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Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak optimism

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  • Ben Sorensen
    I just want everyone to know that in Slovakia- I am home. And I would be more than happy to meet any one of you there! or in the US for that matter. Ben ...
    Message 1 of 51 , Jan 27, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      I just want everyone to know that in Slovakia- I am home. And I would be more than happy to meet any one of you there! or in the US for that matter.
      Ben

      --- On Tue, 1/27/09, LongJohn Wayne <daxthewarrior@...> wrote:


      From: LongJohn Wayne <daxthewarrior@...>
      Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak optimism
      To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 4:10 PM






      It is easier to travel when 78 than when one is 80.

      Reconsider.  please.

      Would love to visit.  If I cannot, I hope that you w/ share thoughts of your travels as others have here.

      I live vicariously through some of the posts here.

      --- On Tue, 1/27/09, William F Brna <wfbrna@juno. com> wrote:
      From: William F Brna <wfbrna@juno. com>
      Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak optimism
      To: Slovak-World@ yahoogroups. com
      Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 7:20 AM

      LJW,

      To be perfectly honest, I am not sure that I will be going this summer.

      I'm not sure what the airfare will be and am not sure what the effectof

      the euro will have on my overall available cash. I attended my sister's

      90th birthday last Sunday. My oldest niece said that she might like to

      go to Slovakia, but does not speak Slovak. This is not a problem since I

      can speak for both of us. I need to contact my Slovak cousin (who has

      invited me to return) to see what the best time for me to go would be.

      I would very much like to go, especially since I am not getting any

      younger. Chronologically, I will be 78 in a few days even though I enjoy

      good health and am very active. I actually feel no older than a mere 60.

      WFB

      On Mon, 26 Jan 2009 15:32:38 -0800 (PST) LongJohn Wayne

      <daxthewarrior@ yahoo.com> writes:

      Wouldn't it be a hoot to cross paths w/ Mr. Brna in Slovakia this summer?

      When are you going?

      --- On Mon, 1/26/09, Ben Sorensen <cerrunos1@yahoo. com> wrote:

      From: Ben Sorensen <cerrunos1@yahoo. com>

      Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak optimism

      To: Slovak-World@ yahoogroups. com

      Date: Monday, January 26, 2009, 12:07 PM

      P. Brna

      You are a Slovak- and I am sure then that you feel the same "push and

      pull" as I do. I didn't mean to "single you out," and I certainly didn't

      mean to have you feel that way. I would suspect that you of all people

      would have the least amount of problems of staying on the same page as

      other Slovaks.

      I don't believe in the "ugly American..." just the ignorant person. A

      Slovak spoke to me about the "betonovy svet (world of concrete)," meaning

      America. I remember when some fujarists came back from America: they

      could not believe how many trees we have in our cities! It happens on

      all sides. Milka would be an interesting person to talk to.... Americans

      are genuinely open- even if friendships can be fleeting. In Slovakia, it

      is not this way.... there are walls to get around- and in America,

      someone will buy you drinks. In Slovakia, you better be a dear friend of

      a friend, buy the first round, or family. Only in time (and that actually

      relatively short, but it still takes time) will you be welcome to share

      in the "wealth" at the pub. Now, visiting someone at home is different.

      In America, you come over, have a good time, and then maybe go home to

      eat- or maybe everyone will pitch in and order a pizza. In Slovakia, we

      make "finger-breads, "

      spending substantial time getting you to move that belt one notch wider.

      :-) Drinks are on the table....

      The cultures are different- and niether better or worse than the other.

      I meant to just get the struggle of mindset between the two

      nationalities, and consequently in my own household!, more personalized.

      I didn't mean that first sentence the way it came out. I was just citing

      Martin's previous post- and see now that I cited it badly. I appologize,

      William.

      Ben

      --- On Mon, 1/26/09, William F Brna <wfbrna@juno. com> wrote:

      From: William F Brna <wfbrna@juno. com>

      Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak optimism

      To: Slovak-World@ yahoogroups. com

      Date: Monday, January 26, 2009, 11:30 AM

      Ben,

      I do not agree that there "is an abyss between Americans and Slovaks". I

      spent the fourth of my trips to Slovakia in October, 2008. I did not

      live in hotels nor did I drive an expensive car nor did I look down

      Slovaks. Maybe it is because I am Slovak myself. My parents who

      emigrated to the US taught me to speak Slovak fluently. I have stayed

      with relatives and shared their lifestyle. On my last visit, I was told

      how well I spoke Slovak (tak pekne). I was invited to a Goralska svadba

      and have received invitations to return this summer. While I am not

      sure that I will be able to do so, I was pleased at the invitation. They

      were already making plans for a barbecue at the Kulturny Dom, when I

      come.

