When I was little, my best friend moved to Pennsylvania. Our parents were pretty tight, so our families kept in touch. And being young girls, we decided to be pen-pals for a while. We had the whole thing - secret codes, doodles, sparkles, whatever. I kept all my letters for a while, but they got lost in a move somewhere along the way. I still miss them.
When I went to Europe after graduating from high school, I met a guy (tall, dark, handsome, super cute, German, named Colin. Swoon.) Colin and I exchanged addresses and actually did a pretty good job of staying in touch for about a year. And then as we both got more absorbed in our own college lives, things dropped off. I know I have those notes somewhere, but I haven't seen any of them in about 5 years. Sometimes I think about trying to write him again if I ever found that address, just to see what happens.
I think I'd like to try that whole foreign pen-pal thing again. It seems like a very cool, mysterious and still child-like thing to do. How often does someone you know bust out a story about his or her pen-pal in Iceland or Ireland or Tel Aviv or Brisbane? We all know 'real mail' is super cool. But real mail from another country? Majorly super cool.
I think if I had a pen-pal, I would want that person to be from a completely different world than mine. Outside the US would be awesome. There's not a whole lot cooler, in my mind, than a hand-written letter with funny-looking postage, postcards from a small town I might not ever see, photos of a foreign back yard with who-knows-what in the distance, pressed flowers and ribbons and bookmarks. I also romanticize local maps - the non-touristy kind. And by 'romanticize' I mean 'I want them and I will frame them if you send them to me.'
In my mind, the pen-pal notion feels something akin to blogging, to an audience of one person, and much more slowly. With a twinge of nostalgia. And memories of Laura, and Colin, and all the little things I wish I could share with a stranger.
So with all that, I ask: will you be my pen-pal? (and if you are from outside the US, will you pretty please be my pen-pal?)