Lately I feel like I haven’t been giving the pen pals I’ve had prior to this year enough acknowledgement here on Sincerely Kate. I love the LEP and the women I’ve bonded with there, and the idea behind the International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club is an inspired one, but I wouldn’t appreciate those things like I do if it wasn’t for Allison, Jody, Justine, Kära, Kayla, Erika and Ruth. There are others who have contributed to me liking this hobby so much, and some pen pals I’m still getting to know, but these are the ones I’ve had for several years or so now who haven’t given up on me. Hence the reliable part in this post’s title.
A few months back on the blog Snailmail is Still in Fashion there was a post called “How I Met My Pen-Pals!” and if you look in the comments you’ll see that I said something about doing a post of my own like it sometime. In addition to telling you about my old reliables, I decided I’d include how I met each of them.
Out of all the ladies I mentioned above, Allison has been the one I’ve been writing to the longest. She saw a post of mine in a pen pal group on MySpace in late 2005 and thought we’d get along well. She must have been right considering 8-and-a-half years have come and gone since her first letter. Speaking of first letters, she took pictures of the first one I ever sent her:
(cont’d) Although Allison is a Jersey girl currently living in New York, she attended college in Iowa– a college about 45 minutes away from where my mom will be moving next summer. If we were to ever be in the state at the same time I would definitely jump at the opportunity to meet her.
It was in the fall of 2008 that I started hearing from Jody– I think it was also via MySpace that I found her since I don’t think I was trying addresses out of Friendship Books quite yet and we weren’t friends on the other FB until a couple years later. I don’t recall when we started exchanging an extra sheet of stationery with each of our letters, but I believe we did it from very early on. If I had to guess, the woman I hear from weekly probably complimented some paper of mine so I gave her extras only for her to give me some as a thank you and we just never stopped. Not that I’m complaining. While several of my pen pals watch Glee &/or Once Upon a Time, because of how often I hear from Jody I have gotten to the point where I look forward to talking to her about episodes each week as much as I like actually watching the things.
Fast forward to May of 2010 when I got my first letter from Kära after finding her on Facebook. It wasn’t even a quarter long as the ones I now receive from her are; it’s as though once we really got talking the days of two-page letters were a thing of the past. If you check out her blog you will see her massive to-do list when it comes to hobbies as her header (you may even see “write to Kate” on there, hehe). While I adore hearing about her hobbies, as you can imagine there’s usually a few months in between her letters, but boy, are they worth the wait. I still have my fingers crossed I can meet her this fall.
It was a few months later when I started hearing from Ruth in Taiwan. A few months before, as my mom’s first year teaching over yonder came to a close, she had a few students who were interested in writing letters as a way to practice/improve their English so that summer I wrote them all and had my mom distribute the letters upon her return to Taiwan that fall. Two other students wrote me for a little while, but Ruth is the only one who has continued writing me after all this time.
Apparently 2010 was a good year for pen palling because it was in October that I met Kayla thanks to a former pen pal of ours. We bonded quickly– I introduced her to postcrossing and she sends me a card in honor of every significant holiday. Speaking of significant, this weekend she’s marrying the guy she told me about in her very first letter, hehe. Congratulations and best of luck, Kayla and Jeremy!
I met Justine through the same person responsible for me meeting Kayla, and I knew since her very first response in May of 2011 that Justine was going to be a favorite. She’s chatty, mature yet very open-minded, and is constantly inspiring me to get crafty. While I’m comfortable venting to all of my old reliables, she’s the one who seems to “get” me this most. I can’t help but think if we lived closer, we’d have a bi-weekly Chipotle date and she’d be the first to come over if/when we get our lab someday, her douche of a dog coming along for the ride, haha.
Although it wasn’t until August of last year that I started writing to Erika, I still consider her an old reliable. I’m actually a bit embarrassed to admit how we met because it makes me sound like a bit of a stalker, but A) I met someone in a pen pal group on FB, B) that someone sent me a friend request, C) while on her page I realized she had a pen pal with a last name only one letter off from my maiden one, and D) I then contacted the pen pal’s pen pal. In addition to (once) having similar names we both have lived in Washington state, and the more we wrote each other the more I found we have in common, however trivial. I may not have received a lot of letters from Erika so far, but there’s no doubt in my mind there’s more where the first 11 came from.
In the past I have tried addresses out of friendship books and gone on sites like interpals.net, but if this post is any indication I’ve had the best luck on well-known social media. The page I’d currently recommend: Pen Palling (Snail Mail)
If you write letters, happy pen palling! If not, I hope posts like this still make you happy like mail from my old reliables makes me.
Sincerely, Kate ~!~