I clearly recall my first pen pal. His name was John, and he was a student in a school far from Paris. The teachers connected us in our respective schools to write to one another as a way of enhancing effective learning. My communication with John did not end there as for seven years now, we have not only been friends but also kept on writing letters to one another. We do not speak on the phone, meet, or write emails to one another as our friendship is entirely handwritten. I recall the challenge I encountered while writing my first letter to John concerning the paper, the color of ink, and what to tell him; these thoughts strongly overwhelmed me. Ultimately, I chose to use a pink grid paper and a black pen while sitting alone in the bright light of the sitting room. Writing of letters not only has the value of promoting literacy in the alternative language, but also supports broader understanding of the world and richer associations with friends.
Change of Perception and Enhancement of Literacy
Sending letters to pen pals is of great benefit to literacy. Initially, one might experience the challenge of what to write, the way to begin or conclude the letter, and what to ask. To start with, one has to choose the tone to employ. From the experience I have gained for regularly writing to John, I have acquired the tendency of writing as I speak thus my tone is unofficial; writing as if in a personal conversation while posing inquiries and responding to them. During the initial days of writing to John, I would at all times begin with an introduction stating my name, where I am from, and something about myself. In writing letters to pen pals, one begins building the friendship with continued communication. Knowing a pen pal’s hobbies is significant as it helps in knowing the areas on which to base the letters. Since I like reading and writing as John too does, some of the things we share encompass our favorite books and what we were presently reading. Music and movies were our other mutual hobbies thus we share the new music and films that interest us.
In writing letters to a pen pal, it is lively to create queries too. Although it is just a letter, one expects a reply. It is worth asking a pen pal concerning the life in their nation. It is also good to send at least one photo each after a moment of exchanging letters. As our friendly relationship advanced, we interchanged photos of our growing up, thus ensuring we get visual records of our good relations. John once sent me photos of her extended family, and I sent her photos of some vital days of my life. Since John’s initial letter, we have constantly exchanged hundreds of letters. We talk about learning in school, youthful life, and issues in our lives, hopes, and aspirations. Moreover, we communicate concerning our future families, professions, and upcoming lives. I have a file of letters and an album of photos from John. Though written words, we became pals in a friendship that has crossed languages, years, and oceans.
Most of the time, I have been telling John of the issues I find challenging in my life and what being misunderstood by my parents and siblings make me feel. In one letter, John told me something that still lingers in my mind. This is what he had written: “You have now had more letters from me than any of my friends or relatives. It is my hope that you are fine, and your studies are not as challenging as they used to be. Always believe that you are more than a conqueror and look towards the future with optimism no matter your present situation. You have at all times been a source of encouragement to me, and I will always be grateful. Pass my regards to your entire family and do not allow any day pass devoid of a kind consideration and prayer concerning them.” Today morning, when I received the news that John had passed on in an accident, I wept uncontrollably. I wept for an irreplaceable pal who treasured his pals and who valued writing. A pal that took his time to ensure that a youthful girl get the conviction that when she had a pressing issue or something to share, there was someone ready to listen.
John was the pen pal that I had known through our teachers connecting the students in the respective schools for mutual gain. Writing of letters does not just have the advantage of developing literacy in the alternative language but, in addition, backs broader comprehension of the world and wealthier connections with friends. Sending letters to pen pals greatly profits literacy. Even in his death, I am the one that will always be grateful for the way John strived to encourage and shape me for greatness.