Recently I forwarded a PowerPoint collage of some beautiful picture of Slovakia to my friend Sieg. Sieg responded with the following question. As I was reading it, memories and emotions started to flood in, and I decided to share my answer to Sieg with all of you.
Very nice indeed! So why did you have to leave? You know I always confuse Slovakia with Slovenia, home of the famous Pipistrel. But now I looked it up, now I know. Wouldn’t be nice to fly in those mountains with your Piper? You could land uphill on many of those pictures.
Thanks again, Sieg
I did not have to leave; I just gave up on the country after the Russian invasion in 1968. That was the catalyst. I wanted to leave ever since I was very young. There were many reasons, but the main one was that I was not allowed to fly. My dad escaped the country in 1949, and that left a black mark on me. I was considered to be a high risk, follow my dad’s example, and leave as well. The close proximity to Austria and West Germany would apparently make it way too easy for me. I was not even able to fly gliders, or skydive. I guess they were affair that I may steer the parachute across the border somehow. I know so many people from there, who left Czechoslovakia that year, but their heart and soul is still there – how sad.
When I first came to Canada, I would have nightmares for at least a year. I would dream that I was back in Czechoslovakia, trapped there, and not being able to come back to Canada. I would wake up drenched in sweat. Canada became my beloved home almost from the day one, and it still is today. Canada gave me what my country of birth denied me – the freedom of flight. I feel like a kid who escaped cruel and abusive parents, and found a foster family, that was kind and loving, and eventually adopting me for their own child. I became Canada’s child as soon as I was able to become its citizen. My attachment to Canada is so strong, that I cannot go through listening to the Canadian Anthem without tears in my eyes. In fact, my eyes are swelling with tears as I write this.
Yes, Canada gave me what Czechoslovakia denied me. I coined the phrase in the head banner of this blog many years ago. It truly reflects how important flying is to me. Without Canada, I would have died without living my dream. Thank you Canada.