Yesterday I did something really fun: I met my penpal Cindy! She and I have been writing for about 9 years and we’re birthday twins, so it was extra special to finally meet in person!
We spent some time at my place (I had to show her my kitties and my stationery!), we had lunch at a vegetarian restaurant in Brossard, we went back to St-Jean for some thrift shopping (Cindy found a few tops for herself and I found a few shorts for my son), we went to get Louis-Justin from school, then went to the post office, spent some time in my son’s bedroom (taking pictures!), dropped Louis-Justin at his dad’s house, went to Montreal to have dinner at my favorite vietnamese restaurant and visit Chinatown, then drove back to where Cindy was staying and said goodbye. Whew! That was a long day! My spoken English is not the best (despite what Cindy says), so I was exhausted by the time I got back home (close to 10pm) and I couldn’t remember whether I should speak French or English to my boyfriend. I think even my dreams were in English last night! ;)
So here are some pictures that were taken with Cindy’s phone yesterday.
Louis-Justin and I at the post office…
Me with some LEP mail that was in my PO Box! (Thanks Kat!)
Cindy and I (and the painted dragon) in my son’s room!
All three of us… (Mr. LJ just got a haircut!)
And some funny pictures of Augustin & I!
I met other penpals in the past, but Cindy was the first one I had to speak English with. Hopefully I did OK!
Has anyone else met a penpal lately?
The Penpal of the Week is a girl who submitted a penpal ad and a fun list of quirks last year – read more about her unusual dipping habits here…
Please tell us about you!
I am Othella, and I am a 27 year old nanny who just graduated from The University of Central Oklahoma with my BA in English Literature. I was born and raised in West Michigan, but I moved out here to Oklahoma 4 years ago for a job. After a year the job was done and I couldn’t afford to move home, so I went back to school and have been working as a baby sitter, a nanny, pet sitter, and doing any other odd jobs I can to make ends meet! I currently live with two other girls in a house near campus in Edmond. I love my little house. My family still lives back in Michigan. I don’t get to visit home often because of the distance and the cost, but my dad recently took the 32 hour round trip drive to come out and visit me for the first time in honor of my graduation!
This is my favorite picture of myself. I was in Ireland, at Glendaloch,
and while hiking in the middle of a dreary drizzle, I randomly
turned about on the trail and snapped this shot. I love it.
I love how deliriously happy I was and how obvious that is in my eyes.
I love to craft, make beaded jewelry, read, write a little, cook, cross stitch, and send mail. I dream of gardening one day when I have a place of my own! I love spending time with my friends, but most of us are scattered to the four winds. My best friends are in S. Korea (Amethyst), D.C. (Amy), North Carolina (Bekah), California (Kate), and Oklahoma (Wendi and Amanda). I have other good friends scattered around the world as well. Thank God for the Internet and snail mail to keep us all connected!!
My cat, Ozymandias, is a beautiful 7 year old black American short hair. He was abandoned by his mother in our polebarn when he was only 3-4 weeks old, so he grew up on my shoulder for four months! He’s a descendant of my old beloved black tomcat, Babrielle who I had as a child. Ozy lives back in Michigan with my parents. When I moved out here to OK, I was headed to a live-in nanny job, so I couldn’t bring him with me, and everywhere I’ve lived since, I’ve not been able to have pets of my own.
Me and my dad at Graduation! I was so glad he came out to visit
for the weekend! I hadn’t seen him in 18 months, but he drove out
16 hours each way to see his daughter graduate!
I’m currently looking for a “Big Girl Job” to move my childcare work into a supplemental role. People keep asking me what I want to do, but personally, I don’t think it matters what I want to do until I have a job that pays my bills. Until then, I can’t afford to be picky, so I’m willing to do any job that I can get!
I’m a complete Hibernophile (lover of Ireland), and dream of going back there to visit one day. I was lucky to study abroad in Ireland for four months when I was in college (Spring of ’06), and I miss it like crazy. As much as I’d love to live in Ireland some day, I can’t imagine the expense of shipping my book collection overseas!!
This is my favorite picture that I’ve ever taken to date. It was taken in Ireland
during the boat ride to hike the Gap of Dunloe, and I’ve entitled it In the Wake.
Speaking of which, I collect books. All sorts of books. I have well over a thousand again (I purged about 800 books from my collection in high school, donating to my school’s library), and have read most of them. My prize books are antique children’s books, specifically editions of Peter Pan and Heidi, along with vintage Raggedy Anne and Andy and Beatrix Potter Books. My obsession started when I was small. My first phrase was “Read the book.” All of my books were old, from the 40s-60s. They were the editions and copies my mom and dad and their siblings had grown up with. I also collect old YA book series, such as Trixie Belden, Happy Hollisters, and Bobbsey Twins.
