Category Archives: on slovakia

F.O.U.N.D!

Standard

FINALLY!!! 

introduced to us from an Indonesian friend from church, this humble restaurant is the ONLY MALAYSIAN food (yes, THE ONLY) found in this region (Slovakia/Austria). the place is Millenia/Millenium City, Vienna (1hour’s drive away from Brats) and is among one of the Asian outlets available at the food court of this mall. 

the food is acceptable for Malaysian standards, especially so if you’re ‘near to death’ from your ceaseless cravings and you just got-to-got-to-got-to-GOT-TO-GOT-TO have it!! the owners (chef & asst) are a husband and wife team from KL and they speak Cantonese. they were really friendly with us and with Arielle around, we shared some common ground as they have a 3 year old son. they conversed mostly in Cantonese (much to my discomfort) but even so, it’s always nice to meet people from our home country. nothing beats Malaysian hospitality (MH – hahhaahaha) as they offered bio-juice and chocolate pudding to Arielle. 

too bad it’s only 1 shop, we confirmed this fact when we were at the Malaysian Embassy getting our driving licenses done (coz Slovakia doesn’t accept International Driving license anymore…*pppphhhh*). but on the other hand, at least something than nothing right. 

anyone interested in opening a M’sian restaurant here in Brats? 🙂 Slovaks are quite open-minded with trying new kinds of food. a bak kut teh shop alone will probably thrive here as well – Japs love them and so far, my place is the only fix they can get; wonder how much i’ll get if i charge per bowl. hmm….

note: it’s called ‘cuisine’, don’t play-play ah

The Public Transport

Standard

here’s a great website (in english, yay!) for reference of the public transport (trams, buses, etc) here in Bratislava or in other places in Slovakia. one thing fantastic about the public transport here, is that they have a schedule, and so far from my own experience, it’s 90% accurate. so we can plan and save time and don’t need to wait FOREVER!!! there’s none on the trains though… still figuring out. 

http://www.imhd.zoznam.sk/ba/?w=2e25212e36212c28〈=en

What’s in a Word?

Standard

i’ve always prided myself (ya ya, self-praise is no praise) for being able to pickup a language fairly quickly. i picked up mandarin from friends in ukm, also because i was forced to in order to communicate with my roommate; a bit of cantonese from tvb dramas (please don’t force me to speak, i sound horrible in it though understanding it is ok); german from a class in uni, japanese (which i’ve forgotten all the hiragana writings now) when i was with Sony; and hokkien being my mother-tongue … with english and bm learnt from schooling years. 

SO, when we first got here to Slovakia, i was a bit cocky and thought that i could also just pickup slovak. i thought what’s the fuss, it’s just another languague, and since it’s so near Germany, it might sound like german and prolly have some of the same grammar. one of ayl’s colleague’s wife took 2 years now to acquire slovak, and she’s still learning. i gave myself half a year… boy, was i arrogant! now i’ll need to swallow not only my pride but also my own tongue. bleh~

first off, slovak sounds nothing like german though both languages have gender-grammar (masculine/feminine/neutral). this requires a lot of memorizing – one will need to know what object is ‘female’ or ‘male’ or … ‘sexless’? 😀

not only am i faced with a hard time pronunciating words, i’ve to also know which form of gender to use for each noun, and with slovak, the grammar changes depending on things which are alive and things which are dead as well. hhhuuuhhnnhh???? ok, i’m not gonna give myself a hard time explaining why slovak is super difficult – it just is. and here’s a bit of proof to what i’m talking about. 

 

sample of a conversation, someone looking for the main station

sample of a conversation; someone looking for the main station. the small symbols on top of the alphabets alters the pronunciation of the word.

 

another example of grammar

another example of grammar

it’s so confusing some slovaks can’t even explain why the grammar is as it is, one will just have to accept it as it is and commit it into memory. like why in English we use; ‘he-his-him’ and ‘she-her-her’ and NOT ‘she-shis-shim’

so, if according to the above Singular/Plural rule, is it safe for me to use the below then? 

Cristiano Ronaldo – Cristiana Ronalda??

to order things in restaurants/cafe, i’m still thinking of how to use the number 1. it takes the form of ‘jeden, jedno, jedna, jednu’… all of which has the same meaning but changes due to the noun. oh man…. so most of the time just point and use fingers to show count. 

we also noticed the change of names used in formal contexts. ‘ova’ is added to one’s last name – example; my doc’s name is Gavornikova; when her husband’s is just Gavornik. this is to show that the person is a lady. so then, if i were to use my name in a formal slovak context, it’s gonna be – LEONGOVA!! 

(hmmm…. what others? Angova (i choked lol on this!), Wangova, Luova, Tanova, Tehova, Leeova, Bongova, Gohova… wahakahahahak… please feel free to add any other surname/lastname you think is appropriate)

Mrs Independent

Standard

for the first time since we got here, i finally decided to brave the public transport myself. i promised myself that when the weather gets warmer and when it’s nicer to go out, i’d take more walks and try to go downtown myself with Arielle. this was further motivated when my cousin Shirleen came over for a week from UK. with her, we took the public transport and went to places like the park, zoo and even visited the Devin Castle

*some travel tips* from where we were, we took the 212/206 trolley bus, stopped at Hodzovo Nameste/the Presidential Pallace (5mins); walked through Old Town to where the Novy Most bridge is, below the UFO tower (10-15mins); take the autobus 28/29 (which comes once in half an hr) and it will take you to the Devin Castle (15-20mins), if you’re not sure, just follow the crowd on where to get down. for more info, this website helps http://www.bratislava.info/trips/devin/

with Shirleen ee-ee looking at the magnificient view of the Danube River from the top of the Castle

with Shirleen ee-ee looking at the magnificient view of the Danube River from the top of the Castle

