Some things that I miss (part 1)

I’ve been to Croatia 4 times in the past. But each of those were just short visits, between 10 and 20 days. I’ve been here for almost 16 days now and the realization is setting in that I have about 124 more to go. Zagreb is my new home for a little while. It’s no longer feeling like a visit. So here are some things that I miss already

My Washer and Dryer
We have 1 small washing machine that holds only a third of the laundry from mine in Philly and it runs three times as long. It’s not a bad washer. It’s standard, like most other househholds that I’ve seen here.

Clothes dryers are not popular. When you look at shopping ads for appliances, there may be only 1 dryer (a washer dryer/combo) offered on sale and 10 washers. We must hang-dry our clothes inside on a rack. It takes about a day for them all to dry. Clothes dryers make your clothes soft and warm and smell like dryer sheets. Hang drying them can make them stiff and stretched out.

Microwave
Almost everyone has a microwave in Croatia. It’s a very common kitchen appliance. The microwaves here are super small, though. They remind me of the size you buy for college kids in dorms. We don’t have a microwave here and I don’t see any sense in buying one just for the added convenience. But it would be easier to reheat food and make quick stuff.

Living Space
I didn’t spend that much time in my new condo when I was in Philly. We only had it for about 3 months before I left to come here. But, nonetheless, it is my home and I miss it. I miss my bed, my home computer, the 1200 sq ft. The apartment we have in Zagreb is about 400 sq ft.

Personal Space
There’s really no sense of personal space when in public areas here. If people want to ride the tram downtown, they pack in like sardines and then some. When in line at the store, you can feel the breath of the person behind you. People bump you when walking and most don’t say excuse me. You’re lucky to get into a tram without being trampled. People don’t wait for folks to get off before getting on. I prefer to walk the semi-decent distances 🙂

But most of all I miss my family and friends.

One thing I don’t miss:

Getting up early for work
Although I enjoy the walk I had to work when it wasn’t raining, I never liked getting up early. With the time difference here, I start work at 2pm. Isn’t that nice 😉 Now I get up around 9-9:30am and sip my coffee while watching TV. Then I can decide what I want to do for the rest of the morning. I could go out for a walk, watch movies, go to the store, explore the city, visit a museum or park, go running, anything really.

Movie Mornings

My mornings are quite dull during the week. Especially with the major cold front going through keeping temperatures at a blistering 15F for a high and windchills into the negative digits. As a result, I’ve been spending time watching movies and subtitled television.

This morning I watched Flightplan. I was a little unsure at first. The word in the past was that it was dumb and very unexciting. I always prefer to form my own opinion though.

I thought Flightplan was really rather good. It was short, only about 90 minutes, but just the right amount of time. The ending felt a little rushed wrapping things up, but honestly I’m not sure what I would have done differntly.

I’ve always been a fan of Jodie Foster, but I wouldn’t say this was her best work. It’s average.

The Ground Shook

Living on the East Coast of the U.S. you don’t feel many earthquakes. In fact, in my 27+ years, I’ve never felt an earthquake anywhere until last night.

Earthquakes in Croatia are not common, but they do happen every few years. This one was centered in the Western part of Zagreb and registered 3.5 on the Richter scale. It’s enough to feel and see things shaking. I was lying on the couch watching War of the Worlds when the couch shook beneath me. We are situated on the Eastern part of the city, and didn’t feel the full strength. Dinko said that people from work commented about dishes shaking and glasses clinging.

I was really freaked out about the earthquake. You put a lot of faith in the ground after awhile, and when it becomes unstable, your faith in it does to. I’ll get over it. Maybe it’s good for people to experience earthquakes when they are young so they aren’t so afraid of them when they are older 😉

Mlinci

Today I had a special historical Croatian dish for lunch–Mlinci. I last had Mlinci on my first trip to Croatia in December 1998. While hiking, across Sljeme ontop Medvednica Mountain, we stopped at a lodge restaurant for some Mlinci, red cabbage salad, and mulled wine. It was an excellent lunch.

This time a friend of ours cooked it for us and it was everything I remembered it to be. Mlinci is a kind of pasta but it’s somewhat complicated to make. It requires baking thin sheets of flour/water/salt mix in the oven, then cooling, then drenching in hot water, then cooking in the juices of whatever meat will accompany it. Today it was chicken. Mmmm.

I’m not that fond of hanging out in the kitchen, so I don’t cook much. But there are some dishes that I really enjoy and I must learn to cook them (Mlinci, Russian Stroganoff, etc.)

Medvedgrad Hike

Dinko and I went for a hike on Medvednica today. We were supposed to climb to Sljeme, the peak, but because of some time restrictions, we took another root to see the 13th Century fortress called, Medvedgrad. It was a nice hike. The path was pretty icy, so it was nice to have my new boots and trekking poles. Our friends, Ivan and Jelena, weren’t so lucky.

Medvedgrad is a very old fortress that overlooks the city of Zagreb from Medvednica Mountain. Part the way up, we stopped at a little lodge where we had some nice coffee, tea and pie.

Dinko wants to hike Medvednica every weekend. We’ll see about that. Maybe every other weekend 😉

Remote Working

Yesterday I completed my first day of my remote working situation. It went rather well. I didn’t experience any situation that needed me to be in the office, and the one meeting I had is always a conference call.

I managed to get so much more done in 6 hours than I expected. Perhaps it’s due to the minimal interruptions and better concentration. I had a list of things that I wanted to do for the day and I managed to do them all and start on an item that was slated for the next day.

I hope all the days are as pleasant as my first 🙂 I’ll be starting my second day of remote working in a little while and I hope it goes smoothly. Three out of the six hours I work is already full of meetings 🙂

More later…

In Croatia

Well, I’m in Croatia now and so far it still only feels like a vacation. It’s great to be with my boyfriend again. It was very difficult to maintain our relationship with only daily IMs during work, weekly phone calls and a 6 hour time difference.

I was so worried while packing that I would either forget something or not bring enough stuff. I tried to minimize what I brought to essentials. I needed clothing and shoes for 2 seasons–Winter and Spring. I could only bring two large suitcases and they couldn’t be packed full because I would need room to bring any extra stuff back. It all worked out though, and the only thing I realized that I forgot so far was my cell phone charger 🙂

I will be working remotely starting tomorrow and I hope it all goes well. It will be a tough adjustment on top of all the rest, but I’m ready for it.

I’ll be changing this site periodically to ween it away from it’s former purpose (helping me get a job). Stay tuned for more later…