I guess this New Year's mood made me a bit inspired today, so I decided to share my story with you all - the ones that care enough to read it to the end. I don't mean to sound corny, it's really just about a legit experience with Asylum - and the people that play it - that indeed affected my real life in more than one way.
I started playing Asylum a bit before the hacking in 2015, but I took a considerable break because of personal reasons. I then returned in 2016, almost a year later I believe.
(For those of you who don't know it, I was born in Brazil and therefore my native language isn't English. It's Portuguese.)
One of the first things I did when I came back was apply again for the APD. Because I had a very limited level of English back then, I was very insecure about taking the interview and failing it, but things went good and I became a Cadet once again (had played a few weeks in 2015).
I made it to Constable after being helped a lot by @Mr. Linux and taking my ride-along with @Maxime, which was very easy-going about the English thing.
My first experiences were really funny. Whenever I arrested a toxic little prick, they would scream something like "Give me an English-speaking officer!" or "Do you even speak English?" and some other toxic stuff. My accent was weird (it's still somewhat noticeable) and I would 'stumble' over some words or mispronounce them with a certain higher frequency. However, it was still intelligible and I could make myself clear enough.
After playing for a few more months - let's say six or eight - was when my arrests and my experiences started changing. The toxic ones would now rarely mention the matter with my English. Now, whenever they said something, it probably involved the word 'pig' or similar. That's when I realized something else was changing: my Speaking was improving and that wouldn't have occurred to me if it wasn't by the toxic Asylum players. I guess I ironically owe them some thanks.
Few more months later and I took an exam called TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language. It's required to non-native speakers of English especially if they wanna join a North American university or college. It isn't an easy test and it involves 4 abilities: reading, listening, speaking and writing. My score was 110 out of 120, when the university I was interested in only required a score of 65, if I'm not mistaken.
I still haven't joined any foreign universities or left the country, but that's still in my list of goals. At this moment I'm studying law in my country and I also got a job last semester. Surprisingly, I worked as a teacher. What did I teach? English.
I'm not perfect at the language and I'm still far from speaking it like a native speaker (I still make a bunch of mistakes), but the progress I achieved in such a short time was thanks to all the time I spent talking and interacting with Asylum players. I wouldn't have got such a high score on my English test if it wasn't by the community nor would I have gotten a job if it wasn't by the exam I took (I attached it to my résumé).
Of course that in the meantime I got closer to some people that would treat me very kindly. At the beginning of my APD 'career', I remember asking people to correct my English and make me sound more natural. It really helps. It carried on to Steam, Skype, Discord and even WhatsApp. Guys like @Nate!!!, @Midamaru, @explicit, @Chris Preuninger, @Olivia, @Morgan Lacerda, @Brendon Smith, @Alec-I, @InnateOcean, @Sandwich, @General Baked Potatoes, @GreenDemon, @Samperino and a *bunch * of others were always very understanding about it, and communicating with them was essential.
Besides getting an excellent grade on my test and getting a job after spending time on Asylum, I also made a lot of friends. From enjoying online game sessions to trading real-life advice (and I could quote Midamaru again), playing in this community allowed me to expand my knowledge and build strong friendships. This isn't a farewell post so I won't quote anyone else, but you know who you are.
Finally, I wanted to say that learning a new language is hard as fuck. It requires constant practice and a lot of patience. The ones who strive for perfection, like me, suffer a bit more, 'cause there's no magical formula to learn it all and learn it perfectly - especially Speaking, it sucks. If you find someone trying to learn or speak your language, give them some encouragement and help them when needed. Correcting he/she and giving tips is very important too (just don't be a dick about it).
Oh, and thanks @BaDaBiNg_10-8 and @Clint Beastwood for not letting the thing that brought me so many amazing experiences be buried under the ground. Wish you all the best in the new management!