Archive for Penpal Interviews

March 23rd, 2015

Penpal of the Week #167

 

On this Monday, Julie and I have been talking about flowers, wet things, secrets, sushi, stationery, time management, the song “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles and of course, Penpal of the Week interviews!

 

Today, I want to introduce you to Ulla. We met through Interpals and I’m very happy to feature her on the blog.

 

Please tell us about you!

Hi all!! I’m Ulla from the very north of Denmark!! A beautiful country in Scandinavia. I live here with my dear husband and two teenager kids. Actually almost adults, so they give me soooo much “challenge” in my life ;) I also have two very furry “kids”, as we have two ABSOLUTELY crazy cats; a Persian cat “Cornelius” and a “Sacred Birman” Pelle, I looooooooooove cats!!

 

We all live in a BIG house (my house is surely my castle), with a neat garden, greenhouse and terrace. I work with patients with dementia and Alzheimer, and it is a very rewarding and very challenging job!! I been there 15 years, and I have some of the best colleagues in the world. And I have always been working, so sometimes I really dream of more spare time to all my interests. I can mention a few; My lovely penfriends around the world, reading good books, scrapbooking and crafts, good movies and series, music, holidays and travelling, nature, spring & summertime, family moments and heaps more.

 

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Me in the U.S. Virgin Island on a dream holiday.

 

Describe your personality in 10 words!

Positive, very smiling, caring, a homebody, loyal, gentle, a “private” person, sincere, friendly and humorous.

 

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

I started penpalling, when I was around 12 years. My first pals were Danish girls, and we got in contact through magazines and newspapers. A few years later, I got lovely foreign penpals, through IPF in Dublin and ads in magazines. It was amazing and fascinating, and it really “opened the world to me”. I wrote with pals in Poland under the crisis there, with pals in Lithuania when they were fighting and pals in Germany, when the wall came down. We had the most amazing and interesting “chats”, and it was amazing to “see things through their eyes”!! I just love writing & getting letters.

 

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My Family by the sea near Køge on Sjælland.

 

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

I have a bit over 40 penfriends, and they are from all over Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Asia. It is ladies only from around 30 to 50 years. Somehow it is the perfect hobby for me, as you can do it; whenever you want, wherever you want and as much as you want. And I can combine it with my “creative side” and my “chatty side”. *lol*!! And I have a perfect excuse for buying cute stationery, stickers, tape, pens, stamps and so much more.

 

What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?

I think that I love to chat about almost everything in the letters; daily life, thoughts, plans, dreams, all kind of moments, interests, the penpalling life and whatever is on our minds. It is wonderful, when the friendships get “deeper”, and we have great chats and discussions in the letters.

 

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My cat Cornelius.

 

What are you looking for in a penpal?

Well the most important is to be friends and get a good friendship. Of course I always look for “the connection”, to really “click” with a penfriend. I really prefer penfriends that also love to write long & chatty letters, as that works best for me. I adore pals with a good humor and a positive mind. I love handwritten letters, but typed letters is fine with me too. I have some shoulder/neck problems, so once in a while I need to type. But honestly typed letters can be very neat and creative too, with cute fonts, clip art, stationery and so much more. I love letters with a creative touch.

 

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And the crazy Pelle.

 

What do you like the most about penpalling?

Ohhhhh I like everything about penpalling… it is amazing and exciting to find fat letters in the mailbox. It is a great thought to have a good friend on the other side of the world and be a part of their life!! I have some very “old” penfriends, and we have been exchanging letters for over 20 years. It is wonderful to think about all the things, we have been going through together; single days, boyfriends, kids arriving, jobs, kids growing up, losing loved ones and a million other things in our lives. Such long lasting friendships is just precious. I am really nuts with stationery, and I just can’t get enough. And I love creating my own. And my own labels. *lol*

 

In what language(s) do you correspond?

I only correspond with penfriends in English and Danish. But I also get letters in Swedish and Norwegian, as I understand those languages pretty good, and I answer in Danish. And it is fun to write with Danish ladies living outside Denmark.

 

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My handwriting and it often looks quite different.

 

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

I love to write letters sitting in the couch watching some TV and having the cats around me, like now. *lol*!! Sometimes I also write letters in the car, when I am behind with my letters, a bit weird, but it works. I am not an ultra-regular penfriend, as I have a busy life, but I like to write pretty regularly. It is okay to take an extra week or two to answer a letter, as I enjoy a great letter.

 

2014.March.24.Ulla6

Writing in the airport.

 

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

I have many great things happening to me in my “penpal life”. One weird/strange thing… Many years ago I found a very interesting address in a DECO FB, and after seeing it a few times, I wrote it down and wanted to write her an intro letter. Well it took some time, but finally I wrote a letter to this cool Italian lady, and dropped it in the mailbox. Two days after (so my letter had not reached her yet) I found a letter from this lady in my mailbox, and she had seen my address and send me a great intro letter… Sooo “great minds think alike” and it was quite amazing!! We have been writing over 20 years now, so it was really fate!!

