Archive for Penpal Interviews

January 26th, 2015

Penpal of the Week #159

 

It’s another cold day in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu! While I’ve been busy putting this interview together, Julie has been designing for the new Stationery Subscription Service.

 

Let me introduce you to Michele…

 

Please tell us about you!

I was surprised yet honored to be nominated by Lisa, my very first penpal from forever ago! Thank you! My name is Michele Errico and I have been penpalling since I was a teen. I have penpals from all over the world and it is my #1 hobby. I have met so many nice people and made a ton of friends. I’ve met a few in person and if I am lucky, I will meet a few more!

 

I was born and raised in Weymouth, south of Boston, Massachusetts USA. I still live right here in the town next door. I can’t imagine living in a place that does not have 4 seasons; especially beautiful fall with all of bright foliage which I enjoy so much.

 

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Dru and I.

 

I work a LOT! I have a full-time job working as an Executive Assistant after leaving the legal field 2 years ago. Who knew I would like this career SO MUCH better? I actually like going to work and I know I am lucky to be able to say that. In addition, I have my own very busy business MICHELEMYBELLES BANGLES which keeps me and 2 part-time employees on their toes! You can learn more about that on my website or on my Facebook page. I started last February and have not had much room to breathe since.

 

I am married and Dru and I have 2 daughters, Julianne, 22 and Nicole, 17. Jule is expecting her first baby, a boy, and we are all very excited! She and Billy will be wonderful parents. Nicole is a junior in high school who excels in academics and volleyball. In fact, she recently won Athlete of the Year at her school athletic awards night! I also keep busy as the team volleyball mom and Vice President of the Viking Athletic Association. We also have 2 rescue dogs in our family. Lacey is a 3 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback/hound mix and Bailey is a 3 year old Long-Haired Dachshund. They are a cute couple.

 

Describe your personality in 10 words!

I am a girl who never sleeps; busy all the time!

 

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My girls Nicole and Julianne.

 

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

I have been penpalling since I was a teen with a short break when I was married at 22. I believe I saw a penpal ad in a magazine and that got me started! My first penpal is the person who nominated me for this honor! Her name is Lisa Smith and she is from Philadelphia, PA. We have never met but we will some day! She is one of my favorites!

 

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Lacey and Bailey.

 

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

I cut back when I got too busy with my business. I would estimate that I have about 40 regular penpals. They are from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Wales, Scotland, England, Sweden, Finland. Am I forgetting anyplace?! I am sure I am. They are all women with the exception of 1 man! I enjoy reading and writing letters and look forward to opening my mailbox everyday.

 

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My mom and dad.

 

What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?

I chit chat about what I am doing, my family, the seasons where I live. I like to ask a lot of questions so I can learn about people and places.

 

What are you looking for in a penpal?

I am looking for someone who answers questions, will talk about anything and is interested in learning about me and where I live.

 

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Me cheering on my daughter at volleyball.

 

What do you like the most about penpalling?

I enjoy making new friendships and meeting new people. I also like to put a few pieces of stationery/stickers in with a letter to share what I buy.

 

In what language(s) do you correspond?

English.

 

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My bangles.

 

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

I usually write back within a day or two and I prefer to handwrite letters on lined stationery. I have a lot of seasonal paper and I tend to rotate what I write on so I don’t get bored. I have an old-fashioned secretary’s desk in our bedroom, which is where I write the majority of my letters. On cold nights, I write in the living room near the wood-burning stove.

 

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Julianne and Nicole.

 

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

The strangest thing was a semi long-time penpal who asked me for $2,000 to buy a crib for her baby. When I said “no”, she told me that Americans were rich and then she dropped me!

 

Have you met any of your penpals?

I have met 3 penpals. Marilou visited Boston from PA, Barbara visited Boston from RI and Lynn and I both live in MA so we have been able to meet up a few times including a girls’ sleepover at her house in Hubbardston. I hope to meet other pals in the future.

 

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Nicole and I at Martha’s Vineyard.

 

Are you currently looking for more penpals?

No.

 

Thanks Michele!

 

On tonight’s dinner menu here at PPOTW headquarters is ham, mashed potatoes and peas. I wish I could invite you over to eat with us. It would be fun to share a meal, a glass of wine and good conversation about our letter writing hobby.

 

Even though we don’t really have room for hundreds of you to come eat with us, I am still really interested in your letter writing hobby… would you like to be featured as Penpal of the Week? Why don’t you send me an email and we can plan an interview!

 
January 19th, 2015

Penpal of the Week #158

 

Today I want to introduce you to Ann. She’s a member of the League of Extraordinary Penpals (LEP)!

 

Please tell us about you!

Greetings Penpal of the Week friends! I’m Ann, 44 years young, from the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia, PA.); born and raised. I’ve been married to my best friend, soul mate, partner in crime Jay for 16 years, but we have been together for 21 years. We do not have any children (by choice) and currently we do not have any pets. :(

 

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Jay (my hubby and best friend) and I are always silly but even more so on vacation! Branson

Duck Boat Tour! Do you know how annoying those “duck quacking” noisemakers are? LOL!

 

Some of my hobbies and interests include reading (voraciously), traveling the world (as much as financially possible), baking, cooking and of course penpaling! I’m also a huge movie buff… I love movies and movie award season!

 

For work, I’m a union representative at the University of Pennsylvania for the Facilities Services Department… WOW, I’ve been employed there for 22 years! Holy Cow… half of my life!

