Pen pals Catherine (L) and Juanita (R), meet for this first time in July after exchanging letters during the Pen Pal Project.
The Pen Pal Project caught up with two pen pals who didn’t make it to the picnic on June 20th, but made time to meet in July.
What was it like to meet your pen pal for the first time?
Just prior to meeting my pen pal Juanita, I was a little nervous. I was eager to put a face to the Juanita I had begun to get to know through her letters and I also wondered what kind of impression I would make in person.
Because I was unable to make it to the Pen Pal Project barbecue, we made plans to meet for lunch at Café Pyrus. We walked together to the café and enjoyed a leisurely lunch meal together. Any fears I may have had about meeting quickly subsided after a few minutes of conversation. We were fortunate to be a great pen pal match! We both have a lot in common and were able to chat about art and AGO exhibits, our mutual interest in community development and our similar educational backgrounds.
I enjoyed the experience of writing to one another, and receiving letters in the mail, but meeting in person and gaining a new connection in the community has been even better! I now recognize another familiar face in the neighbourhood. In addition, it has been so great to learn about community projects and events through Juanita’s knowledge and promotion of the neighbourhood. I previously had no idea that so many cool, creative, community oriented projects are going on in my own backyard. I am excited to continue to grow my network of neighbours and friends and become more engaged in our wonderful community.
I haven’t gotten to know someone new through letters in probably 30 years! In the last decade, I usually meet people through online connections or directly, in person. Letters is certainly a different way of getting to know someone. I like to think of it as “slow friendship”…. Like slow food, slow travel, and slow weekends. It takes a little longer to form an impression of a person, but I find I remember details about my pen pal that I might not had we met for 10 minutes at a party.
I was very excited for our first-time meeting – I made sure to leave enough time and not arrive late!
Catherine & I met on the corner of Louisa Street & Waterloo Street in the Midtown Mount Hope neighbourhood where we both live. It felt like being a kid again, walking down the street to meet up with a friend and head over to a café downtown.
Our first lunch together covered a wide range of topics but we both discovered a common passion for neighbourhood development projects and the plotting and planning began also immediately with exchanging ideas.
Since we’ve met, we see each other walking in the neighbourhood and at the yoga studio we both frequent. Which leaves me wondering… with our common interests and common hangouts, how often have we been crossing paths in the community before now, and we just never met until now!
A little bit like the opening scenes from when Harry met Sally!
Do you have a pen pal “first meeting” story? Share it with us!