There are simply too many giddily positive articles about Slovakia. Perhaps because the authors of such articles think that nobody knows Slovakia and want to show how they have discovered a little hidden away gem.
Those articles invariably mention the frigging beautiful nature and how friendly Slovaks are. You can basically read the same article about perhaps 150 other countries on this planet.
Slovakia is NOT just ‘beautiful nature’ and ‘friendly people’.
First of all, Slovaks are maybe nice to foreigners, especially if they have learned Slovak and if they are from the western world, but they certainly aren’t so friendly towards each other. In fact they are envious, gossipy, nosy, distant, are thoroughly equipped with a good capacity for Schadenfreude, become psychopaths behind the wheel of a car, are money obsessed (but in the silliest kind of ways) and will be put off by any Slovak who is a bit too different. So your experience of Slovakia as a foreigner from the west can never be the same as that of a Slovak. Moreover, I very much doubt you want to be a foreigner here from a non-western country.
In Belgium it’s very common to invite people over to your house. Here this isn’t possible even after years of pleasant interaction. If you want to meet a Slovak it will have to be in a bar over coffee or beer. Am not a big fan of bars, especially not Slovak ones since they are loud, usually have unpleasant seating and overly serious staff. There’s more wrong with them, but I don’t want to go into that right now. What I want to say is; there is something like paranoia in this country severely hampering social interaction. Where I come from and other places I have been to there was a lot more spontaneity. So far Slovakia has been the only country I have been to where people don’t make eye contact on the street. Everyone seems to be scared and watchful. This gets exhausting and ridiculous after some time.
2. A copy of a copy of a copy of a copy…
Everybody I meet asks me the same questions. Lots of people here have the same hobbies. Yes, hiking in the fucking mountains, an entirely masochist time wasting activity according to me.
They usually like to drink.
In the summer they go to Croatia.
At the weekend they go get lost and sometimes wasted in their beloved nature.
This makes sense because if you want to avoid people the mountains are the place to go.
Am starting to get the feeling that the big dream of every Slovak is to live in a house in the middle of nowhere at the foot of a mountain. No people, no stress.
Maybe there are secret cocaine plantations in those mountains, but personally my priority is to be in a city as close as possible to a supermarket and public transportation. Fuck nature. All trees look the same. The only nature I find appealing is the female form. And once every two years I like to stare at the North sea for like two minutes.
Slovaks don’t know their own history, they love blaming everything on their communist past, but don’t know the economic theories that drove communism or why it didn’t work even if they had some first hand experience, are politically inactive, unorganized (labor unions are a joke here). They believe all sorts of myths about the west, have very little or no insight in any society including their own. Like to talk about money without understanding money.
More obsessed with clothes and appearances than in advanced societies like Germany or Scandinavia.
If you have seen one wedding party you have seen them all. So the local traditions can get quite boring pretty fast as well.
3. Hypocrite ‘holier than thou’ Catholics
Church attendance is high in this country. And they like to talk about going to Church. This is a ritual where form entirely dominates substance. When I talk to Catholics I hear them comment on the way the priest offered them homily, where the people were standing or some other purely circumstantial detail. I never hear them mention the groundbreaking insight they got there. And you will never meet someone less interested in contributing to the general well-being of society than a Slovak Catholic.
In fact, capitalism and true Christianity are simply incompatible. The result is that Catholics engaged in an regular economic life cannot function as true Catholics. So you meet devout manically church going Christians who specialize in selling stuff to people that they don’t need, or doing jobs they don’t understand moving numbers on a screen, all with a content sort of apathy and disinterest in the world. One of the nightmares of Jesus is the kind of Christians you find in Slovakia. Ritual entirely dominates active Christian engagement.
As one Slovak super Catholic lady summed it up: ‘The only economics I care about are those of my own bank account.’
Modern Catholic dogma in a nutshell: ‘me me me and all others can go to hell.’ And I am safe and among the ‘chosen ones’ cause I get up at an ungodly hour to suffer through a sleep inducing Holy mass.
Slovak Catholics main priority is to be on God’s good side by suffering a little. Get up early on a Sunday. Kneel stand, kneel stand. Tolerate a bit of dullness. And we’re safe again for a week.
Catholics only care about other humans as long as those humans haven’t been born yet.
Which brings us to the next point
4. Debates Western Europe dealt with 50 years ago
It’s too boring to go into it, but over here they still have heated discussions about the right of women to end an unwanted pregnancy. With all the usual predictable arguments you have heard a million times before.
If those Slovaks who oppose abortions were as active about ending hunger in the world no child in the world would go hungry… Ever. But it’s more comfy and fun to try and dictate what women should be doing with their reproductive organs.
Any abortion is to be preferred over bringing an unwanted child in this world.
And if you are going to oppose abortion because you value human life so much you can only open your mouth if you have volunteered for at least two years in a field hospital in a war zone or as a volunteer in a famine stricken country. Love human life? Prove it to those who have already been born first!
This debate and others like it give you the feeling you have hopped into a time machine and are somewhere anno 1955, but without the consolation of rock and roll music, cool cars and amazing female hairdos.
5. Cars, cars everywhere
In Slovakia men have the delusional idea that owning a car adds some inches to your dick. Even stranger is that a good deal of Slovak women seem to buy into that myth.
It’s a cliché, but it’s said that lots of Slovak men have nothing, except a car. You can buy a Slovak soul for a fancy ride. I swear. Want a Slovak at accept a shitty job offer? Let it come with a big car.
Ideally this country would have more bikes than people, but no, many roads don’t even have sidewalks. This makes for a very oppressive mood in the cities. This may be one reason why they all flee to the mountains at the weekend. The upside of this is that at the weekend you can feel like the last person on earth in a place like Bratislava. Bratislava is a very nice city. Its only problem is that it’s full of Slovaks, but this is solved at the weekend.
There are of course plenty of positive things to be said about Slovakia as well. As one famous Dutch soccer player said: ‘Every disadvantage has its advantage’.
If you consider that humans everywhere are at best selfish and at worst predatory then Slovakia is probably in the top ten, or certainly top 20 of best countries to settle in.
It could be worse, a lot worse.