1. Please tell us about you!
Hello! My name is Stephanie and I'm 24 years old. I'm from Newfoundland, an island in Eastern Canada and moved to Calgary, Alberta on the Western side 2 years ago. My day job is as the office manager of an investment banking office, and at night I'm an adult ESL teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts (which I have learned doesn't get you too far other than to another degree!) and think I'm going to do a Bachelor of Education in the future. I'd like to eventually be an Elementary ESL teacher.
I'm a huge cat person and currently have one kitty named Dakota, who I brought over from Newfoundland with me when I moved. In my free time, I love studying languages, dancing (salsa and merengue are my favourites), working out (huge fan of Zumba & any Latin Aerobics), playing video games, reading and writing letters of course!
My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Describe your personality in 10 words!
Loving (Audrey Hepburn's quote describes me perfectly: “I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it.”), shy, indecisive (I like friends who know what they want to do when we go out, I'm TERRIBLE at deciding anything, whether it be a meal on a menu or where I want to live. It's the flaw I'm working on changing right now), a keener (I love going to school and volunteering), music junkie (one of the main turn-on's about my boyfriend was his taste in music; music is everything!), open-minded (Peace and love!), gamer (I love video games and play them probably too much), polyglot (can't get enough languages! If I had one wish it would be to speak every language in the world perfectly), perfectionist (I have a terrible habit of rewriting all my lecture notes neater, so that I fall behind and end up with incomplete notes.), stubborn (I don't deal with change well.. even if I know I'll like it in the end I don't adapt well immediately. I also get disappointed easily, but usually keep it to myself!), and optimistic (my boyfriend will argue with me on this one, as I vent to him and express my doubts. So maybe more an optimist on the outside, and a realist with myself. I like to think I'm realistic rather than pessimistic).
May 2008. The only nice picture of my boyfriend smiling... I think in existence. He's definitely a Chandler!
3. How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
My very first penpal started when my Mom and her cousin who lives in Australia thought it would be a good idea for their children to become penpals as well. I remember we both had the same name, but that's about where our similarities ended. We only exchanged letters for about a year; I was 11 and she was 14 and much more rebellious than me, and we didn't have a whole lot in common. I also think that her Mom forced her to write to me. But it opened my eyes to how fun it was to write letters, so I began looking for other opportunities to find penpals.
4. How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
I don't have a lot of penpals right now. I have one in Scotland who was my best friend when I was younger, and the rest are people whom I have met online and started writing to. Two are in the U.S., one is in Canada and another is in Spain.
My best friend and I are currently very far apart, and I write to her the most. We both like pretty stationary and cards, and are very busy so while we do talk on the phone sometimes, we're more apt to writing letters and sending parcels.
5. What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
Just everyday things, mostly. What's going on in the person's life, any dreams or goals, opinions on events, anything really! I usually write about what is happening in my life.
6. What are you looking for in a penpal?
I'm not too picky when it comes to penpals. My preference is someone who writes more than a page (but they don't have to write a novel either, even two pages is fine. I find a page doesn't usually have a lot to it, though) and someone who writes at least once a month. Any more and it's hard to keep in touch so much.
7. What do you like the most about penpalling?
The excitement of receiving a letter, or the good feeling you get sending one. I also like learning about other people's lives. Everyone usually considers their own life to be boring, but through someone else's eyes it can be much more exciting than you think.
8. In what language(s) do you correspond?
English, French, Spanish and Italian.
9. What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
I used to be really bad for writing back. I didn't mean to take so long, but I was a bad procrastinator. However I made it a goal to change this about myself (as I didn't just procrastinate when it came to letter writing), because I hated having to start out each letter with "Sorry it took me so long to write back!". I started responding right away. I now send out responses either the same day or the day after of when I receive a letter.
My sister and me underneath the sign of the city where we used to live. I had the best address... Stephanie Chamberlain, ## Chamberlains Road, Chamberlains, Newfoundland! Wish I still had that address!
10. Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you've been penpalling?
Once I received a letter from a girl that seemed very interesting who lived in the same province as me, but on the other side. Her parents had really nice jobs, she was a triplet and her siblings were all very interesting to read about. She included a lot of information about herself and her letter was very aesthetically pleasing. I wrote back but didn't hear back from her again. A few months later, I received another similar letter from the same address... but all of the information was different. The girl has the same first name but a different last name, and then the entire letter had a similar form but with the information changed. Her parents had different names and jobs, the triplets were now twins, even her favourite colour changed! Although her favourite band was the same. Since I keep the letters I receive, I just mailed her both of her letters back to her and wrote that I thought her letters were very entertaining!
I also put my name somewhere on the Internet (no idea where, I wish I knew so that I could remove it!) for penpals, and apparently it got published in a Ghanan magazine. I have received probably a hundred letters from Ghana, all asking for lots of things, like money or help getting through school! The first few I responded to, but unfortunately most of the people weren't really looking for a penpal. My mom still has a few for me every time I go home!
11. Have you met any of your penpals?
Just the one I knew before we became penpals.
I have met online friends, which I guess are kind of like the new digital penpals?
12. Are you currently looking for more penpals?
I am! If you'd like to become penpals, just send me an e-mail! :)
Thank you Steph for the entertaining stories!
If you'd like to be featured on my blog as the Penpal of the Week, just leave a comment with your email address!