As a child, I would often receive letters and packages in the mail from my grandmother and occasionally, my aunt. Each package was a fun surprise and I looked forward to ripping into the brown paper wrapped boxes and discovering a beautifully written letter, freshly knitted colourful socks, stickers or books. She always hit the nail right on the head with her awesome little parcels and I was always delighted when the I would open the mailbox and find a parcel pick-up card.
As I grew older, my fondness for a full mailbox did not dissipate and I grew up to be that weird girl who orders stuff online at intervals to make sure I regularly have a full mailbox. Recently, I rediscovered the website Interpals and found a few women in my age range who enjoy all the delights of pens, papers, rubber stamps and stickers just as much as I do and we began a pen palling friendship.
People often ask why bother writing letters when we could just email much quicker and without the cost of the stamps.
I’ll tell you why!
Firstly, letters are so much more personal! My penpals and I put a lot of time and effort into our letters, often including little doodles, cutouts of poems or quotes we like or think is relevant to the topic we have discussed, colourful text, flourishes of lettering, funny stickers, photos and anything else we wish to add to the letter. I recognize each woman’s handwriting, and I usually know who each letter is from the moment I open my mailbox just by the way the envelope is decorated (Or not).
Then come the tuck-ins. Usually these are not in every letter, which make them a special little surprise when they are there. Like in the letter itself, sometimes the tuck in is just a poem or a quote that was slipped in separately from the letter, and other times it could be a new tea to try, a bookmark, a special coin they found in their change, a news clipping, a postcard of somewhere they visited, a charm..anything really!
Yesterday when I went to my mailbox, I found a big brown envelope with a pink seal and a big flourishing ‘S’ on my name in the address box, the special Lisanne trademark :). Inside the package, I was delighted to find a long letter and this:
I still have no idea what is in there as I am waiting until my Birthday to open it, but I am extremely excited about it and it was such a surprise!!
Another aspect of sending letters that I really enjoy is the wait. It drives me crazy..in a good way. Knowing that something is coming in the mail for me is a good feeling. I get excited about Mondays because I just ”suffered” through 2 days of no mail delivery haha. The anticipation buildup is so much better than the instant reply I could get from an email and sure, sometimes it can be frustrating when it takes longer than it should, or when a pen pal drops out of the exchange, without notice or explanation. I also understand that snail mail requires paper that emails don’t..which is why I make a point of filling every letter as much as I can and I use both sides of the sheet and make every letter as cherishable as possible so that it will not end up in the bottom of a garbage can as soon as it has been read.
I strongly believe in recycling and conserving paper as much as possible, I am all for e-bills and no spam mail,ecards for most occasions and reusing used paper for crafts, compost, and fire starters, but I do NOT think that all that should be at the cost of taking the time to write a nice thoughtful and personalized letter to someone.
With the fast pace of life rushing around us, it is nice to know that somebody has sat down and taken the time to put their thoughts and emotions onto a piece of paper, sealed it up and sent it on it’s merry way halfway across the world, right into my mailbox.