Photo: Ed Kohler
You have at least dozen pairs of slippers in your closet.
You never ever enter the house with shoes on and you expect the same from your guests. Of course you’re polite enough of not leaving them barefoot – you offer them a pair of slippers and they can even choose between different sizes, colors and patterns.
You don’t understand your fellow countryman.
Despite our small size as a country, there are more than 30 dialects spoken in Slovenia. Westerners often don’t understand the Easterners and the Southerners don’t understand the Northerners. A good example of this mess is a movie Halgato, shot in one of the dialects and subtitled in standard Slovenian so the viewers from the rest of the country could understand it.
You buy donuts in Trojane and kremšnite in Tepanje.
When Slovenians travel from the coast to the northeast part of Slovenia on a main highway, they make two obligatory stops: one in Trojane to feast on a giant donut filled with apricot jam and the other in Tepanje to feast again on a giant “kremšnita”, an egg-creamed cake.
You spend your holidays on the Croatian coast.
Every summer almost half of the country packs its bags, orders its family to water the plants and feed the animals, lowers the blinds, fills the trunk with vegetables, fruits, sausages, brandy and other home-grown and home-made food and heads to the sea. Us Slovenes don’t mind waiting hours to cross the border or paying ridiculously high prices for apartments that are up to half a mile away from the coast and sharing the beach with their compatriots. The Adriatic Sea is a vital part of vacation.
If you have to drive more than 30 minutes, it’s too far.
Everything in Slovenia is near: the school, the bank, the store, the movie, the bar. Generally you can reach all of these places by no more than a 15-minute walk or 10-minute drive (except for the capital, there you need 10 minutes more). So when somebody invites you to a party that requires more than a 30 minute-drive, you decline.
You watch Planica ski jumps.
Primož Ulaga, Franci Petek, Primož Peterka, Robert Kranjec, Peter Prevc are ski jumping champions and national heroes. When they compete in Planica, the largest ski flying hill in the world, half of Slovenia gets up at two in the morning to avoid traffic jam (nevertheless they never make it) and to witness another medal or even a world record. Another half forgets to eat, piss and breathe because they’re too glued to television.
You have to climb Triglav.
As all Muslims have to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca once in their life, Slovenians have to climb Triglav, the highest mountain in the country.
You work, work, work.
The stereotype the Slovenians are diligent as an ant is absolutely true. It’s as if some higher force won’t let you rest for more than five minutes. When you get home from work, you grab a shovel, a screwdriver, an iron, a vacuum cleaner, a mixer and some pots, you grab whatever keeps you busy until the night falls.
Your neighbor’s grass is always greener.
Being envious of your friend’s job, neighbor’s house or a passer’s-by car is a national sport. No matter what and how much of it you have, you’ll always want other people’s stuff.
You speak at least two foreign languages.
I’m not sure why, but Slovenes are among those with the highest proficiency of English as a second language in the world. Then there’s Croatian – it’s impossible not to speak it if you spend every summer on your south neighbor’s coast. Italian and Hungarian are official languages in regions bordering Italy and Hungary and therefore taught in schools since kindergarten. And if you want an Austrian job with much higher income, you learn German.