How do you describe something to someone who's never experienced it?
Things that are not even things...
...Like ability to walk into a supermarket and only think about what to buy, not if someone's gonna go on a shooting spree?
...Like kids going to school on their own, chitchatting with their friends, and not worry about the police officers by the doors (to keep them "safe" nor about doing active shooter drills for an event that is actually plausable to actually happen)?
...Like letting kids go on a playground or to a library or a store or a bus or a pool or a beach by themselves, without fearing someone's calling social services on you for negligent parenting? Moreover, you know others know who your kids are, just like you know other's and so someone's always keeping an eye on them...
...Like buying food knowing it was sourced locally, that it does not contain all the toxic and addicting substances (because those have been banned everywhere but in the US)? Which is also why I had to toss too-much-to-admit of produce, because I forgot it does not keep for weeks...
...Like coming from work and putting the phone away to spend the afternoon with family, going for a swim in a river, a hike in nearby woods (more than 70% of Slovenia is covered with forests), meet up with friends, and not worry you will be called lazy?
...Like going to a doctor knowing that whatever you need, will be provided, and that it will be free (and if you're a tourist like us, a blood test might run you 3€ and not $3000 - true story)!
...Like developing & using common sense because not everything is spelled out, fenced off, labeled, and plastered with warnings and legal disclaimers?
...Like being a woman and going for a run at dusk or walking down the street at night, listening to music and not clenching a fist with keys between your fingers?
...Like being here on vacations and have your kid invited to participate in a local summer camp where they do art, where they take a day trip to the shore, or explore local caves, or play beach volley,... For free...and they speak English to help the kiddo feel at ease?
...Like walking through the woods, and fields, and meadows (go mushroom or blueberry picking, exercising, relaxing) and knowing no one will gun you down for trespassing?
...Like being a pregnant woman (because you chose so, not forced to), knowing you will be spending a year with your baby, still paid whether you're an employee or solopreneur, to heal, to take care of the baby, to bond? Even longer if the baby needs any special care? And work part-time with full-time benefits until the kiddo goes to school? That's in addition to paid sick leave and paid vacation time.
...Like noticing your America-raised kids to relax on a cellular level, which can be felt.
It's seen in their eyes. They smile differently. They tell you how much more confident they feel.
I know it sounds like some utopia.
And I know Slovenia has its own set of issues.
And I know there are exceptions.
But these are just a few "things" that I cannot quite explain to someone who's never experienced them.
It makes it very hard to pack up our bags and return to New York each time...