In my last article I gave you some glimpses of my childhood. This post is also about my childhood and inspired by Lola and her beautyifully written blogpost about the good, oldfashion, snailmail letters, so called pen-pals. To be honest I do not think that the youngsters today know the term “pen-pal”, they even might think I have written the word “paypal” incorrect! Well, this post isn’t at all about paypal, but about a frindship that started many, many years ago.
When I learned to write and read, I fell in love (I still love it!). I read a lot and when I looked through my grandmothers women-magazines I often saw ads where children looked for pen-pals. I never found any that interested me so I decided to write one myself.
I ‘m a girl at 10 years old who want pen-pals my same age. My interests are….
My first one was to a Norwegian magazine “Norsk Ukeblad”. I can’t remember if I got lots of answeres, but I got one, from a cute boy that had some of the same interests as me: We both ran orienteering. (Yes, it’s true, believe it or not. This woman, Mrs. No-Backpacker, clean-freak and high-heels, used to run in the forest with a map and a compass and dirt from top to toe!)
We wrote letters, every week, maybe twice a week, for many years. We shared everything and I think he was my best friend at that time.
At one point we were supposed to meet. I remember it very well (and so does he and his family I have learned later). I was going to visit my big brother, living in Oslo at that time, and my pen-pal asked if we could meet. For a strange reason I didn’t want to meet him, but I didn’t dare to tell him, so I agreed to meet him. The closer the day came, the more nervous I got. In the end I had to tell my brother that didn’t want to meet my pen-pal and that he had to help me out of it.
I called, last minute, and told him I had other plans. Yeah, right… Well, at least I didn’t have to meet him, we were still best friends and we contiuned to write letters as usual.
Until we were around 15-16 years. I don’t know why or exactly when we stopped the exchanging of letters, but it stopped.
Life went on. I got a boyfriend, married, we got out son, obs etc… etc… And then it was Facebook…
Are you the one I used to write thousands of letter to when we were children, and the one I never dared to meet?
It was him! We got connected again. Because I wouldn’t have liked that my husband was connected to a woman I didn’t know, I decided to get to know his wife. We got together very well and I wrote e-mails to both of them. I told about why I never met him and, of course, he made fun of me.
I ‘m going to Bergen for a meeting, do you like to meet up, after 20 years?
Yes, he is stubborn! And the worst thing was that I got exactly the same feeling as 20 years before: “I didn’t want to meet him!” I had to get advises from my husband and… his wife! She managed to persuade me to meet him.
I was incredible nervous the day we agreed to meet, but I didn’t chicken out, luckily! It turned out I had nothing to fare. We met, and we talked and talked and talked. Just like we did when we were children, but this was not by letters but face to face and we were 20 years older.
Are we still friends? Of course! The year after our first meeting he came to the summerhouse, with his wife and two adorable daughters, and stayed for a weekend. It turned out that the four of us connected very well and we had a very nice weekend with lots of talking, laughter and fun.
Last year we were all 40 and of course we were guests in eachothers parties. And I got to meet his parents and siblings…. who all told me they remember the day I rejected their son/brother…
Well, this is my sweet story about pen-pals and friendship, what’s your story?
(You might question why I write about this in my travel-blog. The answer is that all those letters (I had other pen-pals from abroad too) inspired me to be curious on other people, to travel and to write about it. Maybe this blog wouldn’t have been if it wasn’t for all my pen-pals!)