Monday, November 30, 2009

Mario must be pregnant...

Have I ever mentioned how crazy my boyfriend is?

Want to know what Mario ate right before lunch? A banana topped with garlic sauce + dried tomato pesto. This is the weirdest food combo I've ever heard of.

Anyone who can beat that?!

Julie xox

Penpal of the Week #25

Today, let's meet Monica from the USA.

1. Please tell us about you!

Ello everyone! I'm really happy to be here and get the chance to introduce myself and talk about something I really love, snail mailing!

So let's see, my name's Monica, and I'm on the far side of 18, and right now I'm in New York visiting my mom and grandmother, but I'm normally in the sunny state of California living near the quirky and off beat city of San Francisco, which owns my heart truly and deeply :)

Me and my mom :)

Right now I'm in school studying to work as a pharmacy technician, something I'll be doing soon, eep! I don't plan on being a pharm tech all my life, not even close, it's just something that'll help me achieve my dreams of traveling and perhaps going to art uni after :)

I have tons of hobbies, and obviously snail mailing is in the top ten of those, but others include drawing, making jewelry and clothing, photographing streets and buildings, traveling and reading travel books, reading books and more books, being fanatical about Neil Gaiman, finding rainbow colored clothing and quirky hats, listening to music and my number one hobby and favorite thing to do, hanging out with my best friend, the Watson to my Sherlock, and dreaming up far fetched schemes :)

If this small description of myself is lacking, a better one can be found on my Interpals page.

2. Describe your personality in 10 words!

Artistic : You know that girl who has lyrics drawn on her jeans, ribbons in her messy hair and paint splotches on her fingers? That's me :)

Friendly : I try to be friendly, kind and compassionate at all times, because the world needs more friendliness and softness instead of hard edges.

Shy : Aha, yeah... I can be unbelievably shy at times but caffeine helps me hide it with nervous spazziness :P

Spazzy : Imagine a squirrel on 5 cups of espresso, that's me after just one can of a Java Monster ^__^

Paradox : Nothing is every black and white with me, it's all upside down and inside out, but not always in a confusing way :)

Nerdy : comics, graphic novels, lord of the rings... need I go on? :P

Caring : I can't help but get emotionally invested in people, and that means caring about them and what's going on with them.

Open : I don't have much that I won't talk about, life isn't about keeping secrets, but never having them in the first place.

Restless : I'm like that U2 song, "I still haven't found what I'm looking for"

Quirky : What can I say, this is the word almost everyone uses at least once to describe me, but I don't mind :)

Me and Watson, about a year ago, while I was doing a
Cyanide & Happiness "Personal Space Invader" joke :P

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

I started penpalling through snail mail fairly recently actually, only since this past June! I had joined Interpals really just to cure boredom, but I ended up meeting some really great and amazing people, and some of them wondered if I wanted to "snail mail" with them apart from just talking online, and I was like "Huh? What's snail mailing?" and once I found out what it was I was immediately intrigued, but I thought it would be incredibly complicated to snail mail outside of the US, till one of my friends, Courtney, was telling me about all the penpals she had, all over the world and I asked her if it was complicated or really expensive and she took the time to explain to me pretty much everything about it, and because of her I got the courage to start penpalling, because she made it sound so fun and easy :)

My first real snailmail penpal was um... You know, in all honestly it could have been any of three people, but if I had to choose, I'd say it was Mackenzie, or as I call her, Clyde :P She's the first person who ever sent me a letter that was more than just a letter, it was basically an explosion of art to me when I first got it, the envelope made out of a Cartier advertisement with cut out magazine letters spelling a message for me, lots of cute random creative things inside, and the letter itself, this kaleidoscope of color, words and smileys :) And because of her, the small interest that I had in snail mailing became what is now one of the most time consuming hobbies I have, and I wouldn't have it any other way :)

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

Hmm let's see, right now I have about 30 snail mail penpals, which I know, I know, seems like a whole big bunch! But with 3 of them I just exchange mix cds with, and with 2 of them, (James and Helio "manly man", amazingly awesome dudes!) I talk mostly through long (and I mean looong) messages and only occasionally do we send each other snail mail, with James mostly mix cds and random bits and bobs that we think the other will like, and with Helio, handwritten original poems and stories.

With my actual regular only-through-snailmail penpals, there's about 10 that I write with regularly, meaning that we reply to each others letters within the week if possible, and those include the lovely miss Sarah (UK) who sends me letters that never fail to make me smile, Lesley-Ann (N. Ireland) who makes the BEST mix cds, Sabrina (Finland) who's the person I write and confide the most to, the enchanting Sandra (Sweden) who always listens to my ramblings and is just as creative as I am, if not more, Steven (Ireland) who's a bit new, but still a great cheerful and funny guy to write to, and Mareike who's plain awesome and never thinks my letters are as crappy as I think they are ^__^

I would go on and on about my penpals, but I would probably bore the bejesus out of everyone reading this so I'm just going to say that pretty much every single one of my current penpals makes me smile when I get their letters or messages, and I couldn't have dreamed for a better bunch :D

Some of the cute things I find to send to penpals :)

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

I don't really have favorite topics when it comes to letters, though I love it when people describe to me their home town, and the things they like and dislike about them :)

I like talking about movies, books, random memories picked from the traces of a smile, travel plans and wish lists of places to visit, every day routines, and anything else that happens to come up.

But I guess above all I love lists, especially top ten lists, there's something so fun about reading someone's top ten list of favorite movies, and writing your own list in return :)

The only thing I don't like to talk about much in letters is my love life, mostly because it's always such a rollercoaster mess and I like just waiting till things get sorted out, but my penpals are free to talk to me about their love lives, it's always interesting :)

A random picture of me, dressed to go to... the movies I think :)

6. What are you looking for in a penpal?

Hmm, well the first thing I look for in a penpal is compatibility, of course :) I have to have at least a few things in common with the person to want to write to them.