      I realize that there are "ugly Americans" and have personal knowledge of

      such, though I do not seek them out. I also remember the 35 sk to the

      dollar and I am not sure what the effect of the euro will be. God

      willing I will find out.

      William F. Brna

      On Mon, 26 Jan 2009 06:31:51 -0800 (PST) Ben Sorensen

      <cerrunos1@yahoo. com> writes:

      Hi John, Vilko, et al...

      I completely agree that there is an abyss between Americans and Slovaks

      as Martin so eloquently pointed out (Martin, it took me till now to

      completely digest what you said. It was the most profound thing I have

      read this year). American optimism and Slovak pessimism do prove to be

      incomprehensible to both sides, and both sides try to come up with

      explanations to make sense of it all- so therefore, Slovaks may SEEM

      poor, and Americans seem to all be direct decedents of JR (from

      Dallas:-P, and therefore oil-baroning- millionaires) to Slovaks. Our

      dollar, our koruna, the exchange rate.... this all seems (and I have

      NEVER studied this phenomenon, but I am just writing from how I LIVE it

      today) to create misconceptions.

      I could not believe how many koruna I could get for a dollar in 2002

      (about 42!) and then the subsequent purchasing power of my dollar! It

      took me a bit to find that the reality of wealth in Slovakia is very

      different than that first impression- and I had to make koruna by working

      to figure it out. Slovaks were, on the whole, very pessimistic (and I

      became this too) when looking the future. Even though there was "never

      enough" for the commodities that everyone would love to have (the Wii,

      the nice car, a Rolex :-P, and such), live was generally pleasant and

      there was always enough of the necessities as well as enough for gifts

      and for "wine and song" when someone celebrated a name day, a birthday,

      or if a relative came to visit. My wedding was no exception...

      We complained that we couldn't afford this or that, but by golly- the

      summer vacation to Greece, Bulgaria, or Turkey was almost seen as

      mandatory. :-) It took me a second to realize that Slovakia is not really

      that poor-or Americans that rich- but rather we have different

      priorities. You could really wear whatever you want when visiting people

      in Slovakia. I had people that would show up in blazers and suits all

      the time at gatherings, and others who showed up in jeans- but everyone

      looked nice according to their individual style. What one wears is not

      going to cause a rift in Slovakia, but how one acts may.

      A girl showed up to our house from Canada, and proceeded to offend

      everyone- even though she spoke/was Slovak. But her attitude towards

      Slovakia and Slovaks in general turned that weekend rather sour. It was a

      bit of a demeaning "I am from the West, and you Slovaks are backwards"

      attitude that she exuded. She was never really welcomed back.

      My students used to get on me for my "it is all so achievable" attitude.

      One person said "I guess anything is possible in America, but you are in

      Slovakia. We are a small country." I pointed out that another small

      country of comparable size had one of the highest standards of living in

      Europe and in the world (Denmark). Therefore, being a "small country" for

      me was not justifying pessimism. Then I realized that in America, we

      think that we can do/become/be anything we want. This is NOT a Slovak

      concept, in whole. I was never told that I could do/be "this" in

      Slovakia. And you know what? I realized that for the first time in my

      life, I had discovered true contentment with my present position while I

      lived in Slovakia. Granted, this contentment still did not fuel a push

      for upward growth in anyone, but it was different from that American need

      for upward movement. Neither was better or worse- and amazingly that

      lucid happiness propelled me

      forward in Slovakia, as I watched others do the same. My mindset, as I

      found out when I came back to America, was completely foreign here. In

      Slovakia, a certain humility is standard, and here that is completely

      lacking. (Can you say culture shock????)

      I found, though, that I was never actually poor nor rich in Slovakia. My

      purchasing power has increased here in America, but I feel like my

      standard of living has actually dropped significantly- - and I make much

      more now than I did there. I feel much more tied down now than I did in

      Slovakia. Milka does too, but the social scene is much more fulfilling

      in America, as people don't just complain- but they seem genuinely happy.

