Bratislava? Ano! by Irene González de la Fuente
I always look at the sky when I arrive in a new place but that day the sun didn’t even come to say “Hello”. After ten hours on a bus (the worst night of my life, by the way, due to my own continuous moaning, which got me repeated scary looks from my Japanese-tourist seatmate – God only knows where they thought my parents were sending me off to: a remote girl’s boarding school, jail or perhaps a psychiatric hospital) and after two more hours on a plane, I arrived. After four months of preparation, nerves, doubts, expectations and fears, I was in Bratislava.
The next challenge was getting my three huge pink suitcases out of the tiny airport. I hadn’t even had time to get my third bag when a moustached taxi driver said “Ahoj!” and started in on a monologue (probably about the problem with the ill-mannered sun) while I stood staring at him, half fascinated (I’d never heard Slovak before) and half scared (had absolutely no clue what he was saying). I didn’t think about it too long but immediately got into the taxi. “Could you please take me to…this place?” I asked while pointing at the dormitory address I had written the day before in a notebook, right next to Google Translate’s Slovak translation of “I’m an Erasmus student from Spain”, “I am lost, please help me” and “F--k me I’m Erasmus”, which I personally didn’t write and didn’t even know was there! Hopefully, Google Translate was as bad as usual and the taxi driver didn’t read that bit. Then I noticed what one of my friends had written down next to a footnote: “Useful Slovak by Juanjo. ‘Enjoy your orgasmus!’ I love you!” Yeah, Juanjo, I love you too.
“Ano.” It was the taxi driver.
“ANO?” Ok, it was my fault I didn’t understand because I hadn’t even checked basic words in Slovak. I guessed he was saying ‘yes’ because he was nodding his head. But ‘ano’? Of all the ways in the world to say ‘yes’, Slovak uses the one that in my language means ‘anus’. But perhaps it was rather fitting that day as the sun doesn’t shine down there either.
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