Throughout my junior high, high school, and college years, I had an English pen pal named Irene. She lived in Northern England and we’d write to each other every week. It wasn’t unusual to send each other four and five page letters complete with photos and drawings. Nowadays I can’t even remember the last time I sent someone a letter via snail mail. In fact, it’s unusual to sit down and write anything by hand at all. That’s probably a factor in the decision of many school systems to eliminate cursive writing from their curricula.
While I understand that few people these days –myself included- have the patience to sit down and write, I sometimes miss the passing of those long letters sent through the mail. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a pen pal again in a foreign country. After all, most of us can’t travel all the time and many don’t have the opportunity to travel at all. Our world is getting smaller and it’s fun to connect with people from around the world.
Fortunately, one organization has come up with a modern day equivalent. It’s called www.mylanguageexchange.com. If you sign in, you can find a partner to e-mail with or talk to directly on Skype. They have some group discussions as well. The purpose of this website is to provide an opportunity to practice speaking each other’s language. The website includes people speaking any language looking for a partner speaking any other language.
I have found someone to Skype with who speaks French and lives in Quebec Province. She wants to practice English so that she can talk to people when she goes to Florida in the winter. I want to speak French because I love the language.
Since I’ll probably have more opportunities to speak French to the Quebequois when I visit south Florida than when or if I ever have the opportunity to visit France again, it seemed like a good match. I’m still getting used to her accent and some different word usages. Just as Europeans learn British English, most Americans who study French in school learn Parisian French. Sometimes the change is difficult for me, but I enjoy the challenge. She’s sent me an easy recipe for Crème Caramel. I fully intend to try it. I’ll let you know how it comes out.