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IN THIS SUMMER SERIES, FOREIGN WOMEN SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES OF LIVING IN SLOVAKIA

Bye, Dummy: Adventures with shops and nicknames

FLORENCE NYS of France is in charge of advertising for the International Women's Club in Bratislava. She has been in Slovakia since October last year. Her husband is the financial and administration manager for Peugeot Slovakia.


FLORENCE NYS
photo: Spectator archives

FLORENCE NYS of France is in charge of advertising for the International Women's Club in Bratislava. She has been in Slovakia since October last year. Her husband is the financial and administration manager for Peugeot Slovakia.


The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What is your favourite place to eat in Slovakia?

Florence Nys (FN): I like the traditional Slovak style restaurants, like Koliba Expo in Bratislava or Koliba in High Tatras, because one can really appreciate the Slovak atmosphere and the foods.


TSS: What Slovak dish do you like?

FN: Among all the Slovak dishes I prefer venison, maybe because it's familiar to me. I find deer goulash and deer with blueberries very tasty.


TSS: What struck you the most when you came to Slovakia?

FN: The first time I was here we had come to find a place to live. We drove all around Bratislava and it was very hot. We were looking for a place to buy a snack and water, but we had difficulties finding a potraviny. They are often not well marked, and nothing from the outside suggests that the place is actually a grocery store. There's no promotion, no food or vegetables placed outside. I really wondered where people went shopping. This gave me the feeling that Slovakia was designed for an inside life, contrary to what I experienced in Turkey, where I moved from.


TSS: What advice would you give to a foreigner who comes to Slovakia for the first time?

FN: Don't live with one foot in the country and another out, keep both feet on Slovak ground. There are so many temptations when living in Bratislava to travel to Vienna, which is only 65 kilometres away. You can easily spend part of your time in Austria, which actually sounds like the boundary to the EU for me. But my advice would be to stay in the country you are in.


TSS: What is the main difference or similarity in character between Slovaks and people of your nationality?

FN: Slovak are European. However, they do not have the same attitude to time and work as the French. They probably enjoy life more than we do.



HEATHER ALNER
photo: Spectator archives

HEATHER ALNER from England is the finance manager for DHL Slovakia, and currently on maternity leave. She has been in Slovakia for nine years and came originally to teach English. She married Slovak Lukáš Alner, managing director of Zoznam.sk.


TSS: What is your favourite place to visit?

Heather Alner (HA): Bojnice castle, where I got married. We love it, it's beautiful and I like the time when they have the ghost festival.


TSS: Did you have any embarrassments or language faux pas with Slovaks?

HA: I had so many... Once I was saying good-bye to a friend and her daughter whose name is Terézia. I wanted to shorten her name and I said to her "Ahoj, Trtko (Bye, dummy)."

TSS: What advice would you give to a foreigner who comes to Slovakia for the first time?

HA: I would say that when you first meet Slovaks, they may seem a little off-hand, a little shy and quiet, but that's just their culture, and once you get to know them they are the friendliest, most generous people you can ever meet.


TSS: What will be your lasting memory of Slovakia?

HA: One of the things that probably struck me most is the health care system in this country. This year, when I gave birth to my son, it was the first time I had experienced it. Benjamin was ill and had to be in the intensive care unit, and the people at Kramáre hospital were just amazing. With so little funding, they were so capable, so committed, just lovely people.


TSS: What do you bring as a present from Slovakia back home?

HA: Demänovka liqueur, because it's such a lovely drink. At Christmas I take it home because my family likes putting it on the mince pie.

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