Monday, December 7, 2009

Penpal of the Week #26

Today, let's meet Caroline from the UK!

1. Please tell us about you!

My name is Caroline, I'm 33 years old and I'm mum to nearly 7 year old Jasmine. We live here in Gloucester with my husband Dave. Dave is 40, an I.T. Consultant and has 2 children from his previous marriage, Rhiannon, 11 and Daniel, 9. They both live with their mum but we usually see them every Sunday. I met Dave on an online dating site called Loopy Love, 3 1/2 years ago and we got married in April of this year. I can honestly say it was the best day of my life.

Me and Jasmine after the wedding ceremony.

I don't work at the moment, I actually stood down 7 weeks ago from my last job as a Weight Watchers Leader, which I'd been doing for a year and a half. But I could feel my weight beginning to creep on so I decided that stepping down would be in my best interests. We're about to move house so I will look for work once that is over with.

Our pets include a cat, a hamster and 2 Guinea Pigs. My main hobbies are pen palling, Facebook and Penpals-United. You can find me on Facebook or Interpals.

2. Describe your personality in 10 words!

Ooooh this is a hard one.

Thoughtful - I think about others a lot, whether it be seeing something I think someone will like while I'm out shopping, or wondering how people are.

Honest - I don't like lying to people, I wouldn't expect it to be done to me, which is why I don't lie to others. I may not tell people everything on what I'm really thinking but I certainly wouldn't lie. Honesty is always best as the truth always outs itself in the end!!

Negative - I'm very much a glass half empty kind of person, and believe in worst case scenarios - that way if something goes completely the opposite, I'm pleasantly surprised.

Outspoken - I used to be very introvert due to not wanting to cause a scene - that was before I lost a lot of weight. I now stand up for myself, and complain if I need to.

Maternal - I love my daughter like I never thought it possible to love someone. She is a mini me!

Happy - Since meeting Dave, my life has done a complete U - turn. I am now over 100lbs lighter than I used to be, and I have a place where I can call home. I have fabulous friends and a loving family. I do still have the occasional off day though, I'm only human!!

Me and Dave on an evening out back in July for my birthday.

Funny - I have a good sense of humour, can be a dry, sarcastic kind of wit, but I do love the good old belly ache laugh! I like to see people laughing.

Needy - When I say needy, I mean it in the way that I love to be liked. I hate the thought of someone I know not liking me, for whatever reason. Saying that, if somebody doesn't know me, I'm not bothered by what they think of me.

Loyal - I stick by my friends and my family, unless I'm well and truly stabbed in the back. Luckily that's not happened too much in my life.

Forgiving - I like to think I'm a very forgiving person - don't get me wrong, I won't let someone walk all over me, but if I think a person is truly sorry, then I try my best to forgive them.

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

This time around I've been pen palling for 6 1/2 years. I did used to pen pal in my teens too, I really can't remember how it started. I think my very first penpal was a boy called Marcel, he was from Germany, but that's about all I can remember as it was about 21 years ago now.

When I took it back up 6 1/2 years ago, I was in a relationship with my daughter's dad, it was a very lonely relationship and I had very few friends, if any, so I decided to take up pen palling again.

This was taken at a friend's wedding a couple of weeks back
and it's the most recent photo of myself I have.

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

I have about 45, some aren't regular writers though, in that they send a letter once or twice a year. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a pen pal collector and I know real life comes first. Most of my pals are from the UK but I do have some from America, Germany, Russia, France and Spain.

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

What I've been doing since I last wrote, normal every day stuff, and I can sometimes be "deep" and talk about past experiences. I like to ask questions, and just like to write a really chatty letter. I can also be quite random too.

Emsi, me and Sar at my wedding reception.
Emsi and Sar are 2 of my penpals, and they're fab!
I'd have had the majority of my pals there if I'd had my way!

6. What are you looking for in a penpal?

Somebody that I can "click" with, have a real connection. A true friend who I can confide in if I need to.

Somebody who will write more than 2 sides of A5 paper, you can't possibly click with someone who writes something so short.

Someone who will write when they can - I don't expect people to write straight away, as I certainly don't. As long as they write when they can, that's fine with me.

7. What do you like the most about penpalling?

Getting a letter through the post, creating real friendships with people, just everything about pen palling is brilliant.

This photo of me, Jasmine and Debbie was taken on the last
Penpals-United meet up in August.

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

Just English I'm afraid. I learnt French at school but it was so long ago, the majority of it has been forgotten.

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

I love using pretty paper, I buy a lot of my stationery from Janetstore, plus I also use stickers to decorate the plain sides of the paper I'm writing on. But I don't expect that from my pen pals - I don't mind what paper their reply is on, it's what is in their letter that counts, not what is on it.

I also like to use glitter or metallic gel pens, and also fountain pens as I just love the way they write. I tend to write when I have the time as I don't want it feeling like a chore, as there's no way you could possibly enjoy it then.

I usually tend to hand write my letters but there has been the odd occasion where I've typed it. I wouldn't send someone a typed letter if I knew they didn't like typed letters.

This stationery is just a small amount of what I have sitting in my cupboard,
I will honestly never need to buy paper ever again but hey ho, I will!!

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

Not hugely, although I did once have someone send me weird newspaper articles, religious leaflets, and those fizzy exploding things that melt on your tongue, all in the same envelope. There was no letter in it either. Strange!!

11. Have you met any of your penpals?

I certainly have! The first penpal I met was my friend Kathryn, at the age of 17, she came to my 18th birthday party too. We stayed in touch for about 3 years before losing contact, but recently were reunited via Facebook and I went and met up with her again in August of this year which was lovely.

Me and Kathryn meeting up for the first time in 14 years.

I've also got a good friendship with my pal Elaine who used to live a 20 minute drive from me when I lived in Essex, we used to meet every couple of weeks or so, and I last saw her on Halloween weekend where I met her 10 day old daughter.

Two of my other penpals, Sarah J and Emsi came to my wedding reception, plus I've also met up a couple of times with Debbie, Nicola, and Kelly from Penpals-United. When I go to Leicester, I usually meet up with another penpal of mine, Sarah and I've also met a few other pals at another penpal meet.

12. Are you currently looking for more penpals?

This is the part where I should say no, as I have enough already. But I can never resist a long chatty letter..............

Yes, I know what you mean - it IS hard to resist! Thank you for the nice interview, Caroline!

Would anyone be interested in being featured as Penpal of the Week on my blog during the holidays? If so, please let me know!

Julie xox

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