Hi, my name is Angela Knuchel, I am 43 years old and live in The Netherlands. I work as a full time senior secretary at a large and worldwide tax/accountancy company. My hobbies include (of course) penpalling, travelling, reading all kind of books and being together with my friends.
If you have to describe yourself in only 5 words what would they be?
Social, caring and busy person.
Tell us something about your town, city or country.
I live in Amsterdam which is the capital of The Netherlands. I was born in Switzerland which makes me mixture of Gouda and Emmenthaler cheese.
How did you start penpalling? When was that? And why did you decide to start Penpalling?
I started penpalling when I was ten years old with a girl in Germany with whom I got linked through an advertisement in a teen magazine. At that age I knew how to speak German because I lived in Switzerland until I was six years old, but I never learned how to write it. So there I sat in the living room writing letters in German with the help on my mum and an ancient Dutch-German dictionary. The reason why I started penpalling was because I thought that if I was able to speak German, I would also be able to write it and next to that I wanted to get in touch with somebody from abroad.
What do you like / dislike about Penpalling/correspondence?
There is actually nothing that I dislike about penpalling. However, I don’t like it if penpals never get back to your questions or remarks and only write about themselves. The things I like about penpalling is getting in touch with people from all over the world and get to know their customs.
How do your friends react when they discover you are into Penpalling? Are they also into it or they give you the “strange” faces?
Not everybody says it, but the reactions I hear are “Oh how odd” or “That’s funny”.I guess that for people who are not into penpalling, it might be strange to hear that you are befriended with people that you have actually never met and that you only know as “paper friends”.They also wonder what subjects you write about and some find it hard to believe that you can get close and confidential with somebody you don’t know person-to-person.
Unfortunately I have lost touch with my first penpal Bärbel Wohlgefahrt from Gelsenkirchen in Germany. As I mentioned at 4. I started penpalling with her when I was ten years old and that lasted until I was 16 years old. At a certain moment letters stopped coming from Germany and over the years I have tried to find her back through the internet but until now that did not work out.
How many Penpals do you have? Where are they from?
Right now I have approximately 20 penpals and they come from: The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, England, Portugal, USA, Guyana, Hong Kong and Australia.
Are you searching for new Penpals? If yes, please give us some contact information that we can publish in the magazine so that people can write to you back.
I would be interested in having some new female penpals from countries outside of Europe from the age of 30 and up. The main key for me is that they are not short letter writing people.
What are you looking for in a penpal?
That is hard to say. I guess that it is just like daily life in which you build up a friendship and I think that is the same with penpals.
Where do you find new Penpals from? Do you rely on FBs or Facebook or other websites/blogs.
In general I find new penpals through FBs
Tell us a funny/interesting story from your Penpalling experience?
Through the years I have met several penpals, but one meeting was terrible.When I was 18 years old I wrote with a girl from Rotterdam who had never been in Amsterdam, so I invited her over for the weekend. Well, the meeting started bad: I told her to wait at a certain point at the train station, but since it was raining she decided to stay dry and have a cup of coffee. I waited for 30 minutes on the spot we were supposed to meet and this was pre-cell phone era… After this we went to Amsterdam and everything that I showed her didn’t make any impression on her at all. At night she wanted to stay at home and watch TV. Well, there was a movie on TV and before the first five minutes of the movie were over, she already told the entire story. So, no use of watching the movie and we decided to play a game of Yatzee; the thing is that she couldn’t stand losing, so that was no fun either. The next day I took her on a canal trip through Amsterdam and after she was negative about the experience (again) I took her to the train station and said that I had other things to do. Needless to say that this weekend was also the end of our correspondence!
How do you keep track of your mail? Share your tip on how to organize ourselves.
I use an incoming and outgoing correspondence book in which I write down the date of receipt of a letter, the date it was written and whether something has be sent along with letter. Upon answering the letter I write down when my letter was sent and whether I had sent something along with the letter (that might be FBs, photos, birthday cards and what so ever).
Do you swap things? Do you like sending gifts to friends? If yes, what is the funniest gift you have ever sent/received?
I do not swap and to some penpals I send birthday gifts. The funniest gifts I have ever received were a caftan and slippers from a male penpal in Morocco. When I was 18 years old I had an ad in a penpalling magazine stating that I was looking for penpals and not for a future husband to be. I was quite sceptic about this Moroccan male penpal, and when I received these gifts I thought that it was extremely nice. Until I told a Muslim friend about it and she told me that it was a kind of a proposal…
Have you met a penpal? If so, let us know how the meeting went.
I have met several of my penpals and in general meeting them was great, unless you think of meeting nr. 12! In February 1988 I went to Trinidad to meet my penpal Rachel and although we were already close friends through our letters, meeting her in person was even better. I had such a great time with Rachel and her family and fell in love with the island and its people (and with Rachel’s brother). So in 1990 I went back to Trinidad and stayed there for six months.
What do you usually like writing/reading about in the letters?
I usually write about day to day things and with some penpals with whom I am very close I write about personal stuff that you would discuss with a regular close friend. These things I also like to read from my penpals.
When it comes to making cute and personal letters, everyone has his/her own style. Tell us your trick how to make a letter/envelope unique? Do you decorate it? If yes, how. Give us some tips on how to make the letters more interesting.
I am not really into decorating stationery, but I always try to get some cute writing paper. Due to problems with my hand I have a lot of trouble writing with a pen, so my letters are always typed and until I switched computers I had my own handwriting on the computer.
Where do you buy your stationery supplies from? Do you prefer traditional shops or e-shops? If so, give us some links.
In general I buy my stationery in traditional shops. I sometimes scan postcards and use the pdf in my letters.
My e-mail address is: angelaknuchel(at)hotmail.com
my Facebook address is: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/angela.knuchel