Special update: What snail mail means to me

Hello my beloved followers! How are you doing? 
Today I'm gonna write a special post about snail mail, one of my hobbies since I was 15 and actually the main reason why I started blogging, hehe! It's something that means a lot right now and a hobby that I take very seriously, so I really feel like sharing and describing what snail mail means for me to you all (Plus, many people seemed to be very interesting in my point of view on snail mail, so I said "Why not?"). For me, penpal friendship is more than someone writing you a real letter. It's what you read in that letter, what this person is sharing with you! Haha well, I don't want to get too romantic at the beginning so let's start! Hope you enjoy this post :)



I have to say I don't really recall how did I get into this penpal world... But what I know is I've always been a very creative person. I've always loved doodling, scrapbooking and arts&crafts! As far as I can remember, I think it all started when a Korean penpal in the first penpal website I started visiting told me she wanted to exchange letters with me. Not emails, just old school letters! I said to myself "Oh well, I've never done something like this before, and sounds like a good idea! Let's give it a try!" I loved writing stories since I was a kid and the idea of writing a real letter to a stranger and getting to know her like that sounded cool to me. It worked for a few swaps, I was fascinated about those tinny little papers and polaroids she used to send me. Then she stopped writing for some reason... She must be busy, I thought by that time. 


Also I had another Japanese penpal who stopped writing as well. I had another one (Ayumi) who sent me the first postcard I have ever got (way before I started collecting postcards!). I still have it of course, it's from the Tower of Tokyo. But again, we lost contact... I really miss her I have to say, she was such a lovely girl to talk to and a great penpal!I emailed her not to long ago but it seems she might have closed that account because Hotmail said that address didn't exist. It's so sad when this things happen, but it's part of this snail mail world! :\

Later (around 2009?) my Chinese penpal from Interpals Xianxian asked me if I wanted to swap postcards. I had never considered it, as I wasn't used to swap postcards and such, but again  I gave it a try. That's how my obsession over postcards started :) I'm happy because I'm still in contact with Xianxian, we talk every once in a while on WeChat and Interpals, although we don't swap postcards anymore!

Almost 5 years later, I'm happy to say I still enjoy snail mail just like the first day. I love my penpals I have now, I love the things they send me and nothing's gonna change that :') Now, so you know how does it feel to have a penpal, let's check some pros and cons of this snail mail world I'm in...!

(PS: This is just based in my personal experience and point of view, I don't mean to offend anyone!).




Good things about snail mailing

-You learn to get to know people in a different way. Letters are a very personal thing, even more than emails I'd say! But there's a big difference: A letter is a small tiny package that someone has prepared specially for you, and only for you! He/she has taken his/her time to make it look cute and sent it so you can see it right there in your mailbox :) The feeling of making people this happy, it's just irreplaceable!

-Letter decorating is just addictive! <3 Specially now that I live in Korea, there are so different kinds of stickers, letter papers and washi (mask) tapes! I'm gonna take a ton of tiny things like this back home, haha. I love making my penpals happy! 


Decorating this envelope for Bianca, a new penpal from California (US)!


-You get surprises every once in a while :D Thanks to my penpals I've got adorable things like, special postcards, notebooks, agendas, stickers, bracelets, photos... Maybe that doesn't mean anything to you at all, but just the fact of getting something cute from someone else in the other side of the world make my heart melt! <3


Letter from my penpal Jennifer (from New Mexico, US), received in September. She wrote me a super cute & doddly letter instead of the average text one explaining her trip to Spain... And I loved it! <3





Beautiful giveaway I won last April from Yina, a blogger friend of mine from Dominican Republic. Everything looked so cute and adorable! :) 




Bad things about snail mailing

-It implies money. Haha, that's why many people don't want to get into it. Some of them just think it's a waste of time writing something in a paper when you can write it online for free. I respect that though, I can't pretend everyone shares the same opinion I have! :)

-(Rather than a bad thing, it's an advice): Don't do it if you don't have time. What I mean is, don't make your penpal wait needlessly. It is true that we all go through some moments when we don't have time to reply or write back. In that case, people should email their penpals to explain the situation! But quitting writing it's the worst thing you can do. Penpalling means having friends as well, and as friends we want to know when something's going on. It avoids lots of worries and bad thoughts, trust me! :\

-If you're not careful, you tend to lose contact with your penpals in one way or another. After those 5 years penpalling it has come a point where I'm not in touch with my first penpals anymore. They stopped writing at some point (even though I sent them messaged or I emailed them) and we just lost contact... And it hurts because you see they keep updating their stuff and you just wonder "Why isn't she replying to me?". But it's just how it is!

