Archive for Penpal Interviews

December 15th, 2014

Penpal of the Week #154


Julie and I sometimes get a little stir crazy working from home every day. So we decided to pack up our things and set up shop at the library today. On our way, we stopped to drop some outgoing letters to our penpals at the post office. We both really enjoyed spending time writing this weekend.


Today, I want to introduce you to someone who lives in the state I was born, South Dakota. This is Michelle…


Please tell us about you!

So about me! I am 22. I live in Aberdeen, South Dakota. I am married to my husband Calvin, we’ve been married since 2012. I am Lakota Sioux, and my tribe is the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. I am a drive-thru attendant at a Culver’s – and not to toot my own horn, but I’ve been told by several awesome guests that I am the best! I have one biological sister, five adopted sisters (adopted by culture), three adopted brothers, three half-brothers, and one step-brother. I was raised by my grandmother and papa, and I was raised on a farm in the middle of the country. I have had many pets, consisting of cats and dogs. My dad has a dog named Gater, and he is my world right now. I love him!



My husband and I.


I have lots of interests, most of them dealing with body positivity and the LGBT community. I am not openly bisexual (to my family) but most of my friends and co-workers know that I am bisexual. I also am really into awareness of the following conditions: PTSD, Diabetes, Asthma, any cancer, and autism – two of these conditions I myself suffer from.


I collect lots of things as well, I collect plushes – so far I have many but my few favorites are a totoro plush, a buffalo, a wolf, and a horse. I can never have too many plushes! I also collect rubber stamps, washi tape, and vintage photos of military personnel. I feel like I’m in a different time when I’m looking at them.


I also enjoy baking, so far I’ve learned how to make puppy chow and Special K bars! My husband absolutely loves Special K! I like making YouTube videos, my videos vary in hauls, unboxings, and top 10s. If anyone has suggestions, I’ll gladly take them. I love doing videos, at first I was really shy and didn’t want any of my roommates to see, but after a while, I just started doing them regardless.



This is my buffalo plush, “Boro” as I call him, I got him for my birthday,

and I had some postcards I found from my state, as my local stores

don’t carry many South Dakota cards.


I sometimes run out of creative inspiration, so on my wall I have pictures of my friends and family who have supported me and make me smile. I have a picture of my papa on the wall from Easter, he is holding an Easter basket I made him. He has always supported my creative habits, and my shopping habits as well! He loves my rubber stamps, and often gives me ideas on which one I should get next! I also have a picture of my friend Clawson, who is also my husband’s friend from the Marine Corps. I make him cards, and he has some Flash (the superhero) inspired keychains from me! I hope to get more pictures from friends for my wall!


I do some of my creating with my bestie Nizan, she has penpalling as a hobby as well, and we like to get together and create things. We’ve decorated envelopes, made cake, but so far we like playing Scrabble and watching “Friends”.



Facebook: Michelle Huber

Instagram/Interpals/Swap-Bot: @ameribuddy

Twitter: @MrHubersBride



Describe your personality in 10 words!
Strong, warrior, sensitive, helpful, kind, loving, passionate, fangirl, awesome.



This is my dad’s dog, but I love him so much!

He has comforted me in hard times!


How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!

I have been penpalling since December 2010, when Calvin (my husband) went to boot camp (USMC) at MCRD in San Diego, California. I found the website and I had four Marine heroes that I wrote to and exchanged emails with. Some had kept in contact after their homecoming, but some of them eventually lost touch. (I am not going to be revealing names, only rank, due to OPSEC.) One of them was a LCPL (Lance Corporal) in the Marine Corps, and he would call me “mija” and we exchanged emails daily. Sometimes I wouldn’t hear from them for weeks, but I was super patient. Another couple of really awesome penpals were a SGT (Seargent) and a CPL (Corporal) and they exchanged emails a lot. One of them almost was stationed near me, but his wife didn’t like the cold weather, haha. My first Instagram penpal was named Sabrina, she and I exchanged letters until around March, she injured her hand, and so our letters were slow. We never bid adieu, we just lost touch. My first Interpals penpal is a girl named Pamela, who lives in the UK.


Inspiration wall

Inspiration wall: earlier mentioned, I put my pictures on the wall

for inspiration and a daily reminder of how lucky I am!


How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?

I have about 50 penpals who write to me monthly to bi-monthly, to even seasonally. I love receiving letters, and no matter how many pages, I make an effort to write back to them! I have penpal fever always, and love getting to know people through the pages of a letter. I have penpals from the following countries; Australia, Germany, Russia, France, Denmark, United Kingdom/England, Italy, Greece, Canada, Indonesia, Bulgaria, and Belgium. In the following states I have penpals from; Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri, California, Michigan, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, and Colorado.


