Archive for Penpal Interviews

October 27th, 2014

Penpal of the Week #148


Another week is starting, so to make your Monday more bearable, here’s a Penpal of the Week interview.


Please tell us about you!

Name: Sonnia Jean Kemmer

Age: turning 43 on November 15th

Location: Residence is in East Bay, CA; Work is in San Jose, CA

Occupation: Construction Coordinator



Author Facebook Page:


Sonnia 1

Me and Lizzy the Ladybug Amigurumi – I love ladybugs,

and I collect anything that captures my eyes.


Family: (1) husband named Alan or Shaggy (his band nickname), (2) one 18yo son named Daryl, (3) two stepkids: one 14yo boy named Michael, and one 11yo girl named Catalina.


Interests/other info: long walks, photography, music (plays a bari saxophone, an alto saxophone, and keyboards), listens to Sirius XM radio, addicted to Netflix, an avid reader of paranormal/sci-fi/mystery books/films/TV shows, a published author, an aspiring novelist (presently finishing two novels), and an ESTJ when it comes to Meyers-Briggs Personality.


Sonnia 2

Me and my husband, Shaggy, during a Luau.


I’m a Type 2 Diabetic, and I decided to eliminate carbs and sugar in my diet. However, when I accidentally eat fast food, even though I don’t eat the obvious carbs, I get flare ups with the sugar. That’s why I try to cook my own food nowadays.


I’m also a plannerholic. I jot down everything, because my memory is bad. HeHe. I get to decorate my planners, and I get a bit OCD organizing my calendar and stuff.


Describe your personality in 10 words!

Loving, Thoughtful, Caring, Patient, Honest, Compassionate, Emotional, Resourceful, Hopeful, Funny


Sonnia 3

I made my South Park version of myself. I’ve always wanted to

have a pet cat, so I included one. I also love photography.


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

I started penpaling in 1989. I was in first year college back in the Philippines. There were not much computers around at that time, and snail mailing thrived. One of my female neighbors introduced me to IPF (International Penfriends Club of Dublin Ireland). She gave me a membership application and explained to me how to send payment using IRCs (International Reply Coupons). I succeeded in applying and received my penpal list several weeks later. There were 14 names and addresses. I wrote them all. I got a lot of penpals ever since. After four years in college, I had to stop penpaling because life became difficult. I only reinstated my membership with IPF last February 2013, and I received new penpals. The first penpals I wrote to have disappeared. I tried searching for them online (Facebook), but only found a couple of them. Not everybody replied from the new IPF penpal list, so I searched Google for new penpal groups. That’s when I found LEP. It’s been great ever since!


Sonnia 4

This is my Ink Lady LEP photo drawn by Beth Sobel.


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

I have 32 LEP penpals and 38 non-LEP penpals. Different countries and U.S. states.


For the international ones: There’s one from Sri Lanka whom I exchange used stamps with. He doesn’t write me often, though. Then I have a few from Australia, one in Indonesia, New Zealand, Czech Republic, several in UK and Germany, one in Northern Ireland, France, Italy, Greece, several in Canada.


For U.S. states: Puerto Rico, Michigan, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia, Missouri, Maine, California, Oregon, New Mexico, Illinois, Alaska (I think, I need to consult my planner. Can’t remember them all. hahaha). I love to get postcards, that’s why.


Sonnia 5

I’m a plannerholic.


What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?

Work, Vacations, Kids, Food, Events, Books, Movies, Music, Friendships, Collections, Frenemies, Issues, Science and Aliens, The World


What are you looking for in a penpal?

I love to read long letters, but I know that not everybody writes long letters. I look for honest penpals who know how to converse through paper. There are some who just talk about themselves without even asking how I’m doing. I mean, I’m not their diary. Although, I do write like I’m writing on a diary, but I converse with my diaries. LOL. I consider my diary a friend. Of course, I consider penpals better than a diary.


Sonnia 6

One of the pages of my planners.


What do you like the most about penpalling?

