Feels like home
I can't remember ever having a culture shock. Every time I've moved abroad the first night/morning is always terrible (missing mum and thinking what the hell did I come here for!) but that's got nothing to do with culture shock. Culture shock means disorientation and confusion when moving to a foreign country and the habits and customs are not what you have been used to. Well, I haven't lived in such exotic places but Finland is rather different from most European countries culturally.
Here in Bratislava I've felt quite at home from the beginning. The city is maybe a bit smaller than Helsinki, and most of the time the architecture and the nature reminds me of Greece. But the thing that feels the most familiar to me are the people. Slovaks are not exactly the warmest kind of people at first but all of the Slovaks I've had the priviledge of spending time with have turned out to be absolutely wonderful. Chatty, super helpful, funny and always worried that I might stop to like living here. It's sweet.
Most Slovaks I know here continously ask me how I like Bratislava, how did I ever come to move here and worry that dealing with various authorities might make me change my mind and move back to Finland. This is so famialiar; Finns think along the same lines about foreigners living in Finland. What exactly do they think about the country, why did they move there and are they sure they want to stay for a long time. And just in case the answers might not be positive we tend to badmouth everything beforehand. They do the same exact thing here! So far I've heard that Slovaks are rude, really jealous and unhelpful... From personal experience I cannot agree with any of that. Just for fact that on a bus/tram younger people automatically give their seats to older folk. In Finland, no chance... I must admit, I happen to be among the last people on the tram to ever give up my seat:D
The girl who interviewed me for this job, and who has also become a friend, said that from what she has seen and heard Finns are very Slavic. We like to think of ourselves more like Western European but she's probably right. Alcohol consumption and all are in the same level anyway ;)
Sunday was a great day; shopping, good food and relaxing by the river. I also had another light buuulb-moment! When I got this job I obviously googled Bratislava a lot. And I found out that one of the biggest rivers in Europe runs through the city. The name was familiar from school: Tonava. But here everybody was always talking about some other river, but this river had the same exact castle and the same bridges as Tonava except it was called Danube. Turns out Tonava is a Finnish name for Danube... I'm a little cleverer again!