-It can be addictive, and by addictive I mean "saying yes too many penpals"...! That happened to me a few years ago and I just got crazy accepting new people that don't really wanted to be my friends (we don't really had much things in common), so I politely told them I had to quit writing them :\ My mistake, I know! Now I don't do that anymore, I have my list of beloved penpals I love with all my heart and they're all very special to me :)

-You send tons of non-replied letters... Just a waste of time, stationery and money that never will come back. But it's part of this penpal life I guess! We can't be too pessimistic about it ;)


Despite both good and bad things snail mail has, it's something you need to take seriously. You have to be 100% committed to reply to that special someone who took his/her time to write to you, and once you do it... You love it! Trust me, the feeling of getting home and receiving a letter from a friend it's too special to describe it with words. I enjoy writing to my friends and receiving news from them, and I'm happy I can fulfill my hobby in such a special and beautiful way. I'm proud of them and happy to say many of them I consider them my real friends :) I have a very nice and decent list of penpals, which you'll find in the right bottom bar of this blog. You want to get to know them?  I'm gonna introduce em to you all ;)




USA
Anna (Maryland): My boyfriend's best friend and my penpal bestie  We just have too many things in common for not to be penpals haha! Future bridesmaid in my wedding as well hehehehehehe ♥ Love you my sailor senshi!

Michelle (Idaho): Met her almost two years ago, we've been in touch for a long time now :) She works at Starbucks and she's a very loyal penpal! (Although it seems her last letter got lost in the way :\). She reaaaally reminds me of Zooey Deschanel. And ah, she's a blogger too! ;)

Jennifer (New Mexico): I was her first penpal and I'm very proud of that haha! She visited my country last summer and she just loved it, so we usually talk about trips we've done recently or our favorite serie... Breaking Bad! Before flying to Korea she sent me a beautuful package with BrBa merchandising and omg, I felt so blessed! I'll repay her someday haha, that was just too good!

Yanill (Florida): My favorite and flawless American/Latina penpal! We usually write each other in Spanglish haha, and I l love it! We both love vintage stationery, and she's always been a very sweet penpal (despite our letters have gotten lost on the way sometimes) >_< We never lose touch! 

Gaby (New York): What can I say...? I LOVE GABY! She's a super crafty and attentive penpal who I really look up to. I love sending her the most flawless stationery I have, and this winter I sent her a beautiful package from Korea full of cute stuff for her! ♥ Hope we can be in touch for a long long time!

Jenne (DC): American (raised in Thailand) penpal who I could talk for hours with :) I'm still waiting for her letter, hope I can get it on time!

Kimlee (Virginia): We started penpalling not so long ago but feels like ages now! :D Kimlee is super sweet, we're both very talkative and we have this kind of special connection that I love She sent me a special Xmas package to Spain, can't wait to get it >_< 
Piper (Massachusetts): She's an adorable penpal too! We met each other in summer on Tumblr and we've been in touch till now. She sent me a lovely Christmas package this time, and I can't wait to go back to Korea so I can send her sth back! ^_^ She loves manga, anime, Ghibli and food as much as I do! 



Canada
Robyn: We just did a letter swap so far (we started being penpals not so long ago), but she seems like a great girl to talk to! :) Can't wait to get to know her better as time goes by!

Kelly: She was my first penpal when I started taking this snail mail thing seriously, circa 2010. I'm glad we're still in contact, she's a very crafty penpal and despite she's gone MIA at the moment I can't wait till I get her next letter again :') 



Singapore
Corey: One of my best penpals too, super punctual and talkative. We always have things to talk about and we love talking to each other. Definitely the kind of person I'd like to have a coffee with in real life!

Vivien: One of my youngest penpals, very sweet, kind and talkative! ^_^ She got me a Starbucks tea tumbler for Christmas as she's been super busy doing an internship in China. Thank you sosososo much!

Faiza: We talked on Interpals in summer and we switched to letters when I moved to Korea. She's 6 years older than me so I love hearing from her and her projects as a graphic designer. 

Thailand
Ploi: Met on Interpals two summers ago now, feels like she's my sister from far away sometimes haha! I follow her on Instagram too so we both know about each other very often :) We swap letters very often and she's super punctual! We also swap little stickers, postcards and we talk about our boyfriends and our daily lives.



China
Judy: A very special penpal for me, we met on Intepals as well and we've been swapping letters and postcards for... Almost two years now? She's kind of busy with school sometimes so I don't get to hear about her that often >_<


Japan
Ai: A new Japanese penpal I just met. She loves Europe, specially Paris. We started writing to each other two months ago, and she's very patient with my Japanese haha. Thank you so much! ^_^

Hong Kong
Viola: One of my first penpals hen I started using Instagram to meet new snail mailers. I love her so much, we swap tea bags everytime but it's been a long time I haven't heard from her :( I need her back in my life, haha!



