Monday, July 6, 2009

Penpal of the Week #4

Hello dear readers! Today, let's welcome Marta from Italy!

1. Please tell us about you!

My name is Marta, I am 27 (born on March 28th 1982) and I live in central Italy. I still live at home with my parents and sister that can be a handful to deal with at times. I lately have been feeling the urge to move somewhere on my own, but it is not likely to happen for the moment because I am trying to save up as much as I can to get married to my one and only sometime soon.

My boyfriend Ricky and I have been together for 8 years and have gone through lots together. We were classmates at the high school so we've known each other for a lifetime! I am sure he is the one I want to spend my life with and to build my family with, the sooner the better!

Ricky and I. We take lots of photos together wherever we go and whenever we are with friends. But this is one of my favourites ever.

I am a social worker and have been working as an educator in a therapeutic community for teens since March this year. It's a tough job and I am not that happy with my working hours and staff I am working with. I am looking for something else to do and in the meantime I am sticking to this job. I plan to sit some exams to get a second degree in children education that would allow me to work in kindergartens in September, not sure about it yet.

I've got too little spare time left now that I work, but whenever I have got a moment off job I adore writing letters and reading. I am what you call a bookworm and really do miss reading tens of pages in one sitting! I read pretty anything that is fiction. Some of my favourites of all times are Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, but I fancy lots of contemporary literature also. I am a Harry Potter fan and have my favourite character in Hermione Granger of course (the nerd in me I bet!).

I have got a puppy, Rolly, who's my pride and joy and I spend lots of time with him taking him for long walks whenever I can! I also like to cook and bake, but having to do it for 12 people everyday at work I am sort of losing my interest in it.

I've got a thing for languages, even if I can speak English only as a foreign language. I took a Spanish course years ago and reached a basic level, but I have forgotten nearly anything in the years and haven't had the chance to take it on again, even if I have been planning to do it for ages!

I am a Catholic and am proud of my religion, still I never preach nor try to convert people, that I find extremely pushy and bothering to other people!

Last but not least about myself: I am utterly in love with England, I have always been and will always be! It's the place where my heart belongs to! I'd love to move up there, if only my boyfriend would like to, but I doubt it.

My InterPals profile

2. Describe your personality in 10 words!

It's not easy to put myself in 10 words, but I will give this one a try. I would first of all describe myself as sensitive, caring, a worrier, moody, stubborn, shy (that is something I am still working on to change for the better), talkative, picky (especially when it is about friendships), organized, friendly.

This is me, it's a recent picture of mine taken by Ricky during one of our short trips to a park nearby. I think I look younger than my real age, something that used to bother me years ago, but that will be useful as years pass by I bet!

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

I have been penpalling for some 14 years now. I remember being at school and fancying international penpalships. My English teacher found me an English pal via IPFS based in Finland. I still remember her first mail written on violet stationery, the girl's name was Beth. She ran away with my second letter, still... How can I blame her?! My English was nightmarish and I am not kidding!!!

I had to be happy with Italian pals for a while (those I found in teens mags) and when I was slightly better with my English knowledge (that was when I was at the high school, at 15 I think) I tried it again with international penpals. It worked well this time and I found some best friends (that I am no longer in touch with unluckily).

I got into FBs at 16 and found lots of pals back then, none of them lasted too long still. I am now happy with my few penfriends I found via Internet penpal sites, all of them long letter girls whose friendship counts lots to me!

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

I've got a few pals now. First of all there's my best friend of all times Nad, she is the one I can always count on and I'd not go through my days the way I do if she wasn't by my side with her emails and letters and odd chats on msn.

I have got another long term pal whom I've been writing to since 2001 and that I met in November last year. I have recently found some new pallies via InterPals mainly. They are from Finland, Sweden, Canada, UK, Germany and the USA. If they all became close friends to me (that is not 100% sure when you start with new friendships) I would have 9 pals.

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

I've not got favourite topics to talk of, my letters to my pals are like real conversations with friends, I talk about anything that comes to my mind, from serious topics to chitchats. I usually talk of family life, work, books, my puppy, hobbies, sometimes about any important fact in the news.

This is a picture of my puppy Rolly, ain't he cute?! He's grown lots bigger now, weighing 11 Kg at 5 months only!!! He'll be a big dog I bet, something we're not that thrilled of, living in a flat... But he's adorable!!!

