It Feels Like Home…and Yet…
As we leave Croatia and look forward to our move to Spain I take a minute or two to reflect on the Croatia I came to know, and love.
From the first I felt at home here. From the first greeting; the first meal; the first excursion, I felt at home. Croatia and its people are very familiar to me and I’d never been here before.
My family comes from Sicily and when I told everyone here how familiar everything seemed to me using this as a reference there were some who were offended. I meant no offense. I had stumbled upon an old feeling of historic resentment between Croatia and Italy because of centuries of domination under Italian rule. I am extremely proud of my heritage and to me comparing these two countries meant that what I found here in Croatia was good people with good hearts; great food with flavor and presence; beautiful scenery and a grand history. These are all things that I hold dear and finding them here was a nice surprise and a pleasure. I chose to live in Croatia before I lived in Sicily so that alone should speak volumes.
Sometimes living in a country as we do for extended periods of time we learn way more about a country than just a casual visitor. Take Croatia for instance. We have learned that some people spend a lot of time in being jealous of their neighbors who are doing well. Businesses where locals try to get ahead and do well are looked upon with suspicion. Local government is not a purveyor of growth but most jobs are gotten by who pays for the privilege of having that job. Then when they get into that job they do nothing to build or foster growth for all the citizens but to line their own pockets with money. This leads to an environment of every man for themselves instead of team building. We have seen this type of political environment in third world countries and it is never good to keep the masses as the poorest of the poor because when they rise up against you, you have no solid footing to stand upon. Croatia needs leadership in all areas where the people have a say and a government that works for them, not in spite of them. They need teamwork and cooperation between agencies and companies not jealousy and suspicion.
Croatia has a lot to offer the world and the world is beginning to come here. What is not happening however is that the many are not receiving the benefits of these visitors; the few are. What those at the top fail to acknowledge, as they pocket more and more money, is that everyone in Croatia at one time or another comes into contact with a tourist. And if they treat those tourists badly; if they give Croatia a bad reputation, then no one here is going to make any money. Make all the people of Croatia benefit from the influx of tourism coming here and then Croatia will flourish. Will there be a leader among the generations who will lead this change in Croatia or will the status quo hold? I hope it changes, for everyone’s benefit.
I will be watching.
Authors Note: I have created a short video of the highlights of our time in Sibenik, Country, Croatia. The people in Sibenik opened their hearts to us and we will forever be grateful. I had also wanted to create a video using the traditional music of Croatia known as Klapa. Recently a young group of musicians known as Klapa Adriaticum performed a selection of songs at a post Christmas gathering on the waterfront in Sibenik. I approached their manager and with his permission created my video with their music. I hope you will enjoy it.
We wish to make special mention of the following people who made our time in Sibenik and Croatia so wonderful. We will miss you all.
Nina Belamarić our landlady and friend. She took care of me when I got sick and in general was our best source for information on Sibenik. Thank you, thank you.
Tina Vickov, owner of Sibenik Plus Tourism Agency; another new friend who made sure that we saw and experienced more of this area than most tourists. We are happy she entered our lives. We will stay in touch.
Biljana Lambasa, owner of Personal Insider; another new friend who engineered some great travel experiences for us coming all the way from Zagreb to do so. Thank you Biljana.
And to our friends Lea Brezar and Manuela Tunjić from Dhar Media; we would never have Discovered Croatia without you and we will be forever grateful. Hugs to you both.