      That is a nice thing. In Slovakia, someone will start complaining about

      something- and sometimes, it just weighs one down to hear about another's

      problems all the time....

      I wish we could just meld the two mindsets together.... .

      But, just to throw this out there- the real rift between Slovaks and

      Americans/Canadians is not financial, social, or found in the differing

      mindsets. The real difference is that both are more similar that either

      is ready for, and the preconceived notions from each to each is really

      what divides the two cultures. The moment you take a Slovak for a person

      and not a Slovak (BEING Slovak is unifying abroad, just like being an

      American abroad) and don't waste the effort in trying to accommodate or

      impress, you will find that the rift is all but gone. At that point,

      open conversation without trying to draw qualitative comparisons begins,

      and the conversation is that much more fulfilling.

      Ben

      PS-in response to another post that I couldn't find: There is a slew of

      things from Communism that were a shame to lose, and mostly those were

      programs for children. Slovakia made the expected mistake of labeling

      all things communist as evil/bad, and things like Spartakiada, the

      Pioneers and Sparks (if they had kept the program and changed the

      ideology), the free notebooks and pencils/school kits, and so on. Yes,

      travel was greatly restricted, and things were more regimented/less

      individual freedoms. BUT it does not mean that ALL the communist

      programs were un-benefitial. A friend of mine was a Czechoslovak (Czech)

      diplomat throughout communism- and right after the fall, he retired and

      moved to WILMINGTON, NC. My dad asked him which he thought was better.

      "Well, the communist leaders were absolute pigs, and it was horrible to

      live and work under them. But when capitalism came, the same pigs were

      again in power, so there really was no

      difference.. .."

      Sorry about this book.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _

      Click for free info on detox treatments for drug & alcohol dependency.

      http://thirdpartyof fers.juno. com/TGL2141/ fc/PnY6rw2Y9p3If

      jzjGLm4DpD9Plewh Zrl4g5hBKDWh563K 4AKN3rK0/

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _

      Make your house more energy efficient. Click now for quality replacement window deals.

      http://thirdpartyof fers.juno. com/TGL2141/ fc/PnY6rw2exdd0y oTzco8P5MyZBPgDO VGcVh8q0n9KTx7SF Rk9y3iR2/

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]











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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ben Sorensen
      I just want everyone to know that in Slovakia- I am home. And I would be more than happy to meet any one of you there! or in the US for that matter. Ben ...
      Message 51 of 51 , Jan 27, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        I just want everyone to know that in Slovakia- I am home. And I would be more than happy to meet any one of you there! or in the US for that matter.
        Ben

        --- On Tue, 1/27/09, LongJohn Wayne <daxthewarrior@...> wrote:


        From: LongJohn Wayne <daxthewarrior@...>
        Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak optimism
        To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 4:10 PM






        It is easier to travel when 78 than when one is 80.

        Reconsider.  please.

        Would love to visit.  If I cannot, I hope that you w/ share thoughts of your travels as others have here.

        I live vicariously through some of the posts here.

        --- On Tue, 1/27/09, William F Brna <wfbrna@juno. com> wrote:
        From: William F Brna <wfbrna@juno. com>
        Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak optimism
        To: Slovak-World@ yahoogroups. com
        Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 7:20 AM

        LJW,

        To be perfectly honest, I am not sure that I will be going this summer.

        I'm not sure what the airfare will be and am not sure what the effectof

        the euro will have on my overall available cash. I attended my sister's

        90th birthday last Sunday. My oldest niece said that she might like to

        go to Slovakia, but does not speak Slovak. This is not a problem since I

        can speak for both of us. I need to contact my Slovak cousin (who has

        invited me to return) to see what the best time for me to go would be.

        I would very much like to go, especially since I am not getting any

        younger. Chronologically, I will be 78 in a few days even though I enjoy

        good health and am very active. I actually feel no older than a mere 60.

        WFB

        On Mon, 26 Jan 2009 15:32:38 -0800 (PST) LongJohn Wayne

        <daxthewarrior@ yahoo.com> writes:

        Wouldn't it be a hoot to cross paths w/ Mr. Brna in Slovakia this summer?

        When are you going?

