It’s hard to pack for a trip when you don’t know when you’re coming back. I first rid myself of 60 percent of my possessions, and threw the rest of my clothes and miscellaneous items into two suitcases and a small bag. I left my home, family, and friends in America. I got on a plane, and embraced the uncertain adventure ahead.
It’s been a week now since I arrived safely in Dubrovnik. I write this while sitting in my boyfriend’s parents’ house, in a daze of mild heat stroke and lingering jet lag. I’ve now fully become aware that this is a completely new way of life for me, presenting both opportunities and challenges.
Being with Domeniko is the best part of being back in Dubrovnik. It was a long year coping with international distance, finding strange hours of the day just to see each other for a few minutes on Skype. Being reunited feels so surreal. Although he works a lot, we make time for small adventures each day. He’s done everything possible to make me feel comfortable and right at home.
I am staying with Domeniko and his family in a small village outside of Dubrovnik. I’ve felt so welcomed by his family (mom, dad, and two older brothers). I am very gracious for the opportunity to be immersed in the Croatian culture and have a place to stay.
And of course, I am in constant awe of the endless beauty in Dubrovnik and all of the surrounding villages. I finally feel like I can release my inner mermaid.
However, behind those seemingly glam instagram photos are some details that aren’t as easily display. I thought that since I already studied abroad in Dubrovnik and visited for five weeks last winter the transition would be effortless. Wrong. In reality, making a drastic transition to a new way of life is difficult at times.
To start, I’ve never been to Croatia in July and August, and I was completely unprepared for the extreme heat. Sure, many tourists handle the heat for a short trip, but the high temperatures are actually very dangerous.
Ask any of the locals, and they’ll tell you they avoid the sun completely in the summer, especially between 11-5 in the day. I was so determined to explore, that I decided to go out during peak hours anyways. After a few days it caught up with me. I came down with some serious heat stroke for about two and a half days.
Provoked by jet lag and avoiding the day’s heat, I’ve also been struggling with getting into a daily routine. I was eager to explore as much as possible and visit numerous places with Domeniko. However, he works every day, even weekends, and sometimes it makes planning a little more challenging. I’m the type of person that needs at least a little structure, even when on vacation. I want to take this time to relax, but I need to find my own rhythm.
Is living in Croatia with a caring boyfriend a dream come true? Absolutely. Have the challenges made me miss home at times? Yes. However, facing obstacles just means you’re pushing yourself further out of your comfort zone.
So tell me: what are you hoping to see and hear about next?Please share your experiences and thoughts below!