I don't really understand why people are so curious about why I write letters. I know that it's kind of an old-fashioned hobby, but it's not like I would ask anyone why do they play soccer instead of writing letters. I think it's almost a bit rude to ask a question like that - obviously I do it because I enjoy it. Honestly, there are not many things that make me happier than receiving a letter from a far-away friend. Usually the following question after why is why don't I use Facebook, Whatsapp, email, LINE etc? Well, I do. I use all of them. I'm not going to deny it, they are very handy and I'm so happy that I have the chance to communicate with my friends and family so easily. But when you think about it, how often do you go back to your old conversations in Facebook or scroll your old Whatsapp messages? At least I don't do that unless I'm searching for something specific I know I've talked about with the other person. I'm not saying that I read the letters I've received every day - not even close. I read them maybe every five years, but I still do. I think it's so cool that I can go back to the sender's day and see what was on their mind on that particular day. It's so nice to go back to those memories.
I began writing letters when I was about seven years ago, basically as soon as I learned how to write. We lived in a semi-detached house next to our cousins, so my cousin was my first pen pal. We would drop the letters to each other's mailboxes and sometimes put little gifts, like stickers for example, in the envelope. It was always so nice to get a letter from my cousin. After we grew a little older, we didn't really write to each others anymore. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I got really into horses and I was a member of this club called Pollux. The idea of the club was that they sent a little package every month with some horse books and other horse stuff in it. The package also included a little tabloid in which you could send your "looking for pen pals" announcement. That's how I got my first "real" pen pal, who I didn't actually know before. Her name was Emilia and she lived in Southern Finland. I think we wrote quite actively for a year or two, but as we both got closer to teenage, it just stopped.
I found my next pen pal via some internet site, since I wanted a pen pal from Asia so so bad. In 2007 I began writing with my most long-term pen pal, Eun Yeong. I talked about her in the very previous post, but in case you didn't read it, here's a little summary: we've been writing to each other ever since, although the tempo has been pretty slow during the past few years, but we still do keep in touch. After that I got into pen palling very hard after starting Postcrossing and finding some mail themed blog. And here we are! About four years later and I'm still writing as actively as I can. I have pen pals from Belgium, Norway, Finland, The Netherlands, U.S.A., Taiwan, South Korea (& Japan, not sure about that anymore though). I'm pretty sure that some of these people are friends for life and I'm even more sure that our friendship would be very different if we had started communicating via email or Facebook at first. I haven't met any of them yet, but I surely will one day. I think I've mentioned each and every one of them that they always have a place to sleep if they ever find themselves in Finland!
To me writing letters feels very relaxing, as long as I don't have to write in a hurry. Many people think that writing letters takes too much time and energy, and of course I understand that point of view too. It's not for everyone, and that's just fine. When it comes to me, I find so many positive sides of this hobby: you constantly use your language skills, you get to craft and use your imagination, you get to write by hands, you get to send nice gifts and for the most important part, you get friends. I feel that some of my pen pals are the kind of people that if they lived any closer, I would probably hang out with them all the time. Even though sending letters is quite expensive (at least if you live in Finland), it's worth every penny. Or euro. To me, there's nothing better than receiving a letter from a dear friend in the middle of the week.
What do you like best about pen palling?