When I first discovered Slowly on the App Store, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Just like all things in life, you never know what’s in store for you every time you take a new risk. But not in my wildest dreams, could I have expected what is about to unfold after I tapped that download button.
Here I am right now, writing literally, the story of my life in the past year. Unlike other social media platforms, I’ve learned to realize that Slowly is truly boundless. There are no boundaries here. No limits to potentiality, no dimensions to creativity, and most importantly, there are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t met yet. It’s a place where I can feel free, a feeling of freedom and confidence I’ve yet to feel anywhere else.
In my almost 2 years of using Slowly, I would oftentimes find myself spending entire hours, lost in the world of Slowly. I would write and read, laugh and cry, rejoice and recount, free from all else, with pen pals from around the world. From the medical student in Belgium, to the aspiring teacher in Estonia, to the country girl in New Brunswick, every single one of these friendships blossomed in one way or another, and are still ongoing today.
However, there is that one particular person who will always remain dear in my heart above all else. Her username is Фрося, which I later learned is the name of her cat. But for this story, I will refer to her as Фрося.
Фрося first came into my life in April 2021, during my most desperate and bleak times, when I was in the midst of facing legal troubles, battling family issues, and chased by academic stress. I was on the brink of a complete breakdown. Фрося was the person who lifted me out of that darkness. No matter what troubles I had, she would always listen compassionately and offer advice, even though she was also dealing with a handful of problems. Фрося was always that voice of comfort, logic and reason in my life. When I write to Фрося, I feel at peace. She was a bright, unique, wholesome and funny pen pal.
Our conversation revolved around the world, from academics and career aspirations, to childhood memories and stories, to music, history, languages and existential crises caused by quantum theories.
Фрося and I traded over 50 letters, and even though she lived 4,000km across the country, never once was I able to wipe that smile off my face when reading and writing her letters, because distance means nothing when friendship means everything.
Beyond Фрося’s amazing personality, the most remarkable coincidence is that we were both about to attend the same program, in the same faculty, at the same university, in the same city, discovered after many letters, and all by pure chance. Life truly has a funny way of working, rending a 1 in a million chance possibility a reality. So when the start of school approached, we decided to take things into the real world.
Watching your pen pal come to life, and materialize into the friend you’ve learned so much about, is the most sentimental and surreal feeling ever. That day, Фрося guided me around her favourite antique museum, and so a week later, I took her on the most amazing blueberry picking field trip. In addition, we arranged a day tour of our university campus to visit the venues of our upcoming academic career, as seen in the photo, which turned out to be the most memorable day of the year for me.
Eventually, I believe my feelings for Фрося grew beyond platonic, and even I could not believe, that a virtual pen pal who I otherwise likely would’ve never met before I died, is now the person who means the world to me. However, not knowing if my feelings will get reciprocated, never once did I utter a word about my feelings, in fear that it may complicate the friendship that I am too afraid of losing.
The point of all of this is, Slowly was that gateway that created this unexpectedly amazing story. Slowly is truly a magical place where you can feel free, where your heart and mind are not constrained by any metric. It’s a boundless place that can also lead to the most unexpected things, and picking blueberries, touring the city, and eventually becoming infatuated with a pen pal who went from a stranger to a person who means the world to me; this is anything but expected.
I will be eternally grateful for Slowly, for making the unexpected a reality, proving that the best things in life… are indeed often unexpected. Thank you to Фрося for being the best pen pal ever. Finally, for those of you who are new to the app: Press that download button, let the freedom reign and the unexpected begin. You’ll be surprised where your life can go from here on.