1. Easy to blend in

Slovaks have an unwritten code of rules. This code is not too hard to figure out. Slovak life is centered around predictability, rituals, tradition, formality, the same jokes over and over again, the same clichés, the same relationship structures, the ever recurring collective likes and dislikes and the same do’s and don’ts. If you accept those standards then dealing with Slovaks is a smooth affair. If you give Slovaks what they expect you can live in some sort of safe cocoon. This is also what Slovaks do themselves. They build a small cocoon around themselves.

To illustrate this: when an investigative journalist got murdered here for poking around in a nest of corruption some Slovaks reacted with: ‘well, yes, he should have left that mess alone’. The message being: Stay in your cocoon. Society as a whole does not concern you.

If Slovaks have a message to the world then it is: ‘All we ask is to be left alone.’

Slovaks never bother anyone, and in return they don’t want to be bothered either.

This is a fair bargain.

2. The reflex to protect mothers and little children

If you are a pedestrian in this country you are only one step ahead of being putrid roadkill in a ditch. Meaning that drivers rule the roads. This immediately changes if you are pushing a pram. Generally speaking pregnant women and young mothers can count on a lot of respect and more patience.

Children are more appreciated and evoke more joy in adults than where I come from.

Maternity leave is long here. Mothers can stay home with their children for about three years. This is something I find extremely important. Children should indeed be with their LOVING not too stressed mothers until they are three years old.

3. Slovaks are relatively content

Maybe because as children they are treated and treasured as children up until they get stripped of their creativity by the soul numbing Slovak highschool system or because there is so much predictability or because there are still traces of a collective spirit thanks to communism and the dominant influence of Christianity, combined with a fairly high living standard, but Slovaks are pretty happy.

I don’t particularly understand it. I want too much and in every day life produce very little dopamine, but Slovaks need very little to be content.

Compared to where I come from I come across very few mentally ill people. Unless these people are hidden away better than in the west – which is entirely possible – I would dare to say Slovaks are mentally healthier than in the west. Neurotic, rigid and not too open to new things, but mentally healthy.

You cannot long for what you don’t know exists. You cannot suffer too much if you don’t know how very different life could be.

4. Safe

Apart from obnoxious drunks roaming the streets from time to time and the busy traffic I feel entirely safe here.

Therefore I find it incomprehensible that Slovaks feel so unsafe…

I have walked around in neighbourhoods that are considered to be the worst. I ended up having a nice conversation with someone high as fuck on cocaine. He was very talkative and friendly.

Junkies are sensitive people.

He was an assistant in an operating room.

5. Flowers get you laid

I will let that last point tickle your imagination.