It honestly looks like I’m a “penpal collector” like some people like to say, but to be honest, I like mail. I don’t care where it comes from – it could come from space, as long as my penpal sends a letter, I’m happy! Some of my now-adopted sisters that started as penpals are Liliana from Indiana, Mayra from Illinois, and Mercedes from California. I also really value my penfriendship with Jessica from Ohio – she is a Marine wife and so we met earlier and our experiences with the Marine Corps have made our bond stronger. Another one of my first penpals is my best friend, who is currently still in the Marine Corps -I hope to meet him next year!



This is what my mailbox looks like when it’s full, no one else puts as many letters

in the mailbox as I do, so it’s nice to take a picture when it’s super pretty to look at.


What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?

I really enjoy talking about people’s favorite tv shows, because then we can talk about characters and how much we like the show. I also like learning about what type of things people like to buy about penpalling, like washi tape or rubber stamps. I love those two, so to talk about subjects I like, the letter is much more fun to write.


What are you looking for in a penpal?

I look for someone honest, someone who will write to me, and make the letter decorative. I look for a penpal who’s accepting and supportive. I really value people that can make me laugh on my bad days and happy on my good days.


PicMonkey Collage

This is my family. The big photo is of some of my family from

my grandparent’s 40 year anniversary. The two older couple is

my grandparents, and the other couple is my dad and step-mom.


What do you like the most about penpalling?

I love looking at the states/countries where it’s from and feel so grateful knowing someone put effort into a letter, and sent it off to me. It’s a piece of their life, and I get to read and keep it.


derpy texas

When I started drawing states, I drew Texas first, and it didn’t come out right.

I got South Dakota right, because it’s my home state,

but I do need some more practice for other states.


In what language(s) do you correspond?

I write in English, I only know English fluently, and sometimes I put in a few words from the Lakota language.


What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?

I like to write at my desk, I got it for $2 at a Salvation Army. Depending on the length of the letter and how much time I have to write, I can usually write a decent 3-4 page letter in about 45 minutes with no distractions. If I just got off work, sometimes I’m exhausted and put off writing until I have enough energy.


My handwriting.


Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?

Absolutely – I had a girl ask for kawaii stationery in the letter, and I don’t use kawaii letter pads/memos so I told her no. I also really don’t like Hello Kitty, so sometimes people will include Hello Kitty. Also, an owl is an omen/sign of bad luck in my culture, so I prefer not to receive owl anything, but some people still send them.


Have you met any of your penpals?

To this day, no – as much as I would like to!



This is some stationery I have done, I love using notebook paper for making my stationery,

I have a lot of rubber stamps so I like to utilize them and make themes!


Are you currently looking for more penpals?

Honestly, always! If you don’t mind that I work 44-48 hours a week and that replies can be a few weeks to a month late, then sure! I don’t like being the penpal who sends a short letter that’s just thrown together just for the sake of time. I love being creative with my letter, and to be able to write things about life and what I learn. I learned how to be patient from waiting for emails from Marines, so I am patient for letters from my penpals. You don’t have to send goodies or anything, as long as you send me a letter! Be honest, and if you don’t want to be penpals anymore, then please tell me instead of just dropping off the face of the earth. I would love to be penpals with anyone!


Thanks Michelle!


Who would like to be featured as Penpal of the Week next?

December 8th, 2014

Penpal of the Week #153


Happy Monday to you! It’s a beautiful day here in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. The cats are cute, my wife is beautiful, the coffee is good. To make this Monday even a little sweeter I want to introduce you to Amy.


Please tell us about you!

My name is Amy. I’m a 26 year old disability support worker from Australia. I have a degree in Psychology and aim to someday work with children and teens. I have been with my lovely partner for nearly 7 years and we have three adorable fur-babies together – two dogs and a cat (though make no mistake, I’m definitely a cat person).


I have two sisters, one older and one younger who have their own children, giving me eight wonderful nieces and nephews. I’m also a proud Aunt to my partner’s niece. My favourite colour is purple and my favourite pattern is swirls. I LOVE cats… Big cats, small cats, all cats. I want to own a sphinx cat or a devon rex someday. Or a snow leopard. Or a lioness… I could go on dreaming but who am I kidding?


I enjoy reading, writing, penpalling and painting (a new venture for me). I am family oriented and am very close with all of my immediate family. I also consider my close friends to be my family. They all mean the world to me.



Partying Aussie – bogan style.


Describe your personality in 10 words!

Introvert, reserved, caring, perfectionist, creative, open-minded, generous, passionate, committed, patient. I actually had some friends help me with this because I’m typically terrible at describing myself.



My gorgeous kitty, Luna (yes, I have a cat tattoo).


How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!

I suppose I am still relatively new to penpalling and snail mail but I have always had an interest and fascination with it. The first letter I remember writing (that wasn’t to Santa) was to the Spice Girls when I was about 8 years old. I wrote to them and told them how much I loved them and offered up our house for them to stay at next time they toured Australia. Needless to say, they never took me up on that offer.


