Wednesday, 27 June 2007

The Technological Age

21 years ago, in a sunny classroom in Napier, NZ, my teacher Miss Kwai pinned a whole lot of handwritten letters to the wall. It turned out she had a friend who was a teacher in Kauai, HI, and they were keen to get a penpal system going. When we finished our work, we were to go up to the wall and pick a letter, and we were to become that person's penpal.
I recall I picked a letter on yellow paper, with lots of writing (value for money).
My new penpal was called Britt, and she lived in Hawaii with her brothers and they had a catamaran. I remember being enthralled by the fact that she Lived In Hawaii, which may as well have been Mars to me.
I wrote back telling her about my life, and we became penpals. We swapped photos, and coins, I remember a pamphlet about shaved ice things dimly, and a letter from her beginning "Dear Amy, today my chicken eggs hatched and we now have 6 baby chicks" - too excited for niceties.
The one constant about my childhood and teenage years was this contact with Britt, sometimes lots, sometimes hardly any, but always there. The amazement when she sent me a fax for the first time. I think it was sent to my Mum's work and to me it was like receiving a present from the departed. Then it was phone calls. She called me on my birthday one year and I was so gobsmacked all I could think to tell her was that we found a cockroach in the toaster that morning.
While I grew up in NZ Britt was all over the world, in LA, in France, England, then in Germany for a few years. Emailing became the way to keep in contact, as well as texting.
It all came to a head a couple of years ago, when I had decided to get married, and Britt and I thought it would be great if she could come to the wedding. Unfortunately the wedding didn't come to pass, but Britt had already booked her flights.
So here I was, waiting nervously at our holiday home in Taupo when this gorgeous blonde comes flying out of her rental car and it's like we've always known each other (which in a way, we have). We had a fantastic time travelling around the North Island, learning about each other and becoming friends. She did whiskey shots with my step-dad and loved my roast lamb special, danced with my friends and explored the thermal wonderland of Orakei Korako.
I am so lucky to have this penpal, and great friend, I just wanted to give her a big shout out and say thank you Britt and I hope we never lose contact. X x x

1 comment:

CaliValleyGirl said...

Lol...OMG....I still remember the cockroach in the toaster...too crazy...I also remember that you couldn't talk long, because your mother was expecting a call, because she was a realtor and she was trying to sell a house, and someone was going to call about! was wonderful to finally meet, and thank goodness for the techie age!