Hi and welcome to all members who joined KITnDO recently! My name is Martina, and I am a founder of this platform. This post is more personal as I’d like to share with you something from my life. In fact, for many expats, summer time is a perfect moment to visit their native country, to spend time with their family and friends. And for parents, it’s the perfect opportunity to help their kids relate closer and forge the ties with the culture of their ancestors.
Although I’ve been always thrilled to travel faraway, to discover new cultures, to experience new things, I feel that it’s important to spend more time with our 11 y. o. daughter in my native country, Slovakia. Being able to work remotely, I had a possibility to spend the whole month there during this summer with her. And besides one week she spent at a summer camp, which gave her a boost to practice her Slovak with new Slovak friends, we travelled across the country, exploring mountains, pittoresques villages and towns with lots of history and traditions.
Our little expedition across the country led us to Horehronie (in Central Slovakia), to meet with different handcrafters with a travel agency, Stey Slovakia. The latter was founded by Ivana who was once an expat herself and understood that the best way to discover any country is through its authenticity provided by its habitants, so became a local expert. It was amazing as one local opened her home to us to teach us weaving carpets in the old traditional way or when we could see the making of typical Slovak cheeses, called Parenica and Oštiepok, on the authentic “salaš” (sheep farm). On the way, we tasted some fresh bread made in traditional ovens, in a bakery you would never expect to find in the middle of such beautiful countryside which indeed had more foxes and bears than houses! This was such a great way for kids growing abroad to hear from locals about traditional ways people used to live and to see maintaining their knowhows.
The National Park of Muránska Planina is not just another beautiful part of Slovakia we visited, but it is a real gem in my eyes and the place to go if one wants a complete detox and escape from civilizations. Despite the fact that I’ve spent many holidays there, as my great grand-parents were from this region, there is always something to see and experience there. Like visiting the First Slovak Gymnasium in Revúca that played such an important role in the Slovak national life in the 19th century, or penetrating into a mysterious “Tunnel under Homôlka“.
This year, on my bucket list was the village of Čičmany – spectacular because of its old houses still painted with various ornaments which are part of the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage. Nowadays, they are very popular in Slovakia in the fashion industry for example and we do have some products with Čičmany’s ornaments also in KITnDO Store. Close by, we could admire the Slovak wooden Bethlehem, situated in the village Rajecká Lesná, carved during 15 years by a local craftsman.
There are some other beautiful places – Bojnice, Banská Štiavnica, Košice, Ždiar, the Treetop in the Bachledova Valley. etc. – that you can spot in the following video. And did I forget to mention all the Slovak dishes we savored during this trip? Well, because taste is another important sense used in transmitting our culture, I will dedicate the next post to tell you more about those delicious dishes, and share some more pictures together with recipes.
What about you? What do you do with your kids to explore their cultural legacy when raising them in a foreign country? Please share, we would like to hear it!