Handwritten letters are becoming a lost art. Writing legibly is actually becoming a lost skill. I don’t want it to totally disappear. I don’t want to rely on typing communications, or texting messages. The slow flow of thoughts while writing letters by hand makes a big difference in communication. Penpaling enables me to practice my handwriting and experience a certain serenity through it.


In what language(s) do you correspond?

English. But I’m also fluent in Tagalog (Filipino language) if ever there is someone who would like to engage in it.


Sonnia 7

Sample of my handwriting.


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

I normally write using my mechanical pencil that is a 0.9mm with a 2B graphite lead refill. I don’t answer letters as soon as I receive them, because I have a pile going on. In good days, my pile is either 10+ or 20+ in count. In bad days, I tend to be under a writing rut, so it goes to 30+, or worst 40+. The length of my letters are normally over 2 half 8×11 pages. I’ve written 18 half-pages before. All by hand.


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

Unfortunately, there was one weird incident which made me discontinue correspondence with one penpal (non-LEP). She was from Letternet (which is now a defunct website). She typed her letter which I didn’t mind, but she sarcastically told me that she’s unable to read my handwriting. I mean, there’s a proper way of telling me that. I didn’t like her tone. I would have let it pass if it was only that, but she also stated a lot of things that didn’t click with me. In simple words, we didn’t match when it comes to personalities, and I couldn’t tolerate writing to someone who made me feel uncomfortable. Example of her being different: She hates cats/dogs. Sorry, but I’m a pet lover, even though I don’t have a pet right now. I consider pet haters part of the criminal system. LOL (Sorry, if I offended anyone by that. I was being funny. If it’s not funny, please forgive me. I have a weird sense of humor that I only understand sometimes.)


Sonnia 8

LEP Bay Area first Meetup photo 1.


Have you met any of your penpals?

I have met three penpals when I was in the Philippines around 1992. One from Japan, one from Italy, and one from Canada. All male penpals. I’m still in contact with the one from Canada. He and I went out while he visited to meet me, and it was all platonic for me, but not for him. I think I broke his heart then when I turned him down. Luckily, I connected with him again and found out that he is happily married. The other two I’ve lost contact with. I wish I could reconnect with my past penpals. I just couldn’t recall their names. I’m so forgetful!


Recently, I met three LEP members, and two of them are my penpals, Kari R. and Jenn VB. We had lunch, talked about our lives, and walked around to shop/windowshop. It was so fun! We will have another Meetup in November, which I’m so looking forward to.


Sonnia 9

LEP Bay Area first Meetup photo 2.


Are you currently looking for more penpals?

I’m “inactively” looking, meaning I don’t send out intros anymore. However, when I receive an intro from a new penpal, I don’t reject it. I do write back. Everybody just needs to understand that I don’t reply at once. The only guarantee I could say is that I do write back. I give ample time for each letter, or I do read the received letters and answer them as I go through it. Everybody is welcome to write me. I give quality time for each letter. The reason why I do this is my belief that I should never turn away an opportunity. However, I do remember that not every opportunity fits, too. The important thing is to be open-minded, see if it works out, and if it doesn’t, then I can say that I tried. No harm in trying.


Thank you Sonnia!


If you’re reading this and are passionate about letter writing, please get in touch with me – I’d love to interview you too!

October 20th, 2014

Penpal of the Week #147


I met Eugenia through Interpals, but it appears she is not new to the blog! Julie hosted a giveaway back in November of 2012 and Eugenia was the winner.


Please tell us about you!

My name is Eugenia, I’m 26 years old and currently I’m living in capital city of Uzbekistan – Tashkent. I’m ethnically Russian though, was born and bred here. I know that almost all people I’ve ever met didn’t have an idea where is this country on map, so I’d like to add a few words about it.


Uzbekistan is one of former republics of USSR situated in Central Asia and surrounding by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and a very small part of Afghanistan. Uzbekistan is a multinational (you can meet Russians, Koreans, Kazakhs, Germans, Jews) country, but the most amounts of citizens are Uzbek, all nationalities are living in peace for about 100 years by now. Tashkent is a beautiful city with a long history and it’s a very popular place for visitors as it was part of Great Silk Road as well as other aged cities of Uzbekistan like Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand.



As autumn is my favourite season I wanted to share this pic with you!