After that imagination, intelligence, creativity, a sense of humor and compassion are the things I look for the most. I love meeting people who have an active imagination like I do, who love fantasy and fairy tales, who are dreamers. Intelligence because well... As I told a friend once, I like talking to someone with an IQ higher than a toothbrush :P Creativity, which doesn't mean that I need someone who decorates the crap out of their letters like I do, but at least who has the inclination to do so :) A sense of humor because I can NOT stand people who can't take a joke. And compassion because... Being a penpal, to me at least, means more than just exchanging letters and messages with someone, it means being privy to someone's innermost thoughts, feelings and experiences, it means sharing and reaching out, and if a person is lacking compassion then a true bond of friendship will never really be reached, and that's at the core of what I'm looking for, the true bond of friendship :)

7. What do you like the most about penpalling?

I love the way that I can be creative with just about every aspect of it, the whole process of writing a letter can be such a fun thing, from creating the envelope that will hold the letter, finding and searching for cute and unique things to send with the letter, from swap items to drawing random things. And then the letter, there's just so much you can do! Stationary paper, cutting letters from magazines, printing pictures from the Internet, adding ribbons, making the letter into a mini book, drawing little drawings in the margins, stickers, colored pencils, and the list goes on and on :D Even what stamps you put on can be creative :)

I guess the reason I love being as creative as I can with the letters I send is because I know how exciting it is to open your mail box and see a brightly colored and decorated envelope just begging to be opened, and I love knowing I can give someone that joy :)

Some of the letters I've made this past month,
not my most creative, but still pretty interesting.

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

Right now it's just in English that I write to my penpals, but since I also speak Spanish I've started teaching some of them basics of Spanish, like how to say hello and goodbye, those things :)

I'd love to meet someone with the patience to help me practice my Spanish better, but that'll have to wait till I have more time ;)

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

I usually write letters on my bed, mostly because it's pretty big so I have all the space I need to have all my supplies around, and because it's so darn comfy :)

I don't usually answer letters in the order I get them, I answer them by which ones are shorter, because that way I can free up my time for the longer ones that usually require much more attention, and I'm always listening to music while I write letters, usually a mix a friend has sent me, or a mix I'm working on :)

Um... As to how long it can take me to reply back, I'll be honest, it just depends on how interesting a letter is. If someone sends me a letter that I can tell they rushed and didn't really put much thought in, then I can take up to a month to write back, but vice a versa, if I get a letter that makes me feel creative just by looking at it and is wonderfully written, then I'll write back right then and there and send it priority just so it gets there faster ^_^

I never ignore letters, and even if a letter is lacking, I try my best to write back with a good one, though it might take me a bit :P

A sample of my handwriting... Kinda messy but oh wells.

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

Hmm... Honestly, nothing really weird has ever happened to me, at least when it comes to snail mailing :P The only thing I can think of that was a bit funny / weird was when my penpal Muriel, who's such a sweet lovely person, told me that I'd been in a dream of hers, something about me visiting her in Belgium, which I found funny because I think that's the first time a penpal's told me they dreamed about me, but what was every funnier, and a bit on the weird side, was that the next night I had a dream where I was in Amsterdam, and Muriel was there! Totally random :)

11. Have you met any of your penpals?

Ah gah, this is a question that just bums me out :( Basically I was supposed to meet up with a pen pal just last week, while I was here in NYC visiting my mom and grandmother, and we only had 3 days to meet up, so it was a bit of a balancing act to make sure I had time to meet up with him, not to mention learn how to use the subway system. But anyways, to say plans got messed up would be an understatement, because the first day, I woke up after only sleeping 3 hours because a car alarm outside had kept going off through the night, and so we rescheduled for the next day.

Oy, that next day... What a day! A run down of events that happened, from start to bottom : Got hit on by scary looking gangster wannabe on the train, ended up lost for the better part of an hour about 2 miles from where I was supposed to be and chaffed my right foot so badly from walking so much that it started to bleed, a random woman spilled her cup of water all over my purse, soaking my only map, almost got run over by a frazzled taxi driver, had some random dude try to stop me in the middle of the street to get my number, and finally, my cell phone crapped out on me. In between all that fun stuff, my penpal ended up detained at home and would have needed another hour to get to where I was... Needless to say I really couldn't take much more and just headed home, getting lost once again for half an hour. And the next day my mom had already made plans to take me sight seeing, so we never got to meet up. But while I might not have met up with him, which really sucked, at least I got some interesting stories to tell :P

Me with my favorite SkullCandy headphones on,
I'm always wearing them while I write my letters :)

12. Are you currently looking for more penpals?

Hmm... Well as I mentioned somewhere above, I currently have about 30 snail mail penpals, and while I don't spend ALL my free time writing letters, sometimes it can feel like it :P So while I'm not currently looking for more penpals, being the person that I am, I know that I won't ever say no to someone that asked me to snail mail with them if they're just as creative as I am, or if they have some other really good reason for wanting to snail mail.

Also, while I'm not actively looking for anyone to snail mail letters with, I AM looking for people to exchange mix cds with, because I think it's a really great way to slowly get to know someone, reading why they picked specific songs, and listening to said songs :) So if anyone thinks we'd be a good match, or would like to exchange mix cds, feel free to contact me :)

Thank you, Monica!

I'm looking for a few people who would like to be featured as Penpal of the Week on my blog in the coming weeks, so if you're interested please get in touch with me! Thanks.

Julie xox

Friday, November 27, 2009


Just a quick post today to show you my city!

These are 2 pictures of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu that Nicolas took a few years ago.

I love where I live! There are about 89 000 people in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. We have a college, a hospital, several malls, restaurants and businesses... And there's the International Hot Air Balloon Festival every August!

What is your city famous for?

