Back in my high school days, I had several pen pals, people who lived in different countries and exchanged letters with me. People I had never met.
To tell the truth, that was quite a few years ago, and I really don't remember all the details about how I got all the pen pals. It seems that there were some sort of services that we sent our name and address to and they matched us up with pen pals. I'm sure it was free. I had pen pals in England, Japan, Denmark, Malaysia, a couple of African countries and maybe Korea.
One time, my pen pal in Denmark sent me information about getting a pen pal in Yugoslavia. We both sent our names in. As it turns out, it wasn't a pen pal service, it was, apparently, the most popular teen magazine in Yugoslavia. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Yugoslavian teens read our request for pen pals and had our addresses. I received dozens, maybe hundreds of letters. I don't remember how many I responded to, but in the end, I had several Yugoslavian pen pals.
One of the funniest stories involved a cute Yugoslavian boy who wrote to both me and my pen pal from Denmark. One time, he inadvertently mixed up the two letters and sent mine to her and hers to me. Problem was, they were identical...and he was declaring his undying love and desire to meet both of us. I think we both dumped him.
Of course, this was in the 1980s, before e-mail was invented, so it took several weeks for that scenario to play out across the miles.
I tried recently to find out if there are still such things as pen-and-paper pen pals. It seems in this day and age, there aren't many. First of all, the Internet, along with e-mail, blogs, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc., makes possible instantaneous communication with just about anyone in the world. Secondly, with fears of stalkers and child abductors, I think very few people are willing to participate in a program that sends kids' names and addresses out to unknown people.
Still, I did find a few of sites that might be of help to anyone looking to write "real" letters to someone else. Of course, I had to weed through a bunch of dating sites and prisoner pen pal sites, but these seem more legitimate. But, if you're looking for a pen pal, please investigate any service thoroughly before you send them anything. I'm not recommending these sites, just sharing what I found. And, I have never used any of these sites myself. It looks like most of these services have fees.
The publisher of this site, Friendship-by-mail.com, has a newsletter that you can subscribe to.
International Pen Friends says it's been around since 1967, connecting pen pals around the world.
Student Letter Exchange says it's been around for 70 years, and it has an "Adult Pen Pal Directory" section.
There may be more pen pal services out there, but I haven't found them yet.
Recylcing with Mary Janes Farm
1 year ago