I sometimes joke that my life has consisted of a series of long distance relationships. Because of being homeschooled, being a little geographically isolated and being fortunate enough to travel all around the U.S. and the world, my childhood was a little unconventional in that the majority of my friends were only reachable by phone of letter. I still remember 5.5 year old me picking up the phone to call my friend who lived an hour away or how I would meet someone and ask them for their address so that I could send them mail. I always believed in preserving the sanctity of these relationships, even if it was just based on a single meeting and a slew of letters, by excitedly speaking about my “friends” with my family. This resulted in a healthy number of jokes about my “friends” and how I had so many of them and how low the bar of entry was. When you’re that little, people don’t really take you seriously but I can proudly say that I followed through and responded to any mail that came my way. The sadder bits of this story involve me anxiously waiting for a response and never getting one, imagining friendships to be adventure filled ones like Harry, Ron and Hermione’s and desperately wishing my pen pals could engage with me like that and of course, losing touch with people over time. In any case, in the world of WhatsApp and Gmail, I love a lazy Saturday afternoon, holed away at some cafe, thinking through the right words to send someone somewhere. As humans, we tend to quickly adapt our vernacular to mirror the other person – they “lol” a lot, so will you, they don’t use certain words, chances are you won’t either. Letters remind me to S L O W down and mindfully contemplate what I want to say; they are postmarked compilations of someone’s thoughts, handwriting and language. On a side note, most people know that good stationary is my weak point so that adds to the overall excitement of it all. Today then, I’m grateful for a lifetime of letters, the boxes full of letters that date as far back as ’99 and my amazing friends from all over the world who have stopped the flow of their day to write me back.