This week, let's meet Sarah from Germany!
1. Please tell us about you!
Hi! I’m Sarah. I’m a 23 year-old uni student from Germany. I grew up in a small town and I think that says a lot about me. During an average week I commute between my small hometown and Münster, a beautiful city just 50 km away. The weekend I spend at home, the week in Münster. There I study English Philology but with a special focus on Book Studies. My degree also includes two minors which are History and Religious Studies. These subjects kind of sum up my passions: English, Books, Literature, History and different cultures and religions.
I’m close to graduating, which means I’ll probably need another year. After that I want to do something connected with books. I’ve thought about becoming a librarian lately.
As I mentioned I love books, reading and writing and I read a lot. I also love knitting, surfing the Internet, talking with friends, watching movies...
I’m Pagan and I am trying to be open about my beliefs – I’ve hidden them long enough. It’s nothing I will talk about continuously and certainly nothing I want to convince others of but it’s a big part of my life and my personality.
I can be reached at Interpals via the nick leilani or this address: alinja_nin[at]yahoo[dot]de
2. Describe your personality in 10 words!
That’s hard… First of all, and very generally, I hold a positive attitude about life and I’m quite optimistic. Then, what people notice first, I think is that I tend to be quiet and a bit reserved – I rather think and then act than the other way round. This results in a way in being contemplative and imaginative. But I am not that boring ;) I can be quite eccentric and like doing things that people don’t expect of me, sometimes to the point of being silly. I’m also a free-spirit and don’t like to be told what to do. Sometimes I am so much in thought that I can be quite confused by reality. I am curious and always up to learn new things. I also consider myself creative and open-minded.
3. How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
I have been penpalling since I was 13 or 14 – so 9 or ten years. My first penpal was a girl from Bavaria. We had a lot in common back then and wrote a lot of letters. One day she wrote a postcard saying that she didn’t want to write anymore. It turned out that she had been quite ill. She wrote again when she was better but we had become so different from each other that it didn’t work out anymore.
My first “international” penpal was a girl from the UK but I’m not in contact with her anymore either.
4. How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
At the moment I have around 11 penpals though I haven’t heard from some for some time and I also have given my address to a few new penpals and have written two first letters myself. We’ll see what becomes of that. My penpals are from Germany, Scotland, England, Finland, the Netherlands, the USA, France, and Iran. Some have become real friends over time =)
5. What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
Everything that comes up, really; from everyday problems to politics and current affairs, philosophical questions and so on. One of my favourite things to discuss is literature though. I love to give opinions on books that I read recently and also love to hear about what my penpals read and their opinions.
6. What are you looking for in a penpal?
First of all I’m looking for people to communicate with; people to tell what I have been doing, thinking, experiencing, etc and of course reading about all those things. I love to share all that – I’m a Gemini, I love communicating. Eventually I hope I may find more friends. It’s really important that my penpals be open-minded. I certainly will do my best to respect all their opinions and I expect the same back. I’m looking for people who are able to also think and hold deep conversations at times (not all of the time of course) and people who know how to express themselves.
Letter-length is not so important to me but more than a page would be nice.
7. What do you like the most about penpalling?
Uhm, everything? Well, I love the feeling of finding a letter in the mailbox, the curiosity what will be in it, what news my penpals have, what they have to share. Also I love the opportunity to learn something new, to use my English-skills, to put my thoughts and my life into writing. I like the idea that through a letter you can pin a moment on paper, send it over half the world and there someone else can participate in that moment.
8. In what language(s) do you correspond?
In English mostly but also of course in German which is my native language. I also have basic knowledge of Spanish, I can read it and understand it mostly but find it very hard to express myself in Spanish.
9. What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
I try to respond quickly. Sometimes it can take a bit longer but I try to reply within the same month. Sometimes I’m much quicker though. I usually sit at my little desk in my apartment. When I’m at my parents’ I sit at the kitchen table. Usually I listen to music when I write, sometimes the TV is on but if so, nothing that deserves full attention, as the letter really needs close to full attention. I like to use cute stationery. Sometimes I will use blank paper as well though. It’s not so important, I think and I don’t really mind what kind of paper my penpals use. It’s the content that matters, after all.
10. Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you've been penpalling?
I have thought about this question a lot. I’ve always been careful with my address so I have rarely received letters from people I don’t know; just a few from people who had read my address in a FB. Lately I’ve been getting weird emails like from a Evangelical Christian group, from Jehova’s Witnesses and then from a number of African women who seek a man for marriage... weird...?!
11. Have you met any of your penpals?
Only one. Unfortunately I’m not in contact with her anymore. She came from Germany, just a few km from my hometown so we met a couple of times. I have also met some people I met in an online chatroom. I also still want to meet some other penpals but flights are so expensive...
12. Are you currently looking for more penpals?
Yes, a few. I’m looking for a few new penpals at the moment so feel free to write me. It would be good if you were around my age and we had things in common. Also, as I only have girl penpals so far I would be interested in meeting a guy that still likes to write letters. Oh and other pagans or other knitters are very welcome, too.
Thank you for the interesting interview, Sarah!
I need more people who would like to be featured as Penpal of the Week on my blog in the coming weeks, so please get in touch with me if you're interested or leave a comment with your email address so that I can contact you! Thanks.