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What gift can I bring to Eastern European family?

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I will be visiting and possibly staying with distant relatives in Slovenia, this September. What can I bring them as a gift? Is there anything that is hard for them to get their hands on?

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    Believe it or not, I visited friends in Slovenia in 1994! I bet you don't know anyone else who's been there. I don't. It is a very beautiful country. Be sure to go to Bled, a lake resort and very beautiful. I also went to Portoroz on the seaside (it is most definitely the seaside and not the beach or the shore), Postonja caves, Ljublijana, and a national park called Logarska Dolina. I really liked it there and the people were very friendly. All the young people speak English. I did not find Slovenia to be particularly "Eastern." It was a lot like Austria. In fact, many of their "western" goods are imported directly from Austria. They did not seem to be lacking for anything. My friends had brand new modern bikes and roller blades, for example. And I don't think they were rich or anything. Most of the cars were western models. The apartment buildings were really the only thing that struck me as "eastern." Slovenia is actually considered central Europe. Anyway, I, too, brought gifts and really didn't know what to bring. I wanted uniquely American items but short of the American flag, I didn't know what that would be. I settled on this: a t-shirt from my former college for a teenager. She loved it. A Lion King CD for my friend who loves Disney. I went to Chinatown in NYC and bought a small vase for the grandmother who turned out to have a garden and put flowers in it right away. If your friends live in a house, there is a good chance they will have an extensive garden, I think. They really liked the vase because they don't have much exposure to the Asian culture and were also intrigued by the Chinese newspaper it was wrapped in. That might be something to think about. I don't know what other advice to tell you. But basically, they have a very nice standard of living there and are probably doing ok. Any other questions, please email me.

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    Caryn -

    Thanks for the insight into Slovenia! Much different than I thought. I will be backpacking for a long time before arriving there, so am concerned about bringing breakable or large items. The t-shirt will probably work. I have also heard about bringing flower seeds. Does anybody know if that will cause a problem with customs?

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    We visited relatives in Nederlands and learned that many Europeans are intrigued with the Indian culture. It was interesting to read the post wherein the relatives were intrigued with the Chinese culture. You know those Franklin Mint plates with the Indian Princess- well, they collected them! I was amazed. Shouldn't have been I guess- I just never thought of it! So since then I have sent them some handmade Indian gifts and the woman who owns the Indian store said her biggest market is the Europeans! Especially the Irish!

    other things I took, were a pocket watch for my father, mariah Carey and Leanne Rhimes CD's for the teens, a denim shirt (they love denim) Statue of Libery collectible coin in a little velvet case. In return I got key chains, T shirts, a doll dressed in Authentic native Dutch costume, blue delft plates, a blue delft windmill, a necklace. It's fun!!!

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