Russia
Nadya: A super kind girl, very sweet and punctual penpal! ♥ Met her on Interpals and we've been penpalling for almost two years now too ^_^ Very attentive, she's always sending me adorable Christmas cards or postcards from Voronezh (the region she comes from). We usually share anecdotes about our everyday lives or we talk about special traditions or holidays we have in our countries. 

Masha: Beautiful young married mommy who writes me every once in a while. She loves owls and floral stationery. Her letters are always beyond flawless! 


The Netherlands
Jennifer: We met on Instagram a long time ago, and even though she sends me letters from time to time it's always a pleasure reading them ^_^ She's visited my city and she's a very nice penpal, she's into arts and crafts and very good at it!

Finland
Dede: Probably the most adventurous person I have ever met, haha! Chinese born girl, she was raised in Vietnam and when she was a teenager she moved to Finland. She's studied in Austria, and now she's in Germany. Amazing, right? She's super nice and I'd love to meet her this summer when I go to Vietnam :)


UK
Nilafa: My Muslim/British penpal! ♥ I admire her so much and I love talking to her about our everyday lives and such! She's been through some problems recently so I haven't heard from her for al long time >: I miss her so much!

Ana: Spanish girl living in the UK! We have many things in common and we always have things to talk about :B She loves all the stationery I send her along with my letters! 

Shelley: She's still not my penpal but I sent her a special Christmas package last week :) We exchange emails once a week and we talk about our every day lives. Can't wait to get to know her by letters! 


Spain
Miranda: My 17 year-old penpal from homeland! I've known her for a long time now thanks to Instagram, but when I moved to Korea I decided it would be the best excuse to become penpals with her. Miranda loves reading (just like me) and she's a very good crafty penpal too! I wish I would be as good as her when I was her age ><

Sweden
Raquel: One of the most special penpals of mine, as it's the only penpal I write to in my native language (along with Spanish), Catalan. She's married with a Swedish man and they live happily together in Stockholm. I met her in real life last week and it was awesome! It's the first penpal of mine I meet in real life, she's super sweet! ♥ Hope we can be in touch for a long long time!


Australia
Flick: Someone I will never regret meeting :) Flick is an amazing and very creative penpal! We both love indie music and due to distances we don't get to know about each other super often... But it's always a pleasure getting her letters!





Hope I have the chance to meet all my snail mail penpals in real life someday. But until then, mail will keep doing that job for us!

Hope  you guys liked this post, and sorry if it's too long haha! What about you, though? What does snail mail mean to you? :)

I'll be more than happy to hear back from you! Please feel free to leave comments if you want, hehe! 



CL

8 comments:

  1. it's really dificult to find someone that does Interpals! I'm happy that you are one of them =D
    And I agree with you, it the person it's not comitted, it's not worth it! And it's very sad, when they don't give us a reply =(

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hola, Claudia! Qué tal te va todo?
    Me ha encantado leer esta entrada, me he sentido tan identificada leyéndola... <3
    ¡¡Espero que te vaya muy bien por Corea!!

    Chelo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hola Chelo! Todo bien, me alegro que te haya gustado mi entrada :) Corea está yendo genial, ahora de hecho he vuelto a Barcelona por Navidades para estar con la familia y tal, así que no me puedo quejar. Y tú?

      Espero que hayas pasado una feliz Navidad y te deseo una buena entrada de año 2014 :)
      Un beso,

      Delete
  3. Absolutely amazing post :) I totally agree with you on every pro and con :)
    And I really hope you will meet Dede soon! She's an amazing person (I lived with her in a student apartment for nearly a year) and I don't know anyone who has as big of a heart as she does! :) I'm sure you'd get along perfectly and have a friend for life in her :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awww m'ha encantat aquest post ^_^ jo penso fer un similar per a any nou, una "retrospectiva" al snail-mail :P

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lovely post.

    I'm new to the snail mail world but I adore it. I definitely can see how some people get a bit 'in over their head' and I don't want that to be me; I want it to remain a hobby and not seem like a second job.

    http://www.erinoxnam.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. C-

    What a lovely post. My apologies for still not sending a letter to you. I took a week after the semester to recover, then got busy with Christmas and catching up with family. I intend to write you this coming week. Shall I send to Barça or Korea? I hope you had a lovely Christmas. I look forward to writing you!

    -j

    ReplyDelete

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Hello sweethearts! Recently many people have been told to stop with this blog hiatus of mine haha, so I'm back again with my blog posts...