In the era of Instagram, texting, email and technological communication, some say that physical mail is dying. But, the charm of receiving a unique piece letter in the mail cannot be matched by a text or email.
When in quarantine, it can be hard to feel connected to friends and family because everyone is stuck at home and visiting prevents in-person socialization.
Sending pen pal letters in the mail to friends or family is a great way to pass the time in quarantine with a creative activity that will also bring joy to other people’s lives.
The best part about having a pen pal and sending “snail mail” letters is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. It’s simply a fun way to stay creative and connect with people.
Receiving a letter in the mail feels like receiving a gift, but is more cost-effective. All you need is a piece of paper, a pencil or pen, an envelope, a stamp and your imagination.
A pen pal can be anyone, a close friend, a relative, or even a stranger from across the world. There are many organizations that connect people with international pen pals of all ages, everyone from elementary school students to college students to elderly seniors.
Having a pen pal is a great way to share your passions and talents with someone else and learn about their life from a different angle, whether you know each other already or not.
For those interested in foreign languages and cultures, having an international pen pal in a country that speaks the language you’re learning is a great real-life way to practice the language, learn about daily life in another country, understand the culture and maybe even make a connection for a future visit!
Senior Olivia Patitucci spends a lot of time writing pen pal letters to her friends all over the world.
“I love having international pen pals because though I’ve never had the opportunity to travel, I’ve gotten to experience the world through my letters,” said Patitucci.
Pen pal letters can also be therapeutic for people going through hard times during the pandemic.
Many seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are locked down because of COVID-19 and can’t see their families so a simple personalized note letting them know that someone is thinking of them and they aren’t alone could make their day, or even their week.
The same is true for anyone feeling disconnected and alone during this time; you taking the time to write to them and engage with them in a fun and lighthearted way goes a long way for increasing both your happiness and theirs.
Patitucci says that being in quarantine has given her an increased appreciation for joy and connectivity pen pals can bring.
“Now, receiving/sending letters is such a creative way to stay connected with my friends—whether they live across the ocean or just a neighborhood over!” said Patitucci.
So, instead of watching yet another episode of your favorite TV show, consider pulling out a pen and paper and sending some sunshine into someone else’s mailbox.