Even though it’s Monday, I’m still in weekend mode since today is a holiday… It’s Victoria Day in Canada but in Québec it’s also National Patriots’ Day. I guess in Finland it’s not a holiday today, but let’s meet the Penpal of the Week anyway!
Please tell us about you!
My name is Maiju and I’m 34 years old lady from Finland. I guess I am bit cosmopolitan, I used to live abroad (@Scotland) nearly 4 years, working. Atm I am planning to move abroad again, but it’s not sure yet. I’m single and have no pets nor children. If I would not be so allergic, I’d have a bunny or Basset hound. I just tend to buy soft toys to fullfill this love xD
Me at work 2012. Picture was taken just before small show.
I have no idea how to describe me shortly. I know I am bit un-womanly creature, as I am as tall as any man and I like manly things, like historical weapons (prehistory-1830), sci-fi and fantasy, WWE etc. odd things. I am also general history freak. I’ve been re-enacting 15 years and role-gaming/playing 14 and these hobbies still fill my calendar and life.
ATM I have too much time to spend on things I like and most days are filled with embroidering (I am really good), playing pc-games, sewing historical costumes by hand and historical dances. Erm… What else to tell… I hang around gothic and LGBT-events a lot (when I have enough money). I’m also bit of otaku, not much but…
Picture taken just before one tv-filming.
I esp. love my victorian hat and I use it as often as I can.
Describe your personality in 10 words!
Creative, funny, understanding, lazy(ish), nice, goth(ish), artistic, bi(ish), helpful, sleepy and grotesque.
Viking age woodcarving from Sweden.
I did draw this picture for a calendar.
How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
I started penpalling when I was 9 and continued it till I was 20. I picked up this lovely hobby again when I was 27 and starting night-shifts at work. It was really nice to write letters middle of the night at work. I can not actually remember my first penpal. It might have even been my much older cousin. I recall that we (my class) ordered penpals from/via this one old penpal service, which name I can not remember. I got one boy from Africa as my penpal. Although that “friendship” did not last long, as he was always asking presents. I had few Finnish penpals, but as I was bit boring at young age, all of them stopped writing in some point. 2 of my penpals I’ve been writing with since early 90’s. I’d prefer long lasting friendships luckily I have found few.
Handpainted card I made for my mum.
How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
Atm I have only few active penpals (unfortunately) and most of them are quite new. I have 2 from India, 2 from Poland, 2 from US and one from Australia. My Finn pals are more like Facebook-pals now, as they all don’t seem to have time for real letters.
What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
I can talk nearly about everything, but my favourite subjects definitely are history, costuming, books, sci-fi and fantasy and Archaeology. And all kind of craft-projects. I also tend to talk about re-enacting, LGBT/gothic parties I go (very seldom) and cultural differences/traditions.
I also do gilding and this is a practice work I used as letterpaper.
The image is late 1500’s embroidery design.
What are you looking for in a penpal?
I think one of the key aspects to have is open-minded and understanding penpal. I might not like same things as my penpals, but I try to be understanding and supportive and I wish them to be the same. I think open mind might be the most important, as I have lost too many pals just because I have told them I am pagan and I hang around with “rainbow people”. Same interests are always a plus, but not a must. I love to hear about other’s daily life and I don’t mind getting “diary-like” letters.
One of the horror-decos I’ve made.
What do you like the most about penpalling?
Writing and papers. I am paper-holic. I tend to collect all kind of things I can use for letters or decos. I also like to use dip pens a lot. I do calligraphy and some days I practise that artform by writing a letter. I also love to build a friendship via letters. These days people use computers a bit too much for communication and I prefer to “keep in touch” via real paper and ink.
In what language(s) do you correspond?
Finnish and English. I might be able to write whole, but simple letter in German and Swedish and I know few things by Greek, Latin, Japanese and Scottish Gaelic.
What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
I normally play music while writing, normally that would be my “adrenalin”-playlist @ spotify. I also write all my letter while sitting on my pc-chair and supporting a large book on my knee. I use that book as “table” for writing. I have bad habit to write letter few days, writing few lines every night. Some rare occasions I have enough time to
write decent length in one “sit”, but that happens too seldom. I normally start writing just before going to bed and continue till I nearly fall asleep. I wish I had more time to write.
Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?
Hmm… I have not really got any unusual requests since I was a kid. Then African penpals asked all kind of things. One letter I got was huuuuge paper shaped and colored to present a dragon. That was very lovely.
Part of my vast collection of fancy paper.
I love gothic and historical sets.
Have you met any of your penpals?
I might tell you a story how I met one of my Finnish penpals face to face. I was working as kitchenslave at historical dance camp and I had few other people helping me/us. One of the young girls started to talk about her hobbies (not mentioning penpalling) etc. On the second day I started to think “That girl has same hobbies as one of my pals. She also is about the same age…” “Hey girl, does your family name happen to be XXX?” “Erm… yeah… why?” “Remember Maiju XXX from Turku?” … It took while before she remembered me, as we had not been writing for a long time. I had no idea that she has actually started to dance etc and she did not remember that I had been talking about historical dances a lot.
I have met only few of my Finnish penpals, I was supposed to meet my Brittish, longterm penpal at WWE-wrestling match, but I did not get time off from work. That would have been so cool. If I ever have money to travel to US, I am definitely going to meet few of my pals at DraconCon or any similar geek-convention. I might have chance to see my Polish pals this summer, as I will be attending huge medieval battle there.
Sample of my favorite lettersets (all Dark Horse-brand) and some stickers I have.
This is about 5% of my whole pile of stickers and papers.
Are you currently looking for more penpals?
Yes I am! I am esp. looking for native American and pagan/Gothic/LGBT-penpals. Or anyone who is willing to write longterm with this odd creature. I am also looking for deco-swappers. If interested, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Maiju!