper to reply, and letting the words fill the paper, page after page.
Also, I love the idea of someone far away that I can call my friend.
In what language(s) do you correspond?
In English mostly. I write in French with only one of my pals. And to be honest, I don’t really like writing in French, although it’s my native language. But as soon as it comes to penpalling, words come to my mind in English (I even can’t find any French word for “snail mail”!), so I have to translate everything, that’s akward. I know, it sounds really weird…
What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
I need to be in a writing mood, but also to have a lot of free time in front of me. Often I have the first one, but not the second. I like to write my letters in one go – or with little breaks, but not too many, otherwise my ideas would go away, and since my letters are usually long, I need quite a big amount of time. I mostly write during the week ends, or holidays: entiere days with nothing else to do, than writing letters. Sometimes I also write on the evening (but in that case I can go to bed veeeery late!), or in the early morning, when I have no classes.
Apart to that, I need a good pen – most of the time I use a fountain pen, but when I get bored of its blue ink, I use colorful pens, a musical background, and, last but not least, my source of inspiration: TEA!
Usually I try to write back within a month, and when I am really behind and I know that I’ll take longer, I send a quick note to my penpals to let them know. I can wait long until getting a reply to my letters (though I like getting fast replies!), but I just hate making my pals wait too long.
The length of my letters is proportional to the length of the letter I’m replying to. It also depends on how much I feel the connection with my pal, if he/she asked a lot of questions, and if a lot of events happened to me lately. I never decide before how long I’m gonna write. I just let the words flow, and I almost always write more than what I expected!
Some mail art, by myself.
Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?
Once a girl asked me on Interpals for snail mail, she offered me to write the first letter. It was at the end of November 2011, and I got the letter… at the end of February 2012! This delay wasn’t due to a problem with the post service since her letter was dated from February 18th. So she made me wait almost four monts for a tiny letter, like 15 lines long, written in an awful English. Of course, I didn’t reply.
Also, it happened several times that I gave my address to people whe promised me a first letteer, but they actually never sent it… But I guess this kind of thing has already happened to every snail mailer. Unreliable people are everywhere… unfortunately.
Have you met any of your penpals?
Apart to my German school penpal who I met on a language exchange between my class and hers, no, I’ve never met any of them so far. But since I got involved in penpalling quite recently, it’s normal I’ve never met my penpals: we haven’t known each other for long enough.
Yet, if we keep in contact for a while (I hope so!), I’d love to meet them one day, and see in real the person whom I shared so much with. What I’d like to do one day, if only I find enough time and money for it, would be to travel around the world to meet all my penpals. It’ll probably stay just a dream, but dreaming has never killed anyone so far, has it?
I love taking photos, and this is one of the shots I’m the most proud of.
Are you currently looking for more penpals?
I am not actively looking, but I can’t say I’m not looking either. There’s always room for nice people, and the world is full of nice people I haven’t heard of yet, so I can’t completely close the door. If I said “definitely no!” to new pals, then I’d have the feeling I might miss my best friend, and it would be such a shame!
So, to reply in a shorter way, yes, I’m still looking. So, girls (yes, because I prefer female penpals), of any age, any place, if after reading this interview you feel like knowing me better, and if you share the same penpalling values as me, then don’t hesitate to drop me a line. Either on Interpals or through email: colorful-life(at)live(dot)fr
Before to leave, I’d like to say a huge thank you, Julie, for giving me a chance to introduce myself in your amazing blog. Thank you once again!
You’re welcome, it was great having you as a guest on my blog!