If this is the first time you’ve read my blog, I need to give you some quick context for the stories I will be sharing this week. The following paragraph is taken from yesterday’s blog.
Our family of five moved to Bratislava, Slovakia for three years and THAT was a real adventure! We lived in an apartment, half the size of a typical elementary school classroom and soon after we settled into our Slovak neighbourhood, we became the proud owners of a flea-infested puppy that we smuggled over the Croatian border. Every experience was a first time experience, as we all had to learn the Slovak language, the three children attended a Slovak school, I had to master cooking in an oven that had an ever- increasing temperature and we all had to figure out how to live in a country that was recovering from Communism. We learned to laugh at all the inconveniences and the absurdity of adjusting to a completely new and different culture. It was a phenomenal experience for all of us – something that we will never forget.
OK. You’re up to date now. So, here’s the first K Mart Adventure story.
Our family was hosting a group of American baseball players, who were going to be coaches for one of our summer baseball camps. It was 1995 and at that time, the K Mart in Bratislava was the biggest K Mart in Europe. It had a decent sized grocery store so it was worth driving downtown when I had a long grocery list.
You have to understand that Slovaks don’t make huge grocery shopping trips. In Europe, people tend to shop a little every day – so when I came out of the grocery store laden with multiple grocery bags, it was very obvious that I was a foreigner. As I headed towards my car, I saw a gypsy woman staring at me. She snapped her fingers and within seconds, I was surrounded by a group of about fifteen gypsies, ready to take my money and/or my groceries. My money was tucked away safely in my money pouch but I was determined not to become a victim – I needed my groceries! As the “lead” gypsy walked towards me and reached for my bags, I gave a strong right kick to her left shin. She screamed very loudly and the next thing I knew, with a quick swish of hands, all fifteen gypsies pulled out their knives and held me at knife point! I dropped all my grocery bags and froze.
Two police officers, who were standing no farther than ten feet away, saw all the commotion and leisurely strolled over to check things out. They said something to the gypsies, the knives went away and everyone quickly dispersed, leaving me with groceries strewn all over the parking lot, two dozen broken eggs and my heart bursting out of my chest as I nearly collapsed in shock.
No one offered to help me, including the police.
Welcome to Slovakia! Welcome to K Mart!