Julie xox

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New - Pens!

I listed the first batch of pens in my shop last night! There are 13 designs so far.

Here are the individual designs. You can see them better in the actual listing!
Regular price is $12.50 for 5 pens ($2.50 each), but I'm selling them at $10 ($2 each) for now. These make great little Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers! See the listing here.

Julie xox

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sale ending tomorrow!

Just a quick note to let you know that the 50% off sale in my store is ending tomorrow! So if you were thinking about purchasing a few Christmas gifts for family and friends (or if you want to give yourself a little present too!), now is the time.

The Mini Swirly Ivy Letter Set is one of my best sellers and I have a few left at $3!

Grocery lists make great Christmas gifts! Both designs are on sale at $3.50 until tomorrow.

Check out We've Got Paper to see all the items that are on sale!

Julie xox

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Penpal of the Week #24

Dear blog readers, today it's my pleasure to introduce you to my wonderful friend Tina from Germany!

1. Please tell us about you!

I'm an angel, I'm a devil
Sometimes I'm a million colors and sometimes I'm black and white
I am someone filled with self belief and haunted by self doubt
I like to be by myself but I hate to be alone
Sometimes I make no sense and sometimes I'm perfect
Sometimes I'm a mess and sometimes I'm not sure who I am
But that's so typical of all the things I am...

This self-portrait I took back in July this year...

It's kind of demanding to picture myself in a nutshell but also fascinating!

Although my name is Martina, I prefer the more proper form Tina. I became 31 this past August and am thankful for every single year I grow older. As for me it's a gift to start another healthy and promising year of my life with every next birthday. As already said by Mark Twain:

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

Using quotes is one way of explaining my thoughts and feelings; matched with a picture another one. I am a passionate hobby photographer! Sometimes, a picture says more than a thousand words, can tell us a story or show us emotions... But a picture matched with words can make it even more expressive! I'm a self-taught photographer by heart and soul. I have photography in blood and love to capture emotions and people like they really are but also try to create something new and fancy! I love strange views and creativity...... and everything that catches my eye!

"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten." - Aaron Siskind

The big one is my travel diary, the one in the middle still empty
and the little one on the top my current diary.

My inspiration often comes from my personal inner world: my feelings, fears and beliefs, hopes and dreams; all of these fueled by music, movies, and books and certainly traveling! As for me photography is kind of a diary. I try to display my world with my images, try to think in images and make you a part of my thoughts, of my photography world:

I consider myself as a really open-minded, outgoing and down to earth person. I'm always maintaining a positive outlook on life. As for me socializing, making connections, giving back, enjoying life, loyalty, kindness and honesty are very important... I wear my heart on my sleeve and I am kind of outspoken. I know that not everyone can deal with that directness! So I always try to be honest but nice... Honesty is the best policy!

I'm a woman capable of deep romantic love, a passionate woman in the creative arts. A person who leads first with her heart and then her head (of course... the exception proves the rule!). I have a sense of protectiveness for my friends and loved ones. I thrive on the atmosphere being filled with company and love. Apart from that I try to enjoy life to the fullest cause it is too short to vegetate in your everyday life. My friends and my family give me strength and I believe in love, destiny and that everything happens for a reason...

My very best friend + soul mate Sylwia and I
a loooooooooong time ago in Paris, France.

I love to think about everything... My mind is always running and I appreciate a good laugh, an interesting discussion or profound conversation. Sometimes I can be very talkative, sometimes I keep very much to myself. I'm full of empathy - I love to feel and be emotional. I'm a dreamer, I like to daydream, to hope and believe! But that doesn't automatically mean that I'm just a fantasizer... I'm quite realistic too... An optimistic but also rational person. I'm a self-critical person and can be quite demanding as to others. That's why I'm sometimes too impatient with others and of course myself.

Although I still think that this isn't the best pic of me, I do really like it.
It's such a nice capture of me, myself and I.

There are different types of relationships we have in our life. Some people you have in your life are still strangers to you. Others are merely acquaintances. But the people who you know, like and trust are your friends and they deserve to be treasured. Friendship is a very important and big word for me! So when I think about my friends, I realize that I truly have the cream of the crop. I'm blessed by a tiny bunch of unique personalities called my friends. I have an awesome family and I would not be who I am today or have what I have to get me through life if it wasn't for them! And I'm currently in a relationship with a man that captured my heart 2,5 years ago. I'm more of a "being in a relationship" person but I've also always been a quite independent and strong woman, that appreciates quality time with herself. I like it to be by myself and consider the blessing of solitude on a regular basis.

My boyfriend Tobi and me, New Years 2008.

Two more important and beloved men in my life are my fluffy male Birman cats Bobby and Jimmy. I'm a cat person... I love the smell of their coat, their incredible blue eyes they mostly get what they want with and certainly the unconditional love they give to you! I have to admit that I'm also fascinated by elephants!

"Animals are excellent role models for forgiveness - There is no holding back of the love." - Christine Robinson

This is Bobby and he's such a calm and loveable personality
with tendency to be a pain in the neck at times...

I really like "the old stuff"... For example antiques, retro and vintage stuff. I like the old pin-up style and the 50's and 60's. Also I collect unwritten postcards and since a year I'm totally addicted to Blythe dolls. Have you ever thought about getting a doll again after you became an adult? No? Me neither! But since I saw the doll of a pen pal from the US, I immediately fell in love with it. Today I love to see what my dolls are doing when I am not around... Aaaaaw... And I have a weakness for scarves in every size and color! Doesn't matter which season... There's always the right scarf to wear!

Ivory and Jady, my two little girls bringing me so much joy and fun
while photographing them!

