Monday, August 17, 2009

Penpal of the Week #10

This week, I want you all to meet my dear friend and penpal Amber from Canada!

1. Please tell us about you!

Hello! I'm Amber. I'm a 23 year old mother of two. I currently reside in Soviet Canuckistan, somewhere in the prairies. In soviet canuckistan, moose eats YOU.

I'm sarcastic by default, I harbor the delusion that I am actually somewhat funny, and I like to collect postcards. I have dreadlocks, lame hipster glasses & stretched earlobes. My younger daughter thinks my crocheted items & guitar mangling is pretty fantastic. Well, I'll assume she does. She's two years old, and quite easily amused. Her older sister lives with her father in Edmonton. While I'm not quite comfortable with telling that story, I will mention that we're all on decent terms (as a family).

Checking Facebook on my lunch break from my old job. Good times!

I am Native Canadian. I belong to a small reservation in Southeast Saskatchewan. However, I grew up in a small Métis community in northern Sask (my mom passed her treaty status to my sisters and I). Growing up, the Cree and Michif language was part of our regular curriculum in school. Quite often, we made our own moccasins out of the tanned hide that we had prepared the month before. By the time I was 10, I knew how to skin a rabbit, moose, deer & beaver (though I never did want to prepare it for cooking. That was pretty gross). Native Studies was a requisite for all grades, and sometimes our Gym teacher would have us learning various jigs (The Red River Jig is the official métis dance). We had demonstrations of pow wow dances & we had learned various "native crafts".

A sample of the dreamcatchers I make. These are very basic ones. Not many embellishments at all.

I moved closer to my reserve when I was 14, shortly after my mom passed away, so I could be closer to my maternal family. They're all quite traditional, participating in Sundances, Raindances, Sweatlodge, Pipe ceremonies, and so on. Just about everyone has their Indian Name & Colors (the colors that will later go on the pow-wow outfit).

My beautiful Emilybaby.

I'm found on LiveJournal, Facebook, PostCrossing & Swap-Bot.

2. Describe your personality in 10 words!

Quiet, unassuming, shy, introverted, naïve.

Wait, most wouldn't think so...

Dedicated, Strong-willed, Quirky, Outgoing, Creative, Alternative, Intelligent, Openminded, Blunt & Friendly. I've been told I have the personality of a man, due to my taste in music / film & how I handle my romantic relationships, but I beg to differ.

"Good Morning!" I look a right grouch so early in the morning. Haha!

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

I've been penpalling for over 10 years. I started when I was 11. I was riffling through a fangirl magazine, I remember it was dedicated to The Backstreet Boys. There was a page dedicated to fan-art & penpals, so I scribbled down an address & started my correspondence with a girl from Australia. She and I swapped magazine clippings, posters, pins & other trinkets. I found my letters getting longer, while hers were getting shorter and shorter. Her last letter to me was less than 1/4 page long. Heh.

Here's a bit of my tea. I have to admit, I am somewhat of a tea addict.

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

I currently have over 10 established penpals (ones I've known for years), and around 5 or 6 new penpals. Do postcard penpals count, too? If so, I have 2. Haha. I absolutely love my friends, and I put care into every letter. I make sure it's something *I* would be excited to receive in the mail. Sometimes I tuck in some items I know they'd appreciate receiving.

Recent letters and postcards!

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

Nothing is off limits, I'll have to admit. Sometimes there's deep conversation or debate on intense topics. Occasionally, there's commentary on the weather, ridiculous coworkers / roommates / parents, updates on family shenanigans, and so on. A few times, we discuss novels we've read, or compare reactions on a certain movie we've seen. There has been a lot of silly banter on utterly stupid topics. I don't have preferences on topics that come up. :)

This was taken when I was tanning at the beach. I love the Qu'Appelle Valley.

6. What are you looking for in a penpal?

Someone openminded and friendly. Being opinionated is also quite fun, but not if the person pushes their beliefs on me.

I also enjoy long letters, but not when there's INFORMATION OVERLOAD. Receiving a 30 page letter with nothing but information on my new penpal - that's hard to reply to. I mean, what do I say to 2 pages of hobbies? Heh.

A small hamper full of yarn, with a few WIPs (works in progress). 2 handbags & a beach tote.

Asking questions & being chatty is pretty important, too. I never know what to say if my new friend goes on about her life, asking no questions & not mentioning anything I wrote in my last letter at all.

Most importantly, I'm looking for a friendship with my penpals. Someone I can write to if I feel down, and someone who feels as though they can confide in me as well.

My best friend and I. I'm on the left, beside the blurred objects. Haha.

7. What do you like the most about penpalling?

Wow, where do I start? Letters are definitely more personal than emails and quick phone calls. Postcards are a fleeting glance into someone's travels. Spending the time to make something special for your friend, and receiving something equally fantastic in return. Learning about their past, their experiences, their history & culture. Diversity and long distance friendships are pretty fantastic.

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

English, but I have been known to introduce some words and sentences in Cree.

I wrote that just for you, Julie. :P

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

I have two places I write my letters. The first is my desk or kitchen table, all of my colored papers, pens, envelopes & anything else I may want to send to my pal. The second is my living room, right in the middle of my area rug, with all of my penpal gear. I usually brew a pot of tea during that time, too. It takes about an hour or three to completely get a letter ready for shipping.

A few items I use for mail-art. Emily had to include her dinosaur (on top of the fantastic octopus memo pad you sent!)

If things are going on in my life, it takes a little while for me to reply. I do let my friends know (via LJ or postcards) if I'm going on hiatus for a while. I'm so lucky to have understanding pals.

Just a small fraction of my writing papers and envelopes. :)

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

Nothing ever surprises me, to be quite honest. I wish I could say I've received surprise letters or swaps as a result of the times I filled out / made slams. Hmm. A few times, I've received emails from random men in Ghana, demanding I pay their way to Canada so they can be doctors and lawyers. Then again, who hasn't had that happen to them?

Another love of mine. A small bit of my movie collection. I love movies!

11. Have you met any of your penpals?

Technically, I've met 3 of them. However, that doesn't really count since we've been writing to each other after moving from place to place. In the future, I would absolutely love to meet other penpals.

12. Are you currently looking for more penpals?

Not at the moment. I wouldn't want to skimp on the penpals I currently have. I'm up for postcard swaps, slam swaps or other small swaps, though.

A pile of slam I've been working on & sending with letters. I also swap slams in bulk.

Thank you for this nice interview Amber and for being such a good friend!

If you're interested in being featured on my blog as Penpal of the Week, just reply to this post with your email address.

I hope you're enjoying these interviews! Comments and suggestions are always welcome!

Julie xox


  1. Hi =)

    I'm really enjoyingthese interviews ^^ and I'd love to be a penpal of the week as well =)
    here's my address:


  2. One more great interview and interesting person, I liked this a lot ^^


  3. Amber is a FANTASTIC penpal! Her letters are always awesome!

    - Kendra

  4. Haha aww, thanks Kendra!

  5. It is so funny to read about "slam" because i have been writing in them for 20 years!! It isn't so much to find about slamwriting on the internet, so it is fun to find someone else that also do slam:-) I am from sweden by the way. If you wan't to contact me you can do it at ""