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Slovenia and Slovenians

September 2, 2015
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When I moved to Slovenia, met new people which my husband introduced to me, I was amazed how nice and friendly and lovely and many other adjectives they are. But life turned out not so simple and cheerful…

One day I realized that I cannot stay at home alone all days or go out only with husband, I must go to the open sea alone. That day happened after few days at home when I just brought some of my bags. I had million of fears, and the main one was (and still it is) language barrier – I don’t know Slovene. Totally. When somebody says me something like: “Oh, you are Russian! Languages are so similar!” Oh, please, stop it. Nothing common. Slovene sounds like archaic Russian which only philologists and linguists know; you can understand written language, but when they speak, sorry, I hear just random number of sounds, and some of them from time to time seem to me familiar and I can guess them, because I am not totally retarded. I am retarded in common, but not so terrible.

I left the flat, opened Google Maps and started exploring the space around. Ljubljana is very small town and you don’t need lots of time to see most of the things using just feet. First weeks were amazing. Even first months were great – I realized that I don’t need the Slovenian language at all because most of the people know English, it made my life way better because I could visit shops, cafes, randomly walk and have no troubles.

…and then problems started

All the ugly features of personalities opened to me when we bought a dog. Samoyeds are very specific dogs: big, fluffy, white, beautiful, friendly, attractive. But before mentioning few cases I want to tell: all 26 years which I lived in Russia, nobody stopped in the middle of the street just to insult me. NEVER.

People stop to talk about my dog. In the beginning it was fine, but after some time it became annoying. Some of them stop to talk, some of them stop to touch (in most of the cases not even asking if I allow to do it or not) , some of them stop to insult.

Case #1 happened when we went to the food market in the early morning. The temperature during the day was about 35C, in the morning – around 23C. Husband left me alone with the dog to wait him in the shadow of the monument on the market square. I was sitting, Beo was lying under my knees, calmly napping on the grass. All my face tried to create an illusion that I had an invisible cloak: no, it’s not me, no, you don’t see puppy, no! no! NO! Any time when somebody stopped just in front of us like in the museum I made the same face: Keep calm and don’t notice them. And then some gentleman came and started talking something in Slovene, I said my usual: Sorry, I don’t speak Slovene. But he knew English. Unfortunately. I should have predicted that. Dialogue:

He: I have a Samoyed, too!
Me *great news, now we are friends*: Mm… Good. *Trying to smile*
He: He is 15 years old!
Me: Good for him:) *I managed to put the most polite and friendly smile*
He: It’s very bad for them to be outside in such heat.
Me *sure, every ground squirrel is an agriculturist*: It’s not that hot yet, and soon he will get his ice and water. He has no choice yet.
He *turning his back to me and quickly going from me*: Because his owner is stupid!
Me *continuing sitting with the stupid polite smile without knowing how to react*

You may say that it happened because I was already grumpy myself and I attract grump man because…. Oh no! It’s not because of it. It’s just because he is impolite and has no education how to talk to people.

Case #2 made me cry all day. Seriously. I walked with a puppy. He was very small that time, cute and stupid chewer of everything he saw. We were coming back home passing by the car of neighbor (also quite old *gentle*man) which he was constantly repairing, next to the door I noticed that Beo had something in the mouth, I knelt in front of him trying to take a chestnut from his mouth, when I finally succeeded, I put it on the ground and moved towards the door, and then I felt almost a slap in the shoulder. That man told me something, I didn’t understand all the phrase, but again apologized and said that I didn’t understand him. He pointed at the chestnut and told me, that for dog’s shit there are bags. I took chestnut and showed him, kind of, see, it’s chestnut. I threw it away and he turning his back to me started mumbling something which was very clear to understand, and the meaning of that mumble was following: They’re overrunning our country.

The last episode was few weeks ago. I will not tell you the whole story how absolutely unknown person with 0,3 size dog decided to teach me that I shouldn’t keep my dog (already 25kg) on a leash, because it’s violent, but the phrase with which she replied on my reasons of why I didn’t allow him to walk without leash (he is too big, he jumps on people, he is escapist, and he is not very attentive puppy of 6 months who prefers to play with other puppies than listening to me etc.) was: Oh, yes, blah-blah-blah. I still don’t know how to react on it. These three cases are just the most memorable because they destroyed me for few days.

…but things are not so bad

At least I want to believe in it. About a month ago, while I was running around Roznik, some other running guy stopped just to ask how I am doing, asked my name, shook my hand, wished me good day and continued running. He made my day, I was smiling all the way home.

Of course, people to whom I was introduced by my husband (or that time – future husband) are always nice, and thanks to them I created a great image of locals as very intellectual, friendly and cheerful people, I shared (and still share) that impression with everybody who asked me how did I like locals. I still believe that those horrible cases are exceptions. I cannot think that I caused this attitude because all my life I was very nice to all unknown people in all the visited countries, and they were also nice.

I only want to say one thing for these people who are reading it right now: Don’t scream so loud when you see beautiful puppy, and don’t touch this dog without asking for permission. It’s not nice.  

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