 

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I’m Ann aka “Wonder Reader” (my superhero name in the LEP) 

with my sidekick Simone the Traveling Squirrel!

 

My love of reading propelled me to establish my own book club back in 2001 so that I could have fellow book lovers to discuss books with and develop new friendships. We meet once a month (every 2nd Sunday) either at a restaurant or at a member’s home. Either venue provides our group an opportunity to indulge in delicious food… hence the name of our book club’s name Books, Brunch & Friends!

 

Describe your personality in 10 words!

Passionate, Loyal, Caring, Warm, Adventurous, Persistent, Dependable, Quirky, Inquisitive (my husband says I’m nosy!), Stubborn and Chatty!

 

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This is how we roll while on our road trips!

Hmm, Florida Georgia Line/Luke Bryan song comes to mind!

 

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

My very first experience with penpaling was when I was in grade school. I had a wonderful 4th grade teacher (Mrs. Kopanaiko) for Social Studies who arranged a cross country penpal project with another 4th grade Social Studies class in California. We were paired up with kids from that class and my penpal was Janet. We were assigned to write letters to each other for the whole school year, but Janet and I continued to correspond for another 2 years. I’ve always wondered whatever became of her.

 

I also penpaled with my paternal Grandmother in Texas. I suggested that we write to each other instead of chatting on the phone. I’m so happy that I made that decision to exchange letters with her. She passed away several years ago, but I saved many of her letters, which I treasure.

 

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Getting acquainted with my new friend Franz in Park City, Utah!

 

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

Too many to count! But that’s a good thing! Honestly, I think I have over 50 penpals! My penpals (all LEP) are from USA, Canada, UK, Australia, The Netherlands and Germany.

 

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Books, Brunch & Friends book club meets LEP!

(Debbie Schuster Webb, Wendy Collins and I at one of our book club meetings).

 

What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?

Travel, vacations, books, movies, food, favorite restaurants, baking, cooking, swapping recipes, everyday life, family and friends!

 

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Smoky Mountains National Park selfie!

 

What are you looking for in a penpal?

Anything really! I love to meet new people and getting to know them. I love a letter that reads like a conversation, like the person is sitting right next to you. I want my penpals to feel that they can write about anything to me, and confide in me if necessary.

 

What do you like the most about penpalling?

What I love most about penpaling is developing new friendships and receiving what I call “happy” mail! It is so lovely to receive a beautifully decorated envie tucked in between all the bills and junk mail. I’ve always enjoyed mailing my family and friends greeting cards (for any occasion), especially since most people prefer to text, email, Skype, Facebook and Twitter! I love a handwritten card or letter!

 

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I think I need a bigger mailbox!

 

In what language(s) do you correspond?

Sadly, only English! As a child and young adult I knew how to speak, read and write in Ukrainian. I still understand the Ukrainian language but since my Baba (maternal Ukrainian Grandmother) passed away I’ve slowly lost the skill to speak, read and write in Ukrainian.

 

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This is one of my favorite quotes.

 

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

I usually write my letters curled up on the couch with a cup of tea (fall or winter) or a glass of mint iced tea (spring or summer). Don’t get me wrong I can write a letter anywhere if I have my letter writing supplies with me! I even try to sneak a letter while at work if my day is slow… shush don’t tell my supervisor! LOL!

 

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My book club besties! (Desiree Brennan and Wendy Collins)

My 3rd book club bestie (and LEP member) Janice Johnson is missing! :(

 

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

The one funny thing that happened was when sweet Meredith sent me a “fake” pigeon with a letter attached to its underbelly. The pigeon arrived while I was on vacation. During my vacation my aunt came over to collect our mail. She discovered a pigeon in my mailbox and she was startled because she thought it was dead. She was so upset trying to figure out how a dead pigeon got in the mailbox and how was she going to get it out! After several minutes she finally realized that the pigeon is fake and that there is a note attached to it. When I went to her house to collect my mail from her she asked…”who in the world mails a letter attached to a fake pigeon?” I simply said…”one of my LEP penpals!”

 

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State #45 (Wyoming)! Hubby and I have a bucket list mission to visit all 50 states

by our 50th Birthday! The journey must be complete by the end of year 2020!

Four states to go… Iowa, Montana, North and South Dakota!

 

Have you met any of your penpals?

Of course! My one penpal is my dearest friend Desiree Brennan! She, in fact introduced me to the LEP back in February 2014. I have also met Melissa Powell, Debbie Webb and Michael Webb… they all have joined my book club too!

 

Two of my long time book club members and friends have also joined LEP (at my persuasion)… Wendy Collins and Janice Johnson!

 

I would love to arrange a meetup with penpals from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Maryland sometime in the future!

 

Another dream of mine is to also meet up with my penpals while I’m on one of my vacations!

 

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Another LEP member (Michael Webb) joins Books, Brunch & Friends book club!

Brave man… he’s our only male member!

 

Are you currently looking for more penpals?

I will never turn away a new penpal! As I already mentioned… I love meeting new people!

 

Thanks Ann!

 

You can email Ann if you are interested in writing to her.

 

And now I have a question for you readers of this post. Would you be interested in sharing about your penpal hobby with us? I’d love to interview you and feature you here as Penpal of the Week. Shoot me an email and we can get the process started.

 

Hello!

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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