I like to be creative and to be busy; I sometimes get depressed by the eternal sameness which seems to be surrounding us in some way. I dislike prejudice, stereotyping and being intolerant. Spiders scare me to death and I can't stand liars, selfish and facile people. I'm someone that enjoys the simplest things in life, like making others happy, hugs, healthy relationships, enlightened company, a long walk with a cool breeze and a clear sky, chili-chocolate or relaxing in my bathtub. Some more random facts about me... I'm addicted to music! Can't live without it... I really like live music and concerts... I guess I'm more of a rock chick but my taste in music is pretty varied! We also have a huge collection of DVDs and I love to go to the movies! Oh and I love Quentin Tarantino movies. My favorite author is Paulo Coelho and reading is another favorite hobby of mine. I like it to get carried away by a good book or interesting article I read in a magazine!

I have a profile on InterPals... If you want to get to know more about me, just check it out! I also just started a new blog.

2. Describe your personality in 10 words!

I'm on a high level of empathy. I'm mostly able to understand the hidden motives behind others' thinking. I really love my inner voice, my gut feeling and the possibility to be extremely sensitive. I'm sure I have a seventh sense and I highly appreciate that gift of feeling so intensely. But of course it's both a blessing and a curse. I'm considerate with other people's feelings so it helps me a lot to be gifted that way. And probably that's why I'm quite caring. I have a big heart and at times it feels like I'm Mother Theresa... I consider myself quite reliable, so do my friends! I'm trustworthy and people can confide in me without the fear of betrayal and stupidity.

I've always been creative and besides photography I like to create greeting- and postcards. I like scrapbooking and creating my own stationery and envelopes. Being creative is the perfect balance and gives me back energy! Sometimes I'm full of so many ideas that it hurts and I do not know where to start first.

I'm passionate in the things I do and about the things I believe in. In this case I have to admit that I'm decisive and determined. Additionally I tend to be too impatient with others and of course myself or situations I'm in. I would love to get everything done immediately and don't like to wait too long for something good. Not because it's not worth waiting for but more because I'm quite impatient.

My younger sister and I giving our best smiles!

Another fact is that I am full of wanderlust and am quite travel addicted! Unfortunately I have not been to as many places I would like to go. But I dream of a round-the-word-trip one day and the possibility to discover lots of more places. I often find myself lost in documentations about other countries or rummage in a travel-guide. I always dream of far away places and wish for a chance to beam me to another place right away.

What often surprises people is that I'm so sensitive, caring and understanding but at the same time extremely outspoken. I always am honest with the people around me and they always know what I think of them. I prefer a heart-to-heart conversation and don't appreciate a conversation if there is any problem between someone and me. I'm definitely not a person that beats around the bush!

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

I started penpalling at the age of 10 or 12 but lost contact already after a few letters. I restarted penpalling as I was 14 or 15 with my friend Thomas from Grevenbroich, Germany. We don't write letters anymore but we are still in contact although not on a regular basis. Then I have had a lack of penpalling and got used to writing emails and messages on social network sites. That's where I met Shirley from Malta and Kevin from the USA. It must have been in 2002 when we first started writing and we are still in contact! Today I consider both of them as some of my closest friends. I was able to already meet Kevin but I still want to meet Shirley in person one day, too. Back to the roots with penpalling I got 2 years ago...

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

My number of pen pals changes regularly (unfortunately). I only have a few that I write constantly with and I'm definitely looking for reliable, genuine and long-lasting letter pals! My pals are scattered around the world. It's like having the whole world as a friend... I've always been interested in other cultures, traditions, languages and places. It's awesome to get to know people from all over, their life, thoughts and views... Most of them are from the USA but I also have pals in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Croatia, UK, etc.

"More than kisses, letters mingle souls."

These are a few of the letters I got from my pals!

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

Everything that touches my mind, heart and soul. I wish for sharing thoughts and emotions, special memories and things that happened. I want to talk about ups and downs, all-day life and worries but also about fun, joys and meaningful moments. I am open-minded and nothing is off limits! Like already mentioned above...I appreciate a good laugh, an interesting discussion or profound conversation... Oh and I love asking questions... I mean, if I don't ask I won't find answers!

6. What are you looking for in a penpal?

What I mostly look for and often miss is a reliable and trusty pal. I would like to meet people who are passionate with what they do and people who care about others. Unfortunately, I have met so many of the other kind and have decided that my life is too short to waste it on someone who just doesn't care! It's not easy to find reliable and genuine pals these days. And it's quite difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff! This might sound harsh but that's the way it is...

I love long chatty letters, of course handwritten and stamped mail! I want my pal to become a part of my world and I want to be a part of theirs - not only an option! I appreciate people who like to spend quality time with me, although or maybe even because I'm miles apart - so do I! As for me it all is a matter of give and take! Quality not quantity. To cut a long story short: I'm looking for real time and long life friends, not only a far away person on paper!

7. What do you like the most about penpalling?

"Anything Worth Having is Worth Waiting For"

And that's what I like the most about penpalling... To wait for a wonderful letter meant for my eyes only and written with love and time. It's the good old way to communicate... Certainly quite more personal... I love stamps and different handwritings, self-made stationary or little goodies you can send with your letters! I really like that feeling of anticipation before you open the letter, to hold the envelope in my hands and the curiosity of what is waiting there for me...

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

My first language is German but I mostly correspond in English. I like languages and did learn a bit of Spanish as well way back. But not much did stick in my mind so I'm not able to communicate in Spanish. English is my all-time favorite language and I am glad to improve it while writing and reading letters. I'm also always willing to help people with German!

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

I experienced that inspiration comes best to me when I am surrounded by silence, so I sit somewhere quiet and I choose a time when I know I won't be disturbed by anyone. I need enough time and privacy and love to take time for my pal. I love to sit down at my kitchen table, with a hot tea or a caramel flavored Latte Macchiato, surrounded by all the things I need to write a letter with. I prefer to listen to music while writing or lighten candles, especially when it's dark and cold outside. I also love to sit outside on my balcony or at the park, with a fresh breeze on my face and surrounded by nature as long as it's not too cold.

