Life Life

01/12/2022 - 14:54

Back to the old-fashioned style with the trend of handwritten letters

Pen pal, or making friends through postal mail, is becoming a popular trend among young people to interact with each other or make friends with foreign mates.

Writing handwritten letters becomes a joy of many young people

One weekend morning, Nguyen Ngoc Ly, a student of the University of Education, Hue University, received a special parcel by post. It was a handwritten letter, with a small gift from her pen pal. “I've been waiting for this letter for more than a week,” excitedly said Ngoc Ly.

Seemingly being sunk into oblivion by the smartphone era, notwithstanding, young people are excited about handwritten mails recently. This trend is often referred to by the “gen Z” as pen pal – making friends through postal mails. Senders and recipients often write to each other letters, accompanied by small handmade gifts.

Of course, these letters have to be sent by post in the old-fashioned style. However, instead of going to the post office for stamping and sending as in the traditional way, young people now choose pickup services provided by delivery agencies, such as EMS, J&T, express delivery businesses... This choice creates a convenience for them as they don't have to travel any distance and are still able to send mails.

Today, pen pal letters are decorated and designed much more meticulously with stickers, dried flowers, calligraphy writings, ribbons, decorative paper... Instead of being “text only” letters, they have now being turned into eye-catching and nostalgic artwork.

For those who are familiar with bullet journals, their letters will come with a few stickers, decorative washi paper... to exchange with their friends. By doing so, young people will have more friends and share with each other rarely used decoration items to avoid waste.

Having had a pen pal for nearly a year, Mai Phuong Thao, a student at the University of Arts, Hue University shared: “I learned about the pen pal trend through a few TikTok videos showing how people drafted letters to send to friends from afar. At that time, I found it very interesting to have a friend in another place and to share favorite things through mail. So I started a try and had pen pals from other places.”

Phuong Thao said that the thrill of waiting for a letter, as well as the joy of holding a beautiful letter in hand with handwritten lines, also made many teenagers excited. This is so different from the fast but lifeless text messages through the internet network.

Young people can now find their pen pals through websites and social networks, such as Instagram, TikTok... with the #penpal hashtag. They can do the same thing on Facebook groups, like Bullet journal and pen pal with me, Let's pen pal, Pen pal Vietnam...

The pen pal trend is not only a channel for young people to share their deep feelings, but many of them found a soul mate from it as well.

Nguyen Anh Thu, a student of the University of Law, Hue University revealed: “The letter that impressed me the most was the one from a 2002-born pen pal in the North. We met by chance through Slowly - an email writing app. One day, I received a letter that informed about my pen pal’s drop-out. My pal didn’t dare to tell this to the family. However, my pen pal felt annoyed with unhappy experience in the study. We wrote back and forth to encourage each other and share our dreams. After a year off from school, my pen pal had a job  and enjoyed more life experiences; that made me feel very encouraged.”

The pen pal letters help teenagers not only connect their mates in the country, but also make friends and confide with friends abroad. “I accidentally met a friend in Switzerland through the Pen pal app. We wrote to each other a few times. I feel really happy to find a friend far away and learn about foreign culture, country, and life. Every time I receive letters and gifts from my pen pal, I feel very delighted,” shared in happiness Pham Kieu Trang, a student of the University of Foreign Languages and International Studies, Hue University.

However, sometimes the pen pal also makes people a little frustrated because there are letters written with enthusiasm, but the recipient does not reply.

“Once I worked hard to write letters and send gifts to that pen friend, but a week later I received a returned letter because my pen pal refused it. At that time, I was very disappointed, but then I also learned a lesson that I should have talked to that person first, figured out if we had many common interests, or whether my pen pal was interested in exchanging letters, then started the pen pal journey,” shared Kieu Trang.

Story, photo: Dang Trinh

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