I've Got a New Girl Now

Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Slovakia  , Banskobystrický,
Saturday, May 28, 2011


 When I am not walking up and down the hills of central Slovakia, I spend the better part of my day surrounded by groups of Elenka’s – see ending regarding name change – relatives. They must think I'm peculiar as I sit for three, sometimes four hours smiling with them and listening to them. They know that I speak no Slovak. What they don’t know is that it's because I’m on an entirely different plane, not really listening.  Their words take me to a place sort of like where the kid in the movie Pan’s Labyrinth went. They enable me to create my own characters in my very own fantasy, using common Slovak words and phrases.

   In the Slovak language, the letter Č produces a 'ch’ sound:

   Čo is pronounced cho, sounding like Joe. Čo povedal becomes Joe Povedal. Stick with me. This kind of works when you get the hang of it.

   Nech sa páči is the Italian tough-guy character, Nick Sapaci. He's also a womanizer.

   Len Dobre is a tall dumb sort of fellow who doesn’t even require a name spelling change.

  The fourth and final player is veľmi dobre. With a couple of slight changes, these words can be easily converted to Velma Dobre, Len’s unfaithful wife. 

   You can just imagine how the womanizer Nick, dopey Len, his best friend Joe and Velma, the Princess of Promiscuity, interact. As Elenka and the relatives perhaps seek cures for the planet, my globe isn’t even in the same universe.

   Last night, as we were walking out to the car after I'd had a remarkably fruitful three hour flight of fantasy, I looked up to the sky and said 'Čo chceš'. Zdenka, Elenka’s cousin looked at me in wide-eyed shock. 

   "Čo chceš  doesn't mean, I want to do something with your mother, does it?" I whispered nervously to Elenka.

   “No, it means, what do you want,” she replied, too weary at having to concentrate on her seldomly used second language to wonder why I'd asked such a question. 

   Whether Zdenka thought I was doing a one on one with the Almighty or simply losing my marbles, I do not know. I just smiled, raised my hands and said, ‘There you are” in explanation. 

   This time around I managed to learn three new Slovak words. And believe it or not I learned them completely independent of one another. 

   They are:  

   idem – I go  

   zachod – toilet

   zaitra – tomorrow 

   “Tomorrow I go toilet.”

   The sentence isn’t quite right grammatically, but it did make the hair on the back of my neck stand just a little. At the rate I’m learning Slovak, I’ll be able to communicate like a pre-schooler in about 80 years. 

   All of Ellen’s relatives call her Elenka. I found further proof of this pleasant sounding modification in the form of a postcard that was written by her father when she was young. I’ve come to embrace the change.
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