About having penpals (+ ‘what my penpals sent me’ video!)

“Why don’t you just send a message via WhatsApp?” or “Doesn’t it take DAYS for a letter to arrive?!” Those are just two of the many questions I get when I’m trying to explain my absolute favourite thing (next to cats, of course): writing letters.

Today I decided to clarify some of those questions! This blog post includes my latest video: “What My Penpals Sent Me #1”.

Heyyyy what’s up you guys! I’m back with a new blog post, and after thinking very hard for way too long I realized the subject of my post was very simple: pen pal letters! A few months ago I decided to give this new hobby a go, and it’s my absolute favourite hobby so far. Similar to reading a book you get to dive into the world of someone else, and you might make a new friend in the process. Fun, right?

It’s time for me to answer some questions! I’d like to write more about pen pal letters, but I’ll dedicate a separate post to that. Let’s start!

“Why don’t you just send a message via WhatsApp?”

Well, where’s the fun in that?! If you’re into writing like I am, those short summarized messages you’ll send to your friends about your latest experiences simply won’t do. I feel that in letters I get to actually share a part of my experience, rather than just merely state some of the facts.

Also, I love the love, care and attention you can put into a handwritten letter. Sure, those WhatsApp messages are fun – but isn’t it much nicer to receive a thoughtful card to show you that a friend remembered your birthday (without the Facebook notification)? When writing a letter, you really need to take your time. And that shows!

Plus, some of my letters contain something extra to show care and attention. Personally I get a huge smile on my face when I receive some of the senders’ favourite tea, a quote, pictures or just a doodle or memorabilia for a personalized touch. You can’t add a side note or some pretty leaves you found to a digital message!

Honestly I could go on and on and on about this, but I’ll just skip to the next question 😉 Which is:

“doesn’t it take DAYS for mail to arrive?!”

Very simply put: nope! If I send a letter to someone in the Netherlands it will arrive next day (assuming I put it in the mailbox before 17:00), and even countries within Europe can be reached in only 2-4 days. Outside of Europe may take a bit longer, but envelopes usually arrive within a week.

Also, the fact that a letter takes some time is part of the charm! When I receive a letter from my pen pal Hilary from Canada, I imagine the huge distance it has travelled before it reaches me. If only I could mail myself 😉 For my close-by pen pals letters may also take their time: if someone writes back within seconds, I usually don’t have the inspiration for a follow-up letter yet.

“Where did you find your pen pals?”

This one is a bit contrary to the entire message I’m trying to send: the internet 😉 You see, for us Dutchies there’s this website called Meerleuks that has a special section for posting pen pal requests, but I know there are some international websites for this as well. Unfortunately I can’t really recommend any, but I suggest using Google.

The next one is also pretty easy: Instagram. I have to admit I don’t usually accept requests via Instagram, but sometimes you just find someone you connect with… In my case, this was Roxane from the account ‘SincerelyRoxane’ 😀 She hosted a giveaway, which I won, and we were both interested in writing because of our stories and posts on Instagram itself. She now is one of my favourite pen pals!

In my story, I also met two penpals through swap-bot. This is a website that lets you sign up for and participate in swaps, where you’ll exchange anything from e-mails through to craft supplies. Sometimes you get lucky: I had this luck twice! Hilary from Canada for example messaged me to say that she watched my video about anxiety and checked out my blog (after receiving a swap I sent her) and if it was okay for her to send me something in return. In her letter she wrote that she felt that we were similar in a way, and luckily we also have the same decoration-style! We only started writing a short while ago, but I am really liking it so far.

“Sending mail, who in the world still does that?”

Contrary to popular belief… A LOT of people! If you check e.g. Instagram or Pinterest, you’ll find that it is so very popular for people of any age. In my opinion this has to do with the fact that everything is digital nowadays: people look for new ways to be “offline”. For me, personally, that is one of the most fun parts about it. Writing, making a cute little package (optional), waiting for the return to arrive… Opening an envelope often filled with thoughtful and fun items: so much nicer than receiving an e-mail!

That’s it for the questions for now as I’m afraid this post will be WAY too long – I could write about writing letters… well, let’s just say I could write a lot about it! But if you have any questions I should answer please let me know 🙂 Also, don’t forget to check out my latest video!

— Vivian

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5 thoughts on “About having penpals (+ ‘what my penpals sent me’ video!)

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