Did you ever have a pen pal? I suppose most people got them through school, but I found mine through the post office. One I still talk to one (Hi Becca!!), but the other I do not.
I was really young, 10 maybe? And God knows it was pre-internet, so there wasn't a whole lot outside of my little Maine town that I knew about. Having a pen pal was like having a window into a different dimension. A dimension where everything wasn't green, people didn't wear parkas, and no one was white. It was almost surreal.
My first pen pal was from Ghana. I had no idea where Ghana was, so I pulled out my parent's World Atlas and flipped to Africa. Wow, there, a whole world away, was a girl my age who knew me. Who wrote me letters and sent pictures. I think the letters were mainly about what our lives in our countries were like. I was always excited to get a letter with that Air Mail sticker on it.
Until one day when I opened the letter and read it. It was several pages long and it was basically telling me that I was going to Hell for all of my sins. I was like 12 years old, or something. What could I have possibly told her that would warrant eternity in Hell? I was so angry. My mom told me that she had probably reached some sort of coming-of-age age or some shit. I didn't care. I thought she was my friend, but she obviously wasn't.
I never wrote back.
I don't really remember why I thought it was a good idea to try again, but I am glad I did. Australia, now that was a country I knew about. They had kangaroos and koalas. There was a girl there who was my age and liked things that I liked. We made each other mixed tapes and I listened to mine over and over. I felt wicked cool listening to punk bands that none of my friends knew about.
Then of course in college we got email and more recently facebook. I'd love to actually meet her one day.
But I have no idea what happened to my Ghanaian friend. I wonder if she is on facebook.