SLOWLY Is A Letterpal App

Nga Pham suggests an interesting App that will keep you entertained while lockdown is still continuing.

SLOWLY Is A Letterpal App

I remember that when I was a child, I used to send handwritten letters to friends and relatives that lived far away. I recall how excited I felt when I received them, because each person had different handwriting styles and different ways to send warm words to me. And with each letter, I would collect a new stamp.

But now, there are not many people who enjoys handwritten letters anymore. This is understandable because these days, thanks to social networking applications, people can easily communicate with each other and it costs less time to send messages. Many people also find that writing letters is just wasting time and inconvenient. However, not all, especially nostalgic people like me, do think so.

I had the most turbulent studying year I have ever had: university closed, we had to quarantine ourselves at home, international students like me had to stay in the dormitory, and classes completely converted to online format. I didn't have many friends, I had a few close friends on social media, but one day, I started getting bored talking to them about the same old topics over and over again, like “How is isolation? How many people are infected today? Are you wearing a mask on the street?”, and so on. My news feed was filled with epidemic warnings every day and the number of deaths increased day by day. Not being able to go out and just sit near the computer 24 hours a day, I felt like I was isolating myself. I no longer found the meaning of using social media, and I decided to block it. At that moment, I found SLOWLY. I simply thought that I wanted to have real soulmates, not just texting normally like on social media. And I couldn't stand loneliness any longer.

SLOWLY is a great letter-writing app. If you think you'll have to choose a cool profile picture to impress your future friends, well you don't need to. SLOWLY will give you only one avatar, and you can always change it. This shows that your appearance is not as important as the content of your letters. Plus, SLOWLY will help you find friends with common interests based on the information you give them. Isn’t it so interesting?

It was not hard for me to find my very first friend. She’s British and only 2-3 years younger than me. In the first letter, I wrote very simply:

Hello, how are you doing? If this letter reaches you well, please reply so I know someone has read it.

And, I can't believe we matched each other better than we thought! We had a lot of common interests, like music, movies and fashion. While I was passionate about drawing, my friend said that she likes to ride horses and cycle in the park. I felt like our stories will never end. Most importantly, I have found a sense of excitement that I thought I had long lost. And just like that, I kept continuing to make new friends. A friend from Argentina, in her first letter, said that she wanted to be my friend and asked me only one question:

I wonder what your favorite word is? - a friend from Turkey sent me a photo of a few frames she had embroidered that day.

Although I didn't even see their faces, they have motivated me to try to live a healthier and happier life. I no longer felt tired and isolated. It was so wonderful!

An interesting thing about SLOWLY, the time it takes to receive letters varies from place to place: for example, my letters to a friend in Argentina would take about 2 days, when another letter to England only took 5-6 hours. Of course, you can still send letters to people in your country, even in the same city. So, you do not have to fret if you have sent mail for more than 1 day and still have not received a response.

I realize that my writing skills have improved a lot. You know, writing letters is emotional and time-consuming work, you can't just write "Hey", "Bye", "G9" and then it takes five hours for you to receive a new letter. You need to think about what to write properly, bear in mind that the content of the letter should not be too long but should be neat and easy to understand. And since my friends come from many different countries, my English vocabulary has also developed.

Although it is a fairly simple and free writing app, the only thing that bothers me is that I sometimes receive anonymous letters with offensive and flirting content that are completely forbidden on SLOWLY. If you do receive such rude letters, immediately report them to the system for handling.

 Writing, learning languages, and having soulmates around the world, isn’t it what you want?

Text by
Nga Pham