Hi, My name is Yanelis Gourrie, I was born in Cuba in 1979 and now I reside in Tampa, Florida USA. I love pen paling, photography, reading, writing, collecting postcards, magnets. I love to travel.
If you have to describe yourself in only 5 words what would they be?
Honest, Sincere, Loyal, Adventurous, Loving.
Tell us something about your town, city or country.
Tampa is a city in Florida. We are about an hour from Orlando. We are surrounded by beautiful beaches Clearwater, Indian Rocks, St Pete and it is at times a little boring, but at other times there is a lot going on. We have some amazing clubs, some great theater and the best beaches and museums.
How did you start penpalling? When was that? And why did you decide to start Penpalling?
I started pen paling when I was 14 years old, I replied to an ad on a magazine and I do still keep in touch with that first pen pal. She lives in Italy and it has been an amazing experience to still stay in touch so many years later and kind of have grown together as kids, teenagers, and now adults. I started pen paling out of curiosity and here I come and I would not trade for anything.
What do you like / dislike about Penpalling/correspondence?
I love getting something in the mail that you do not expect – a letter, a postcard, a swap or just a simple hello. It is amazing how my face brightens up, and at the same time to know that someone’s face will bright up when they get mine too. I dislike how sometimes the correspondence can get lost.
How do your friends react when they discover you are into Penpalling? Are they also into it or they give you the “strange” faces?
My “real life” friends think it is waste of time. They do not understand how I can tell pen pals things so personal and spend money on stamps and other items for total strangers. Now they are used to it. I do encounter the store clerk always asking why I purchase so many postcards and the post office they love me when I go in for stamps.. $$$
Do you still stay in touch with your first penpal? Tell us about your first penpal even if you have lost touch with them. We might be able to help you locate him/her.
I do still stay in touch with Selena, my first pen pal of 17 years. She is 2 years younger than me. She resides in Italy and we have never met, however I wish and hope one day we will. She and I still write and we are also friends on facebook.
How many Penpals do you have? Where are they from?
Right now I have 63 pen pals. About 16 or so right every week and about 20 once a month. I have others who will write every few months, once a year for birthday or something. They are from here in the USA, from England, Scotland, Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand and all over the world.
What are you looking for in a penpal?
Someone honest that will think of our friendship as an everlasting friendship, where 20 years from now we can still be friends.
Where do you find new Penpals from? Do you rely on FBs or Facebook or other websites/blogs.
Since opening my new dream on facebook Pen Pals For Life www.facebook.com/penpalsforlife I have been able to find new pals there. I also use friendship books and Websites.
Tell us a funny/interesting story from your Penpalling experience?
I do not have any, sorry.
How do you keep track of your mail? Share your tip on how to organize ourselves.
I have a binder where I have info sheets on all my pen pals and also keep track of when I write, what I send, and when they reply. Birthday and holidays cards. Very organized and works for me. Pen Pals do not go on the binder until after 5 letters that is when I know we will be established pen pals. Until then I just put it on a pile.
Do you swap things? Do you like sending gifts to friends? If yes, what is the funniest gift you have ever sent/received?
Yes, I do swap things - postcards, magnets, pencils, stickers, fb’s, and anything that my pals wants to that I can get here.
Have you met a penpal? If so, let us know how the meeting went.
Yes, I have met a few. I met Amanda here in Tampa and we had coffee for about 3 hours or so and now we will be going to the beach on the 14th. I also met a few others here in Tampa and right now planning on meeting a few. In august I will be travelling to England to meet a few pen pals.
What do you usually like writing/reading about in the letters?
I like to write almost as if I am having a conversation with my pen pal. So when they read it is not like reading a letter, but hearing me. I like to write about what has been going on in my life, what I think, my thoughts, and ask lots of questions to them and be involved.
When it comes to making cute and personal letters, everyone has his/her own style. Tell us your trick how to make a letter/envelope unique? Do you decorate it? If yes, how? Give us some tips on how to make the letters more interesting.
I like to make it unique for each pal. The stickers to decorate, what do they like, for example if they like monkeys, try some monkey stickers. If they dislike frogs, make sure I do not put any frog stickers.. I do decorate the letters and envelopes.
Where do you buy your stationery supplies from? Do you prefer traditional shops or e-shops? If so, give us some links.
I use ebay, dollar store or swaps.