Hi! I’ve been away from home for a few days and after staying at a hotel in Rimouski, I’m now in Gaspésie with my son and my mom! We’re spending a few days with my mom’s friends, at Carmen’s house. I probably won’t post anything during my little holidays except for today’s Penpal of the Week! So here you go…
Please tell us about you!
Hi! I’m Mary. I’m 24 and live outside of Baltimore, Maryland. I graduated college last month with my psychology degree and I work in a day program at a psychiatric rehab center. I teach daily living skills and art type classes and do case management for mentally ill adults. My job is pretty cool and I’ve been there for four years so far. On a good day it’s one of the most inspiring things in my life.
Me blowing bubbles.
I’ve been with my boyfriend, Matt, for 5 years, and last year I adopted a cat named Bug who is the sweetest jerk. Besides snail mail I love color, paper, glitter, root beer, making lists, crafts, blogging, and taking pictures.
I love exploring new things and can’t wait to travel. Meeting people through the mail is something really reassuring to me that wonderful people exist all over.
I’m also really into street art in all forms including murals, yarnbombing, and other types of public art.
Installing yarnbombing in Baltimore.
In 2011 I participated in the Mail Art 365 Challenge and I completed it on time! It was a big accomplishment for me. You can find me anywhere usually under “maryhassound”. I also have a blog called Lust For Life.
Other interests: journaling, typewriters, whimsical things, found items, googly eyes, dinosaurs, rainbows, buttons, paint chip cards, The Little Mermaid, hot air balloons, root beer, buttons, driving, ferris wheels, and stars.
Describe your personality in 10 words!
creative, colorful, quirky, optimistic, talkative, strange, outgoing, fun, organized, imaginative
Me blowing dandelions.
How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
When I was 10 I met a girl at a sleepover who wanted to be penpals. We sent letters and gifts back and forth until she moved one day and I never heard from her again. From then until I was 19 I sent mail whenever I could to my friends. I usually never got a response in my mailbox but I did find some friends who would exchange daily notes with me in the hallways. We would get pretty creative with them, cutting out images from teen magazines to paste in, writing in lyrics, etc.
In 2008 I found Postcrossing and everything kind of exploded from there. I’ve gone through phases of postcards to swaps to letters to bubble mailer surprises to mail art. I treasure everything that happens via the post.
#171/365 of my 365 mail art project.
How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
There are a few different levels of penpals I have. Some people I exchange only mail art and / or postcards with, some the occasional note, some only letters. I think a fair estimate is 30 penpals right now. Most are in the US (from Alaska to Florida) and some are in other countries like Brazil, Italy, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, Greece, and South Africa.
What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
I love hearing about what inspires people and what makes them happy. I love lists of any kind (the weirder the better!) and anything that happened in your day to day. I like to talk about recent outings I’ve had or projects I’m working on and I’m open to hear about anything anyone else is experiencing.
Bug, my cat.
What are you looking for in a penpal?
I like exchanging mail with people who appreciate the analog like element of the post. It’s okay to have smart phones and iPads but it’s really nice to recognize the old things that brought us to where we are. And certain things, like the mail, you can’t really replace digitally. I also appreciate some sort of consistency with response. I do not expect everyone to respond quickly. But it makes me sad when I feel like I’m building a relationship with someone and then I go months and months without hearing from them.
What do you like the most about penpalling?
I like finding people that have similar interests as me in other parts of the world. It makes me feel better that I’m not the only one with boxes and boxes of letters and postcards in my room and enjoys unusual things.
Me sitting on toilets outside, being weird.
In what language(s) do you correspond?
I only speak English fluently and a bit of Spanish. I took over five years in school but I’ve barely used it so I’m not very good. I also know some American Sign Language but I guess that won’t help with writing letters!
What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
I like writing in my room at my desk or in my boyfriend’s basement on the couch. I have a to-go mail kit that I take with me a lot of places with stamps, address labels, stickers, stationery, envelopes, etc. but I prefer being in my room so I have access to all of my supplies.
Meeting Post Muse in DC.
I usually write at least the entire front and back of a piece of paper / stationery. I try to fill in all the space I have to use. I don’t like to send very short and vague letters or notes because I feel like it’s a waste of time / space / stamps.
Now that I’m out of school I usually get a response back to the sender within 10 days. Sometimes I get really inspired the day I check my PO Box and write a lot of replies. I usually write the actual letters all at once and then go through and put them in envelopes, stamp, address them, etc. all at once too.
My PO box, where I get my mail.
Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?
Once I signed up for a yahoo mail message board type thing and I got some letters from a 70 year old man who wrote entirely in calligraphy. It was almost hard to read what he wrote but he reminded me of someone from a movie. I’ve received some pretty awesome mail art pieces over the past years… I really like when people use clear envelopes.
Me at the Enchanted Forest.
Have you met any of your penpals?
I have! One of my favorite people ever was visiting Philadelphia and that’s only 2 hours from me so I drove up the next day to meet her. She is actually friends with another one of my penpals and they both live in Chicago and I flew out there in 2010 to spend a long weekend with them. I’ve also driven four hours (twice) to meet a penpal in Lynchburg, VA and this year I met Post Muse and Melissa of Craftgasm at the Letter Writing Social in DC. I also met a penpal from Centreville, VA this month at her bookcrossing meet up.
Hanging out with my two penpals and their friend in Chicago.
Are you currently looking for more penpals?
Yes! I’m always interested in getting more penpals and increasing my correspondence. You should absolutely let me know if you’re interested in writing me!
Thank you Mary!
I hope you all have a nice week! I should be back by the end of it.