3914Visiting your relatives in Slovakia
- Jul 1, 2003Dear Freinds,
I just can't help myself, I must say a couple of words in this regard.
Please, remember, that you are earning at least TEN times as much as the people you are visitng.
I know, it is a wonderful feeling to be like a millionaire in a poor country.Generally, in world tourism, there is a segment of people, who visit poor countries just to experience this feeling once in their life time.
But, you are supposed to visit your family, that is supposed to be your friends.
You will make no good friends, if you will;
- show off with all the gadgets of this world, that money can buy and everything that you have ( probably not really own) back home.
- talk to them via a laptop
- believe, that they will kiss your feet for one dollar note.( Americans are already well known here for giving away one dollar notes :-)
People know of all this and will not love or admire you more for that. It is really not neccessary the embrio of a good family relationship to be disturbed by plain envy, that is very common here.
All this can come later, when the relationship matures.
If you really are interested in a geunine human relation, then approach them with modesty and wisdom.
You are on their territory, so do not try to be bigger or wealthier or stronger than they are. Try to be equal. Do not be affraid of the langage. Learn some basic phrases and then, while with them, listen and learn as a child, with a good dosis of humor. Let them enjoy the feeling, that at least in language, you are helpless for a while.
You can keep your notes about the words and phrases, but it will take some time, till you will begin to understand the language really. Especially slovak grammar is very difficult to understand.
Your relatives will probably make great sacrifices for you, in money and time. There were cases, when people took a loan to finance the visit.
Try not to overstretch this and think about how you could do something for them in return, that has as much value for you, as it had for them.
Observe their habits and try to follow.( like shoes off, when you enter the flat etc.)
They will be asking you about your wealth. Hesitate to reveal everything. Be modest.Actually, your wealth should make you about as happy as their, although limited, wealth is making them satisfied as they are.
Also remember ; ( I was asked this question once, while I was touring some Americans " Vladimir, do those people really own all this - houses etc?")
Yes, they do. In the past, there were no loans like in the US, so people had to save and build their houses with their own hands. Only recently, loans are being used for cars and houses, but very limited.
If there is anybody in the family, that "speaks" english, talk slowly, in 'special english" and do not use complicated words and sentences.This will avoid misunderstandings. Often, the listener is affraid to admit, that he did not quite understand, and skips the word or takes it wrong. Make sure, you are well understood.
A day or two before you leave, throw a dinner for all in a place they will choose. It will not cost you much, but will remain in good memory of all.At this dinner, you could give a special present to the Lady of the household ( she is the head of the family anyway), where you were as a visitor.You must stand up, have a short speech, where you express your thanks for the hospitality (have someone to translate), add whatever is on your mind and then have a toast with all.(sorry, not sure about the word, but have a glass of good slovak wine with everyone)
Presents for the kids and general presents are given at arrival.
There is much more to say, but that would be too long.Surprises and lessons learned should be the thrill of the journey.
You just can not be prepared for everything.
With best wishes,
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