This week for our regular feature “more adventures in Croatia” we meet Ana & Frank, an American-Croatian couple currently living in Croatia, on a journey to create a better life for their young family. They have a blog about their family, blogging, design, budgeting and feeding a family of five for less than $150 a month!! now that’s an adventure!
Hello Ana & Frank, welcome to our Blog! where are you originally from and how did you end up living in Croatia, how long have you been living there?
I am actually originally from Croatia, born and raised in Zagreb, Frank is from USA. We met online and after spending 6 weeks together we decided to get married. At first, we lived in Tampa, FL and we came back to Croatia in 2010 to take care of some private family issues. We have been living here for 4 years now.
Why did you decide to move back to Croatia (rather than moving to another country)?
We chose Croatia because I am originally from Croatia. 2010 was a rough year for us, I lost my stepfather in March, my mother had a car accident in August of the same year, and my ex husband decided to sue me for change of custody in September. We had to come here to take care of those legal issues and we wound up staying here. Frank is currently working for a pet food company, and Ana is running her own business dealing with web design and translation services.
And how did you settle back in the home-town, was it easy to find accommodation suitable for your family?
We are currently living with my mother in her house which is quite big.
Moving back in with your parents after you have moved out and started a family of your own is bound to have some fun and some not so fun stories. It's funny how you can go from being your own independent person to feeling like a little child again when you start living with your mother. It's like they rejoice at having a second chance of babying you!
Do you have any suggestions or word of warning for anybody who is planning to buy property in Croatia (or renting)?
For all those that are planning to buy a property in Croatia, be prepared for a long and drawn out process because our Bureaucracy likes to move at a snail's pace.
As far as renting goes, you can't rent like you can in USA, where you have whole apartment complexes that rent out apartments. Renting is mostly based on regular people renting their apartments and fees can be higher than in USA, simply because you are also responsible for all the bills that come with the apartment.
What is it like to live back in Croatia and specifically your neighbourhood ? what is there to see and do in your area ?
Frank loves the scenery here, we live in a rural part of Croatia (Hrvatsko Zagorje) which is mostly farm land and open spaces. During spring, we drink our morning coffee on the balcony and it's not uncommon to see does and deers right next to our backyard.
Hrvatsko Zagorje is not usually largely advertised because it's an inland part of Croatia, and most people have heard about our coast line and the beautiful sea. However, if you like to explore castles and take part in wine tasting then Hrvatsko Zagorje is definitely a place to visit.
What cultural differences do you find between Croatia and the USA where you’ve lived before?
From Ana's perspective; Americans are more outgoing and have this innate "survivability instinct"; they may be brought down to their knees but they will get up, brush off and go on.
From Frank's perspective, Croatians are more friendly and easygoing. They also seem to enjoy alcohol more liberally than Americans, but their coffee cups are way too small!!!
What is your favourite Croatian food / dish, what do you like cook?
Ana's favorite Croatian dish is definitely sarma and since she is Croatian, she knows how to cook all the traditional Croatian meals.
Frank's favorite Croatian food is burek. He hasn't learned to prepare it yet, but we are working on it!
Do you have any tips for travellers to Croatia?
1. Definitely try burek.
2. Come explore the unexplored inland parts of Croatia
3. Beware the burek!
4. Be prepared for itty bitty coffee cups that somehow magically last for hours.
5. Lastly, try to master at least a few basic Croatian sentences, even if only to ask if they speak English!
Summarize in a short sentence why you recommend Croatia as a holiday destination
If you want great food and some beautiful scenery, while you enjoy the friendliness and easygoing people, then come to Croatia!
Thank you to Ana for sharing her view of Croatia with us. Ana & Frank write their experiences of life in Croatia in their blog
Our Blended Marriage where they share with their readers their family life, tips on budgeting, comparisons between Croatia and USA, Croatian language suggestions and some blogging tips. Go over and check it out!