May 30, 2011
We have made some new friends on our trip. I love meeting and talking with people from other countries, because they give such a different perspective of the world. As my boss and others have said, "There is a great big world out there." Sometimes it’s hard to remember that, given the station in life where you are.
Our new friends are from Puerto Rico. It was completely happenstance, as we were seated at the same table by mere chance. That’s what happens when you go on a cruise or vacation, if you’re lucky. You get seated with people who are like you but with different experiences. In our case, we lucked out this time.
We have spent the last 6 nights dining with them and talking not only about world events but also about life, perspectives, and politics. It has been very nice.
We have exchanged phone, email, phone and addresses. I do hope to hear from them when we return home. I would like to keep in touch. I plan to do so. After all, I’m an experienced long-distance friend. I’ve had a pen pal / friend from Japan for over 27 years now.
I started writing to her when I was 13. It was junior high, and our English teacher made us get a pen pal. I say made us, but for me it was more like allowed us! I was super-stoked. This was for a class assignment. I had to do it! I had to write, buy postage, and keep writing – for a grade. So, in other words, my mom couldn’t say I couldn’t do it. I ended up with pen pals from France, Austrailia, and England as well. I finally had to choose to stay with just one, as all that writing and mailing, in the days before email and the internet, was time-consuming and expensive. Now, it would be a piece of cake. I wish I’d thought to require my own children to do the same. It is truly a life-changing experience if you follow through with it.
I do believe I am the only former 7th grader still writing to her assigned pen pal. I just lucked out, like on this cruise where we met and made good, new friends.