6. What are you looking for in a penpal?

I am looking for life long friends, someone I can count on, people I can tell my private things to and who would like to share their life's stories with me. Nothing more and nothing less.

7. What do you like the most about penpalling?

I must admit I have never had many friends here and what I like the most about penpalling is that I could make good friends with people living miles and miles away from me. Penpalling widens my horizon!

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

I've been corresponding in English only for years and I admit I like it better to write in English than in my mother tongue. Still I've recently found a new pal in Finland who writes in Italian and I am enjoying writing my mails to her in Italian long after I've given up my Italian pals!

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

I usually write my mails at my desk in my bedroom, that is where my penpal stuff is. It may take me up to 2-3 weeks to write back, especially because I am a slow writer and write my mails in pieces and may need a couple of days at least to write a mail. I usually write long letters, that is about 6-8 doubled a5 pages, sometimes they get longer than that, but it depends on my mood and my spare time of course.

I always write on stationery, mainly use Janet Store paper, but have recently got back to Diddl that I was keen on some years ago. I prefer lined or squared paper because I can't really write straight on plain paper!

I also bring my letters at work when I work the night shift, because you never know if you have enough time to write a couple paragraphs when the teens are asleep. But it hardly happens, so I carry letters and paper to and from home but they just stay in my bag.

This being a penpal of the week interview, how could I miss posting a photo of my letters?! These are the latest I got and I still have to reply to!!!

I rarely type my mails, mostly handwrite them, because I like it better. Still it is not a must that my pals have to handwrite their letters to me, I like them anyway, as long as they are personal and directly addressed to me.

I keep my pals letters in a folder, a different folder for each one of my pals, so that if I ever fancy to reread my mails they'd look like a book. I underline questions in the mails I write, something that I think both makes the letters more colorful and easier to go through for my pals when they reply. I add the odd items in my mails, sometimes, especially chocolate. With my friend Nad I also swap books.

I used to use gel pens and stickers also to embellish my mails but have lost interest in them and now don't use lots of them anymore. I once kept a notebook where I would write down what topic I touched in my letters but am no longer doing that, because of lack of time mainly. Furthermore with few pals I can well remember what I've told them and what not yet!

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

Honest, none that I can think of. I am used to sending out books and gifts in the mail, as I said before, so I think nothing funny ever happened to me. Actually talking of funny deliveries, I can think of my last birthday gift from Nad, but it is not something I would share here... Sorry folks! I can just tell you all that it was something useful and absolutely original as a birthday gift!

11. Have you met any of your penpals?

I met my pal Eva from Hungary last November when she came to Italy to attend a collector fair in Verona. It was my first time in Verona and we spent a whole day together chatting and sightseeing, that was lots of fun. We'd some gifts to exchange, I had brought her some typical food of my region and she had a book about Hungary for me.

At first I was very anxious about this meeting because I was not sure of my English abilities and was worrying like never. I had also brought along an English dictionary but to my relief I never used it once during the day! It'd have been cool had the meeting lasted longer than those few hours, but she had to go back home the following morning. I'd like to meet all of my pals once of course.

The only photo I have of my meeting with Eva, last November. It is low quality because the lady we aksed for it was all but a photographer!!! If only we'd known, we would have asked someone else!!!

12. Are you currently looking for more penpals?

I am not actively looking for new pals at the moment, that doesn't mean I would not accept any pals' request I got! Of course with friends you never know and if I received a long interesting intro and friendship offer I would probably not refuse it, even if I think I would not accept too many people because with my little spare time 9 pals are a high enough number for me to keep in touch regularly with everyone.

Thank you for sharing your stories about penpalling with us, Marta!

If you'd like to be featured as the Penpal of the Week on my blog, reply to this post with your email address!

Julie xox


  1. Great interview, I'm liking this even more week after week, of course that everyone till now were great in their interviews, but the expectation to read one more makes me to adore this :) I loved this brilliant interview of Marta, see says a lot about her, and I'm really happy for have met her. Actually it's pretty nice to see people around here who cares about their penfriend like real friends, and who loves to do this, we are lucky people for hav this experiences, and I believe that your best friend don't need to be the girl or boy in the next door, the world it's too big.

  2. Marta, such a great interview (and after reading yours I feel bad about mine :p) I really really hope that we'll end up writing letters for a really long time. Take care //