Thursday, December 10, 2020

Finding a Pen Pal

Welcome back! My brain is too full of calculus and complicated homework problems so I decided that it is time for another post. :) Today, I will be introducing you to my favorite way to find a pen pal. In addition to building friendships, having a pen pal can help you learn a foreign language and learn about other cultures and places of the world. 

(I better get busy writing since I now have decorated envelopes): 

My current collection of envelopes made by my wonderful brother

Global Penfriends:
Although there are many ways to find a pen pal, I want to introduce you to one specific website: Global Penfriends. Exchanging names through magazines used to be very common for finding pen pals, but with the technology of today, it has become faster and easier to find one through various websites. 

  • Safety and Security:
When I found my first pen pal, I didn't have to worry about security because my mom knew the family of my pen pal. However, there are many pen pal websites out there and they may not always be safe to use. I only have experience using Global Penfriends, which is very safe. It has been family owned and operated since 1995 and was one of the first pen pal websites to be created. Additionally, every profile created must be approved by a human administrator. This means that it is free of spam and other fake profiles. Lastly, there are over 3,000 reviews on their website from many users, which shows it is trustworthy. 

  • Variety and Search Options: 
After your profile is approved, you are can start searching for your pen pal. I like the fact that there are so many options to search for others. For example, you can search by gender, age, country, and different types of interests or hobbies. 

  • Messaging: 
The last part that I liked about Global Penfriends is their messaging system. For the free version, you are allowed 1 contact credit every 24 hours. However, you only receive one at a time, meaning that the credits don't add up over time. To contact someone, you simply press the message button and you can chat with that person. The message then goes to that person's email, so it is similar to sending an email, but without having to share it directly. There is also an option to send a smile to someone, letting he or she know that you are interested in becoming pen pals. This can be used when you run out of contact credits. 


In all, I enjoyed my experience with this website and I was successful in finding myself a pen pal. Originally, I wanted to find an international pen pal, but I found two from the United States. I did find one from Germany and we have sent a few letters, but we mostly keep in touch through email. I strongly recommend this website if you're looking into finding a pen pal. 

How did you find your pen pal? What kind of posts would you like to see in the future? 

-Miss K

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

My First Pen Pal

Think back to the last time you wrote anything on paper. It could have been a page of notes from a class, or it could have been a short grocery list. No matter the subject, writing will always play a role in your life. The skill of writing is important for the skill of patience, as it takes longer than typing or texting. One way to communicate by writing regularly is by getting a pen pal.

What is a Pen Pal?

A pen pal is someone that you communicate with regularly through letters. Often, a pen pal is someone you have never met, allowing you to become friends by writing. They can either be international or from the same country.

  • How I Began Pen Palling: 
    Writing has always been a hobby of mine and when I “met” my first pen pal, I loved it even more! Pen pal programs often begin in schools, but for me it was much different. My interest in writing letters started when my oldest sister, Elizabeth, got her first pen pal. She had exchanged names through a magazine. I loved to be on her “tail” and do everything she did, so when I turned eight, I wanted a pen pal too!

Elizabeth eventually left for college, so we exchanged a few letters throughout the four years of her college life. This allowed me to get a little writing practice too.

  • My First Pen Pal: 
    Around the same time, my mom was part of an email list with other moms. A few of them had exchanged names of their daughters. I was given an eight-year-old named Emily and she was from a state I’d never visited: Florida. On October 13, 2011, I received my first out of state letter. It was only a few lines, but how excited I was! 

My first letter from Emily.

I’ve never traveled outside the Midwest, yet I’ve learned so much about Florida and feel as though I’ve been there. Of course, this has been possible through my letters to and from Emily. With items as simple as a pen and paper, we have become best friends.  

Exchanging pictures, recipes, art, and stickers is a favorite of ours!

  • Through the Years: 

I never imagined that Emily and I would stay pen pals for this many years, as I’d heard of some pen pals only exchanging a few letters and then never hearing from each other again. However, we have very similar hobbies and interests, so our letters never get old.

