Blog: 30 years after the Velvet Revolution, we still haven't found a Slovak original

November 17, 1989 was all about giving another chance to dreams stolen in 1948 and 1968.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

Andrea Sadloňová is a Slovak-born scientist who returned home after 19 years in the USA.

On November 17, 1989, my parents were in their early 40s, my current age. In 1968 they were in their early 20s, close to the age when I left Slovakia in 1996. I frequently think about the parallels in our lives to find clues on how to live my life in Slovakia after I returned in 2015.

During communism, most professional opportunities were dependent on whether you were associated with the Communist Party. My closest family was not, so our "trajectory" was given.

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The population was divided into preferred and non-preferred groups. For example, my grandparents were set on a successful business path in the postwar era of the 1940s. They were in their 20s and 30s and they did well building their small business. They were dedicated to each other, worked hard, loved their young family. As I heard, they were able to pay off a business loan in a few years and buy a house. During nationalisation in the early 1950s they experienced severe restrictions and their business was expropriated. They lost their professional dream of building something of their own. They did not give up and instead focused on building a family and hoped that their children would have a better future.

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