Did you Know the Slovak Word for “drain” and “oven” are the Same?

To add to the ongoing saga of Price-neighbor relations, we humbly submit this episode:

Three days ago Amber decided to try to unclog our abnormally slow drain. She fiddled with the drain and loosened it. Little did we know that our plumbing was in poor condition and the drain doubles as an anchor for the entire pipe. We tightened everything again and thought nothing of it – until the next morning. Matthew showered and then Amber showered and then there was a knock on the door. Still sporting a towel Amber made a dash for the bedroom while Matthew opened the door to reveal a never before seen neighbor (wearing a house robe, slippers, bed head and a scowl). He spoke quickly, then realized that Matthew speaks English, rolled his eyes, and spoke slower: “water is pouring into my apartment”.

Minutes later our building manager, who insists we are German and speaks to us accordingly, was rummaging around in our pipes. He turned our water off and told us that a repair man would be here by 1pm. Edmund, our repair man, arrived at 1:30pm sharp!

A few moments after that came another knock on the door. Matthew opened it and found a lady who looked familiar. It took a moment, but then he realized – she was the lady who screamed at us over the Great BBQ Fiasco of 2008! She then greeted Matthew with “hi” – a distinctly English greeting. She then began to explain, in nearly fluent English, that we were leaking water. This whole time she spoke English!

The next morning, at 7:15am Edmund arrived at our door ready to work. He chiseled away the tiles encasing our bathtub and exposed a very broken pipe dangling from the wall above our very own indoor mini lake. The next 3 hours involved Edmund muttering continuously from under the tub, 2 trips to the store for parts, 6 comments on how many stairs he has to climb to get to our flat, 11 words that needed to be looked up in the Slovak-English dictionary, 3 requests for assistance (which landed Matthew in the tub pulling pieces of pipe through the hole where the drain used to be) and 1 repaired drain pipe. Apparently he will be back this week to do something else – we did not understand what…

In an attempt to squelch the building gossip about the ridiculous foreigners on the top floor, we bought boxes of chocolates for the three apartments for whom we had provided new shower facilities and for the building manager. Each gift was accompanied by a card saying sorry and that everything is fixed (our language tutor helped us as to ensure we did not say something that would offend anyone beyond the initial property damage). On Saturday we spent the day assisting at Catalyst (local leadership development program) and returned home to distribute our appeasements. Here is the score:

-2 different families pretended not to be home (though we could hear them inside, saw their cars on the street and noticed the shadow as they looked through the peep hole)

Strikes 1 and 2. So, we left the gift on their doorstep.

-1 family may have been home, but we are not sure – either way no one answered the door

Strike 3. Not out yet.

-1 family was legitimately not home, and after leaving their gift by their door, we passed them in the hall. They accepted our apology and thanked us for the chocolates.

It felt like a tie game.

When we got home last night there was a note on our door that simply said “thank you” with a smiley face. We do not know the name signed to it, but it felt like a home run.


4 thoughts on “Did you Know the Slovak Word for “drain” and “oven” are the Same?

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