I used to have a dozen penpals all over the world. I guess that started in my late 20s. Looking for others to learn about their countries and lifestyles first hand from someone who lived there. Today of course, this is possible through many websites and blogs, but there is something unique about getting a real letter in the mail. It was almost like having a friend arrive at your door for a good chin-wag and a coffee.
|Image from morguefile.com|
What got me started off on these thoughts was one of my nieces. From the time both of my nieces were born we've lived several hours apart (by car), but it's not that hard to hop in the car and visit, particularly when my parents were alive. We'd meet there pretty often since it's was halfway between each of our homes. My sister's family and mine found "mom and dad's" an easy option to see each other more often. Both of the girls have grown up to be beautiful girls and amazing people.
The oldest has just arrived in New Zealand on a 2-year working visa. I know that this is something she wanted - oh, initially it wasn't a country, but a place. She went to university to become a vet, and ended up completing the vet tech course. Locally, there aren't that many places to work in the field with larger animals (horses, cows, sheep), but that's really where her heart is. Since graduating from uni she's worked in Veterinary Clinics close to home, and although she loves all animals (grew up with dogs, cats, and a horse), she's always had a leaning towards farming stock.
On a trip to New Zealand, she found what she loved. The country life, lots of ranches and lots of animals. She's been working the last few years to qualify for a working visa in New Zealand, and finally she did it. She's there! She looks happy and excited to be off on another new adventure (she's quite a travel hound), albeit a much longer one that any other trip.
Where she goes from here - whether she ever comes "home" to stay, or falls in love with NZ and is able to immigrate permanently is anyone's guess. What I hope is that she'll do whatever it is she loves to do. Our kids have to be free to live their lives and make their choices, and we (as family) have to let them. As for me, I've decided that I'll communicate with her by "snail mail" several times a year. The first letter will be a surprise to her, after that, well perhaps she'll look forward to getting letters on paper! After all ... there's nothing like getting mail from home in your post!