It all really started for me when I joined the League of Extraordinary Penpals in June last year. It was a total accident that I came across the group. I started on Interpals a few months before and just never found anyone I clicked with so I gave up. One night at home I randomly googled “international penpals” and LEP popped up. I joined straight away and I’ve never looked back. I have met lovely people through that group and made some very close, lifelong (hopefully) friends.


My first penpal… Gee… Let me think… It’s hard to pinpoint THE first because when I joined LEP I sent out quite a few intros to those who wanted them. Most wrote back, about half of them I am still writing to. I suppose my first long-term penpal would be the lovely Katherine. Her and I just clicked on so many levels and we have quite a lot in common.



My LEP superhero portrait.


How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?

Many. Some might say too many, but there is no way I could ever stop writing to any of them. I would say I have around 10 regulars who I send to or receive from at least every two months. A handful of those are probably monthly letters. My penpals are from all over. I have a few here in Australia. The rest are from the UK, USA, Canada and Europe.



Some swirly mail art.


What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?

I tend to discuss new things happening in my life, or that have happened since we last spoke. I also have a habit of rambling about work or my partner or anything really. I have been known to go on a tangent about the movie or TV show I am watching while I write; sometimes it’s hilarious, other times it is probably just annoying.



Some of my home made envelopes – thank you envelope punch board!


What are you looking for in a penpal?

A kindred spirit. Really, I’m not fussy. I’m open to people from all walks of life.


What do you like the most about penpalling?

I find it to be very relaxing. I love being able to sit down with a pen and paper and write my thoughts to share with another person, and to read theirs in return. I think writing offers an avenue in friendship that speech doesn’t. So much speech is filtered and I have found that writing looks to be more personal and true to someone’s nature. I have learned a great deal about my penpals from how they write.



My dogs – Dex and Martini. 


In what language(s) do you correspond?

Sadly only English but I hope to change this. I am planning to learn German in the near future and I would love to be able to practice it with my penpals.



Little Apple Dolls (series two).


What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?

I spend a lot of time picking out just the right paper when I write a letter. I also hate to use the same stationery twice with one person (though I’m sure I have because I don’t actually keep track of it in any way). I tend to write on the couch in front of the TV, which is a terrible habit, I know, but I just hate the silence. I try to write with music in the background more often because I can focus more on what I’m writing. My letters vary tremendously in length. Some may be 3 A5 pages, but I’ve been known to write up to 10 A4 pages. It really just depends on who I am writing to and what I’m writing about. I try to put a lot of love and energy into my writing so the length can often reflect my mental state. I normally write back within two months but I try to limit my response time to one month where I can, but sometimes life just gets away from us.


I recently decided to train my left hand as well to become ambidextrous. It is a slow and painful process but I can write with it now, though it looks like it was written by a 6 year old… I have a couple of penpals who I write with where we just use our non-dominant hand. It makes for longer reply periods but it is fun and a good challenge.



One of my pages in a travelling notebook.


Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?

Hmm… Not that I can recall off the top of my head. I did have a penpal back in the early days who sent me the same intro letter twice but months apart and we had responded in between those times. That is probably the weirdest I’ve had. I am yet to receive anything unsual – though perhaps I’m not the best judge of this because I like quirky things.


Have you met any of your penpals?

When I first joined the LEP it turned out there was another member in my city – Sam. We wrote a couple of letters to each other and then decided to meet. We had lunch and now we are best friends. We don’t write anymore because we text or call each other most days and didn’t really see the point in it. I have also met another girl I write to, Jemima, who lives about three hours drive from me. The three of us are all very close and have regular meetings these days, including sleep overs. They are the only ones that I have met so far but I intend to meet many more over the years.



One of my ink paintings. 


Are you currently looking for more penpals?

Part of me tells me I should say no because I have so many already, but I can’t bring myself to say no to someone if they think we might connect. So sure, if you think we would bond well, I am open to new penpals. My email is


Thanks Amy!


I’m off to refill my coffee cup and put some ribs in the crock pot for dinner tonight. Have a wonderful day!



My name is Julie and I'm 35.
I live in Québec (close to Montréal) and I speak French.

I write letters, I love stationery and I have a handwriting fetish. I often eat sushi, still feel like I'm 16 and only wear skirts & dresses (with colorful tights when it's cold).

I'm happier with a mind full of ideas, a mailbox full of letters from my penpals, a shop full of stationery, a house full of cats and a day full of hugs.

Read my Top 10 Quirks here.

This is me with my wife,
Denise. We met through the
League of Extraordinary
Penpals and are living
happily ever after amongst
piles of cats and stationery.

Denise blogs here
from time to time and is
the one in charge of the
social media: Facebook,
Twitter and Pinterest.

She's 39 years old,
from the United States,
and in love with me, washi
tape & imperial rolls.

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