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

Nope! So do I have to consider this as a good sign or the fact that my life of penpalling is too boring!?

11. Have you met any of your penpals?

Yes! And it is such a delightful and unique experience I'm extremely grateful for! Kevin and I had been e-pals for about 3 years before we first met. It was my first trip abroad and I've been so excited to finally meet my good friend in person. I spent almost 3 weeks in Nashville, Tennessee with him and can still say that it was one of the greatest experiences ever. Today I'm counting the days until we see next. He comes over to Europe, Germany around New Years. We haven't seen about four years now and a visit is quite overdue!

Kevin and me in Nashville, Tennessee in 2005.

It's freaking awesome that everything went so fast with Naddi and me! We became pen friends in early 2008 and met the first time within a few months later! Since we met the first time we became close friends and still are! Strangely there's no need to write letters anymore because we talk on the phone regularly and try to visit each other a few times a year. Apart from that we love to send each other little surprises, lovely postcards and got used to write mails on a (more or less) daily basis.

Me and my good friend Naddi in Wolfsburg, Germany in 2008.

Kevin and Nadine are the best examples for me to believe in long lasting friendship even if we live miles apart!

12. Are you currently looking for more penpals?

Well, I'm currently not really looking for new pen pals! Not because I don't want to get to know new people. I just already have quite a few wonderful pals and want to spend quality time with writing to them. I try to not overload myself with too many pals. But if there's someone out there who thinks that we can be a good match should write me and tell me why!! There's always a reason why we meet special persons in our life and I don't want to miss one of them just because I wrote that I am not looking for any new pals...

Thank you so much for such a heartfelt interview, Tina!

To anyone who's interested in being featured on my blog as Penpal of the Week: please get in touch with me! :)

Julie xox

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Today is my dog Astuce's birthday! She's turning 7 years old!

As a friend recently reminded me, animals are our friends and we should treat them with love and respect! For some people, this might mean not eating meat and not buying leather, but for others it might mean supporting animal shelters or simply being kind to all living creatures.

Happy birthday Astutu!

Julie xox

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Well, I don't think that I'll be able to avoid it... I'll enter my thirties in less than a month! I have mixed feelings about it, but I'm taking it pretty well for the most part. It's still hard for me to believe that I'll be 30 in a few weeks though!

I don't feel old at all. Well, 30 is not old, but I mean that I don't feel that I'm getting older. Sure, I have some white hair now (which started right after my dad passed away) and I have a 5 year old child, I have a house, a car, bills to pay and responsabilities... But inside I still feel like a little girl. Well, a grown-up teenager maybe... OK, a young adult.

I had my first and biggest heartbreak over 14 years ago. That's almost half my age! I've been out of high school for over 13 years. I moved into my house almost 8 years ago. I lost my dad 4 years ago.

It feels like I was still a child not too long ago and now I'm a mom. I love this montage of me with Louis-Justin as a newborn and me as a baby with my mom. Aww, kisses!

My mom can't believe that her only child will be 30 either. I remember when my dad freaked out because his oldest daughter (my half-sister) turned 30 a little over 5 years ago... (So sad that he won't get to witness his youngest daughter's 30th birthday!) I don't want to think about MY child turning 30 anytime soon! ;)

I've never really cared about birthday cards before (well yes, of course it's always nice to receive them), but this year I think I'll need all the support I can get! So it would be wonderful to open cards from my friends, penpals, online buddies, customers and blog readers! So if you'd like to wish me a happy 30th birthday on December 12, that would be super awesome!

C.P. 54
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC
J3B 6Z1

Some people have asked about birthday gifts... I honestly don't expect anything (just a "happy birthday" would be great!), but I always love sticker sheets, notecards, pens, markers, socks and scarves.

I know at least 3 other people who were born on December 12 like me: my dear friend and penpal Cindy in Canada, my oldest penpal Violaine's older daughter in Belgium (Marine) and Yvan, who's my son's cousin's dad (he's the boyfriend of Nicolas' younger sister). Anyone else that I should know of? :)

Enjoying the last few weeks of my twenties...

Julie xox

Monday, November 16, 2009

Avocado Grocery List

I finally listed my new Avocado Grocery List in my Etsy shop!

Only $7 - makes a perfect Christmas gift!
Great for parents, relatives and party hosts!

50 pages + cardboard backing + a magnet for your fridge

Includes a nifty black ink ballpoint pen!

Contact me if you'd like to order more than one set for a discount!

Feedback always welcome, as usual!

Julie xox

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Penpal of the Week #23

This time, let's meet Mandi from the USA.

1. Please tell us about you!

My name is Mandi and I'm a 22 year old stay at home mom from Birmingham, Alabama. My son, Jacob, was born on June 17th, 2009. I can't believe he's already 5 months old! He's getting big!

Me and Jacob.

We live with my boyfriend Eric. He is 26 and a grad student. He'll graduate in May 2012 with his Doctorate of Pharmacy. We have been together since September 18, 2006.

We don't have any pets, but I love all animals... Except spiders! The reason we don't currently have pets is that our apartment complex charges a whopping $500.00 as a pet fee. I plan on getting a pet whenever we move to a place that will allow them for cheaper.

Here's my Facebook profile and my MySpace. I'll warn you though, I am rarely on since Jacob keeps me super busy! :-)

2. Describe your personality in 10 words!

Friendly, open, honest, caring, loyal, trustworthy, outgoing, curious, funny, and happy.

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

I have been penpalling for six years. I was looking for Yahoo Groups online to find something to do with my spare time and I happened to come across groups for pen pals. I joined one and soon had a pen pal. Her name is Katie. We have been friends since then and plan on meeting sometime next year. She is 4 years younger than me, so she calls me her big sister. :-)

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

I have about 20 pen pals and they are mostly from the USA. I have one pal in England and one in Canada. Some are single with no kids, some are married but without kids, and others are moms (single & married).