I’m happily married for 4 years now to a great man Victor. We have an adorable female Scottish straight cat named Elisabeth Brauni. At the moment I don’t work and as I have more than enough free time I’m working on improving my English, thinking about learning another foreign language (my mother tongue is Russian) and sewing textile toys in Tilda style. Tilda is a craft brand founded by Norwegian designer Tone Finnanger in 1999, best known for its whimsical and naive characters in the form of animals and dolls. I once knew about these toys/dolls, now I can’t imagine life without sewing them.



That’s our cat – Elisabeth Brauni.


Also I like reading books (classic Russian and world literature), listening to music (mostly good old rock songs of 70-80yy), penpalling (of course!), cooking and baking, taking pictures, watching movies as at cinema as at home, going for a walk, doing sports, being in nature, learning something new from history, geography and geopolitics.


My Facebook

Interpals profile


Describe your personality in 10 words!













That’s me Eugenia in mountains of Kyrgyzstan in 2014.


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

I got a letter from my first pen pal when I studied at school with a help of my classmate. She introduced to me the German organization LetterNet, which helped people from all over the world who love write letter to meet each other. When I became a member I got a letter from Germany, from awesome girl who was my dearest penpal for 8 years! She was like a teacher for me as she shown me what a good letter is.


We often exchanged postcards, facts about our countries, small gifts and she was my closest friend till the moment she entered to University for study and didn’t have time for penpalling anymore. It was really sad and after some time I realized how much I missed getting/writing letters and since 2010 I became an active penpaller again. During these years I realized what kind of letters I like to get/write the most, medium – long to long meaningful letters on regular base and there’s no better feeling than to find fat colorful letter from far away friend!



Here I hold all incoming letters.


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

At the moment I have 30 penpals, most of them are from Europe but also a few of them are from N. America, Australia and New Zealand.


What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?

I like discuss in letters about anything and everything – daily life, hobbies, interests, hopes, fears as it’s so interesting to learn how people live in other places.



I like to decorate letters with decotapes and rubber stamps.


What are you looking for in a penpal?

I’m looking for a good and sincere friend who understands me very well, who can support me when I need it and for sure we should have something in common. It helps a lot in building long lasting friendship. And also we should feel a click between us as it’s hard to push yourself for every letter if you don’t enjoy her letters.


In what language(s) do you correspond?

In English and Russian.



It’s a sample of my handwriting.


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

I like to write my letter in my special corner in the evening hours with table light on and with a huge mug of tea next to me as I’m a huge tea lover! Usually I try to write reply as soon as possible – from a few days to 6 weeks (the most). Mostly this depends on my mood, motivation and length of my letters. (Medium to long, as I see short letters as waste of money and you hardly can build friendship if the letter has a few sentences.)


I like to use nice stationery, stickers, nice stamps and colorful pens for my letters. Also I like to treat my pals with enclosing small surprises now and then as stickers, postcards, teabags, bookmarks.



I like to use nice stamps and envelopes, enclose surprises

like tea, cards, bookmarks and magnets.


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

Hmmm, I’m afraid but I don’t have a strange/ funny story to share with you.



Me and my husband Victor.


Have you met any of your penpals?

Unfortunately, due to my current place of living, meetings with pals are impossible as abroad travels cost a lot. But for sure if I ever have opportunity for traveling I’d like to meet some of my pals. So nowadays I’m traveling without leaving a house via letters from my dearest penpals!



My current pile of letters to be answered.


Are you currently looking for more penpals?

I’m not actively looking for new penpals, but like many other letter writers I hardly could say “no” to a well written intro from a person. We might “click”!


Thanks so much, Eugenia! It’s been a pleasure to get to know you.


If you finished reading Eugenia’s interview and thought to yourself, “HEY, I want to be featured as Penpal of the Week too!” then you should send me an email so we can talk about that!



My name is Julie and I'm 34.
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 girlfriend,
Denise. We met through the
League of Extraordinary
Penpals and are living
happily ever after amongst
piles of cats and stationery.

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

She's 38 years old,
from the United States,
and in love with me, washi
tape & imperial rolls.

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