Once I had completed this mission (and with my stumbling Slovak, it certainly was a mission at times), I would head to the town centre flat of Jane, the third and last of Humenne’s teachers. Jane was, in fact, senior teacher and area coordinator, and was the best boss ever. She lived with her partner, Andrej, and the three of us would spend Saturday mornings drinking cocoa and coffee (turecká), and eating bread rolls with moravské mäso and Perkins tartar sauce (delicious, but curiously only eaten with fish in the UK). Andrej and I would play a bit of Tekken 3 on his PS1, and we’d all watch the music show Deka
As we didn’t have a television in the flat, I didn’t watch much else for a full two years (another good thing), but I did pop round to Jane and Andrej’s some evenings to watch JAG,
an American TV series about naval lawyers. This was one of the very few programmes broadcast with both dubbed and original audio channels, meaning we could press a button and watch it in English. I also watched a bit of Slovak TV when I went to visit Dagmar at her parents' house, usually while digesting a delicious meal of chicken and rice :)
The lack of TV pushed us to find other entertainment, and Dagmar and I went to the cinema much more than I ever had in the UK. But, as with many things, it was quite a different experience. For one thing, you could never be sure that you’d get to see the film - if they didn’t have enough people, they would just send you home. And if you did get to see it, the very second the credits started rolling, the lights went on and the ladies were standing there next to the exits with their coats on, giving you very hard stares, which I took to mean ‘I want to go home - leave now’. Still, we saw some good stuff there, including Blair Witch Project and Sixth Sense.
And from time to time, I did actually get out of Humenné. We had monthly Akadémia training sessions in various centres in the region, which was a great opportunity to visit some different towns and catch up with the other teachers. I also went with some of those teachers to the Tatry and Slovensky Raj (awesome), and with some Humenné friends on a memorable trip to Zádielska dolina. Dagmar and I had holidays in the Czech Republic and Domaša, and once went on a day trip to Hyper Tescos in Košice (I remember being overwhelmed by the size of the shop - it was a bit bigger than the Red Potraviny).