Me, Jacob and Eric.

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

I like to hear about everyday life, music, movies, TV, and what we are reading at the moment.

I also love it when my pals & I ask each other questions that really make us think - like "If your house were on fire, other than your family & pets, what three items would you save?". It really opens up conversations.

6. What are you looking for in a penpal?

I'm looking for someone who will write often, at least once a month if not more often. Someone who won't quit writing after only a few letters. I'd prefer women from the USA - any age, race, religion, etc. I'm very open-minded.

7. What do you like the most about penpalling?

Being a stay at home mom, my pen pals are my social life! I like forming friendships and feeling like I can tell my pals anything. I like to be able to rant to them, share joys with them, and just ramble about anything.


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

Right now, I only write and read English, but I am learning Spanish. Maybe one day soon I will be able to write & read Spanish.

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

I usually write my letters at my dining table, but sometimes I write while laying in bed or watching TV.

I try to write back the same day I get a letter, but sometimes it takes me a day or two to get to a letter. The longest it's ever taken me to write back to a letter was 5 days after I got it, but that was right after I had Jacob.

I like to use stationary and letter sets when I have them. If I use plain notebook paper, I dress it up with stickers.

This is my attempt at photography.

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

I've received a mysterious postcard in the mail that was from someone who wanted to be pen pals but neglected to include their address (or even email address!).

Also, someone once wrote asking me to be pals... And to send them a stamp with each letter so they could write back.

11. Have you met any of your penpals?

I haven't yet, but I would love to. I plan on meeting one of my pals within the next year.

12. Are you currently looking for more penpals?

I am looking for new pals in the USA. Women only please, any age. :-)

Thank you Mandi!

If anyone is interested in being featured as Penpal of the Week on my blog in December, please let me know!

Julie xox

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Comfortable Reading

Louis-Justin has a new hobby: reading in my clothes basket!

I was doing something in the kitchen a couple of days ago and when I came back in my bedroom, this is what I found:

Of course, I had to get my camera and take a few photos.

This is one of Louis-Justin's favorite books. "Benjamin" (his name in French) is Franklin the Turtle, one of my son's favorite characters ever.

Notice how the corners of the book are damaged? That's because he got it as a baby and loved it so much that he took a few bites. I know that some people don't give books to babies because they're afraid that the pages are going to be destroyed in minutes, but I never cared about that. At least, Louis-Justin developed an interest in reading early in life! :)

Julie xox

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

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Some updates!

I haven't slept that much over the last few days, so I'll do this the easy way:

- My son's dad has the flu. The horrible flu. Swine flu. Yes, H1N1. He's never been that sick in his life, but he's finally starting to recover. On top of that, Louis-Justin also had a cold. We all survived, but needless to say that I've been exhausted, taking care of everyone and everything this week...

- I drove my mom to the airport yesterday. She left for Tunisia with a bunch of friends so I'm taking care of her house for the next 2 weeks. Well, there's not much to do apart from getting the mail and making sure that everything is OK.

- I did end up joining Swap-bot. Thanks to everyone who left comments on my blog! So far I've joined a train postcard swap (for Louis-Justin, of course), a sticker sheet swap and a notecard swap. Easy but fun. Feel free to add me as a friend!

- I've been busy with We've Got Paper and I like it. New products are in the makes: grocery lists, pen sets, removable stickers and postcards. My new avocado grocery list should be available in the store very soon!

- I'm going through a weird phase at the moment where I'm happy but sad at the same time. Real happiness and gratefulness, but a deep sadness inside as well. It's strange. There are wonderful people around me who are willing to listen to me and be there for me, but I kind of feel lonely anyway. I think it's because I need to be alone and take care of myself, since I've been taking care of everyone lately.

To end this on a positive note, here's a funny photo of Louis-Justin that I took two days ago. I asked him to show me his tongue and this is what he did:

I love my little guy! :P

Julie xox

Monday, November 2, 2009

Penpal of the Week #21

This week, let's hear it for Zsuzsanna from Costa Rica, a wonderful person that I met on Twitter! :)

1. Please tell us about you!

Me, me, me, me! ^_^ That's actually one of my favorite topics, which is why I write blogs and journals. But then, when it comes to write or talk about me I freeze. Does that happen to everybody? My first reaction usually is to describe myself as you'd describe a suspect to a cop: female, 132 pounds, 5'4, long dark hair... But that's not the point of this, right? So let me see how can I start.

My boyfriend and I in Krakkow... not like you can see the city...

I love anything that can spark something inside me. I could walk to my job and stop to smell a flower, blow a dandelion, or stop at night whatever I'm doing to watch the moon. I love to read and I love to write. Strangely October and June are my most prolific months, and though I may not write down a line, my soul swells up with so many feelings and ideas and inspiration sometimes it feels like it hurts, like it's about to make me cry... and that exact point makes me oddly happy, happy for being able to feel so intensely.

Though I'm currently in a relationship that looks much like "the real thing", and does feel like a "forever thing", I defend vehemently freedom, independence and the bless of solitude. For years I lived doing exactly what I wanted, not denying myself anything. It wasn't simple hedonism going on, but fierce independence, individualism and a strong way to claim my image of myself, shaking off the labels others put on you, looking at your actions from outside, ignoring what they mean from the inside.

I've been blessed greatly through my life, not only with friends and family, but also through all the interesting encounters I have had through my life. I have bonded so fast with people that had rushed through my life like a shooting star. Someone you meet in a plane, and suddenly it feels like "Before Sunrise". It's magic crammed in a flight from Caracas or Bogotá to Paris, sharing jokes, meaningless information and deep secrets in the kitchen area, or talking other passengers to exchange their seats so we can seat together, whispering words over the aisle, sharing thoughts over books, life, death and time.

