Category Archives: Reconnecting

Day 245: Dr. Mendizábal

Some more homemade stationery and envelopes made from supplies from Paper Source.

Some more homemade stationery and envelopes made from supplies from Paper Source.

Today’s letter is for my all time favorite professor. I had a lot of flexibility in who I chose for my professors and I pretty much only took two – aside from professors I took while studying abroad – and Dr. Mendizábal was one of them. He was also the director of the study abroad program to Valladolid, Spain where I studied for a semester.

He’s since retired from teaching at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where I completed my undergraduate degree. It’s too bad too, because he was the best! My only regret is that sometimes I may have fallen asleep in his classes – not because they were boring or uninteresting, but he taught some early morning classes and I may have stayed up a bit too late on a few rare occasions!

Hopefully my Spanish is still good enough that I don’t embarrass myself.


(Translated from Spanish)

Dr. Mendizábal,

 I hope this letter finds you well and that you’ve had an enjoyable summer.

A few days ago I was reflecting on who have been the role models in my life and I thought about you. Without a doubt you were my favorite professor. Literature never interested me much, but as a result of your classes I gained an appreciation for it – especially the great writers from Spain and Latin America: Fernando de Rojas, Francisco de Quevedo, Cervantes, Zorrilla, Jiménez, Unamuno, Darío, Vargas Llosa, Pomba, Allende, Fuentes and obviously García Márquez.

I think my favorite class of yours was Short Stories – not because there were so few pages to read, but because of the mastery required to create such profound works in so few words fascinates me. 

I never heard you speak a negative word about anyone inside or outside of the classroom. It’s a characteristic that I greatly admire and strive to incorporate more in my own life. I admire you very much and wanted you to know that even 20 years after taking your classes, I think about you often.

Warm regards for you and your wife,
Reed Sandridge

P.S. A few months back I reconnected with my host family from Valladolid: Domi and Manuel Sánchez. They are all doing well.

Day 105: Domi Sanchez y Familia

Valladolid-spain-mapSpring semester of my junior year in college I studied abroad in Valladolid, Spain. A mostly industrial town in the northwest of Spain, Valladolid is quintessential Castilla y Leon. The Spanish spoken here does fair justice to its heritage and arguably is the heart of this beautiful country.

I lived with a nice family who regularly took in exchange students. Their 6th floor apartment was just across the Pisuerga River from the downtown. It sounds far, but I walked to the city center every day to go to class.

I lost touch with the family but this spring marks 20 years since my stay there and I figured it was about time to find them. I knew I had kept a letter from their oldest son, Pako (yes, spellcheck, he spelled it with a “k”), which I had received about a year after returning to the U.S. I found it this morning and decided to drop them a letter. Hopefully they still live in the same place.

I’ve translated the letter below.

Day 105-4

I included a recent photo of me with my Dad.


Dear Domi,

I hope that this letter finds you well. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in touch – I’m lazy to write and even more so in Spanish.

When I finished my University studies I moved to Washington, DC. There is more opportunity to find work here and it’s also very close to my brother (and his wife and two daughters). My father still lives in Pennsylvania – in the same house where I lived as a child. My mother died in 2006 – she had heart trouble for many years – even before I stayed with you.

Day 105-3-2

Pako’s letter from 2006

I haven’t gotten married and don’t have any kids that I am aware of 🙂  I have a consulting company that helps people and companies improve their strategic communication. I used to travel a lot, especially to Latin America – I lived in Brazil for three yeas from 2003-2005. I’ve been back to Spain – but just to Madrid and Barcelona for work.

How are you all doing? Mr. Manuel, Pako, Manolo? I’ve tried from time to time to find you all on the internet but failed. This morning I found a letter that Pako wrote to me in 1996 and it had your address – I had forgotten it.

Well, I hope that you are all well. It would be a great to hear back from you.

A big hug,
Jason Reed Sandridge

P.S. Sorry for my Spanish – I don’t get to practice it much anymore and I’m forgetting it.

Day 97: Reyes

Postcards that Reyes sent me from her travels through the south of France.

Postcards that Reyes sent me from her travels through the south of France.

Buenos dias! I lived in Valladolid, Spain 20 years ago as part of an exchange program between Indiana University of Pennsylvania and La Universidad de Valladolid. It was a fantastic experience. I lived with a host family while I was there, studied a little bit, explored the city and had a girlfriend for a while too: Reyes.

We’ve stayed in touch on and off for many years – with Facebook it makes it a lot easier. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a nice handwritten note from her along with some post cards from the south of France recently.

I should have written to her in Spanish – but I was feeling a bit lazy this morning and besides, she’s living in London, so English is fair game!

Day 97- Reyes

Day 97- Reyes-2Dear Reyes,

It was so nice to receive your note and beautiful post cards from the south of France. I’ve actually been there about 8 or 9 years ago. It was amazing. Winding through the countryside, you find the most breathtaking little villages.

I know you love France – how about the U.K.? I don’t remember how long you’ve been in London. I’ve really only been to London twice, so I don’t feel that I know it very well. Didn’t you spend some time in Ireland? I love it there.

Thanks to social media we are still in touch 20 years later – but there is nothing like receiving a handwritten note from someone you care about. Thank you and stay in touch.


Day 92: Mrs. Wunderlich

You may recall on Day 59 I sent my letter to a woman named Charlotte who was celebrating her 98th birthday. Unfortunately my letter was returned to me today with a dull yellow sticker on it stating:


That made me sad, I was very excited for Ms. Charlotte to get my letter as she was one of my favorite $10 recipients of my Year of Giving. Thankfully, I remembered that she had a sister that lived in Annapolis. After a little sleuth work I found her contact information and sat down today to write her a letter.

Day 92

You can see a glimpse of the lining I created for the envelope.


Mrs. Wunderlich, 

In August of 2010 I met you, your husband and your sister Charlotte in Annapolis – I’ve included a few photographs from that day. You may recall I was giving a stranger $10 every day for a year while I was out of work and on Day 248 I gave my $10 to Charlotte. It was a lot of fun.

charlotte todd and jewell-2

Ms. Charlotte, Mrs. Wunderlich, Mr. Wunderlich

reed charlotte and jewell-2


I’ve embarked on a new adventure this year were I write someone a handwritten letter every day for a year and I thought about Charlotte and remembered her birthday was Feb. 28th. I mailed her a card for her 98th birthday to the Metairie address where she used to live but it was returned to me – it said it was “undeliverable as addressed.” Do you have a current address for her? I hope that she is well – she was one of my favorite people I gave my $10 to. I also very much enjoyed meeting you and Mr. Wunderlich and hope that you are well. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

Reed Sandridge

Day 15: Mika

I was trying to downsize my apartment and was going through clothes when I found a shirt that belonged to a woman I used to date. We haven’t spoken since we ended things and it’s a bit awkward to send her this, but it’s hers and she should have it. Mika is originally from Uzbekistan – hence the last line in which is written in Uzbek.

Mika Day 15



Sorry I’ve had this so long. I hope that you are doing well and that 2015 is full of good health and happiness for you and your family.

Xayr, yaxshi boring!  (Farewell, may peace be with you!)