Feriancová, Petra: Homeland

2016

I mostly knew my homeland from a distance and through short visits during my wonderful 6 years of youth spent abroad. I often missed some things, for example snow, sad and complicated people, the small town, empty streets, the possibility of meeting the same person even five times a day, the anxiety from the smell of fried onion in the early morning, which I still remember from kindergarden. People tend to idealize things. Then I come back with big plans and enthusiasm, but it is hard, maybe even harder than anywhere else. My best friend Ištar moved to a different country every three years, ever since she was born, she spoke ten languages, she did not compare and she was on antidepressants. Children and most people do not have the strength to live just anywhere. They need to have their own room in a house, in a backyard, in a city, in a country, on a continent, on a planet. Their identity is defined by space, measurable space.. I tell myself that it doesn't matter where you place me, as long as you leave me be i.e. inner space (- the few meters, which separate the couch and me on it from the ceiling), but anyway, it's easier for me to grumble at home. For example, what I really don't like is that my country doesn't have access to sea as it used to not long ago near Devín. Other times I miss the sun, which stays white even during the summer and casts long shadows, I cannot bear all the billboards, endless fields of rapeseed or the construction of apartment buildings at Štrbské pleso. But the animals in my homeland are the best things about it. A magpie that is friends with a cat lives on a tree next to our house, we have grass snakes and hedgehogs here, and you can come across a doe, a fox, a wild boar and other game in our capital city. And it's exactly the same beyond the borders of my homeland.

A patriot is ​someone,​ who deserves respect, but perhaps ​also​ ​some​ distance. ​Wars have been waged and they are still being waged ​for homelands. But only animals and crazy Greeks fight for ​​women​ or females. ​A​ patriot is ​someone​ who returns to his​ or her​ homeland after being forced to ​flee into exile or​ to​ emigrate, not just because he ​or she can ​spend his or her Western ​pension​ more efficiently​ here. ​M​any ​grandparents​ were patriots, ​for example both of my grandfathers. One was in the anti-fascist resistance​ ​in Central Slovakia ​during the Second World War​, and the other gave the Slovak names to all birds and beetles and ​he ​often told me that the​ color​ orange​ (oranžová) in the Slovak language should be correctly named "pomarančová​" (the name of the fruit in Slovak is "pomaranč")​​, but otherwise ​he​ was ​great​ and​ a​ patriot as well, wading through Slovak swamps, ​running across ​Slovak mountains and ​climbing​ trees and all​ that​ because of Slovak birds.