A moment captured in a picture. We were the best of friends for 24 hours, then disappeared forever.

I'm also something of a "graphomaniac". I love to write, and so I keep penpals, journals, blogs... you name it. I've been on Livejournal until a stalker sent me running away, so now I keep my blog on blogger. You can find my ramblings on

I'm also a cat person. Though there are a lot of pretty dogs out there, I simply love cats. Have had cats since I was six. My latest cat is a lovely blond cat, Hyperion. Hyppie, or Hyper, as my boyfriend calls him, doesn't do much except being pretty and getting into trouble. He's too peaceful and usually gets beaten up by other cats. For a while now I've been taking charge of defending the backyard running after other cats screaming and fending a broom. Yeah, I don't look very smart then.

This is the king of my heart, my cat Hyperion. And that's what he does: he looks good. Period.

Well, as a friend reminded me (^_~) some civil information would be useful. My name is Zsuzsanna Campos, that's a Hungarian first name and a Spanish last name. That's the root of me (have a middle name and a second last name, which makes my name stand out in length on the lists in pretty much every non-Hispanic country... which I've known so far, which are not that many. Five... actually.) Anyway, aside from a name bound to be mispronounced, misspelled, and even get a customer at the bank where I was a teller, to wait in the line until they got to be attended by me, so they could ask me "How do you say that name?"... I'm off track. So, aside from the freak-show name, I'm an economist at a telecommunications' company. I'm 33 years old, but I always forget my age, so I either round it up or simply say that I was born in 1976. Born Cancer... as in zodiac sign, though some people say that I am a cancer. Yeah, that's because I'm demanding and I don't forgive lazy people. You know, work is WORK. You are not paid to warm a chair, but you are paid to work, so do your work. I don't understand why some people don't get that.

2. Describe your personality in 10 words!

The dreaded 10 words. Well, lemme see...

Crazy - Wicked: This is the word that has been used the most to describe me. I don't mind it much, because it works also as a shield that lets me go my own way. I like finding my own path in life, and that has earned me the title. Be unconventional, seek for different solutions... this is called "crazy" and if it is so, I don't want to be sane.

Organized - Control Freak: I love to plan things in advance. Sure, love a bit of freedom and random here and there, but I plan out the most important things. This is how I plan a trip through a whole year, even if I'll do the exact same trip the next year. Haven't gotten as far as to use Microsoft project to plan my vacations, but I'm close. Really. I don't have agendas or filofaxes anymore, but I run around with a PDA and keep two calendars in the computer (one home, one at the office) and generally work with five calendars. Why? Well, one is a Rugby calendar, so that has its own function, but other than that, it's basically so I constantly have present what I have to do. As part of this "organizing rush", I use loads and loads of post-its and markers.

So, when I said I was "organized", it was more like "I'm addicted to Post-its".

Proud - Narcissistic: I am, I really am, and I don't know if it is the "sickness" talking, but I can't see anything wrong about it. So I love myself, what's so bad about it? So I think I'm awesome and I think, really do, that it's good to be me. I'm proud and I believe people should be proud. Proud of who they are, of what they have achieved, of what they can do. Not the "pride" achieved by diminishing others, because there's no pride in being better than those who are "worse", but be proud of what you can do, regardless of the fact that someone can do it better. Just be happy with who you are and love yourself.

Happy - Smiley: I smile a lot. I also consider myself happy because I love those little things in life people let pass by. I don't need a musical scene to happen in my life to be happy, but I love to live fully those little things like seeing your friends, laugh over a joke and so on. And so, since I'm a happy person, I smile a lot. Hehehe I've already laughing wrinkles! I think they are cool.

My favorite mug and my favorite beverage.

Creative - Writer: I love to write. Entries in the blogs or my personal journal, stories, fanfics... you name it. I'm not crafty, and I'm not particularly handy with this kind of things, so I go creative with the pen and paper. Then, it's odd, but I have this thing about writing either with fountain pens or pencils. I guess it's due to the sound they do on the paper, scrapping it slightly. I find it comforting. Also love the scent of pencils, specially when they are freshly sharpened. It's so... organic. Pencils are also one of the few ways I have found to write on black paper, which I love because it's so unique! But then, a lot of people dislike it when you write them a letter with pencil.

Independent: this one is my most distinctive feature. It's my ideal and my guide for life. Independence is not having no rules, but learning from the rules established and adapting them for yourself, is living rationally, consciously by your own rules, seeing which will you observe from the society, which will you discard and shoulder up with the consequences. Independence is being free and being responsible.

Pragmatic: I'm not fond of wasting time or wasting anything. Though getting lost in thought is delicious, when it comes to making decisions, I like to be swift, thorough and to-the-matter. I don't sit and dwell on "what-if" and what could have been. I believe in dealing with what's in front of us. I won't push a matter if it is hopeless, but cut my losses as much as I can and get to the matter through another way, or deal with the fact that it's a lost cause. I rather lose something I wanted than lose that thing AND also my time and effort.

Person - Human (opposed to woman or girlfriend and other labels): I don't like being regarded as a "woman" or a "girlfriend" or a "girl". I'm a person. Regardless of my age, my gender, my race, my religion, I'm a person, and this is something I fight a lot for.

A peaceful lunch at the park.

Curious - Inquisitive: I love to do research. It's okay to do research for the University, for the job, but when you do research for yourself is awesome! From time to time I have these ideas, these... thoughts that make me go looking for something. Antimatter, Logics, Hegel, Egyptology, Medieval Studies, Germanistics, the Human Heart... you name it. This little flame fires up in my head, and I'm stealing minutes from sleep, from lunch, from meeting friends to investigate.

