While I was taking my break from everything on base, I decided to start pen paling again. Years ago I use to write both pen pal letters and wrote deployed service members. I had realized how much I missed doing that and decided to start both back up.
For pen paling in the past I had used sassoctions.com to find pen pals but this time I wanted to try some of the groups I saw on Facebook. I found a few people and have be writing back and forth to them for a few weeks now. I also found a pen pal through Instagram who lives in England. It’s exciting to see their letters and to learn about their lives in various parts of the world.
To write the deployed service members I joined back up with Soldiers’ Angels. I use to write with them for about a year back in 2011. They have different teams that send cards and letters to deployed service members that don’t receive much during mail call. It’s to help those deployed that someone is thinking of them and gives us a chance to thank them for their service. I have since stopped using Soldiers’ Angels because at least half of my letters get returned because of issues with the address. I have joined a Facebook group though instead that sends letters and care packages to those who need extra support. Plus they also send letters to recruits going through boot camp to encourage them. I won’t post the group info here but if you really want to know how to help them send letters, etc please email or send me a message through my contact page.
I usually write about 10 to 30 letters a week. Not even exaggerating. One of the great things about being at a base overseas is that letters and packages to other FPOs or APOs are free to send. I really wanted to take advantage of that because stamps are expensive.
After I had been writing letter for about a month or so, a friend on Facebook asked if I would be interested in writing inmates. At first I was hesitant because of all the horrible things I heard about prison. But then I realized that there are probably some that just need a friend or someone to listen to. I talked to Jeremy about it and we agreed that with us being in Japan, it should be safe to try out. He agreed that I shouldn’t write anyone in jail for something violent (i.e. assault or murder) and that if I had any warning flags that I would stop writing them. I reached out to about a dozen or so inmates that met the criteria. Some wrote back and some passed my name onto someone else needing a friend to write to. All of them were surprised why a married woman was writing them but once I explained my motives and that my husband supported me doing this, they understood and seemed okay with it. They even write him messages in the letters they send me occasionally. They really seem to like when I send pictures of Japan and of my photography.
I am still writing a lot but instead of the hand written letters lately I have been typing them on the computer and printing them out on pretty stationary. Handwriting takes a lot longer and right now I don’t have as much free time. I don’t want to neglect anyone that writes me, so for now typed letters will have to do. Maybe after the holidays I will have more time to go back to the hand written ones because I know those have a more personal touch. I don’t know about the people that get my letters but every time I get a letter, I’m very happy. Even Katniss gets into the letter writing.
Over the months I have begun collecting a decent amount of stationery and washi tapes. The picture of the bookcase is just of my washi collection (I have added a dozen rolls since that picture was taken) and most of my boxes of cards. The picture of me holding a stack of something is my Japanese inspired stationery (what I write most on). I have already worked my way through half of that paper since taking the photo. I like to match the washi tape I use to seal the envelopes to the stationery and I usually like to match the stationery to the season or my mood. I try not to send the same stationery to the same person twice. I really wish that I had more choices for stamps but I will take what I can get from the post office on base.
I have a letter box like the one I showed y’all in a previous post about my pen paling from years ago. I hope to have it filled by the time we leave here. Right now it is half way filled with letters just from this year! I love reading over them multiple times.