Keeping in touch with far away friends
From a penpal chain letter that was going around in my grade 6 class to a long-term, long-distance friendship is quite impressive and something I want to hold on to. Letters that once talked about girlfriends and hobbies, then boyfriends, university degrees, and first jobs, turned to marriage and children and just life in general.
In the 90's, just by coincidence, my husband's brother was actually living in Holland for a couple of years. When we decided to visit in 1994 we included a visit with my penpal Johanna. Imagine, at this point I had written to her for 18 years but we had never met. We arranged to meet her and her husband at a local restaurant and all anxieties of meeting each other were quickly dropped when we started talking. They then walked us through the town, took us on a tour boat, shared dinner with us in their favourite vegetarian restaurant and then invited us for coffee at their apartment. It was Johanna who first introduced us to coffee with hot, frothy milk and I have loved it ever since (although I don't think I can ever make it as good as she did). It was a great day. One of those days that I can clearly picture and remember.
Our letters are more of an annual event now, usually around Christmas time. For whatever reason, Christmas came and went and I had not posted any cards although I did receive one from Johanna. I decided I would write to her after Christmas. January passed and now we're almost into mid-February and I just didn't want to forget about sending a letter. So today was the day. I shuffled through my lovely handmade card collection and I picked a beautiful one with a purple tulip on it and then I sat down and wrote to her. It's good to sit down and actually write something with a pen. It allows you the time to think of that person.
When your mailbox is usually full of flyers and advertisements for gym memberships and of course the dreaded bills it's so nice to see a handwritten envelope and then see the familiar writing on the address. It's the kind of letter I wait to open when I get home so I can sit down, and take a moment to read it. I hope she feels the same way when she sees my handwriting below the Canadian stamps.