Today I want you all to meet one of our LEP members…
Please tell us about you!
I’m Kate, short for Kathleen, and I’m a 27-year-old stay-at-home-mom from a small little town in Michigan (US). When I’m not taking care of my family or their messes I enjoy writing, and have long before I ever obtained my 3.5-year-old son, Logan, and even my 30-year-old husband, Gabe. My mom probably has some horrific writing samples filed away, but instead I shall provide you with my own portfolio — my pen pal-friendly blog! Sincerely Kate
This is me.
Describe your personality in 10 words!
Quiet yet thoughtful, creative yet hesitant, curious yet understanding… I guess I’m pretty introverted — I’d rather write to someone than hang out in the flesh, but that’s more than 10 words.
How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
Although I wrote my paternal grandmother for as long as I can remember prior to her passing, it wasn’t until August of 2005 that I started writing to others. I graduated from high school that spring with no immediate plans to go to college and I found that I really missed writing. One day as I was getting the mail it hit me…
I found Missie via MySpace soon after. She’s just a bit younger than I am and we both had/have a somewhat twisted sense of humor, probably thanks to all the Tim Burton movies we both enjoy immensely. We bonded very quickly. Not only did I start sending her novelty socks for every major holiday, but she sent letters to the little girls I was watching at the time and asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. We actually have seen each other in person four times, though it’s been over 5 years since I’ve seen her last — life happens.
Me and my first pen pal.
How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
For the most part my pen pals are all from the US since a) it costs significantly less than international mail and b) the turn around is much quicker (usually), but I have made a few exceptions like my International Geek Girl Pen Pal from Canada and some students from Taiwan who expressed an interest to my mother (she teaches over there). Regardless of origins, I have right around 20 pen pals, though I’ve made a few occasional exceptions with fellow members of the LEP :-D
What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
In the LEP we’re asked for our superhero name and mine is Wonder Katerz. The reason for the name, besides someone I know once telling me I was the Wonder Woman to her Super Girl, is because I strive on asking questions, both personal and thought provoking. Some examples of the latter:
1) If you could have 50 pounds of anything, besides money, what would it be and why?
2) If your life was a movie, what would it be called, who would play you, and what three songs would be on the soundtrack?
What are you looking for in a penpal?
Well, I’m not currently looking for any, but here are the qualities I like the best about mine!
I like people who take the time to answer all the questions I ask — when people say “I don’t know” or something of the sort I’m immediately put off. There’s no right or wrong answer in my mind so I’d rather you just try.
I love hearing from my pen pals pretty often, though I don’t expect to. I have encountered several people that go so long without writing that by the time I hear from them I have forgotten everything we’ve talked about before. I do have one pen pal I probably hear from quarterly, but she makes sure those babies are worth their wait. She fills me in on everything that she’s been up to and makes me feel like even though she doesn’t write me all that regularly, I’m still thought of constantly.
The Familia Ruiz, 2012, courtesy of a former pen pal.
What do you like the most about penpalling?
Not only is it more convenient for me to respond to letters than hang out thanks to my little guy, it’s more comfortable for me too. I feel like I express myself so much better via paper than I do out loud, and it’s because of that I’ve been able to connect with so many people I wouldn’t have otherwise met. I wasn’t kidding when I said I lived in a small town, so pen palling gives me the opportunity to socialize with people close to my age I have things in common with rather than people who are only geographically desirable.
In what language(s) do you correspond?
Just English. I know a few Spanish phrases but not enough to build a letter off of.
What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
I respond to letters within a day or two of receiving them 98% of the time, and I will usually do so on color-coordinated stationery. If the paper I used for the previous letter has a lot of greens in it, for example, the next letter will also have some green(s) in it.
I almost always write from the left side of the couch, and my letters are in black ink even more often. The length of my letters depends on the pen pal it’s going to. I have a weekly responder who gets pretty short letters, but those I hear from once a month or so usually get at least 4 pages out of me.
My latest entry in my idea journal. The journal mainly revolves around my own blog entries, and this one is no exception. It’s a bit of a spoiler so feel special :-D
Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?
I used to put my address in those little friendship books some pen pals enclose with their letters and some man from Germany found my information in one of them and sent me a poem. I was pretty creeped out and rarely add my address to those things anymore.
Have you met any of your penpals?
In addition to meeting Missie, a fellow Michigan pen pal of mine has been our go-to photographer since our 2010 wedding.
On the 31st of this month I will be meeting Othella while she’s up from Oklahoma and on the following day we’re going to be co-hosting a meet up for the Michigan members in the LEP along with Amethyst. I may only write to Kyleigh out of that group, but I’m excited to meet them all.
Squirrels I made to scurry from one League member to another.
Are you currently looking for more penpals?
No. When I first got into pen palling I wanted a pen pal from every state, but I quickly realized that I’d rather have quantity over quality. While it would be amazing to have a mailbox on the brink of exploding because there are so many letters inside, I ultimately think that would just give me anxiety because I wouldn’t be able to respond to people as quickly as I’d like to. My 20 is what I’m comfortable with.
Thank you Kate! Have fun with all those wonderful LEP members next week!
If anyone who’s reading this would like to be interviewed just like Kate and talk to us about your own penpalling experiences, please get in touch with me!