Blogging Hiatus

Hello All,

I apologize in advance for my absence, and am not ready to say that it is over. This last month has been quite stressful, and so I will be taking some more time to organize things and deal with a few unexpected problems. (Like a car accident, though not my fault. The culprit ran, bugger.)

I hope you are all well, and wish you a wonderful Easter and a wonderful beginning to April and Spring!

Regards,

Mary

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Let’s Connect on Twitter!

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Now that Vero’s been canned, I’ve finally decided to give Twitter a try. It only took me a few years to give in, but as of last night, my Twitter account (@woodsandroads) does exist. On it, expect to find random musings, photos of my journals and day-to-day life, book recommendations (or aversion warnings), music recommendations, and what else have you.

And, if you’re on Twitter too, let me know!

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If you like what you’ve read, please follow Woods & Roads. You can also find Mary on Instagram (@woods.and.roads) and Twitter (@woodsandroads). Or if you’d like to reach out via email, please click here.

The Light & Dark Side of Snailmailing

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Happy Sunday all! If you read yesterday’s post, then you know I have been an avid snailmailer for several years now. Since college, I’ve enjoyed setting aside some time to write back to penfriends in the US and other parts of the globe. It’s both physically and emotionally therapeutic. However, for those of you looking to get into snailmailing, I do have a few warnings for you, and would also like to share a few things I learned along the way.

Let me first begins with the Cons of Snailmailing:

  1. You may not “click” with some fellow snailmailers. If this happens for one reason or another, you need to be able to let them know and end the mail exchange respectfully. (Or, you could just stop writing, as some have done. . . . just kidding. Be nice and let the other person know.)
  2. Snailmailing can be expensive. Depending on where you sending a letter too, and how heavy the envelope, chances are you might spend more than the cost of a single stamp.
  3. In the same line, you might find yourself spending postage on a letter that will never get a response.
  4. Life happens, and even though you might have clicked with a person, they may stop writing. It’s like any relationship, people eventually move on.
  5. You need to be careful and listen to your gut. Sometimes, you might run across fake ads and scammers, and need to be sure about a person before disclosing any personal information.  

Now, the Pros of Snailmailing:

  1. You get to learn about the lives and experiences from other people around the globe.
  2. You can gain friendships that may last for years.
  3. You can gain valuable insight about yourself and life in general from a different, objective, perspective.
  4. Writing by hand to someone can also be therapeutic.

One thing that is neither a Pro or a Con is that snailmailing does take time. It takes time to write a letter, mail a letter, and receive a response. So, if you decide to give this a try, don’t expect instant responses. Be patient. Also, sometimes, you will run across people who want to swap more, or write more. It all depends on what kind of correspondence you are looking for, but just be sure to establish the relationship at the beginning. (By swap, I mean people who like to trade stationery goodies. Which is another form of snailmailing.)

I found most of my penpals on Tumblr or Instagram (though one I met on WordPress). More recently (as in the last year), I’ve been on Instagram because, let’s face it, you can tell if someone’s Instagram feed is fake over a Tumblr one. (Or, at least, it’s easier to tell for the most part.) Refer to Con #5. There are shady people out there online, and you do need to be careful with who you interact with. Listen to your gut, and if something seems off about a person, abort. Abort mission asap!

Also, if you’re living with others, family or friends, be sure to ask their permission before disclosing your home address. (Or, you can get a PO Box.)

Well, I hope this proves useful to some of you. If you have any questions though, or would like to share your own experiences, please comment or reach out via email. 

And with that, have a great Sunday!

*Photo by Estee Janssens, Unsplash. 

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If you like what you’ve read, please follow Woods & Roads. You can also find Mary on Instagram (@woods.and.roads). Or if you’d like to reach out, please click here.

Handwritten Letters

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Growing up, my world was very small. Socially and physically. I wasn’t allowed outside without supervision, and couldn’t sleep over at any friends house. (In fact, my first sleepover wasn’t until college!) It was only school, whatever after school program was offered, the library (on weekends), and home. Suffice to say, I was pretty sheltered and only knew people around my hometown.

I never thought I would know people from other parts of the world.

Cue the internet. Cue social media. 

During my second year of college, around 2011, I stumbled across (ok scrolled across) a post on Tumblr that jumped out at me. It was a penpal ad from a Tumblr user. Who it was I cannot recall anymore, but the very fact that there was someone else out in the world who wanted to write to someone, via pen and paper, was intriguing. I wondered if there were others, and sure enough, after clicking on a few tags, I found a good amount of ads.

So I responded to a few, received responses (only to a few of my own), and little did I know, fell into a new hobby called snailmailing. Now, in 2018, I correspond with people in the states, and all over the world. I honestly never imagined this would be possible, and it is.

My world has grown since I was a child, and by writing to people I’ve met online, it’s only grown more. Not only this, it served as a great therapy for when I was sad, depressed, or sick. It helped knowing that there were people I could write to, even though I was alone during my day-to-day life.

Being able to confide in someone, and receive an outsider’s opinion, helped tremendously. As someone who does have a spark of social anxiety, writing to another person is much more easy and liberating than speaking to someone face to face. There are fewer walls, and fewer fears of rejection. (Of course, not hearing back from someone does hurt, but not as much as it does when someone rolls their eyes and walks away right in front of me. Gladly, that rarely, if ever, happens. But the fear remains.)

I am really thankful for the people I correspond with, now and in the past. I am thankful for the friendships I have made, and for the opportunity I have of glimpsing other parts of the world beyond my own. I am thankful for the chance to sit down, open a decorated envelope, and read a letter written out by hand. I am thankful too, to those who took the time to write to me.

