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Zagreb

Right… I’ve got a blog. I keep forgetting that (as always) but what the heck, saves me the trouble of starting a new one.

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But yes, another day, another country so I decided to write something again. Ok, not really cause it’s another country. After all, it’s the 12th country this year. Technically I should say it’s Croatia again as I have already been here a couple of times this year. However, this time is different from the other times I have been here. This time it’s not a quick work trip. It’s also not a 2 week vacation on the coast nor is it a quick trip to visit friends. This time I’m staying here for a couple of months. I want to see if the city “works for me” and see if I can get used to living here permanently. Or at least for a couple of years.

So one of the major differences this time is that I’ve rented an apartment. It’s just a bit outside of the city center. So although it’s close enough to be able to walk there (unless you are from the US, it’s more than 10 yards :P) but far enough away to get out of “tourist mode”.

And as it’s all still new (well, not the apartment but me being here) I’m still settling in. Clearly I’ve gotten the keys to the apartment and I also have a local (mobile) phone number. I know where to find the supermarkets around here and I can find the dry cleaners. So I guess I’ve got the basics down. Aside from that though, it’s all still new. Silly things like  how to order food (I assume online, good thing I can cook), where do I leave the garbage, etc. Thing like that I still have to figure out. Luckily I have friends here who are helping me every step of the way so it’s all good.

So who knows, I might actually start writing a bit more regularly. There are likely going to be some cultural difference that I’ll find interesting or funny. If/when I do run into those, I’ll probably cover it here. Who knows, it might help somebody else someday. If not and I do keep writing I guess this will be filled with everyday experiences. Going to the zoo (done that already so maybe not), shopping, exploring the city and the country. The usual stuff one does anyway.

There is one thing that I already love here though. There seems to be a big coffee culture. Lots of places to go for coffee and I have yet to get a bad cup of coffee here. Given that I actually drink the stuff cause I like it and not to help me wake up that’s something that makes me happy.

And because somebody will ask… No, I don’t speak the language and aside from some basic words I won’t be learning it yet either. For now I’m only planning a couple of months here and enough people speak English for me to get by.  Coffee shops, restaurants, all of those I seem to be getting by just fine. Sure, in supermarkets the experience changes a bit. But then, you don’t really need to speak the language there. You just get your things and smile like an idiot when you hand over your money. No problem there.

There is one thing I have to get used to all over again though, smoking. Lots of people still smoke here and it’s allowed indoors in a lot of places. Coffee shops, clubs, it’s all good (depending on your point of view). Not the most pleasant experience for a non-smoker. Especially one that isn’t used to smoking being allowed in public places any more.

But enough negativity, so far my experience here has been great. The people I’ve met have all been very friendly and helpful even though (or maybe because?) they all think I’m crazy for moving here. To quote them “why would you do that when everybody else is trying to get away from here?”.  Guess time will tell whether I agree with them or not.

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