Sunday, November 8, 2009

Penpal of the Week #22

Everyone, please meet Lena from the USA!

1. Please tell us about you!

Hello!! I'm Lena, married and I'm 29 years old. I live in North Texas and am a high school home economics (pc term = family and consumer sciences) teacher.

I'm pregnant. We don't (want to) know the sex of the baby and we're due in December. And just to get it out there, be(com)ing a mother does not define who I am.

Things I'm interested in - books, movies, crafting, cooking, letterboxing and animals. I have a dog (Polly) who is my baby until December. I also have a cat. I don't watch TV - no cable for us. If we watch anything, it's on a DVD or in the theater - something my students cannot grasp. I believe I am a HUGE dork. But I'm open-minded.

This is me and my husband, Ryan on Halloween. I was a doctor (but he didn't dress up).

2. Describe your personality in 10 words!

I am typically energetic - except for lately because of the pregnancy. On a good day I'm always bouncing around and entertaining my students to no end. I enjoy making my classes more fun and interactive.

I tend to be a perfectionist - everything must be just so or I won't leave it alone and I thrive on lists. Some people would call that obsessive. I just call that "covering everything".

In social situations, I am quiet and I observe. I'm always watching people and listening to what they have to say. I do put in my two cents but am content to let the conversation unfold. If I'm not teaching a class, I dislike being the center of attention.

I like to believe I'm happy and generally in good spirits - but we all have our off days.

I consider myself a confident person. I realized at one point in my life that no one else's opinion of me mattered and I can live the life I want to live without focusing on that. I also realized the beauty within my life.

I am however very pessimistic. The way I see things... If I'm expecting something negative and something exceeds my expectations, then I can be thrilled. If those expectations are met with the negative situation, I'm not let down.

I am very open - I appreciate art and am adventurous. Send me on a camping expedition and I am happy!

I am passionate about everything I do. I'm compassionate and caring towards other people.

Finally, I am Random with a capital R - I'm all over the place.

This is another picture from Halloween (I love this holiday!). Here, my husband painted my belly to look like a jack-o-lantern!

3. How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!

I've been in and out of penpalling for about sixteen years. I was 13 when I got my first penpal from IPF. A boy from Spain. That started the addiction. I had a math teacher who taught Spanish and offered IPF for her language class and offered it to the rest of her classes as well.

I had a surprise pen friend through IPF - another boy from Italy. Then a friend connected me with one of her penpal's friends - also through IPF. I lost contact with them all.

Later on in life, the Internet was accessible to me in 1998. We all know the story after that. I even used to run a penpal/friendship book website.

This is a sample of my handwriting.

4. How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?

I currently only have one penpal. Carmen in Germany. We just recently met through PenPalsOver20.

5. What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?

Almost anything and everything. Books, movies, day-to-day life, hobbies, animals, food and recipes... Anything except religion and politics. I have a firm belief that these topics should be avoided. We often find ourselves with strong opinions and tend to let the differing opinions get in the way of a great friendship. Let's talk crafts and recipes. Let's talk books, movies and music. Let's talk about how cute baby animals are!

I like to do a lot of crafts, especially quilts. I have made so many quilts for other people's babies, but this one is for my baby!

6. What are you looking for in a penpal?

Someone who understands life in general. Someone willing to write a lengthy letter. Someone who wants to make a connection.

7. What do you like the most about penpalling?

Getting something other than junk mail or bills in my mailbox. Reaching out to another part of the world that is tangible (not Internet based). Discovering another person's culture and learning about their life.

8. In what language(s) do you correspond?

Just English. I took French in high school and college. But as an adult, it's difficult to retain the information and learn new languages.

This is my "baby" Polly. She is a Chihuahua mix and I love her dearly!

9. What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?

It may take a little bit of time. It boils down to work. I work until I go to bed - which is pretty sad. I do make time during my day though to jot some thoughts down. And I'll also have a child soon and I know that will take some time and adjustment. This is why I prefer a penpal who is understanding.

This is a box that I keep my penpalling stuff in. A recent letter to respond to, stationery and a couple of pens.

10. Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you've been penpalling?

Not really. When I got into friendship books, someone sent me a huge manilla envelope full of them. It took over a year to get them moved on.

I've also had at one point an upwards of 30 pen pals.

11. Have you met any of your penpals?

No. I've never had the money or the time to travel. And it would also seem that, when I was younger, I never kept my penpals for very long. I do, however, have a friend who I've known since 1998 and had plans to meet her, but things had fallen through.

12. Are you currently looking for more penpals?

I am open to the possibility of one more penpal. But as I have work and family commitments, I'm afraid I won't be able to devote much time to any more new friends.

Thank you Lena and I hope you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!

Anyone who would like to be interviewed can reply to this post with their email address! I'm looking for a few people to be featured on my blog in December.

Julie xox


  1. I loved this interview and would love to get in touch with Lena!

  2. Hey Lena, that's a wonderful interview, and your pictures are amazingly cute! I loved the Jack-o-Lantern painted on you!