 

Penpalling is not a common interest in Denmark, so people get pretty curious/surprised, when I tell about my hobby. Most people think it is a hobby for kids, and only in a short period in their life. In my late teenager years I was interviewed by our radio, as they wanted to hear more about this hobby. When I was around 30 years, we moved to a smaller town, and people were really surprised and curious about my colorful letters and visitors from other countries. I was actually interviewed by a big newspaper about my interest, and they had a big article called “Writing with the world”. And afterward I got contacted by a bunch of ladies, they wanted to know; how to get started with penpalling and how to find penfriends. COOL!!

 

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I love scrapbooking.

 

Have you met any of your penpals?

I have not met a lot of penfriends, as we have not really been travelling a lot… But I’ve met pals from Greece, Slovenia and Lithuania. Just after the wall came down did my penpal from Dresden come to Copenhagen and we met. We went to Dresden shortly after, and we stayed by her and her husband. It was a great and very interesting trip, and we really got an idea of living in the old East Germany and had a lot of amazing trips in Dresden and the area around it.

 

Down there we also met another penfriend, and had a nice time the 3 of us. A few years ago we travelled to Italy, and we did manage to spend a day with my Italian penfriend. She showed us around Milan, showed us her working area, lots of things in Milan and a bunch of her favorite places. And we got the most delicious pizza and ice cream. *lol*!! I enjoy to meet pals after writing together for some time, but it is not the reason I have penfriends. It is a great way to find nice friends, learning about another country and another person and her life.

 

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Me and my husband by our beautiful West Coast.

 

Are you currently looking for more penpals?

I’m not really looking for a lot of new penfriends, as I have around “the perfect number of penfriends” for me. But once in a while I can get tempted, if I get a really interesting intro. My e-mail: dropaline08@yahoo.com.

 

Penpalling is a lifelong hobby of mine, and it is true “Friends are made by pen and ink”!! Happy writing!!

 

Thanks Ulla!

 

If you’re reading this post and thinking that you would like to be featured here on the blog, then send me an email and we can set up an interview.

 

Currently, Julie and I are finding it difficult to decide on something for dinner. We aren’t feeling very inspired. Suggestions?

 
March 16th, 2015

Penpal of the Week #166

 

Today is March 16, did you know that Dairy Queen is giving out free ice cream cones today? Too bad I have given up sweets for Lent. But I think we will take Louis-Justin to get a cone after school today.

 

Another great part of this March 16 is that I get to share the interview I had with my friend Doodle! She and I met through the League of Extraordinary Penpals.

 

Please tell us about you!

Hi there! My name is Deborah-Anne, but I’m called anything from Deborah to Deb to Debbie to Doodle (I still don’t know why, but I really like it!). I am a 29-year old single white female (country music fans out there? GREAT song!) living with 2 furbabies wayyyyy up in Northern Canada; the Yukon, to be exact! I was born and raised in Ontario and have also lived in Alberta and British Columbia. I currently run the office (payroll… accounting… and herd the boys) of a freight company in the Yukon.

 

I love to read, write, spend time with friends and furbabies, walk along the ocean, gaze up at the stars, listen to music, watch TV/movies, play board games, drink tea. I’m a pretty down-to-earth person and love spending nights in, but can also be found dancing or karaoking the night away!

 

I struggle with some medical issues and penpalling has become a way to keep me upbeat during them, and to meet some absolutely amazing people I never would have met otherwise.

 

Tomboy-turned-Girlie

Tomboy turned girlie.

 

Ooh, something not many people know about me – I struggle with my weight due to medical issues (mostly) and my own choices (not near as much, but they absolutely play a part). I am obese. And in the summer of 2013, I participated in a calendar shoot called EveryBODY is Beautiful. I wore a bathing suit and was in May in a beach theme. The calendar celebrated every body type – younger, older, skinnier, fatter, male, female, white, black, and everything in between. It was hugely empowering and something I was terrified of, but am proud of doing to this day.

 

Describe your personality in 10 words!

Kind, compassionate empath that wears my heart on my sleeve.

 

My Heart

My heart.

 

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

I started “officially” penpalling in Grade 8; age 13, for me (I turned 14 a few months in). As part of our French Immersion program in school, we were required to pick a penpal from a different country in French and correspond for the year. We went through the program called IYS – International Youth Service (unfortunately has since disbanded, which was heartbreaking as I met amazing people through it). I loved it so much I ended up getting about 10 more penpals from it, in English and French. I wrote to all of my penpals for years, but unfortunately have lost touch with all but the original penpal – Martina, who lives in Germany. We don’t write as much these days, but we are in touch via Facebook. Not often enough unfortunately. Our lives are both extremely different and busy, but when we do manage to catch one another up, it’s a fat envelope filled!

