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7 Ways to Find a Pen Friend

Recently, a fellow blogger asked how I connect with people who love snail mail as much as I do. In this post, I’ll list some sites/projects that have helped me find and maintain pen pals all over the world. Surprisingly, letter writing isn’t as much of a dying art as people tend to think. I’ve found that there still many people who continue to write and send mail. Do you participate in these projects or know of any others? Check these out and hopefully you’ll meet a few pen-pals along the way!


1. Postcrossing 

What is it? “It’s a project that allows anyone to receive postcards (real ones, not electronic) from random places in the world.” I have received 362 postcards and sent 359 – been a member for 3 years. 

LOVE: It’s super easy. Every postcard you send out, you’ll get one in return. It’s great because sending postcards is more affordable than packages. It’s totally random and you have the opportunity to meet people from all over. Great for postcard and stamp collectors. 

MEH: Some people write a line or two and you never really get to know them. After you receive their postcard you can thank them… but that’s usually where it ends. Sometimes users are interested in private swaps, but it generally ends up being a one-for-one swap. 

 2. Swap-Bot

What is it? “On Swap-bot, you can host swaps, join swaps, and chat with other swappers from all over the world.” I have completed 43 swaps with a rating of 5.0 since April 2014. 

LOVE: Not limited to postcards, you can send and receive tons of stuff: generally stationery, art trading cards, washi tape, paper goods, tea, samples etc (the list is endless). Easy instructions and a good way to connect. Go for the “pen-pal” or “long letter” swaps, generally people continue writing… even after the swap has ended. 

MEH: People are hardcore about swaps here. If you flake out and don’t send… everyone gets upset (for obvious reasons) so don’t join this if you aren’t serious about sending things out. If your rating is low you’ll basically be banished so choose swaps wisely and send only when/if you can. 

3. Lovely Letters 

What is it? “A monthly snail mail exchange where you can make international pen friends.”

LOVE: There is a different theme every month and  guideline of $7 or less per package. You must email your partner to get to know them before you send the package. You’re paired with a different partner each month. You can participate monthly or join in intermittently whenever you want. 

MEH: Each package should have a tracking number when shipped. Since it’s considered registered mail it could become costly depending on where you live.  

These are the three sites that I use most frequently.

Here are some other great ways to make pen friends….

  • Interpals
  • Happster Mail
  • Facebook Groups: ie. Penpal Fever, Penpal all over the world etc.
  • Instagram: #snailmail, #penpalrevolution, #penpaling, #penpalswanted etc.
  • Or you could start a blog (if you don’t already have one).

Happy mailing, everyone!! 

 

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Sushi Night

I know what you might be thinking. If you’re anything like me, eating fish now scares the crap outa you thanks to the Fukushima disaster. I don’t care what anyone says, the radiation from Fukushima IS significant and scary so we don’t do this everyday.

This is the first time in a while that we’ve eaten fish and when we want some sushi we don’t go out for all you can eat.No, no. We make it right in our very own kitchen.

If you’re thinking: Sushi night? Hell yeah! Go ahead, read on.

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Do it yourself:

While waiting for the rice we cut the cucumber into fine strips.

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Then make the rice sauce which is comprised of rice vinegar, sugar (we used agave) and a bit of salt. You can also use horse radish instead of pre-made wasabi. It has the same flavour and isn’t filled with preservatives. Mix a bit of horse radish with soy sauce.

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Next, prepare steamed octopus for the Tako Sushi, avocado cream cheese and asparagus.

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Remember to buy fresh fish. We got ours at Aquarius Fish Market. They were really helpful and told us which fish was best to use for sushi, how much etc. They even took the skin off for us… but we asked them not to throw it away. We decided to keep it and will use for  salmon skin rolls.

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Cut seaweed (Nori) into strips. You can find Nori in packages at most grocery stores in the specialty food section and almost all asian markets. Place sushi under the steamed octopus and wrap with the Nori.

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We ended up getting salmon and tuna from the fish market as well. We bought about $35 worth and could not finish it all. Use the fish for sushi, sashimi and/or rolls to get the most out of your purchase.

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To start our roll we put rice on the nori and sprinkled some chia seeds on there. You can roll it two ways: with the rice on the inside or the outside. You’ll see what I mean in the photos below.

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We decided to make a tuna roll, smothered in a spicy sauce made from teriyaki sauce and mayonnaise, avocado and raw asparagus. This combination makes the texture crunchy, yet smooth. Of course, you can use whatever add ons you’d like. I’ve tried sushi rolls with mango… and even grapes!

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Feel free to be creative. I really loved this simple combination: tuna, avocado and cream cheese.

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We were so stuffed by the end of the night. Thank you to my 남자친구 Kiuk!
You’re a wonderful chef!