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I never thought about the longterm realities of living in Croatia before packing up and leaving the sunburnt country I called home for 35 years. Where government administration offices are open all day, without a ‘Pauza,’ and the staff can hand you a brochure with a complete list of what you need to know. Often faking the easy breezy coastal life, making it look like it all comes so naturally. But, there are no plans too, and I would say the same thing no matter where I live. What the fuck have I done moving to, and living in this Croatian insanity for the past five fucking years? Heels stuck in the sand, desperately trying to make it all work. So, you may ask, why in Gods name am I still doing living in Croatia? I will hear people tell me to “go back home’, and that “nothing is stopping me”. I am a traveler and have to keep exploring, so maybe one day I will move away.Just don’t take anything that one person says as gospel. If not be prepared to fork out thousands of Kune for the mandatory health insurance back payment fees.When you go to your local Hrvatski Zavod Za Zdravstveno Osiguranje (HZZO) office, you’ll discover that you have to pay for the 12 months you were not in the country. The legislation is changing all the time, so be sure to ask at your the Croatian embassy where you live – more than once. They don’t always know the current legislation, and what I have heard from many people over the years – many embassies just do not want to deal with helping new people move back to the motherland.Sigh, I really do get sick of being asked this question, because moving to Croatia is not the same for everyone.That said, if you are planning to move to Croatia, do not take advice from anyone who does not live in Croatia 24/7 – 365 days a year – for at least a full year.
In some cases (like at my doctors’ office), I have to explain my rationale every visit. My meh days are when I barely manage to stay optimistic when faced with an onslaught of bureaucratic challenges, or when I spend days at a time alone without speaking to or hearing from a single friend, and all I can think about is calling my sister and telling her to pop over for a visit. I try never to speak of them, as they are the days when if spoken about, it is all people will focus on. Each year that passes gets a little easier to adjust to the situations that might edge me toward me those rare dark days.The first 24 months came and went very fast in all honesty, I was so busy building this blog. I wrote a post back in 2015 about my experience and remember writing that: I also, wrote that when you make the ballsy-ass move and leave everyone you know, everything that is comfortable, known and easy behind you and choose to throw caution to the wind and move abroad, there is stuff about the move that you simply can’t know until you’re ‘‘.Read any expat blog and you pick up re-occurring themes of loneliness, adjustment periods and exploration. In fact, the whole country feels safe, I have wandered the streets late at night, and never once felt like a mugging was around the corner. One came here when he was 9 months old, and the other was born here.I still have them, but they are small periods, not everlasting.