When I lived in Japan, I spent every summer at Friendship Camps. You would think this would have been hell for me, but they actually were very nice and I always looked forward to them. You would all get bussed to one of the prefecture schools and go hang out in the gym with your presorted group. All groups were a shuffled mess of different schools. In addition to the two American Military schools there was another International school that participated in addition to all the area Japanese schools, so it was an eclectic mix of American, Japanese, Russian, and Korean students. I think it was so mind boggling awkward for all of us to be meeting strangers, that my natural awkwardness just melted in, and by day two we were not strangers any longer.
We had fun trying out our language skills on each other and by the end of numerous sport days, local tours, cooking and eating every meal together, and also competing on who had the cutesiest undies, we had pledged to be friends and pen pals forever. This tended to last about six months maybe and always ground to a halt after we had struggled through translating “I like soccer, what do you like?” and other weird things over and over again.
Once the internet struck in my teens, there was no longer any purpose to letter writing. There was e-mail, instant chat, and all those other weird ways we connect. I kept buying pretty paper and pens, but I stopped sending anything to anyone. The last batch of things I mailed were wedding invites.
Here we pause to consider that this means I did not send any wedding thank yous. Why yes, I am terrible. I suck and you should all be happy you did not give me gifts upon the occasion of me getting a bit of paper that meant Sacco could have health insurance too.
Lara, of Rocketraptor fame and owner of the most adorable dragon ever, recently posted a thing on the book of face about how she would send someone a letter if you commented and I was all “I LOVE LETTERS!”. Then Franny, of The Curious Professor, donked me on the head and was all “Um, yeah, you have FB friends who DO THAT VERY THING.” but used much better grammar and wording because she is a professor and I am dashing this off the cuff at work.
SO, I will be dusting off the papers and cringing at my penmanship. I have pen pals now, ya’ll. It gives me the warm fuzzies right down to my motorcycle boots. Also, I am now 30 and if I cannot translate a damn note to send to a pal, then I might as well lie down and stop wasting everyone’s oxygen.