This is the short answer:

On the bright side:

-uncorrupted. I mean, the people, not the government. There’s an innocence about people here that Dutch people or people in Western-Europe no longer have.

-cheerful. Outside of work, that is. Outside of work Slovaks are very sweet, they have a certain appetite for the simple things in life that is just not real in the West, in the West people seem to force themselves to enjoy the little things in life but they can’t hide the fact that it’s not enough for them. Over here people are genuinely happy with little things. Maybe this is still a trend in the aftermath of communism. People don’t take abundance of material goods for granted. Yet.

-gender roles are clear. Feminists will scream, but over here a man is a man and a woman is a woman. There’s a bigger barrier between the sexes somehow, but it’s also more clear what’s expected of you. Also, as a forgeigner you have an advantage over the local men. Women around here are so not used to a guy who actually remembers what they say.

-Modest. They don’t brag. They may want to show off their car, but other than that they are modest. They also have a kind of self-effacing humor.

-Formal. At first I was annoyed by this, but they still have quite a few rules to behave in public life. Like they have an obsession with using the correct title for people, if you hold a master’s degree or not, or when you should use to polite form (vykanie) or the informal way of speaking to people (tykanie), but in a way this makes things easy, you know what to expect. And it’s sweet every time a person makes an effort to switch from vykanie to tykanie with you. Half of the time I do find it bloody annoying, as it creates so much unnecessary distance between people.

On the dark side:

deeply neurotic. Slovaks are overly concerned with what everyone thinks of them. As if it matters. They are scared to death of losing face, and are easily mortified. These people are vain, but they are too scared to show their vanity

-not open-minded. They are easily shocked. And they will judge, they will categorize you.

-conflict avoiders. If they don’t like something, or if they are prejudiced towards you, they won’t come to you and find out if they are right about you or not, they will just ignore you and put you in their box of damnation.

-no alcohol, no conversation. This is true for the men.

-quite a few of the women are obsessed with the way they look. A woman like that is referred to as a ‘pipinka’, apparently.

-complaining and critizing without taking any initiative to change anything. That could be a human trait in general.

-too enthusiastic about their folk traditions and folk songs. I’m sorry, it’s just awful, I run away as soon as I spot Slovaks in traditional folk costumes, I have zero appreciation for it, nor do I give a damn about going hiking in nature which many Slovaks love to do, it’s a complete waste of time according to me, but hey, that’s me. I sit up all night and listen to documentaries about how money is created and so far that’s been mostly useless too…

These are generalizations of course, you have fantastic people around here and awful people too, just like in any other country.

Do I like it here?

Not especially. I can make money here, and I have something to offer to people, which they often appreciate, and that’s ok. But it’s not my dream country or anything. I meet lots of nice people around here, but I will never consider them my friends because too many topics cannot freely be discussed and I have to hide my cynical, brutish humor very carefully here. I’m just too settled down and too lazy to look for a different country, plus my Slovak wife loves it here.