Things All Slovenian Clevelanders Know To Be True

Things All Slovenian Clevelanders Know To Be True

Did you know Cleveland has the most Slovenian Americans?

I only saw my grandparents for a relatively short time in my life, but they never shied away from where they came from, and that pride certainly flows through my family's veins. Living in the Cleveland area that, fun fact, has the highest population of Slovenian Americans in the United States always reminds me of my Eastern European heritage. So, I wanted to share a few "You know you're Slovenian when..." moments I've had.

1. You've eaten and/or made stuffed cabbage

And you know who has the best recipe (hint: It's my mom. No contest. Her stuffed cabbage is easily my favorite food).

2. You go to St. Vitus Church for their Christmas choir concert

The inside of that church never fails to astound me.

3. You've seen someone sporting this shirt from Cleveland Clothing Co

For me, it's my dad. He wears it with pride.

4. Pristava is the place to be every summer

Slovenska Pristava is parish picnic held in Geneva, Ohio each summer. There's great food, a mass, dancing, drinking, bocce ball, and a pool, and it's a great way to meet other Slovenian Americans.

5. You're often confused as Slovakian

To be fair, their flags look very similar by containing the same colors. Cleveland is also home to a large Slovakian population as well with Slavic village being a popular destination for many Eastern European Clevelanders. While they both belong in the Slavic language family, Slovenian and Slovakian are quite different in culture.

6. Being excited to hear about Cleveland Kurentovanje

One of Slovenia's most popular festivals has made its way to the Cleveland area in the form of monster costumes, a parade, and Slovenian food and drink. Kurentovanje is a festival held before Lent each year where people dress as Kurents, a figure meant to scare away the winter in order to welcome a blooming spring season. The celebration arrived in 2013, and hopefully Kurentovanje makes a return every year.

To any Slovenian Clevelanders reading this, hope you find at least some of these points relatable! Be proud of where you come from!

Cover Image Credit: Stephanie Gorsek

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.

Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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What Rescuing a Dog Taught Me About My Future

She was a real pain to begin with, but I wouldn't give her up for the world now.


My first dog came from a breeder to us when he was just a puppy. I was in third grade so we were both young together. I remember stepping off of the bus and seeing him curled up in my mom's arms. His breed, a Cavalier King Charles, is a highly sought after dog for their small size and beautiful markings. However, dog breeding can lead to medical complications down the line. Heart murmurs are very frequent as cavaliers get older. When he turned 9 years old, they were already detecting the beginning of a heart murmur in him. But my second dog didn't come to us in quite the same way.

Willow was about a year old. She was rescued from an abusive home where she had to fight for her food from many other dogs. This made her guard resources and distrustful of us. My mom and I begged the rest of our family for the ability to adopt her, and they finally agreed. Being not potty trained, we had to teach her with a lot of positive encouragement when she went pee in the right place (not our carpet). It took her a while to realize that we weren't going to take her food away and she gradually became less resource guarding. She started to trust my other dog more and play with him. A lot of the time, they even snuggle together now.

At the time, I was in my junior year of high school and still thinking about the idea of becoming a veterinarian. She helped me decide to go for it, and now I'm in college and getting ready to apply for veterinary school. Willow has become part of our family, and her funny and unique personality fit right in with us.

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