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Enjoy the Slow Life in Charlottesville

by Janice Jung

I’m from Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Seoul is the largest and busiest city in Korea with a population of 10 million. You can do everything all day. Many restaurants are open 24/7.

If you just make a phone call, you can enjoy anything at home. You can get everything in just a few steps from your house. You can use WiFi to connect anywhere. There’s a saying “The light never goes off in Seoul”.

However, in Seoul people can’t relax because it is crowded, loud, and there are many lights around them. I was too busy when I lived there, I didn’t communicate much with people in person, and most of the communications were done virtually through mobile and digital systems.

When I first came to Charlottesville, it was just a quiet and small town to me. It was boring, inconvenient, and there was nothing to interest me. I couldn’t find anything entertaining to do.

For example, when I first came here what I saw was only green nature. The restaurants and stores were closed early at night. I sometimes lost my internet connection. I had to wait for my mail for a long time. There were no elevators or any digital systems in my apartment. I needed to go quite a distance by car if I wanted to buy something.

However, this environment helped me spend more time at my house with my husband and my cat instead of hanging out with friends until late at night. I also had time to interact with neighbors and friends in person more often, and explore the beautiful nature of the Shenandoah National Park. I loved the sound of birds every morning and seeing squirrels on the trees.

The peaceful environment in Charlottesville also gave me an opportunity to look beyond myself. To be honest, in Korea I didn’t say hello to my neighbors and enjoy activities in nature. I was watching my mobile phone and considering things only related to me. I didn’t pay attention to my neighbors or the nature around me.

Looking back now, it was a dreary time. But now I have chats with my neighbors on the stairs. I grow my plants on my porch. My favorite time is meeting my neighbors when I take a walk with my cat. I’m able to think about my emotions and see beyond the present. I can have a face to face conversation with my husband about our life and future without looking at my phone. I feel very relaxed and it is worth it.

I’m learning about the slow but valuable life in Charlottesville. I believe this is the most precious time in my life. I hope I have convinced you that Charlottesville is a wonderful city.