How Slovaks Will Spend The Next Two Weeks

Hokej

May 15, 2017

Allan Stevo

Meet virtually any Slovak, of any socio-economic status from 17 to 81 years old, male or female, face to face in a private conversation and one of the first three questions will always be “Do you like Slovak women?”  Most often, this is the number one question.

The beauty of the Slovak gene pool does not escape Slovaks. In fact, it’s a source of national pride.

But when I had come to Slovakia for the first time, it was August 2002 and another question had supplanted “Do you like Slovak women?” in the top 3: “Do you like Slovak hockey?”

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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A New Take On A Slovak Classic – Celery Root


A New Take On A Slovak Classic – Celery Root

May 13, 2017

Allan Stevo

The root of the celery plant – zeler, or celeriac as its often referred to in English, is a mainstay in Slovak soups.

While I’ve neither seen nor heard of this done in Slovakia, this classic can also be mashed with butter and used as a delicious, earthy substitute for mashed potatoes.

To make mashed celeriac with butter simply:

Wash a celery root, cut off the outer skin with a sturdy knife, making sure err on the side of removing too much of the outer layer rather than too little, cut into small pieces, boil until tender enough to pierce with a fork, strain off water, mash with a fork, salt and pepper, mash in some butter (4 tablespoons).

Leave it a little lumpy. Serve lumpy.

Enjoy.








What are ways that you jazz up some Slovak classics?

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

Photo credit: jemine.sk

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Mailbag – Trip To Slovakia, Looking For A Teaching Job In Slovakia

Teaching Question

May 11, 2017

Allan Stevo

A reader wrote to mention a few months back that she was heading to a wedding in Slovakia and to ask advice about finding a school to teach at.  Here’s her note and here’s how I answered.

Hi Allan, Your blog is of particular personal interest as I am considering a move to Slovakia in October, and I’ve also been working in Chicago for the last five years, originally from Wisconsin. So the anxiety of “Oh God, will I love/hate Slovakia?” that has been dancing around in my head has eased a little after reading through your experiences.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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Guru Peter Drucker Comments On Guru Jan Amos Komensky (Comenius)

Comenius

May 10, 2017

Allan Stevo

Peter Drucker was a management expert extraordinaire, an author of 39 books who told his readers to focus in life and in business not on “success,” but on concrete contributions they could make to society.  In short, his writing looked at ways that organizations could bring out the best in people and to offer their best to society.

  • One observer, Harriet Rubin in Inc. March 1, 1998, noted “No human being has built a better brand by managing just himself than Peter Drucker has. He has represented quality, integrity, and value longer than Intel, Microsoft, or McDonald’s has. He has done this in ways that reject the standard formula for success. “
  • The Drucker Institute references his 600 page Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1974) (read it here for free or buy it here), his magnum opus, as a text that “would become the playbook for generations of corporate executives, nonprofit managers and government leaders.”
  • Drucker’s The Effective Executive (1966) (buy it here – sorry, I couldn’t find a free online version), now considered a classic was listed in 2008 on the Kalima Initiative’s list of top 100 most influential books that most needed to be translated into Arabic. On the list alongside The Effective Executive also appeared The Meaning of Relativity by Einstein and The Aeneid by Virgil.

The Drucker Institute lists dozens of articles with full text links that tell much of this fascinating man. Many of the articles are fantastic, but I especially recommend an article from Inc. for my entrepreneurial minded readers out there – Drucker A to Z.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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Tablo – What’s A Tablo?

Tablo

May 9, 2017

Allan Stevo

A tablo is an elaborate class picture.  It is a tradition in Slovakia for such class pictures to be made by graduating gymnasium students and to be displayed in a shopkeeper’s window for all to see.  They are often entertaining.  The tradition of tablo is talked about more in the article – Graduation Parades.  Below is a tablo from 1956, as is noted in the tablo.  It was sent in by a reader of 52 Weeks in Slovakia.  The school is Dunajska, across from “Liga Passage.” A bust of the great educator Jan Amos Komensky (a.k.a. Comenius) is shown in the tablo.

Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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Graduation Parades Through The Old Town

Graduation Parades

May 8, 2017

Allan Stevo

The Thursdays and Fridays throughout May mark a special time in Slovak culture.  A sort of coming of age parade takes place.  Slovak high school students go into the town with every member of their class and beg for money.  They don’t lie about what they are going to do with this money–it’s going to be spent on drinking.

In the upcoming weeks, these 17-, 18,- and 19-year-old students will take their difficult and stressful leaving exams.  Sitting at the end of that testing period will be a large pot of money that they will go out and blow on a party the day they finish exams.  The entire class will be there at this final party and most likely it will be the very last time the entire class will be together.  Teachers will be invited.  The party will go late.

Today they are running around town, boisterously collecting that drinking money.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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An Inheritance From Communism?

Photo: Bachspics

Slovak Workers and ‘Pat a Mat

May 2, 2017

Allan Stevo

At a bus stop, I see two Bratislava city workers moving leaves and dust about on this dry fall morning – one with a leaf blower, the other with a shovel.  The one with the leaf blower does nothing a broom couldn’t accomplish as he dusts up the passengers-to-be at the bus stop and sends dry leaves out into the street.  He doesn’t actually leave the bus stop leaf-free.  He proceeds to move more leaves out onto the street, directing some onto the waiting shovel, and he and his colleague go about their way, having accomplished little with their leaf blower/shovel combination.

Watching these two men work.  Heck, watching nearly any skilled and unskilled laborer in Bratislava work, leaves me feeling like communism did a real number on Slovak society.

What else am I supposed to think when I go to visit my friend and his apartment walls aren’t flush in the corner, allowing him to see into the bedroom of the next apartment and vice-versa.  Or how about the spray nozzle that the handyman just installed on another friend’s kitchen sink that springs a leak and sprays you in the face when you touch it; the newly installed shower at a neighbor’s place that is graded so that water now runs out into the apartment, not down into the drain; the hole being dug by utility workers directly under the supporting pillar of a café down the street.

Virtually every professional interaction with a skilled laborer in Bratislava seems to harbor tremendous disappointment.  Standards for their work are not high. Rate of pay has little to do with it.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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Try This For Your True Love Tomorrow

Maj

April 30, 2017

Allan Stevo

A young man who wants to impress a girl at this time of year has a traditional option that he can use to make that happen.  First, he gathers his friends together for a trip into the forest.  They find the tallest, straightest tree, fell it, and bring it into town under cover of darkness.  During the night, they fashion it in the traditional way (described later) and leave it standing under the bedroom window of the man’s beloved.  This gift left to her on the May 1  is called a “maj,” which is also the Slovak word for the month of May.

Building a Maj in Dubravka

Dubravka is where the last communist president of Czechoslovakia, Gustav Husak, came from.  Being Husak’s home is perhaps still Dubravka’s greatest claim to fame.  It’s a hidden corner of Bratislava, filled with panelaky (big concrete apartment buildings) and is home to very pleasant hikes still in the Bratislava city limits.  Despite the many concrete buildings that dominate most of Dubravka, some parts of it still feel like a village.

Each spring in Dubravka, outside of the Dom Kultury (House of Culture), a “maj” is erected.  The same is done in many towns and villages around Slovakia to celebrate the coming of May in a traditionally meaningful way.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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