I’ve spent a good deal of this pandemic feeling helplessly alone, as I’m sure many others have.
Last year, on one of the coldest days of the winter, I found this app. It sounds dramatic, it sounds fantastical, but this app has truly changed who I am, and how I view the world. I was enamored by the idea of sending letters across the world. I was absolutely entranced by the idea of reaching out to someone whom I had never known, whose life has been wholly different from mine, right from the start.
I downloaded Slowly, and started sending letters immediately. Whoever I could match with, wherever they were in the world, you could be sure they were receiving a letter from me. It didn’t take long for others to find me as well. Within the first hour of having downloaded the app, I was receiving letters from France, Germany, Turkey, Iran, Russia! It was something to behold when I finally read my first letter. It was nothing more than a simple greeting, but I was almost too excited to write back.
Since then, I have corresponded with many people, and even though nearly all of our correspondences did not last, the brief time I was able to glimpse into what life is like across the world has definitively changed who I am. I’m sure you’re familiar with culture shock, the idea of being taken aback by a drastic shift in culture; this phenomenon is most frequently brought about through travel, but I was astounded just to read about life in a different country or even continent! So many different customs, so many different ways of thinking, even different ways of writing! It goes without saying, but each culture has its minute, unique quirks about it that are instantly recognizable, even through text. There are some penpals I am saddened to have lost touch with, but even so, I am grateful for the window into another life they have given me. Some I still keep correspondence with today, and they are truly some of the most unique people I have ever met.
From the quick glimpses into life around the globe, the brief, but impactful conversations, to the frequent correspondents, this app has provided me with not one but many experiences I am truly grateful to have lived through. I can truly appreciate Slowly for having connected me not only with people, but a new way of life.