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


  1. Thanks a lot Julie for introducing to us such interesting people through "Penpal of the Week". I enjoy the interviews immensely.
    Fernanda @bfersapiens

  2. I could hardly wait till Monday to read about another pen-paller :-) It was worth to wait.

  3. Wow Tina...what a surprise mentioned me there along your penpals. You amaze me you are creative, talented and most of all you are one lovable person. I am so proud to be your friend and as i always tell you, although we live far from each other and we never met in person, i feel that you are much closer to me than those around me !!

    Keep on being the wonderful person that you are and i hope that one day we'll meet after all these years !!

    Big hugs - Shirley from Malta xxxx

  4. Aaaaah...thank you! :-) And thank YOU Julie for the opportunity to give this interview!

    And SHIRLEY my heart....thanks for your awesome words! They made me speechless... Love you lots!