So, if you ever feel lonely, want someone to talk to, want to learn about another part of the world, or if you simply want to learn and practice a new language, I encourage you to reach out and try getting a penpal for yourself.

But that said, there are some good sides and bad sides to penpaling. I will address these in tomorrow’s post, so stay tuned.

For now, enjoy the rest of Saturday!

*Photo by Joanna Kosinska, Unsplash. 

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If you like what you’ve read, please follow Woods & Roads. You can also find Mary on Instagram (@woods.and.roads). Or if you’d like to reach out, please click here.

Audiobooks Continued

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Only one post this President’s Day weekend guys, been a bit busy. I hope you’re all spending it with loved ones or somewhere relaxing. Me, I’ve been tackling chores and getting things ready for an upcoming interview! (Wish me luck guys.)

Since my last post on audiobooks, I’ve visited my local library and am now a proud owner (once again) of a library card. This library was located next to my high school, and I must admit, it was a huge blast from the past. I walked into the Margaret Troke Library with a huge sense of nostalgia. Everything more or less still looked the same, neat wooden bookcases, a quiet atmosphere, and everything was warmly lit by a mixture of natural sunlight and artificial lights. Hard to believe it had been ten years since I last stepped foot inside.

Man, do I feel old.

The main reason I wanted a library card is because I found out (yup, I’m late to the game) about two apps where I could read and listen to books (movies and music too) for free: Overdrive and Hoopla.

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve really liked listening to audiobooks while cleaning, or crafting. I’ve been able to focus more attention on the narrator and don’t rewind as often. Sure, now and then I still wish I had a physical books, especially after hearing a particularly good paragraph (I annotate my books when I want to remember a good line), but I’ve gotten to noting the chapter and time during those instances.

That said, I didn’t really feel like paying $14 a month for a audiobook service. Cue in Hoopla and Overdrive. Sure there’s the occasional wait list, but that’s okay.

On another note. I’ve been listening to “The Alienist”, by Caleb Carr, and I must stay, I strongly recommend the book. It’s subtly funny, suspenseful and surprisingly informative.

Well, have a good day everyone!

Photo by: Ksenia Makagonova, Unsplash. 

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If you like what you’ve read, please follow Woods & Roads. You can also find Mary on Instagram (@woods.and.roads). Or if you’d like to reach out, please click here.

Giving Audiobooks a Try

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One of the crueler twists of fate for a reader is being unable to find the time to actually sit back and read a good book. Not with today’s crazy busy lifestyles. (Even I’m having trouble getting through a few books, and I’m not even employed at the moment!)

Now, I’ve always been an avid podcast listener too, but for some reason I shied away from listening to an actual audiobook. I had several reasons, but they pretty much narrow down to me being worried that the narrator’s voice would be too annoying, that I might not remember everything that was said, and that they’re expensive to buy.

Well, thanks to a free trial on Amazon, I finally took the dive and gave audiobooks a try. This month, I’m listening to two books: “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr, and “Ringworld” by Larry Niven.

I started with “The Alienist” first and so far, so good. (Still a little too soon to decide on a verdict.) The book is narrated by George Guidall, and is well paced. When I first started listening, I caught myself hitting the 30 sec rewind button a few times because I kept drifting off in thought and missing bits of dialogue or information. It was also a bit strange for me to not have text to follow along with (there’s the ex-student in me talking).

Hopefully, in the next few days, I’m able to give you guys a better review on the listening experience and how I was able to fit audiobooks into my schedule. For those listeners out there, any recommendations on books and or services. (I’m probably not going to stay with Amazon.)

Well, thanks and have a great week guys!

*Photo by Tommy Tong, Unsplash. 

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If you like what you’ve read, please follow Woods & Roads. You can also find Mary on Instagram (@woods.and.roads). Or if you’d like to reach out, please click here.

Things I forgot (About Living at Home)

This post’s more of a list. Over the past few months, I’ve been reminded of what it’s like to live with my parents. Sometimes, the thought “this is nice” crosses my mind. Other times, what I think is more around the lines of “ugggh.” It’s both hilarious, and tragic at the same time.

So, here’s a list of recent re-discoveries of what it’s like to live with your parents at mid twenties. Mom will still try to dress you, and shoot down at least 70% of the clothes you choose for yourself. (Note: there is no particular order.)

  1. Mom will still try to dress me, or comment strongly on whys she doesn’t like my outfit.
  2. I have a curfew, i.e. can’t go out past dark without a very strong argument on why I’m smart enough to not get murdered.
  3. Mom’s cooking is still the best. Hand down.
  4. It’s nice coming home and having someone who genuinely cares ask “how was your day?” (before being reminded that you still need to wash the dishes).
  5. Siblings will still take my stuff without asking, and admit to it only after being cornered.
  6. Sleeping in’s a beautiful dream of the past.
  7. My schedule is no longer my own, but dictated by the schedules of the rest of the family. I.e. late night gaming must be kept at a dull roar.
  8. Not having to constantly do your own laundry is nice. Thanks mom, really.
  9. Paying no rent is nice. (So this is what it’s like to have pocket money. . . .)

Yup, it can be tough living at home. But it also has it’s positives. I’ll most likely come up with a few more later on. But if you have your own, please chime in and let’s make this list grow!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

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If you like what you’ve read, please follow Woods & Roads. You can also find Mary on Instagram (@woods.and.roads). Or if you’d like to reach out, please click here.