We only exchanged six letters during the first year, but with each year we have written more. Every time I write a reply, I get excited for the next letter to arrive in my mailbox. Each letter or card gets put in a special purple binder labeled “Emily” and sorted by year. I can easily find and reread all of her letters since 2011. 

  • My Favorite Mailbox Trip: 
    Although I appreciate and love every letter, I do have a favorite piece of snail mail. A couple years ago, Emily sent me her first of many handmade cards. After taking a small “trip” through my porch and onto the front steps, I discovered a decorated envelope. I opened it and discovered a colorful card that had stamps, stickers, and many drawings on it. This was when I truly treasured our friendship and knew we would stay friends for many years to come. I was very grateful for the time she took to make it personal. 

In addition to exchanging letters and other goodies, we love making envelope art to spice everything up a bit! From adding stickers to paintings, it all makes a difference when it arrives in the mailbox. 

Recent envelope art (made by my amazing brother, Esteban) displaying Minnesota's Cherry on a Spoon. 
I hope I’ve inspired you to go write a letter to that special someone in your life, whether that’s a friend you haven’t talked to in a while or a family member who lives far away. 

Comment below if you've ever had a pen pal and what you thought of it. If not, stay tuned for next week when I'll be back sharing some tips on how to find a pen pal. 

-Miss K

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Little-Known Way of Communication

Imagine living during the pre-electricity era. Suddenly, the ability to talk on the phone, text, or email vanishes. How are you going to communicate without the quick responses that exist with today’s technology?

The answer is writing a letter and waiting, yes waiting, patiently for a response. Although it may seem ancient, people still write letters, including myself. Today’s culture promotes quick and easy tasks for everything. Communicating by way of letter writing will not promote quick but it is easy and will teach you to have patience.

There are many reasons why you should embark on the journey of writing a letter, but my favorite reason is to unplug from the busy technology life.

Unplugging: Time for a Small Detox

A typical day of using screens may look something like this:

  • The alarm on your phone rings to wake you up.
  • At school or work, assignments are completed on a computer.
  • You text your friend of family member.
  • In the evening, you look up a recipe on your phone or order food from a restaurant.  

Look closely at the third bullet point: texting. This is one of the most common ways to use a phone. In fact, it is not often that we go a whole day without it. A good way to unplug for a short amount of time is to write a letter. Instead of sending that text, I encourage you to write a letter. It could be as simple as a short note or as long as a five-page letter. The sky is the limit so feel free to choose your length and style!

A handful of letters from my pen pal of nine years.
We started out with short notes on cards and
eventually began writing long letters. 

Of course, writing a letter will take longer than sending a text, but the appreciation will be greater and more meaningful. There are no suggestions for words or a voice option so the letter will be truly written from your heart. The recipient will read the words that were written from your ink pen and be grateful you took the time to write just for them. 

When the mailbox is opened, and a handwritten letter is found, that person will truly appreciate you and may take the time to write back.

Letters in cursive are my favorite!
(and yes, it's supposed to be blurry)

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart”. -Phyllis Theroux

Comment below with your favorite type of communication: electronically or handwritten? If you've never written a letter, I will be giving you some more inspiration next week, with my very own pen pal story. 

-Miss K

Wednesday, November 18, 2020


Hello! My name is Miss K and I'm a Catholic high schooler who loves doing things the old fashioned way, particularly writing letters. I hope to focus on pen pals and writing letters in today's day of technology. 

I began writing letters about nine years ago, when I "met" my first pen pal. Now, I've expanded my letters and written to many others. 

Some fun facts about me: 

  • I have eight wonderful siblings: six brothers and two sisters.
  • My favorite childhood book series is the Little House on the Prairie followed by the original Nancy Drew series.

  • My favorite series now are the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings (although I have yet to finish the third book).
  • I enjoy writing in journals and collecting them too. (Is 19 journals too many?)
  • I've been playing the flute since I was 10 years old. 
  • I love school and just about every subject!
  • I'm currently taking dual enrollment classes to earn both college and high school credit.
  • I live in Minnesota, the land of 11,842 lakes.

Stay tuned for the first post about writing letters. 

-Miss K