How many times can you honestly say that you looked forward to the mailman coming? How many times have you rushed to the postbox to see if you had a letter, other than some package you ordered online and of course not the usual bill you have to pay? A true letter. A correspondence from a friend. Something that would make you check the postbox in anticipation, eagerly awaiting that small envelope with that familiar handwriting addressed to you. And in that, it would enclose news, something you would otherwise share with your friend over coffee, or a walk in the park. If only you were not separated by so many miles. And the small problem of never having actually met…
I have one such friend. A person with whom I literally grew up.
The other day, I was sorting out some old stuff. And I found that I have been sharing my life with this penfriend since even before my teens. It’s funny to see how we evolved together. How we shared our daily routines, from the time we went to school, our high school crushes, our hobbies and interests, and how this later turned out into something more “serious”. Into going to study what we love at university, finding work and leading a “grown-up life”.
My friend and I have shared a lifetime together. But we have never met in person.
Having only known the image of each other from photos, we grew closer together from our writing. From these letters we exchange every so often. Even in this digital age, and despite our contact on social networks, we still write letters to each other in the traditional way – yes with pen and paper. Why? Because it’s fun! Because no matter everything else that changes, this is something that remains constant. Because no matter where in the world we are, we still write to each other and share our experiences, our thoughts and concerns. Because there is a certain elation in getting a letter in the post, that you know is exclusively for you and does not demand any money in return. Because it simply is a joy.
Growing up with a penfriend from across the world, I have learnt to indulge into different cultures. To want to know more about how people outside the constraints of my nation live, think and act. I have learned to appreciate difference and diversity and have learned to value the importance of human contact. You can’t live life alone. And sometimes when you want to escape the toxic routine of your daily life, having a penfriend, someone who will let you in on their own life even from afar, will help you do just that.
I love having a penfriend. And after so many years and countless letters, I still look forward every time to the moment I will open the post box and find her letter waiting for me. It is an excitement that words cannot describe. Because sometimes it is the joy in the simple things that become your greatest treasure.