        --- On Mon, 1/26/09, Ben Sorensen <cerrunos1@yahoo. com> wrote:

        From: Ben Sorensen <cerrunos1@yahoo. com>

        Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak optimism

        To: Slovak-World@ yahoogroups. com

        Date: Monday, January 26, 2009, 12:07 PM

        P. Brna

        You are a Slovak- and I am sure then that you feel the same "push and

        pull" as I do. I didn't mean to "single you out," and I certainly didn't

        mean to have you feel that way. I would suspect that you of all people

        would have the least amount of problems of staying on the same page as

        other Slovaks.

        I don't believe in the "ugly American..." just the ignorant person. A

        Slovak spoke to me about the "betonovy svet (world of concrete)," meaning

        America. I remember when some fujarists came back from America: they

        could not believe how many trees we have in our cities! It happens on

        all sides. Milka would be an interesting person to talk to.... Americans

        are genuinely open- even if friendships can be fleeting. In Slovakia, it

        is not this way.... there are walls to get around- and in America,

        someone will buy you drinks. In Slovakia, you better be a dear friend of

        a friend, buy the first round, or family. Only in time (and that actually

        relatively short, but it still takes time) will you be welcome to share

        in the "wealth" at the pub. Now, visiting someone at home is different.

        In America, you come over, have a good time, and then maybe go home to

        eat- or maybe everyone will pitch in and order a pizza. In Slovakia, we

        make "finger-breads, "

        spending substantial time getting you to move that belt one notch wider.

        :-) Drinks are on the table....

        The cultures are different- and niether better or worse than the other.

        I meant to just get the struggle of mindset between the two

        nationalities, and consequently in my own household!, more personalized.

        I didn't mean that first sentence the way it came out. I was just citing

        Martin's previous post- and see now that I cited it badly. I appologize,

        William.

        Ben

        --- On Mon, 1/26/09, William F Brna <wfbrna@juno. com> wrote:

        From: William F Brna <wfbrna@juno. com>

        Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak optimism

        To: Slovak-World@ yahoogroups. com

        Date: Monday, January 26, 2009, 11:30 AM

        Ben,

        I do not agree that there "is an abyss between Americans and Slovaks". I

        spent the fourth of my trips to Slovakia in October, 2008. I did not

        live in hotels nor did I drive an expensive car nor did I look down

        Slovaks. Maybe it is because I am Slovak myself. My parents who

        emigrated to the US taught me to speak Slovak fluently. I have stayed

        with relatives and shared their lifestyle. On my last visit, I was told

        how well I spoke Slovak (tak pekne). I was invited to a Goralska svadba

        and have received invitations to return this summer. While I am not

        sure that I will be able to do so, I was pleased at the invitation. They

        were already making plans for a barbecue at the Kulturny Dom, when I

        come.

        I realize that there are "ugly Americans" and have personal knowledge of

        such, though I do not seek them out. I also remember the 35 sk to the

        dollar and I am not sure what the effect of the euro will be. God

        willing I will find out.

        William F. Brna

        On Mon, 26 Jan 2009 06:31:51 -0800 (PST) Ben Sorensen

        <cerrunos1@yahoo. com> writes:

        Hi John, Vilko, et al...

        I completely agree that there is an abyss between Americans and Slovaks

        as Martin so eloquently pointed out (Martin, it took me till now to

        completely digest what you said. It was the most profound thing I have

        read this year). American optimism and Slovak pessimism do prove to be

        incomprehensible to both sides, and both sides try to come up with

        explanations to make sense of it all- so therefore, Slovaks may SEEM

        poor, and Americans seem to all be direct decedents of JR (from

        Dallas:-P, and therefore oil-baroning- millionaires) to Slovaks. Our

        dollar, our koruna, the exchange rate.... this all seems (and I have

        NEVER studied this phenomenon, but I am just writing from how I LIVE it

        today) to create misconceptions.

        I could not believe how many koruna I could get for a dollar in 2002

        (about 42!) and then the subsequent purchasing power of my dollar! It

        took me a bit to find that the reality of wealth in Slovakia is very

        different than that first impression- and I had to make koruna by working

        to figure it out. Slovaks were, on the whole, very pessimistic (and I

        became this too) when looking the future. Even though there was "never

        enough" for the commodities that everyone would love to have (the Wii,

        the nice car, a Rolex :-P, and such), live was generally pleasant and

        there was always enough of the necessities as well as enough for gifts

        and for "wine and song" when someone celebrated a name day, a birthday,

        or if a relative came to visit. My wedding was no exception...

