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Gay marriage, Kosovo, Turkey’s admission in to the EU and border control is just some of the issues I have been amazed to see…

When I landed in Slovakia back in July I felt like I had entered another world. It was just so hot all the time. I remember once I sat by the classroom window during class and the sun shone on my face for an hour. When I looked in the mirror that night my face was tanned on one side. Every time I wore a new t-shirt I got new tan marks on my not-so-used-to-sunshine Scottish skin. I looked like I’d been dipped in a cup of tea.

Local people thought this was odd. It’s not even that hot a summer, they said. It’s been really a quite rainy summer, they assured me. I think it rained about three times.

The next hurdle I overtook was food. The first lunch I went to I ordered the second menu option. I received an entire brie cheese, fried. That felt like madness to me back then, I actually quite like it now. The biggest food shock (that I am still not over) is steak tartar. That is raw mince meat, eaten raw, with onions and spices on bread. It goes against all food safety I have ever been taught.

It has taken me 5 months, 5 entire months, to be brave enough to go to the butchers counter. Armed with my terrible Slovak and promises that they have Black Pudding here, I managed to half sign language some Black Pudding in to my possession. It’s so good! It tastes like Haggis.

I also remember adjusting to the points of view some of my students have. I never realized how much your society has an influence over what you think about things. We all tend to lean towards the side that we have grown up with. Gay marriage, Kosovo, Turkey’s admission in to the EU and border control is just some of the issues I have been amazed to see such a different approach to. It’s been really good to hear new opinions and open up my mind.

I remember my students told me that they think Nigel Farage is a hero. I nearly died. Don’t they know he’s a monster? Then we watched some of his speeches together and discussed them. I may not agree with his policies but I suppose he does have some pretty awesome speeches.

This morning I had Black Pudding for breakfast with a potato rosti (it’s not quite a hash brown but it’s a happy compromise). Then I had to walk through an absolute torrent of rain to get to work. When I read about Nigel Farage being controversial in the newspaper, I had a little chuckle. Now I might go and make a cup of tea after my work very kindly got some Earl Gray in to the staff kitchen. I think I’m settling in here after all.

Photo of Bratislava old town by Nico Trinkhaus