Proud as we can be, to live in Litija*

Some people when they grow up wants to be astronauts, policemen or sweet princes trapped in the tower. Some of them want to be pilots who throws shining bombs on Vietnam villages and painting cartoon arm candy babes on the cover of their planes. Some of them, more brighter on their mind wants to be Gary Cooper. Some just want to have peace and quiet. In my past, in lack of better activities and imagination, I was dreaming about being number. See world as a number, and being specialist who is concerned about numbers. More accurate, being a man that work on glorious statistic. So why don’t full fit my deepest child desires starting all of this word mess by organizing it by the number. Let’s go.

My small highland hometown is placed near “Wadowice”. City which lay near “Cracow”, which lay near “Warsaw”, which lay in the middle of nowhere – more precisely: In the middle of the Europe – Poland.  “Andrychów”, small city which we are just talking about, got population of 40 000 registered peoples. 54,96 % of them will go to the ballot boxes in the next elections. Almost 50% declaring that they got problem with sleep. 3.9% now is without job. 2% got problem with alcohol. 0,03% of them in this year will probably get colon cancer. In summary It’s 12 persons per year. Chance it will be me in 2018 – 0,0025%. Number of banks: 4. Number of parks: 3. Quick breakfast based on the bean with tomato sauce from the can – 89 euro cents. Minimal wage – 480 euros (539 cans). There is 127 crossroads, 11 churches, 6 supermarkets, 2 almost dead houses of culture full of dust. Number of bars: 3. Number of bars without ongoing smell of pisses mixed with scent of old peoples rotting liver: 1. Number of bars where on Thursday evening you can find some talking peoples to cure your workaholic attitude – 0.

In opposition. In chicken shaped Slovenia (In case I add some map for foreigners). Small village called Litija centered in the “Ceca” organ have 7000 registered people. 2 banks, 2 roundabout, one amateur film crew, and even one musical group. There is 4 EVS volunteers, and a hell of number of farms, full of cows, ducks and sometimes slightly drunken farmers (only sometimes). Number of bars? On this moment I counted 24. When we compared it to an “Andrychów”, it’s 8 Slovenian bar for 1 bar in my hometown – in summary it’s 800.0% of  difference. In next calculation, we end with conclusion that in Litija, including children, there is one bar for every 291,6 person. In the same time — for citizens of one of the polish highland cities near “Wadowice” – there is one almost empty building that supposed to be a bar, for 13333 assigned clients. Pretty cool, right? To keep this all in balance, to catch up this crazy running chicken, we should build 134 more bars. It’s more than the number of crossroads we got.

But leave the numbers for a while, and let’s focus on the more personal feelings. Especially when it’s 5 AM and you pass one of this bar in the middle of nowhere full of peoples opening their beer cans – the sound of the Slovenian national anthem. At 5 AM! First thought: they start or they end this party? It could be problem for foreigner, but being here one month it’s enough to realized that this country in fact It’s just like one big ongoing Rolling Stones Balkan backstage, and this question doesn’t matter. What is the difference when instead of singing birds, first thing that you hear  smoking yours morning cigar, is this beer monumental symphony coming from all directions, greet fully greeting the sunset, message that going quicker that thunder cross rural and urbanized areas, cross whole nation. This sound like clock tower or church bell calling for the morning sermon. Like Indians going to the war, making their mysterious smoke signals. Like Slovenians farmers starting they hard job of just being Slovenian farmers.

Farms, mountains and homemade alcohol. Welcome to Litija, welcome to sweet Tennessee of European Union. The place full fit with the smell of romanticized myth of south, the smell of dug up earth on the morning, the smell of middle earth hobbit paradise made from small gardens and barns full of corn, the smell of old Yugoslavia history weight. The embodied place that — like in some stereotypical pictures — will tell you, what its means to be a really country man with own land, with own horse and with own bottle of whiskey sznaps in one hand, and rusty colt in second. It’s like sentimental “redneck” heaven on earth that every townsman dreaming about, hidden deep between inaccessible mountains full of calm, peace, hard work and pssssstttt! that make you want to get married here, chopping wood here, build a home, saving money for the country fair, and sing on full voice with old good Johnny Cash, that we are proud as we can be, to live in Litija.

By the way, the address of my home farm is Tenetiśe, that pronounce almost like Tennessee. Coincidence? Statistic in this specific case is powerless.

PS. All of this that I wrote, of course is in very big hyperbole. Peoples here are responsibility and very intelligent, got diplomas, jobs, smiling and NEVER EVER DRIVE THEIR CARS AFTER ALCOHOL.

Andrzej Koszka