        We complained that we couldn't afford this or that, but by golly- the

        summer vacation to Greece, Bulgaria, or Turkey was almost seen as

        mandatory. :-) It took me a second to realize that Slovakia is not really

        that poor-or Americans that rich- but rather we have different

        priorities. You could really wear whatever you want when visiting people

        in Slovakia. I had people that would show up in blazers and suits all

        the time at gatherings, and others who showed up in jeans- but everyone

        looked nice according to their individual style. What one wears is not

        going to cause a rift in Slovakia, but how one acts may.

        A girl showed up to our house from Canada, and proceeded to offend

        everyone- even though she spoke/was Slovak. But her attitude towards

        Slovakia and Slovaks in general turned that weekend rather sour. It was a

        bit of a demeaning "I am from the West, and you Slovaks are backwards"

        attitude that she exuded. She was never really welcomed back.

        My students used to get on me for my "it is all so achievable" attitude.

        One person said "I guess anything is possible in America, but you are in

        Slovakia. We are a small country." I pointed out that another small

        country of comparable size had one of the highest standards of living in

        Europe and in the world (Denmark). Therefore, being a "small country" for

        me was not justifying pessimism. Then I realized that in America, we

        think that we can do/become/be anything we want. This is NOT a Slovak

        concept, in whole. I was never told that I could do/be "this" in

        Slovakia. And you know what? I realized that for the first time in my

        life, I had discovered true contentment with my present position while I

        lived in Slovakia. Granted, this contentment still did not fuel a push

        for upward growth in anyone, but it was different from that American need

        for upward movement. Neither was better or worse- and amazingly that

        lucid happiness propelled me

        forward in Slovakia, as I watched others do the same. My mindset, as I

        found out when I came back to America, was completely foreign here. In

        Slovakia, a certain humility is standard, and here that is completely

        lacking. (Can you say culture shock????)

        I found, though, that I was never actually poor nor rich in Slovakia. My

        purchasing power has increased here in America, but I feel like my

        standard of living has actually dropped significantly- - and I make much

        more now than I did there. I feel much more tied down now than I did in

        Slovakia. Milka does too, but the social scene is much more fulfilling

        in America, as people don't just complain- but they seem genuinely happy.

        That is a nice thing. In Slovakia, someone will start complaining about

        something- and sometimes, it just weighs one down to hear about another's

        problems all the time....

        I wish we could just meld the two mindsets together.... .

        But, just to throw this out there- the real rift between Slovaks and

        Americans/Canadians is not financial, social, or found in the differing

        mindsets. The real difference is that both are more similar that either

        is ready for, and the preconceived notions from each to each is really

        what divides the two cultures. The moment you take a Slovak for a person

        and not a Slovak (BEING Slovak is unifying abroad, just like being an

        American abroad) and don't waste the effort in trying to accommodate or

        impress, you will find that the rift is all but gone. At that point,

        open conversation without trying to draw qualitative comparisons begins,

        and the conversation is that much more fulfilling.

        Ben

        PS-in response to another post that I couldn't find: There is a slew of

        things from Communism that were a shame to lose, and mostly those were

        programs for children. Slovakia made the expected mistake of labeling

        all things communist as evil/bad, and things like Spartakiada, the

        Pioneers and Sparks (if they had kept the program and changed the

        ideology), the free notebooks and pencils/school kits, and so on. Yes,

        travel was greatly restricted, and things were more regimented/less

        individual freedoms. BUT it does not mean that ALL the communist

        programs were un-benefitial. A friend of mine was a Czechoslovak (Czech)

        diplomat throughout communism- and right after the fall, he retired and

        moved to WILMINGTON, NC. My dad asked him which he thought was better.

        "Well, the communist leaders were absolute pigs, and it was horrible to

        live and work under them. But when capitalism came, the same pigs were

        again in power, so there really was no

        difference.. .."

        Sorry about this book.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

        ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _

        Click for free info on detox treatments for drug & alcohol dependency.

        http://thirdpartyof fers.juno. com/TGL2141/ fc/PnY6rw2Y9p3If

        jzjGLm4DpD9Plewh Zrl4g5hBKDWh563K 4AKN3rK0/

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

        ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _

        Make your house more energy efficient. Click now for quality replacement window deals.

        http://thirdpartyof fers.juno. com/TGL2141/ fc/PnY6rw2exdd0y oTzco8P5MyZBPgDO VGcVh8q0n9KTx7SF Rk9y3iR2/

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]











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