 

Unofficially, I started corresponding with other Brownies and Girl Guides through my troop leaders in the Girl Guides organization. I am still in touch with many, many of them.

 

Furbabies

Furbabies.

 

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

Good question. I truthfully don’t know how many I have, as many of them and I correspond differently. I have about a dozen that we send letters back and forth on a monthly-or-more basis by the time they reach one another, and a few of them, we usually have a couple letters crossing in the mail. I have another few dozen or so that we exchange letters when we can. All in all, between Guiding people and “other” penpals, I’d say anywhere from 50-80? I used to be part of a few different penpal groups, but since the LEP (League of Extraordinary Penpals), I have dropped to just them and Guiding. I write to people all over the world.

 

I just purchased a program one of my penpal’s husband created, and once I get everything data-entried into it, hope to have a more formal answer!

 

Pink

Pink.

 

What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?

I love to be able to ramble – I talk A LOT in real life, and love to write in letters. I also love, when life gets busy, or when stress hits, to feel ok to just jot off a couple-pages-long letter, and pick back up when things do. I don’t have children (yet!) or a significant other/s (yet either!), so you will hear about my furbabies, my job, my friends, my “niece” and “nephew” of my best friend, pretty much anything you can think of, and I’ll write about it.

 

I like to write and discuss things of a more risqué / adult nature, but it throws a lot of people off. Don’t be shy what you tell or ask me! (Just don’t be hurtful, please.)

 

Always Loved the Water

Always loved the water.

 

What are you looking for in a penpal?

I am happy to write to anyone, but they must be respectful. I don’t judge anyone, for anything – race, sexual orientation, interests, etc. I want people that I feel comfortable being myself with. If I ever do, I never meant it at all, and please tell me so that I am aware.

 

I want someone that is willing to exchange fat letters, but understand that to me, “long” letters tend to be 10-12+ front-and-back. I have a hard time sitting and writing 50-page letters for everyone, as I know some people can. I’d love to read your 50+-page letter, but not sure that I can reply in kind.

 

Leaving the Ocean for the Mountains

Leaving the ocean for the mountains.

 

What do you like the most about penpalling?

I love the fact that it forces us to slow down and unwind and get to know one another more intimately.

 

Mountains

Mountains.

 

In what language(s) do you correspond?

English primarily, but I would love to get back into French – please be patient with me!!!

 

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My handwriting.

 

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

I write a lot of my letters curled up with my kitties and tea, hot chocolate, or hot chocolate with kahlua. Tim Horton’s steeped tea is a big companion of mine! I like to try and mix and match my stationery, and tend to write on both sides. I write short and longish letters – my current max is I think 27 pages front & back so 54 pages? It depends on the person, what I’m writing about, etc. It takes me a bit to write back these past few years, as life has thrown a LOT my way, but my goal is within a month of receiving – and my reply pile right now starts at letters received February 3rd, so doing pretty well so far! I handwrite 99% of the time, but I have a new photo printer so I am tinkering with that to see how it works. I almost always write on lined paper, and rarely write on full-size 8 1/2 X 11. I am terrible at knowing and remembering the sizes (A4, A5, A6, etc.) so please excuse that from me.

 

Ukee and I

Ukee and I.

 

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

To be honest, not really a lot – will you change that *wink*. I think the oddest would be someone in a penpal group one time that I didn’t click with… which is fine in reality, but things got out of hand, people got involved, hurtful things were said. It worked out perfectly well in the end, but that’s about the most “not-normal” thing I’ve seen!

 

Mama-cat and I

Mama cat and I.

 

Have you met any of your penpals?

Yes! My first “official” penpal, Martina, took a trip to Canada years ago. We saw the Niagara Falls, Toronto, and had a good time.

 

Another penpal, Crystal, and I met through LiveJournal, still write LOTS back and forth to this day, have met a few times, and write long letters, text every day, Facebook, etc. We’ve become really close.

 

I’ve also met a lot of my Girl Guide penpals, the majority in Alberta in 1999 at a large international camp called Canadian Mosaic 1999: Footprints in Time. Over 5 000 girls and adults went to that camp, and we sang with Fred Penner at the Calgary Stampede!

 

Sataria and I

Sataria and I.

 

Are you currently looking for more penpals?

I am always looking for more penpals! Something I’d love in particular is a notecard-or-postard penpal, someone that we can exchange quick cards back and forth on a bi-weekly-or-so basis. I am averaging about a 3 week reply time right now!

 

Thanks Doodle! 

 

You can send an email if you are interested in connecting with Deborah-Anne.

 

It never gets old featuring penpal enthusiasts here on the blog, what a great passion to share! If you are someone who is interested in being featured here, please send me an email and we can set up an interview.

 

I’m off to find some lunch, finish a few work tasks and then I have this mail tag letter I received from a penpal that I’m looking forward to replying to. Have a great day!

 

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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