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What I’ve Learned Through Secret Pal 8

24 August 2006

As most of you know, I’ve participated in this summer’s round of Secret Pal. I just mailed out my last package to my spoilee, and I figured it would be a good idea to share my thoughts and experiences (in case anybody who visits my site would like to participate in a subsequent round [and it is an international exchange, so even European folks could do it! And guys are more than welcome, too.]).

I learned the power of receiving something through the mail. In this day and age of phone calls, e-mail, and e-chat, it felt so special to receive parcels, cards, and notes “the old fashioned way”. Part of the fun was the time it took to unwrap things, removing layer upon layer of goodies from a cardboard box (yes, yes, I’m getting all “brown paper packages tied up with string…” on ya).

I also learned the joy of putting together parcels and figuring out what special treats to give someone. (Do they like funky food? Remember their favorite treat that can only be found in the US? And—ooo, look, here’s something perfect, in their favorite color!)

Thanks to SP8, I decided to send out an unexpected package to someone who I had lost touch with in the past year. I don’t know if she’s received the package yet—it was going to Europe—but it was fun to organize the items the girls and I chose to send, and to write a letter that shared some of the stuff our family’s been up to since last summer. I also sent a small package to someone I knew was feeling sorta depressed recently. There’s nothing like a little surprise when you feel things aren’t really going your way. It helps keep things in perspective, and it reminds you that you are important to people that you might not see all that often.

As I’ve said before, my spoiler has been a super Secret Pal. She has read my site, and by getting to know me via the blog, has over the past 3 months sent me the most appropriate and fun stuff. I can’t wait to find out who she is and be able to say “Thanks, [her name]!” rather than “Thanks, Secret Pal!”

So, should you participate? Sure! As you read here, I found the lessons I learned from SP8 immediately applicable to my offblog life. But if you do participate, I would urge you to blog regularly. The SP8 rules stipulate blogging at least once per week. And that should be the absolute minimum, I think. I only had 7 posts across the 3 months to get to know my spoilee, and really, that isn’t very conducive to getting to know someone. I think this last package I sent my spoilee is pretty good at tying together what I know about her into a fun package, but if I had known her better, it would have been grrrrreat!

Secret Pal 9 will be open for registration on September 1, I believe, and you have until September 30 to join. The exchange will run from October 15 to January 31. I’m thinking about doing it (it’ll run through my birthday – hey hey!), but I have to see. I may even volunteer to be a hostess. [But I don’t know if they’ll want me, because I’d plan to be a real hardass about blogging once a week. 😉 ]

And even if this sort of exchange thing isn’t your cup of tea, I recommend to anyone reading this to mail out a letter, or a CD, or a package to someone they know, sometime soon.

You’ll enjoy it. Trust me.

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