 

on the way up the steep road; wouldn't have made it without Shirleen

on the way up the steep road; wouldn't have made it without Shirleen

 

posing with 'Mr Leaner' in Old Town

posing with 'Mr Leaner' in Old Town

so yesterday i waited anxiously at the bus stop and hoped to make it for the Ladies’ Bible Study, which is on every Tuesday at The Next Apache from 11.30am. when the bus came ( i think my palms sweat a bit :P), i rolled the pram to the entrance and looked at the 2 steps up the bus as ppl boarded from the other 2 entrances. then a lady behind me voluntarily helped me carry up the pram unto the bus… all businesslike and no smiles. was kinda awkward, but i was grateful for her help. i guess the whole experience was kinda confusing for me; was i suppose to ask for help or would the public voluntarily help? not quite sure about that; but when no one seem to help and as i was struggling to get the pram up the bus on our way home, only then people started to extend their hand. maybe they thought i could do it on my own.

nevertheless, at least now i know i can get to go places with the public transport and at least now i know also that there will be people helping me (with fingers crossed). i don’t have to be stuck at home anymore!! phew~

Obviously I’m Invisible!

Standard

just got back from the store with some groceries, mainly i went to buy bananas coz i want to try to make banana bread and i had another encounter with the locals. don’t know why generally i have negative things to report, and i’m usually a tolerant person who has nice thoughts of people. 

when queueing up to pay at the cashier, here comes a man and a woman (they’re together) who suddenly out of nowhere stood in front of me. i was a bit confused coz i thought ‘hey, i’m also in the line, isn’t it obvious?’ but then they didn’t seem to notice me at all; guess i’m JUST A STICK! – oh, but Arielle is a person sitting on her pram, coz they acknowledged her and they made baby talk to her. 

because our line was slow, the couple decided to move to the other line. and then i tried to align the pram and station my body to show to all that i’m in the line (i know, it’s so stupid. how obvious can it be) and also to ensure that no one squeezes through. but with just a turn of the head, the front guy moved further to the front just an inch and then suddenly those two were back and they squeezed through to stand in front of me again. the thing that ticked me off is they treated me as if i was not there at all!! instead, they asked the guy in front of me, and not me, if they could cut the line. i don’t care if you needed to go first, if you’re in a hurry, please… but at least look me in the eye and smile. that’s the least they could do even if you can’t speak my language or think that i’m brainless. and then they turned back and looked at Arielle and again make baby talk to her. at that point, i was so pissed, i didn’t even look at them. 

throughout the 5mins walk back, i kept going through my head the scene that just went through. part of my head said to the couple ‘God bless you man’ but in my heart and most of my head thought of multiple things that i could have done/said:

1. i could have grumbled in Chinese since i assume they think that i’m unable to understand Slovak/English. coz i’m just a housewife and i’m Asian: ‘si lang ah moh kui, boh ah-kai eh. khi chiak sai lah!’

2. declare audibly in English: ‘OH! either you guys are blind or i’m just a freakin’ stick!!’ but even then, i don’t think they’d understand coz they seem uneducated to me. ooops! did i just think that out loud?

3. confront them and say ‘Prepacte’ (excuse me in slovak) and give them a question mark look that says ‘hello!! i was here first’

4. purposely knock them with Arielle’s pram and ignore them; whahahahakakaka! funny! 

*takes a deep deep breath and exhales loudly* 

GOD BLESS YOU MAN!!

Scene: the Mall

Standard

1. lots of good looking and tall people – they dress nice and they have nice facial features; most people here are fit, maybe because they take a lot of walks (it’s one the recreation here). there are a lot of blond ladies here, and from what i observe, mascara/eyeliner is a compulsory makeup. 

2. dogs – sleeping, inside bags, strolling; all really tame. no cats though; i’m assuming ppl here love dogs more.

3. men with baby prams – it’s a rare sight if it’s M’sia, but here it’s a normal thing. the menfolk take their babies for walks (outside malls) too. just them and the baby, how nice! 

4. baby prams – i can’t help myself, i keep checking other ppl’s baby prams/strollers. that’s coz the prams here are sooooo canggih (awesome); it’s like men watching their fav luxury cars go by. i esp like 3-wheelers with the babyseat higher than normal so i don’t have to bend so much. what we own right now is an equivalent to a Kenari (in the Perodua range).

perodua

5. latest english songs being played in the background/in boutiques.

6. nicely decorated and child-proof corner for kids to play in.

7. lots of kiddy rides where you put in a coin and it moves.

8. ppl staring unsmilingly at us, just coz we’re foreigners (this is the intimidating part). but when they see Arielle, they would smile. there were some old ladies who started speaking to us in Slovak, but it’s too bad we couldn’t understand. 

9. ppl smoking everywhere inside the mall!! esp at coffee corners.

10. clothes, clothes, CLOTHES!! SHOES!! and some more nice stuffs that i had to control myself from all the time. (sighs* if only i earn my own money). even most of the things here for babies/kids seems to be much nicer and with affordable prices. my current fav shop is Peacocks & H&M with both shops carrying apparels for women, men and children. (ooh… there’s actually a dress call ‘Ra Ra Dress’!!) 

 

here's proof!

here's proof!