Up on the Hill – a short story from Slovakia.


In September 2002 I rocked up in Bratislava with a couple of bags and just enough cash to last until my first paycheck. And so unfolded one of the great years of my life…


‘‘Slovakia!?’’ he cried with an arched eyebrow. ‘‘Get to fuck! You’re not gonna go there!’’.

I was in a hostel in Copenhagen when I made the decision. Eyes closed, right hand making broad clockwise circles prior to my index finger landing firmly on the tatty wall map. ‘‘Come on… do it again!’’ snapped my Irish dormmate, visibly irked by how things had ended up. ‘‘Even with my eyes closed I could find Australia’’. Well… so could I if it really came down to it. But the idea was to do it blindly without manipulating the outcome in any way. Plus a deal was a deal, even if the pact had only been made with myself.

But how to actually go about finding a job in Slovakia? Back in England a few weeks later and I was stunned to immediately come across an advert on Dave’s ESL Café, the online mecca for TEFL jobs across the globe:

Teachers needed in Bratislava!

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