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The ex-pats I meet have all been so supportive and helpful, recognizing that as a newcomer here there are certain tips and techniques adapting to life here!I discovered a great English book exchange, Next Apache, where you can while away the hours with a coffee or cold beer whilst surrounded by hundreds of books.But I am happy…..it’s not where you live….it’s what you make of it…the more foreigners I meet here the more I am convinced this is true. My Slovak Father in Law, recently told me that the most exciting thing about living in Slovakia was dying! But typical of the older generation’s mentality here.

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For an extortionate amount of money I was living in a tiny, damp, rat infested flat in London, struggling for work and felt I might as well have taken wads of money every morning and flushed them down the drain!

Travel alone was my entire salary and forget a casual meet up at the pub….prices of food and drink would leave you with a guaranteed empty pocket! I hear you ask…I have a lovely flat in Stare Mesto. I am admittedly struggling with this crazy language that when I ask what the basic rules are the answer is….’none’.

There are three main regional culture areas: western, central, and eastern.

Slovensko is the shortened local name for Slovakia, or the Slovak Republic.

An ‘Eastern Europe Twilight Zone’, was the phrase that first came to mind as I touched down at midnight in Bratislava airport.

I was not greeted with Starbucks or Mc Donalds, but a dark arrival lounge with an instant coffee machine and some questionable looking ‘taxi drivers’, just waiting to charge extortionate fares to the poor naive tourists and drunken stag parties that wobbled through arrivals after a few too many beers on the plane.

I was, as I am sure most ex-pats experience, prone to asking why most people looked so miserable and why the main topic of conversation was usually money or death!

I noticed a smile here and there on the streets, though, and feel that with the arrival of a bit of western thinking over the last few years people seem a great deal more ‘open’ and positive minded!

Watch out for my next article on Life as an expat in Slovakia!

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