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

Ever since I was able to write. Well, no, first my brother and I dictated our letters to my grandparents and my aunt. You see, we are half Hungarian, half Costa Rican, and we live in Costa Rica, so we exchanged letters with my mom's family in Hungary. First I learned to write my name and then "lots of kisses" in Hungarian. I basically learned to read and write to pen pal!

Later on, in order to help me keep the language, my aunt and grandmother and grandfather found me pen pals, kids they knew through their acquaintances, and got them to write to me. I wrote thus, to some distant relatives and kids from the neighbourhood. My family's neighbourhood. Had then some penpals in Costa Rica, but those never kept up for long, except when I went to Hungary to study and my Costa Rican friends wrote to me (back in the pre-e-mail times). There I realized that Spanish, or many of my letters to my Costa Rican friends are different from those to anyone else because I tend to go funny. Quixote like.

A fun lunch at the office with the coworkers. Everybody brought something and we all ate!

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

Now? Oh, well... I'm starting up some penpal friends, so... I have no idea. For sure I have... Well, one for sure, my friend Gyula, in Hungary. We've been writing to each other since 1996. He was the best friend of my ex-fiancé. We weren't close before, though there was something that drawn me to him. If I must be honest, he bedazzled me. We wrote to each other the most beautiful letters ever, and through these letters we came to be so close, now we consider each other as brother and sister. So much his parents see me as another daughter and my parents love him like crazy.

My penpals usually come and go, again, like beautiful shooting stars. I don't mind them leaving, life happens and people move, that's the natural way of life, but I keep their letters in a trunk next to my bed. I don't know how other people feel about it, but I like to re-read old letters, remember what it was like to receive them, answer them.

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

It depends on my penpals. I love to write about ideas, but the topic we delve into depends on what we settle on. Freedom, Independence, Love, Life, Beauty, Purity, Goodness and Evil... Nonsense, gossip, funny things, politics. Sex, also sex. Some people like to write about that too, and I don't mind it. I'm very open about the subject, and I find it so rewarding when my penpals share with me such intimate things, as long as it is not in a sleezy way. In general, I'm deeply touched and honored when someone opens and shares their thoughts, their ideas and lets me in their soul.

This is the essence of happiness: amazing beauty in random places nobody cares to look at.

6. What are you looking for in a penpal?

A unique way of saying things, a creative mind, a strong sense of self, a delicious personality and thought of their own. I don't like people who think that penpalling is either writing only about what they think and what happens to them, regardless of what you write back, or people who won't share about themselves as much as they expect you to share about yourself. A letter is a dialogue breaking the barriers of time, ignoring it, but a dialogue in the end. I don't think you have to necessarily pose questions, but when a topic is posed you should address it, expose your opinion and comment on the opinion of the other person... always in a respectful manner.

I have met people, mostly through the e-mail, who were either interested only in what they had to say, so it made you feel like you were receiving a newsletter, where your reaction was meaningless, and also stalkers who sent you long lists of questions ignoring the times you told them you do not feel comfortable answering some of them, and sending them over and over, making you feel like you are a "cyberthing", not even a real human, and so they had the right to dissect you and pump out all the info they wanted. From a person, you were degraded to a "character".

7. What do you like the most about penpalling?

The style in which you write. The flow of ideas and how people write in a manner so different from the way they talk. I love that sweet, human poetry that happens on the paper.

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

Hungarian mostly, but also English and Spanish.

My boyfriend and I in Wien this spring.

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

I take a little bit of time, mostly because I tend to write a lot. I love to write on colored paper, but with no lines and usually no designs. I do have some stationary with thin ivy leave designs, but other than that I use plain paper, pink, red or green, though sometimes white as well. I write leaving no margins, so I can pretty much cram 32 to 36 lines into a letter sized page. I write only with black ink, and sometimes I draw here and there, and sometimes I feel like writing with a pencil rather than a pen. I'd love to write letters on black paper, but for long couldn't find the right pen for it, until recently I discovered that you can write on black paper with pencils. It looks so pretty!

I don't do colorful writing and I certainly don't do stickers. Have friends who do so, but I feel so strange putting stickers on my letters, specially because I'd rather use that space with words or a doodle.

There's one thing I ALWAYS have to have with me: my journal and a pen.

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

A friend of mine, whom I met in a summer camp, told me once that he used to laugh so hard reading my letters, that one day his brother snatched the letter from his hands and read it and soon the two of them were rolling on the floor reading, and so since then they read my letters together.

The funny thing was that that happened with a letter where I wasn't actually trying to be funny... I was just being myself.

Now, an interesting story is the way I met a friend of mine (with whom I have lost touch a while ago now...). When I returned to Costa Rica after being in Hungary for 2 years, I started writing and e-mailing to a cousin of my then fiancé. She used the nick "krixi". One day I sent her a mail and forgot the "r". To my surprise "kixi" answered me, and we became friends, and very good, loving friends for a long time.

11. Have you met any of your penpals?

Well, I know most of my penpals, since I usually first know them and then start writing to them, but yes, I have met some of them, like Melcsi. You know, the first time we met, I went to the village in Hungary were she lived, and I stayed at her home, with her parents, up to that moment, two strangers. They received me with such deep and warm love I was overwhelmed. I can't forget since then how that first night, she from her bed, and I from her sister's, in the dark, she whispered: "I'm so happy you are here". Penpals do grow close and tight, and defy the idea so many people have, that nothing real and strong could grow through the distance.

Our window and our first plant. None of us knew what the name of the plant was.

12. Are you currently looking for more penpals?

As a matter of fact I do. But snail mail only! Sure, I end up e-mailing here and there, but I love snail mail better because it kind of gives you more chances, more time to work your ideas, wrap them in envelopes and send them with love. The instant delivery of e-mails takes so much time and care from words!

Thank you for such an inspiring interview, Zsuzsanna!

I'm looking for 2 people who would like to be featured on my blog as Penpal of the Week in November, so if you're interested, please let me know!

Julie xox