I say “awesome” way too much.
Describe your personality in 10 words!
Decisively indecisive, creative, eager, poetic, humble (and proud of it), quirky, inquisitive, nurturing, cluttered, loyal.
I love my yearly trek to Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA! This is me with some of my
best con-going friends, Moo, Silver, Birdie, Sarah, Mary, and Me! I’m not sure why
the boys all have awesome nicknames and the girls get their real names.
How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
Recently I’ve been penpalling again for two years or so, but I’ve been corresponding via mail for as long as I can remember.
My grandma was my first pen pal. She started writing to me when I was still a baby, and still does write. She always uses a typewriter, and exactly fills a half sheet of paper each time. When she and my grandpa go somewhere, they send postcards to tell me where and what they saw.
The first penpal I sought out was my friend Allison, who moved across the state when we were in 5th grade. We wrote on and off through high school, but she stopped responding when we went to college. We recently found each other again on FB and keep in touch there.
Me and my best friend Bekah on our last day at Dragon*Con in 2012. I love this pic of us!
I’m actually wearing that same shirt as I type up this interview!
How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
Let’s see… um… I really don’t have an exact number. I have added quite a few recently, thanks to the LEP, but I think the number is probably around 20? I have regular pals in Canada, France, Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and from 7 different US states, but I have several from the same area, 3 in Australia for instance. Then I also have some awesome pals that I get random mail from and swap stuff with.
What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
In my letters I tend to go over the letter I’m replying to and touch on those topics that need more touching on to continue those conversations, and answer and ask questions. I also talk about what’s going on in my life, what I’m looking forward to, what I’ve recently done, what I think on various relevant topics. I often talk about books or crafts that I’m working on. Sometimes I talk about food or recipes. I used to talk about school quite a bit, but I’ve graduated, so that should be over for a while. I also talk about the kids I work with (if the pal is kid-talk-friendly).
Me and my bestie Amanda at Graduation!
We worked so hard for this together this last year!
What are you looking for in a penpal?
The biggest thing is a friend. I love building a friendship via correspondence. Second is patience. Life happens to me, a lot more than I want to admit, so sometimes I fall a couple months behind in correspondence, and sometimes I have replies back out the door the next day. And the third thing is relatibility. This seems obvious, but if we can’t find common ground somewhere, we won’t be good pals. It doesn’t have to be much, but something has to be there!
This pic was taken at my best friend Amy’s wedding in July, 2012. The girls are
my good friends from college, the Third Berg Girls. We all lived on the same floor
of Bergwall Hall at Taylor University in Upland, IN (could you guess it was the third floor?)
And the man by the bride is her groom, Jai. I do NOT get to see those girls often enough!
What do you like the most about penpalling?
I LOVE getting fun mail, but even more I love building a friendship with someone I might not have had the chance to meet otherwise elsewhere in the world. It’s fun to get different slices of life.
In what language(s) do you correspond?
I can only correspond in English.
Yup, that’s my handwriting and my address.
What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
I like to write letters either laying down on my bed or sitting at my desk. I used to write most of my letters in my comfy overstuffed arm chair, but I had to leave it behind in the last move. Sometimes I write while I’m at work while the kiddo is sleeping or otherwise occupied. I prefer to use A5 sized stationery best, and I prefer to use my Stabilo fineliners or my new love, Staedtler fineliners. I like using multiple colors or at least coordinating colors to the stationery I’m currently using. I also like to have a variety of papers. Sometimes I do each page a different stationery, or sometimes I just pick two designs and alternate sheets. My letters vary in length depending on who I’m writing to and how long it’s been and how much stuff has happened since we last wrote. An average letter is 4-6 sheets front and back, but I’ve done a few shorter (at least 2 sheets) and my longest was 50 smaller sheets.
My most recent awesome mail day! Postcards galore, and a
candy swap package of goodies from fellow LEPer, Venus!
Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?
I really can’t think of anything strange or funny. I’ve had a pretty “normal” penpalling experience so far, but I’m open to weird things happening in the future!! If someone wants to be my first strange or funny penpal experience, I’m taking applications!!
Have you met any of your penpals?
I have not, but I would LOVE to! Especially the awesome people I’m meeting through the League of Extraordinary Penpals!!
I know it’s not safe to take pictures while you drive, but the end of the rainbow
was ON. MY. CAR.!! And my car is a Gold Dodge Stratus. And her name is Chauni
(pronounced like Connie), and it’s short for Leprechaun. Too ironic!!
So, I am the prize in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!!
Are you currently looking for more penpals?
I’m not necessarily actively looking, but I would never say no if someone was interested and felt we might click! The more the merrier in my mailbox!
Thank you Othella! It was a pleasure having you on my blog (and having you as a member of LEP)!