Slovak ex-expatriate – coming back to the home country after over ten years abroad and finding that although she still loves Slovakia, she feels the need for certain things to start changing for her to truly feel welcome and happy here. She now has a unique chance to see Slovakia from the point of view of a local, as well as that of a foreigner coming here for the first time. Trying to induce social change and make people smile in the process rather than criticise and moan in vain.
Many of you know it. You came to your home country after living abroad for a long time, or you are a foreigner, who decided to settle down in this less known central European country,
[And yes – for those still wondering – Slovakia is in Central (not Eastern Europe) – do not give me the “former Eastern Bloc argument,” just look at the map. Former political divisions are long gone with the Cold War, no one calls Russia USSR, anymore – so telling a Slovak person they are from the Eastern Europe is taken as an insult.]
because there are many things you love about it. The people are social, friendly and hospitable, the countryside remarkably beautiful, nature often undisturbed, lifestyle affordable, weather pleasant – hot in the summer, snowy in the winter – BUT…
Soon you start to notice these little things, which strike you as odd. If you are a Slovak person – maybe you haven’t noticed them before? Or did Slovakia change while you were gone? For a foreigner they may be even more difficult to understand – not knowing the culture, the history of the country and nature of the people so well.
I have to say I find many of these things to be kind of leftovers of the past Communist Regime – people were used to certain way of things, they were considered to be normal, they cannot really imagine them any other way – or it would require some amount of work – and Slovak people, even though they are generally hard workers, even workaholics when it comes to their job responsibilities – tend to be very docile, submissive and conciliatory when it comes to everyday life. Maybe they are also afraid of change.
So if the shop assistant ignores you, receptionist shouts at you, buss driver insults you, doctor is a bully and waiter is mean and rude – Slovak person generally accepts their authority, bows their head and politely apologises having a nagging feeling that they’ve probably done something wrong to deserve it…
That is why I decided to write this blog – I would like the people to realise they need to take the initiative for some things to change. I would like for Slovaks as well as the foreigners living here, or just coming to spend their holidays to feel welcome and enjoy themselves. It is not my intention to just criticise things, but rather to write down my experiences as they happen to induce change (and hopefully a few laughs) in the way things run in this small country which many of us learned to love, even if it tends to drive them crazy at times. Please feel free to react if you have similar experiences to share, or have some points for discussion about the topics I will address in this blog. And most of all come back to read more, have fun and take it easy :)