Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Correspondence as a Hobby

When meeting new people or reconnecting with old ones, the question about hobbies comes out. The answer that I give every time is that I correspond with people around the world. I've been doing it ever since I learned how to write, so to me, it's more of a way of life than a thing that I do when I'm bored. Due to the amusement and disbelief towards my hobby, I thought I would list down the pros and cons associated with correspondence. Just bear in mind that these are my own opinions and every single snail mailer has their own reasoning for writing letters. 

I suppose, I could start by explaining what is correspondence. To me correspondence means the exchange of handwritten letters, which travel through traditional postmen and women. I understand that people may also correspond through electronic ways, but to me that ruins the true essence of correspondence. Before anybody asks, I'm also aware of the other definitions, but they don't seem relevant to this blog post. 

My correspondence history dates back to 2002, when I wrote my very first letter. I started school in 2001, so writing letters happened just after I learned how to write. The main reason for starting this hobby was it being my mother's hobby. She has also been writing letters since her teenage years, so I thought it would be nice to share the same hobby. Moreover, I was jealous of her receiving so much mail, hence I wanted to be surprised by a letter as well. 

My first letters were in Finnish and rather short, however, I got to meet some amazing people and truly practice my horrific handwriting, so that people could actually read it. I remember back in primary school, when I was waiting for my parents to get home so that I could see if I got any mail. *Our mailbox is locked and that time I didn't have the key.* I found it too annoying to wait for my parents to come home from work, so I asked to get the mailbox key as a birthday present one year. Especially, during the summer holidays it was so much fun to watch ''Los Serranos'' from TV while eating breakfast and then head towards the mailbox to see if there was any mail for me. I've got one Finnish pen pal left from the primary school times - she is truly amazing. She is also writing a blog (in Finnish), but if you want to take a look, you can find it here

The correspondence became even more exciting when I started writing letters in English. Honestly, I couldn't care less about learning English in primary school, but I was so lucky to get a lovely teacher at the secondary school. She inspired me to practice English and start writing letters in English as well. This happened in 2008. It was so exciting to receive those first letters from abroad, because people didn't use Internet so much and social media was still in the early stages. I remember the feeling of receiving a handwritten letter from a total stranger, from a foreign country and seeing the beautiful stamps and thinking about its travel from the starting point to the destination. 

I know my first English letters were horrific, because I have saved some drafts. I had to do it, especially with first letters, because I wanted to make sure there weren't too many grammar mistakes. Sometimes I also had to use a dictionary for understanding everything, but hey it meant learning new words and expanding my vocabulary. 

If I were to mention any negative aspects of this hobby, I could say that it is extremely slow, though it depends on the country and the speed of answering to the letters you receive. You may also realize that you don't lick with the other person after exchanging a few letters, which is sad, because then you have ''wasted'' time and stamps, however, you can never know before you try! Nevertheless, the saddest part of correspondence are letters getting lost or stolen! It's so sad to hear after many months of posting a letter that it has never reached its destination. However, this is a part of this hobby, which is out of our control. 

Overall, I couldn't be happier for starting correspondence! It has given me so much: friends, cultural knowledge, better English skills, interesting discussions, beautiful stamps and so much more! People, who don't snail mail or comprehend what it's all about cannot understand how amazing it is! It's a rare hobby to have in today's globalized world full of social media channels, but I still wish this hobby could interest more people in the future. Just imagine how somebody, who you have never met in real life, can spend even six hours for writing you a letter. Hence, correspondence creates long-lasting true friendships

Please, tell me what's your take on correspondence? Could you see it as a hobby yours?