To all the Slovak boys I've loved before

A new memoir recounts an American teenager’s year of romance and heartbreak in Slovakia during the country’s fledgling independence.

Sarah Hinlicky Wilson and her friend Peter picking cherries in Svätý Jur.  Sarah Hinlicky Wilson and her friend Peter picking cherries in Svätý Jur. (Source: Courtesy of S. Hinlicky Wilson)

When American Sarah Hinlicky Wilson and her family moved in 1993 from upstate New York to Svätý Jur, a small town near Bratislava, she quickly learned that the boys in her new neighbourhood were more than a little curious about the ‘Američanka’ next door.

SkryťRemove ad
Article continues after video advertisement
SkryťRemove ad
Article continues after video advertisement

Related article: In a year of grim tidings, Slovak migrant turns to the magic of childhood fairy tales Read more 

Seventeen at the time, Hinlicky Wilson was just finding her place in the world, much like the newly independent nation of Slovakia that had emerged following the split of Czechoslovakia just six days before she arrived.

Surrounded by Slovak boys, Hinlicky Wilson’s time in Slovakia was characterised by a “baker’s dozen” of admirers, chief among them a young man named Mišo, who “beamed between his dimples”. But her most persistent suitor, detailed in her recently-published memoir “I am a Brave Bridge: An American Girl’s Hilarious and Heartbreaking Year in the Fledgling Republic of Slovakia”, was the country itself.

“Slovakia, my first love, is my true love,” she told The Slovak Spectator. “I have lived elsewhere since, but no place has captivated me or moved me the way that Slovakia does.”

Sarka and the village

Pod’ von, pod’ von, Sarka!

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Top stories

Teenagers skateboard in Sásová, Banská Bystrica, on June 7, 2021.

Instead of Prague, American ended up in central Slovakia. He has no regrets

In his debut book, ‘Moon over Sasova’, Christopher Shaffer writes about his teaching stint in Banská Bystrica in the first months of independent Slovakia.


8 h
The Great Pyramid of Giza.

Are there hidden chambers in the Pyramids? Slovaks could help find them

Scientists are studying ancient monuments using a method based on gravity.


8. aug
A helicopter was necessary to put out an extensive forest fire near the village of Malá Lodine in the Košice-okolie Distrcit.

Dissatisfaction over ban on entering Košice forests

Dry forests mean higher risk of fire.


8. aug
SkryťClose ad